With an abundance of outdoor activities, Virginia Beach is a haven for families who like to adventure together. With miles of interpretive trails perfect for hiking and biking through nature preserves, state and city parks, and miles of white, sandy beaches, we’re always looking to lace up and hit the ground running. Here are a few of our favorite family-friendly trails to explore in Virginia Beach.
Mount Trashmore Loop
At 1.9 miles, Lake Trashmore Loop, at Mount Trashmore Park, is a nice and easy hike or bike ride for all skill levels and ages. This lightly-trafficked loop offers a number of activity options and is open year-round. For families with younger kids, Kids Cove is a top of the line pit stop for all youngsters. At nearly 26,000 square feet, the playground is comprised of three distinct play areas built on a rubber surface, including a giant play structure with a multitude of slides, elevated walkways, climbers and more. An area that has swings for all ages and an area comprised of a variety of climbing structure are also located at Kids Cove, as are benches and picnic shelters. The play area is fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and is barrier-free to accommodate all children.
Stumpy Lake Loop
Totaling 1.5 miles in length, the Stumpy Lake Loop overlooks the beautiful Stumpy Lake and is perfect for hiking, walking, trail running, and nature trips. The Stumpy Lake Natural Area is located along the south-central City boundary with Chesapeake and features a 278-acre lake with a raised overlook, 174-acre golf course, with more than 970 acres of undeveloped, forested land surrounding the lake and 1.65 miles of soft shared-use trails perfect for all ages and experience levels.
Bald Cypress Trail
For a scenic hike through the enchanting cypress swamps, Bald Cypress Trail offers a 1.6-mile loop, including several boardwalks and platforms overlooking the low wetlands, making for several great photo-ops. This trail features an abundance of wildflowers throughout and is ideal for all experience levels. Dogs are also able to use this trail while on a leash. The trailhead is located at the park’s trail center, accessed through the south entrance off of Shore Drive, which is the main hub for accessing the nine interpretive trails running through First Landing’s seven distinct ecosystems.
Lake Lawson/Lake Smith Natural Area
The 42-acre Lake Lawson/Lake Smith Natural Area includes 1.5 miles of hiking paths great from hikers and bikers alike. The trail loop can be hiked in a little over 30 minutes at a steady pace. With an abundance of trees surrounding the two lakes, this is a great spot to enjoy the fall colors. The natural area also features several overlook platforms, from where you can spot
Largemouth bass, white catfish, and bluegills swimming in the water beneath you.
Pleasure House Point Natural Area
With over 118 acres of pristine maritime forests, marshland, and beaches, the Pleasure House Point Natural Area includes three sandy trails that are a must for visiting hikers. Each soft trail can be easily completed by hikers of all skill levels in an hour or two. The natural area’s location between the Lynnhaven River and the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, make this natural sanctuary a beautiful place to spend the day. The area is also home to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Brock Environmental Center, recognized as one of the most eco-friendly buildings in the world for its ability to produce more energy than it uses, which frequently offers educational tours.
Cape Henry Trail
This 7.5-mile trail is the longest trail within First Landing State Park, stretching from the park’s northern border to southernmost entrance off of Atlantic Avenue. Accessible to both hikers and bicyclists and running parallel to Shore Drive, the Cape Henry Trail passes through an old-style beach neighborhood where salt boxes sit comfortably next to contemporary renovations. The flat trail, shaded in places by pine and live oak trees, is perfect for avid bird watchers as you’ll see osprey and egrets, and maybe even an elusive eagle. The trail heads through the park, past the beaches of the secluded Narrows, and connects at the northern tip of the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. We’d recommend mountain bikes for a smoother ride.
Virginia Beach Boardwalk
The Virginia Beach Boardwalk was built with cyclists and walkers in mind. With separate biking and walking paths, cyclists can ride their beach cruisers along the coast without having to dodge pedestrians or cars, which makes it a safe place to explore for younger riders. For a classic Virginia Beach adventure, rent a four-wheeled surrey bike and work as a team with your entire family as you pedal full-steam ahead. With rental stations all along the boardwalk, you can come right off the beach and hop aboard.
The 3-mile long Boardwalk is also our favorite place to break out our favorite beach cruiser bikes. You can even find tandem beach cruisers for a more challenging cooperative experience beside the beach. Whether you opt to ride the entire length of the Boardwalk or just ride your bike from stop to stop, this is one of our favorite Virginia Beach experiences.
Sand Ridge Trail
With 15 hiking and biking trails, varying in length and ranging from easy to difficult, there are many ways to explore one of the last remaining undeveloped areas on the east coast in False Cape State Park. The longest, and most difficult trail, which is better for families with more experienced hikers and bikers, Sand Ridge Trail, is 6.2 miles and leads from near the entrance of the park all the way down to the North Carolina state border. For families who are up for a challenge, we’d recommend navigating the entire 15.3 miles of trails in the park, where you will experience beaches of both an ocean and a bay, dunes, maritime forests, marshes, and wooded swamps, all in one visit.