Perfect Beach Day.” Is there a more beautiful phrase in the English language? Virginia Beach makes it easy to experience the glory of sand, sun and surf – in fact, our city is blessed with 38-plus miles of gorgeous, golden, sun-splashed beach, a true beach-lover’s dream. 

 

Whether you’re looking for a lively beach with lots of activity or a just-you-and-the-seabirds situation, Virginia Beach has you covered. No matter which beach you choose, keep it wholesome, y’all: Alcohol, marijuana, and illegal drugs are not allowed on our beaches. You’ll find some other important guidelines regarding dogs on the beach, surfing, fishing and more on this Beach Rules page. Beaches here are free to the public, but unless you’re meandering over from your hotel or vacation rental, you’ll likely pay for parking. 

 

Grab some SPF and your BLFs (that’s Beach Lover Friends) and let’s go! Your Perfect Beach Day awaits.

aerial view of oceanfront

OCEANFRONT BEACH
 

Beach Vibe: Action Central
 

Oceanfront Beach is quintessential Virginia Beach in all its timeless glory: an invitingly wide stretch of sand bordered by the Atlantic, lined with hotels, restaurants, nightlife venues, and host to popular concerts and festivals. The world’s longest pleasure beach (some 35 miles long) is a happy mix of joggers, beach surrey bikes, and kids building sandcastles. The famous three-mile Virginia Beach Boardwalk runs parallel to the ocean, with a dedicated bike lane. Volleyball nets, playgrounds and a fishing pier draw residents and visitors alike to play in VB’s unofficial backyard. Nobody leaves without taking a selfie with King Neptune.
 

Beach Details:


Location: 1st through 38th streets

Parking: The city operates seven municipal parking lots and three garages at the Oceanfront.

Concessions or restaurants within walking distance: Yes

Restrooms: Yes

Lifeguards: Lifeguards are on duty from in the Oceanfront area from mid-May through mid-September 

Accessibility Features: The City of Virginia Beach has designated 103 parking spaces at the Oceanfront for the physically challenged. Ramps are located at every beach access from 1st to 58th streets. Handicap-accessible wooden walkways that extend from the boardwalk to the water are located at 8th, 17th, 24th, and 30th streets. Designated disability parking is available at municipal parking lots.
 


aerial of beach

SANDBRIDGE BEACH
 

Beach Vibe: Classic, Classy Beach
 

Consider Sandbridge to be Virginia Beach’s answer to the Outer Banks… it’s more Lily Pulitzer sheath dress than Daisy Dukes. Dunes and swaying sea oats add ambience to this five-mile swathe of sand at the southernmost end of the Atlantic shoreline in Virginia Beach. The calm waves draw families with little ones, while romantic types show up for sunrise or sunset. Feeling the love? Sleep over: The community is a hub for vacation homes and condo rentals.
 

Beach Details:


Location: 3060 Sandfiddler Rd.

Parking: Municipal parking lots are located near Sandbridge Seaside Market at the corner of Sandbridge Road and Sandfiddler Road. The lots charge a fee between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Parking is also available at Little Island Park, a public beach located at the south end of Sandbridge Beach (south of the 3600 block.)

Concessions or restaurants within walking distance: Yes

Restrooms: Yes

Lifeguards: Yes, in season (generally from mid-May to mid-September)

Accessibility Features: Most of the beach accesses have ramps, and there are several accessible parking spaces available near the beach. Beach wheelchairs are available for rent in season. 
 


Chesapeake Bay District Beach

CHIC’S BEACH
 

Beach Vibe: Local Chill Zone
 

This Chesapeake Bay beach is the residents’ alternative to the bustling Oceanfront. Generally, there are no waves (and few tourists, even in the summer) at Chic’s Beach. Running between Lynnhaven Inlet up to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, this two-mile-long strand boasts so much natural beauty, it’s a wonder that it’s often empty during the week. Pro tip: After your beach day, do as the locals do and grab a bite at Bay Local (excellent happy hour) or Bubba’s Seafood Restaurant.
 

Beach Details:


Location: 4536 Ocean View Ave.

Parking: No municipal lots; limited metered street parking; be mindful of parking regulations

Concessions or restaurants within walking distance: Yes

Restrooms: Yes

Lifeguards: Yes

Accessibility Features: No
 


Morning Surf Session at Croatan Beach, south of the Virginia Beach Boardwalk

CROATAN BEACH
 

Beach Vibe: Surfer’s Paradise
 

As close to a private beach as you’ll find in Virginia Beach, according to locals. Stretching from Rudee Inlet to Camp Pendleton, three-quarter-mile-long Croatan Beach is beloved by local families and surfers. There are two designated surfing areas, and beginner-friendly breaks, plus surf camps and board rentals, making this a great place to unleash your inner surfer dude or dudette. 
 

Beach Details:


Location: 920 Vanderbilt Ave. 

Parking: The City of Virginia Beach operates a large parking lot year-round adjacent to Camp Pendleton.

Concessions or restaurants within walking distance: Yes

Restrooms: Yes

Lifeguards: Yes

Accessibility Features: No
 


First Landing beach

FIRST LANDING STATE PARK’S CHESAPEAKE BEACH
 

Beach Vibe: Nature Oasis
 

Not one to bask motionless in the sun? Shake off the sand and explore this lovely coastal preserve. Part of First Landing State Park, the most-visited state park in Virginia, this 1.5-mile sandy stretch on Chesapeake Bay connects with 2,888 protected acres. Miles of trails traverse freshwater cypress swamps, salt marshes, maritime forests, freshwater wetlands, dunes and bay shoreline. Four boardwalk trails wind over the dunes and onto the beach. Within the park is The Narrows, a waterway that connects two bays with a slim stretch of beach, a true hidden gem.
 

Beach Details:


Location: 2500 Shore Dr.

Parking: Paid parking at First Landing State Park

Concessions or restaurants within walking distance: Camp store

Restrooms: Yes

Lifeguards: No

Accessibility Features: Accessibility mats allow access onto the sandy beach; a beach wheelchair is available.
 


Little Island Park Pier

LITTLE ISLAND PARK
 

Beach Vibe: Norman Rockwell Meets Jimmy Buffett
 

Just over the pier from Sandbridge Beach in Sandbridge, this 775-foot beach on the Atlantic shoreline draws families for swimming, along with timeless pleasures like crabbing and casting a line from a 400-foot fishing pier. But wait, there’s more, including ball courts (pickleball!), a playground, picnic shelters and grills. Nobody expects you to lug all your sports gear – you can borrow it from the park, even cornhole and Frisbees. Fun fact: This 123-acre park was once the site of a Coast Guard station. Just to the north is the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
 

Beach Details:


Location: 3820 Sandpiper Rd. 

Parking: Parking is available at Little Island Park and also at the Sandbridge municipal lot, 2524 Sandpiper Rd. 

Concessions or restaurants within walking distance: Yes

Restrooms: Yes

Lifeguards: Yes

Accessibility Features: Beach wheelchairs available, ADA restrooms
 


Camping - False Cape State Park

FALSE CAPE STATE PARK
 

Beach Vibe: Born to Be Wild
 

Feeling adventurous? There’s no road access here: You’ll need to come by boat – or bike or hike in – to discover False Cape State Parkand its six-mile stretch of beachy gorgeousness, set between Back Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. But it’s so worth it! Birds, otters, foxes and white-tailed deer are among the residents here. No wonder the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation calls it “One of the last remaining undeveloped areas along the Atlantic Coast.” For total outdoors immersion, make a reservation in advance for the four-hour guided tram tour through False Cape and Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
 

Beach Details:


Location: 4001 Sandpiper Rd.

Parking: For day-use visitors, parking is available at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge visitor center parking lot, at 4005 S. Sandpiper Rd. False Cape is 4.5 miles from there.

Concessions or restaurants within walking distance: No

Restrooms: Yes

Lifeguards: No

Accessibility Features: The park’s visitor center is ADA accessible.
 


Man walking on beach with surfboard

NORTH END BEACH
 

Beach Vibe: Locals’ Haven
 

Got a buddy in Virginia Beach? Chances are, they’ll take you to North End Beach. This wide, sandy expanse claims the quieter, northernmost part of the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, between 38th and 82nd streets. Backed by a residential area, this stretch of sea oat-fringed beach broadens as you travel north. Nearby, hike along the boardwalk through marshlands to First Landing Beach and tour the 18th century Cape Henry Lighthouse. In winter months, you might spot migrating humpback whales. 
 

Beach Details:


Location: 8800 Ocean Front Ave.

Parking: Free limited parking along Pacific Avenue

Concessions or restaurants within walking distance: No

Restrooms: No

Lifeguards: There is some lifeguard coverage from mid-May through mid-September (note that this may be in the form of roving patrols, rather than seated lifeguard stations)

Accessibility Features: While most beach entrances have ramp access, extended wood walkways are available at 40th St.
 


Outdoors - Aerial - 2012 - Aerial Photography - Grommet Island 2.jpg

JT’S GROMMET ISLAND PARK
 

Beach Vibe: Accessible Family Fun
 

OK, so Grommet Island is a park on the beach, not a beach, per se. But what a special place! Set between the end of the Virginia Beach Boardwalk and Rudee Inlet, this colorful 15,000-square-foot park was the first beach playground in the country designed for children and adults of all physical abilities. Features include soft cushioned play surfaces with accessible equipment, soft play sculptures, a sensory board, raised sand tables, and free use of beach wheelchairs, with a backdrop of beautiful ocean. 
 

Beach Details:


Location: 100 2nd St.

Parking: Adjacent paid lot

Concessions or restaurants within walking distance: Yes

Restrooms: Yes

Lifeguards: No

Accessibility Features: This park was specifically built to be accessible to all.
 


aerial view of Cape Henry lighthouse

FORT STORY JETTY
 

Beach Vibe: Dunes & Dolphins
 

Located within the Army’s Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, this location is considered to be one of the most naturally beautiful military installations in the United States. Dunes tumble to the beach, often dotted with tiny tykes chasing ghost crabs. A walkway to the top of the dunes overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, where beachgoers may spot playful dolphins. Note that visitors are not allowed to drive a personal vehicle onto the base unless they have official base access, including military ID, retiree ID and so on. Non-military visitors must park in a designated space near Gate 8 and board a free shuttle for entrance into the park. (Note that the base is sometimes closed to civilian guests depending on security concerns.)
 

Beach Details:


Location: 583 Atlantic Ave.

Parking: See information above.

Concessions or restaurants within walking distance: Yes

Restrooms: Yes

Lifeguards: Yes

Accessibility Features: No
 

 

 

About Our Writer:

East Coast-based writer D. Chérie Bair covers travel, food, and outdoor recreation for newspapers, magazines, and online travel sites. She has contributed to several guidebooks for Fodor’s, Michelin, Lonely Planet, and Frommer’s. A global traveler, Bair admits she is “besotted” with Virginia Beach. Her favorite things to do there include paddling with dolphins in Rudee Inlet and loading up on taffy at Forbes Candies.