Top 10 Best Beaches in Virginia (with Map & Photos)

Virginia is blessed with some lovely beaches, even if the waters may lack the warmth of some of the world's more exotic vacation regions.

The proximity of Virginia's beaches to densely populated areas made the state attractive to tourists long before air travel became so common.

The smell of the sea adds to the fun of feeling the sand between your toes.

If you want a great family day, go to the beach.

Virginia is blessed with many fine stretches of sand, often comfortably protected from the elements.

Crowds can gather at popular beaches on weekends, spring break, and summer weeks, but you can find peace of mind by looking for it.

If you're looking for some advice on the best places on the coast to take a break, check out this list of the 10 Best Beaches in Virginia for inspiration.

1. Bethel Beach, Mathews County

Beaches in Virginia
Bethel Beach

This narrow strip of sand covers 105 acres.

Its dunes change shape as the wind blows and the tides caress the shore.

There are some pretty deep channels and a small bay.

The salt marshes attract a varied birdlife; the lagoons are full of waders looking for food.

This Nature Reserve is a great place to explore, but also a lovely place to relax on the sand.

Some areas of the coast are closed to the public during bird nesting seasons, showing that Virginia is truly committed to conserving its natural environment.

2. Chesapeake Beach, Chesapeake City

Top 10 Best Beaches in Virginia
Chesapeake Beach

A residential district between Lynnhaven Inlet and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel with a beautiful beach, this region was developed a century ago.

Known locally as Chics Beach, it is one of the best beaches in Virginia, drawing large crowds on weekends and in high season.

Water sports are available, such as jet skiing and paddle boarding, while children often spend endless hours building sand castles.

Walkers love this place, and cyclists are regularly spotted along the water's edge.

Check out the recommended hotels in Virginia (VA)

3. Westmoreland State Park, Westmoreland County

Virginia Beaches
Westmoreland State Park

The State Park stretches for 1.5 miles along the Potomac River in Westmoreland County.

The protection that the park offers makes it an enchanting place for people to enjoy and respect.

You can choose to relax on the beach if you wish, but there is much more on offer - hiking trails, fishing, camping facilities, and log cabins for rent.

There are beautiful views of the river from the Horsehead Cliffs, an impressive stream of water that is six miles wide at some points.

There are over 1,300 acres of paradise here.

If you like history, you are not far from the birthplace of Robert E. Lee and George Washington.

4. Colonial Beach, Westmoreland County

10 Best Beaches in Virginia
Colonial Beach

Colonial Beach is a 2.5-mile stretch of sand across from the small resort of the same name.

It was popular with Washington DC residents since the early 1900s - although there is a lot of history associated with the city, it is the beach that is its main attraction.

Bathers and swimmers flock to the sandy shoreline, others stroll along the boardwalk, fish, sail, or keep their eyes open for ospreys.

Restaurants are plentiful, so there is everything a family could need for a great vacation on the shores of the Atlantic and the Potomac River.

5. Cape Charles Beach, Chesapeake Bay

Top 10 Best Beaches in Virginia
Cape Charles Beach

This beach on the east coast of Virginia is not yet well supported, and those who know it are glad that it remains a relative secret.

The small town has a rich history.

The charming streets with shops and hotels offer many things to do, while the public beach is ideal for children.

The waters are shallow and perfectly safe, often collecting in small pools.

There are kayaks for rent and other water sports for those looking for action.

Fishing is a popular pastime, so when dining in the evening, look for fresh fish on the menu.

6. Croatan Beach, Virginia Beach

10 Best Beaches in Virginia
Croatan Beach, Virginia Beach

The small beach is less than a mile long and is very popular with surfers, who have two designated spots to enjoy the waves.

Lifeguards are in attendance, and facilities include toilets and showers.

It is much quieter than the nearby Virginia Beach Boardwalk.

Those who want to learn to surf can take classes in the middle of summer.

There is a fee to park, but the beach is free.

An interesting piece of trivia - it was bought by a religious group for the development of a training center in 1898, but these plans never materialized.

7. Chincoteague Beach, Chincoteague Island

Best Beaches in Virginia
Chincoteague Beach

The Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge has some of the best beaches in the Atlantic.

It can be quite windy, but there are also protected areas.

Lifeguards are present because in high season there are many people who want to sunbathe and swim.

Bird watchers are often rewarded, as are fishermen and beachcombers.

Wild Beach is 11 miles long, so hikers are in their element, with Toms Cook Hook almost as long.

Surfers and kayakers enjoy the waters and there are many chances to find crabs in the pools.

8. First Landing State Park, Cape Henry

Top 10 Best Beaches in Virginia
First Landing State Park, Cape Henry

This is a fairly quiet beach that stretches for a mile and a quarter.

The water is calm and warm in the summer months at First Landing.

The Park covers nearly 3,000 acres, with hiking and biking alternatives to coastal swimming, fishing, and boating activities.

There are camping facilities and cabins for the night, and picnics during the day are a lot of fun.

Swimming is not allowed in some places and there are no lifeguards present.

The fragile plants of the dunes are protected by the boardwalks that lead to the beach.

9. Buckroe Beach, Chesapeake Bay

Virginia Beaches
Buckroe Beach

Buckroe Beach covers eight acres and is less than a mile wide, with facilities including a playground, shady picnic areas, barbecues and tables, and a number of hiking and biking trails.

It is a popular beach with ample parking and lifeguards on duty in high season.

On Sundays, in summer, you can enjoy a concert, and on Tuesdays, there will be outdoor movies with a family theme to watch.

Dogs are not allowed during the summer.

Swimming is good and kayaks and paddle boats can be rented.

10. Virginia Beach, Virginia

Beaches in Virginia
Virginia Beach

At the meeting of the Atlantic and the Chesapeake Bay, you will find Virginia Beach, a stretch of sand that attracts large numbers of tourists each year.

Sunrise is a magical time if you wake up early enough, and then the sand and water draw you in.

If you want to do more than sunbathe, rent a bike to explore.

There is a good chance of seeing dolphins in the waves.

Fish are plentiful, so you'll have the opportunity to enjoy fresh catch on your plate at dinner time.

Check out the recommended hotels in Virginia (VA)

Virginia Beaches Map