First Landing State Park
Outdoor Adventure Abounds at First Landing State Park
When you think about spending the day outdoors in Virginia Beach, your mind immediately goes to the sandy beaches along the Atlantic Ocean. Along with the beach, there are several other ways to have some fun in the great outdoors. Among the many things to do in Virginia Beach, a must-do is spending a day at First Landing State Park.
About First Landing State Park
Located in North Virginia Beach, between Shore Drive and the Oceanfront, is First Landing State Park. The nearly 3,000-acre park offers a number of exciting and relaxing activities for those looking to enjoy Virginia Beach’s natural setting.
First Landing State Park has been recognized by the National Register of Natural Landmarks and the National Register of Historic Landmarks. The park is also Virginia’s most-visited state park, according to Virginia State Parks.
First Landing State Park History
First Landing State Park gets its name from the Virginia Company’s 1607 landing on Cape Henry. These were the first group of settlers to make landfall and eventually establish North America’s first permanent English settlement in Jamestown.
The park, originally named Seashore State Park, was purchased by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1933. In 1997, the name was changed in remembrance of the historic first landing.
Things to Do at First Landing State Park
Before you set off on your outdoor adventure, visit the First Landing State Park Visitors Center. There you can learn more about the history of the park and the area at the Environmental Education Center. You can also learn about the park’s natural surroundings, including marshes and bays. Find maps and other informative information, as well as bathrooms, at the visitors center.
Hiking and Biking
First Landing State Park boasts 20 miles of trails to explore on foot or bike. While traversing First Landing’s trails, you’ll come across cypress swamps, maritime forests, freshwater wetlands, dunes, shoreline on the bay and salt marshes.
The trails at First Landing State Park range in difficulty from easy to moderate, with distances between 0.3 mile and 6.1 miles. Of the 10 trails available, two have usage for biking.
On the Water
With 1.5 miles of shoreline along the Chesapeake Bay, there are plenty of activities to do on the water at First Landing State Park. The park has a swimming beach, as well as areas designated for boating, fishing and kayaking. There are no lifeguards on duty so be safe and swim at your own risk.
The Narrows Beach provides access to Broad and Linkhorn Bays. Launch your boat from the Narrows for a fee of $4 and tour the surrounding waterways. Since the Narrows is not a swimming beach, anglers can use the beach to cast a line. Fishing and crabbing are allowed with a valid Virginia saltwater fishing license.
Why stay in a nearby hotel when you can spend the night right in the park? First Landing State Park has several campgrounds as well as rustic cabins to rent.
With over 200 campsites, choose from a dirty or gravel surface. There are campsites both with and without hookups for water and electrical power. Decide which amenities you would like during your campout.
There are 20 cabins that can accommodate groups as large as six. Some cabins have wood frames with hardwood floors while others are on cinderblock with tile and carpet floors. All cabins feature a kitchen, living room, bathroom with a shower, deck, grill and linens.
The Trail Center features information about the wildlife within First Landing State Park. There, you can also learn more about the park’s habitats, history of the area and more. The Trail Center is the main hub for all of the park’s trails. Pick up a trail map before you hit the terrain.
Half of the Trail Center is also a meeting room that can be rented out for special events like birthday parties or weddings. The Trail Center also has a small gift shop.
More Information About First Landing State Park
First Landing State Park is located at 2500 Shore Drive, Virginia Beach.
Getting to First Landing State Park
The main entrance to First Landing State Park is located off of Shore drive. This entrance provides access to parking, the beach, visitors center, Environmental Education Center, Trail Center and campgrounds.
There is a second entrance off 64th Street and Atlantic Avenue. This entrance provides access to parking, a boat launch, beach, bike and hiking trails and cabins.
At both entrances to First Landing State Park charge a parking fee.
Out-of-State Passenger Vehicles
Sunday–Saturday: $7 | Prime season weekends and holidays: $9 | In-State Passenger Vehicles | Sunday–Saturday: $5 | Prime season weekends and holidays: $7
In-State High Occupancy Vehicles: $10 | Out-of-State High Occupancy Vehicles: $12
First Landing State Park is open from 8 a.m. until dusk. Overnight areas are accessible 24 hours a day.
Pets at First Landing State Park
Pets are allowed at First Landing State Park in enclosed areas or on a leash.
First Landing State Park Wildlife
It’s not uncommon to come across First Landing State Park’s wild inhabitants. The park is home various species, including skinks, lizards, salamanders, toads, frogs, birds, squirrels, turtles and even snakes. While a majority of the snakes at First Landing State Park are non-venomous, there have been sightings of venomous copperhead and cottonmouth snakes.
Images supplied by Virginia State Parks.