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The Beach Life Outdoors

Exploring the Seashore to Cypress Birding Trail
by Curtis J. Badger

When most people think of Virginia Beach they picture the ocean, the boardwalk, restaurants, shops, and the pervasive aroma of French fries and suntan oil. But what many don’t realize is that this resort area includes some of the most outstanding natural areas in Virginia.

For those who enjoy birding, Virginia Beach offers exceptional opportunities all year round, with birds that range from huge northern gannets to tiny warblers that migrate through in spring and fall.

I recently spent a few days exploring the Seashore to Cypress Birding Trail, which links locations such as First Landing State Park, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, False Cape State Park, the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, and the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. While the popular perception of Virginia Beach is that of a busy resort city, these parks and refuges provide more than 130,000 acres of natural area, all just a modest drive from the oceanfront.

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