Where are Virginia’s Secret Beaches? We’ve Got 10 (+ How to Find Them)

Where are Virginia’s Secret Beaches? We’ve Got 10 (+ How to Find Them)

Photo courtesy of Virginia Tourism Corporation

By Aila Boyd

August 3, 2023

Going to the beach is a time-honored summertime tradition. Luckily, Virginia is home to a number of noteworthy beaches. However, they’re often overrun by tourists and those looking to beat the heat. 

Instead of spending the day at your usual beach hangout, consider a trip to one of the commonwealth’s secret beaches. We’ve got 10 VA secret beaches for you that are off the beaten path, plus tips for how to find them. 

Outlook Beach

Location: Gullick Drive, Hampton

Where are Virginia’s Secret Beaches? We’ve Got 10 (+ How to Find Them)

Photo courtesy of Virginia Tourism Corporation

Described as “Hampton’s best-kept secret” by the Virginia Tourism Corporation, Outlook Beach offers miles of pristine beaches along the Chesapeake Bay at Fort Monroe. Open from sunrise to sunset, you can sunbathe in the morning and swim in the afternoon. Lifeguards are on duty at the beach from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Even if you aren’t interested in swimming, the beach is well worth a visit if you’re a nature lover given its 89 species of birds, nine species of trees and 249 species of flora. 

Grandview Nature Preserve

Location: State Park Drive, Hampton

The 500-acre Grandview Nature Preserve is the ideal beach for those who enjoy walking along the water. It has a sandy, 2.5-mile shoreline along the Chesapeake Bay. As you wander along the water, keep an eye out for birds. “The beach’s dunes are home to the largest colony of least terns on the Atlantic Coast,” the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources said. “Black skimmer, American oystercatcher and other shorebirds also frequent the beach.” There is limited free parking.

Kiptopeke State Park

3540 Kiptopeke Drive, Cape Charles

Where are Virginia’s Secret Beaches? We’ve Got 10 (+ How to Find Them)

Photo courtesy of Virginia Tourism Corporation

You won’t run into the usual beach-loving tourists along the secluded and relaxing Chesapeake Bay shoreline of Kiptopeke State Park. If you like to swim, you’re in luck because there are two beaches. The northern beach, which is perfect for a calming swim, is nearly half a mile long. The southern beach is open to swimming, hiking, fishing, crabbing, and boating. You can even bring your pets to the beach, as long as they’re on a leash that is no longer than 6 feet in length. Both beaches are unguarded, so be careful. 

Haven Beach

Location: State Route 645, Diggs

Billed as “a true gem on the Chesapeake Bay” by the Mathews County Visitor Information Center, Haven Beach is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for an easy day at the beach. The comfortable sandy-bottom shorelines and designated swimming areas make this beach a no-brainer. Importantly, it also has parking and restrooms. If you’re a birdwatcher, you’ll be happy to hear that the tidal lagoon, marshes, and shrubby areas provide an ideal habitat for all kinds of shoreline birds.

While you’re in Mathews County, you can also stop by the Bethel Beach Natural Area Preserve. With 83 acres of sandy beach, low dunes, and salt marshes, you likely won’t feel crowded. 

Aquia Landing

Location: 2846 Brooke Road, Stafford 

Where are Virginia’s Secret Beaches? We’ve Got 10 (+ How to Find Them)

Photo courtesy of Virginia Tourism Corporation

If you’re in northern Virginia and want to spend a relaxing day at the beach, consider going to the 32-acre Aquia Landing park. You’ll find a swimming spot on a peninsula that juts into the mouth of Aquia Creek. Pack your lunch and enjoy it in the picnic area. 

Lake Anna State Park

Location: 6800 Lawyers Road, Spotsylvania

Where are Virginia’s Secret Beaches? We’ve Got 10 (+ How to Find Them)

Photo courtesy of Virginia Tourism Corporation

Although Lake Anna is one of the commonwealth’s most popular lakes, the beach area of Lake Anna State Park is far enough out from the marinas and heavily traveled tourist areas that you’ll have plenty of beach to yourself. During the summer, lifeguards are on duty. After working up an appetite from swimming, stop by the snack bar for an afternoon pick-me-up. When it’s time to leave, you can clean up at the nearby bathhouse. 

North Bank Park

Location: 1941 Texas Ave., Richmond

Did you know you can have a beach day in Richmond? You can go swimming, snorkeling, and fishing at North Bank Park, also known as Texas Beach. “You’ll find many isolated sandy beaches, sunbathing rocks and shady sports to enjoy,” Friends of the James River Park said of the park. 

Buggs Island Lake/John H. Kerr Reservoir

Location: 5199 Carters Point Road, Buffalo Junction 

Where are Virginia’s Secret Beaches? We’ve Got 10 (+ How to Find Them)

Photo courtesy of Virginia Tourism Corporation

Considering that Buggs Island Lake and the John H. Kerr Reservoir is the largest lake in the commonwealth with 50,000 acres of water and 800 miles of shoreline, you won’t have a hard time finding a beach spot to call your own for the day. Buffalo Park should be at the top of your beach list. Located on the north side of the lake, it has a swimming beach. After swimming all morning, you can enjoy lunch in the picnic area. 

Goose Point

Location: 4780 Goose Point Road, Bassett

Where are Virginia’s Secret Beaches? We’ve Got 10 (+ How to Find Them)

Photo courtesy of Virginia Tourism Corporation

A trip to the Goose Point area of Philpott Lake is a fun way to spend a hot summer day. While the lake has 100 miles of shoreline, the beach area at Goose Point is perfect for swimming, playing catch, or simply sunbathing. It’s secluded and offers breathtaking views of the sprawling hills and mountains that surround the lake. 

Hungry Mother State Park

Location: 2854 Park Blvd., Marion 

Where are Virginia’s Secret Beaches? We’ve Got 10 (+ How to Find Them)

Photo courtesy of Virginia Tourism Corporation

Tucked unsuspectingly in the southwest corner of the commonwealth, Hungry Mother State Park is home to a charming 108-acre lake that is surrounded by mountains. Importantly, the lake has a decent-size, sandy beach that you and your family will likely enjoy spending the day at. Given that the lake is placid, your little ones can easily splash around in the water. When you’re ready to go, stop by the bathhouse to wash off the sand and dry off.

 

READ MORE: Love Soul Food? Try One of These 7 Virginia Restaurants

 

  • Aila Boyd

    Aila Boyd is a Virginia-based educator and journalist. She received her MFA in writing from Lindenwood University.

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