Virginia is known for its rich seaside culture with miles of sandy beaches located along the Chesapeake Bay. Whether you want to spend the day fishing, boating, or swimming, there’s no shortage of amazing beaches for your big family to explore in this state.
In addition to traditional beach activities, many Virginia beaches also offer camping, festivals, and great local seafood restaurants to try. From Virginia Beach’s famous boardwalk to the peaceful scenes of Chincoteague Island on the Eastern Shore, here are some of Virginia’s best beaches for big families to visit.
Assateague Island, Eastern Shore
This beautiful island/beach is located on the Atlantic Coastline and shares some of its shore with Maryland. This white sandy beach on Virginia’s Eastern Shore is packed with visitors during summer, and many people who visit enjoy collecting shells or taking a sunset stroll.
You may drive OSV (Over Sand Vehicles) in designated areas only and a permit is required, which can be obtained at the visitor center. Campfires are allowed in designated areas, and you must follow all rules and regulations along with a fire permit. Fishing and crabbing from shore are allowed with a valid permit.
Surfing and swimming are popular recreational activities on this pristine beach. This beach is home to wild ponies, a beautiful lighthouse, and plenty of hiking trails and footpaths to explore. Guided programs and special programs are available throughout the year. Waves at Assateague Island can be rough, so swim with caution (surfing is a very popular sport at this location, and with good reason).
Buckroe Beach and Park, Hampton
Located near downtown Hampton, Virginia, Buckroe Beach and Park is a small public beach with mild to moderate waves most of the year. This 34-mile long beach has lifeguards on duty from Memorial Day through Labor Day, and three picnic shelters with nine tables and one grill each are available for rent.
You can enjoy a day of fishing from the pier or enjoy community events at the stage pavilion. A fun nautical-themed playground is available for the kid to burn off some energy, and the beach offers large restrooms with outdoor showers right next door. Park rangers are on duty year-round, and lifeguards are on duty during the peak summer months. You can also rent a jet ski, kayak, or paddleboard from the Hampton Watersports & Concessions office. They also offer concessions including snacks, bagged ice, and ice cream during the summer season.
Cape Charles Town Beach, Cape Charles
Located in the most southern portion of the Eastern Shore, Cape Charles Town Beach is just 10 miles north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. This public beach has free access to the historic district with shallow waters and mild waves. It’s a perfect setting for mothers with young children who just want to take a quick dip in the water.
This small beach town is perfect for families who want a quiet, relaxing getaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The town marina is perfect for boaters and includes a popular seafood restaurant. Explore nearby Kiptopeke State Park to do some bird watching and nature trail walking.
Chesapeake Beach (a.k.a. “Chic’s Beach” or “Chick’s Beach”), Virginia Beach
Chick’s Beach is a hidden gem of a neighborhood located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Known for its beautiful beachfront homes and incredible restaurants, this small beach is a great alternative to the busy main tourist areas of Virginia Beach. Dolphin sighting kayak tours are a popular attraction at this beach, where you can watch the sunset and look for dolphin pods playing in the water.
Waves at Chick’s Beach tend to be milder than they are at the Virginia Beach oceanfront. This area is a perfect getaway if you’re looking for a relaxing place to swim, wade, or sunbathe. Lifeguards are not typically available at this location, and most major attractions are just a few short blocks away.
Chincoteague Island, Eastern Shore
This breathtaking island and beach offer your family plenty to see and do while enjoying the peace and quiet of nature. Chincoteague Island is located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore and is the state’s only resort island. It’s also home to the famous wild ponies that roam there, with an annual event that celebrates the ponies swimming across the channel.
There’s plenty to do at this gorgeous island including swimming, fishing, boating, and biking. Boat, bicycle, and “e-bike” rentals are available for visitors. Experience crabbing and clamming or sign up for a beautiful cruise to Tangier Island. Several festivals take place on the island including an art festival, seafood festival, and blueberry festival. A brand new waterpark called Maui Jack’s is a great place for the whole family to enjoy some water play, rides, and fun.
Colonial Beach is located just 65 miles from Washington, DC. This “playground of the Potomac” is popular with boaters and fishermen. The beach features a pier with kayak rentals, bike rentals, charter trips, and more. You can also rent a beach cart to cruise along the sand or the boardwalk.
Several wineries, breweries, and restaurants are located throughout the area for a great meal. The beach is home to several events throughout the year including live music, art shows, seafood festivals, and more.
Waves are mild to moderate during most months of the year and a playground is available. If you want a more secluded, peaceful beach experience, be sure to check out the beach access areas further north or south of downtown.
Croatan Beach, Virginia Beach
Croatan Beach is a ¾-mile-long beach that stretches from Rudee Inlet to Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach, Virginia. This beach offers two designated surfing areas, and lifeguards are on duty during the peak season. Waves here can be rough in specific areas. A large parking lot is available adjacent to Camp Pendleton with smaller designated parking located closer to the neighborhood areas. Be aware that speed limits are strictly enforced in this area due to the high volume of traffic throughout the neighborhood. If you’re looking for a quiet getaway or a day of surfing, this small beach is a perfect choice for the family to enjoy. Concessions, restrooms, and other amenities can be found closer to the Virginia Beach oceanfront.
First Landing State Park, Virginia Beach
Located at Cape Henry in Virginia Beach, First Landing State Park is a beautiful place to explore a bit of nature. This state park offers nature trails and camping for visitors and features 2,888 acres with 1.25 miles of beach. You’ll discover beautiful landscapes here including protected salt marsh habitats, dunes, forests, tidal marshes, swamps, and freshwater ponds filled with wildlife and rare trees and plants.
Take part in a guided kayak ecological tour or visit the visitor center to learn more about the unique environment here. Enjoy the many public picnic areas, a public swimming beach, boat ramps, kayak rentals, and a biking trail. Waves here are very mild most of the year. t for large families.
Jamestown Beach is just a short drive from Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. This peaceful beachfront park offers you an observation pier, a designated fishing area (fishing licenses are required), and a building with restrooms and concessions. If you want to enjoy some boating, there’s a launch area for paddle craft available, too. Outdoor rinse stations offer you a place to clean the sand off your feet. Plan a picnic lunch at one of the shaded picnic areas with picnic tables and charcoal grills. Bring your dog to the beach, as long as he’s on a leash. While you’re here, be sure to visit Busch Gardens or Water Country USA for some thrills and family fun.
North End Beach, Virginia Beach
North End Beach is a neighborhood located in Virginia Beach with a myriad of unique, high-end homes. Families visiting North End Beach can enjoy some peaceful relaxation away from the bustling oceanfront. Beach access is available from April through October, and you’re just a few minutes away from First Landing State Park if you want to explore some nature trails or do some kayaking. This area of Virginia Beach is only a couple of blocks wide, but it’s a great area if you’re looking to experience a more relaxing beach day.
Ocean View Beach, Norfolk
Ocean View Beach is located on the Chesapeake Bay in Norfolk, Virginia. This beautiful beach includes a 6.5-acre park with a large band shell for live music, dancing, and more. The beach features lifeguards during the summer, a boardwalk, and plenty of green space for picnicking and people-watching. Events take place between July and August with a variety of live performances, bands, and family fun and movie nights.
This Norfolk beach is a great place for swimming, with waves in the mild to moderate range most of the year. A large pier offers great fishing, seafood, and more. Enjoy many amazing restaurants and bars located along the beachfront, with hotels available for accommodation. You can rent a boat, jet ski, or kayak for a fun day out on the water.
Sandbridge Beach, Virginia Beach
Sandbridge is a secluded beach located just a short drive south of the city’s Oceanfront District. This beach offers amazing views with pristine sand dunes and peaceful waves. Explore the nearby Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge or the False Cape State Park for some kayaking, fishing, or hiking. There are lots of rental homes available in the Sandbridge area, or you can camp out at False Cape State Park if you want to sleep right on the beach at night. Explore the Oceanfront District to experience shopping, great restaurants, entertainment, nightlife, and more. There is no lifeguard on duty at Sandbridge Beach. Lifeguards are on-duty closer to the Oceanfront during the summer if safety is a concern.
Virginia Beach, Virginia is the state’s largest resort city. This bustling beach offers three miles of boardwalk, delicious seafood restaurants, shopping, and a whole lot more located along Atlantic Avenue. The waves at this beach are moderate to rough, and the beach is host to the annual East Coast Surfing Championship. You can learn more about local wildlife with a visit to the nearby Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center. Virginia Beach is home to an array of festivals including live music, art, and much more. Enjoy a day of fishing from the pier or take the family to explore the famous Cape Henry Lighthouse.
Located in historic Yorktown, Virginia, Yorktown Beach is a family-friendly beach area where you can enjoy swimming, boating, or fishing from the pier. A large grassy area is perfect for picnics, games, or flying kites. Public restrooms and showers are available seasonally. A parking garage is available for your convenience, but space is limited during peak season.
This beautiful beach has several shops and restaurants to explore. Events include flea markets and festivals sprinkled throughout the year. Enjoy a sailing trip during the summer, or simply sit on the shoreline and watch the sunset. If you enjoy history, be sure to visit the nearby American Revolution Museum. Waves at Yorktown Beach are mild and there is no lifeguard on duty.