Six Great Beaches on Virginia’s Eastern Shore

On Virginia’s Eastern Shore, a 70-mile peninsula a short drive south from Washington D.C., explore the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean one day, and the Chesapeake Bay the next. In the summer months laze by the water’s edge or play in the surf. In the cooler months hike through maritime forests and watch for birds and wildlife. Best of all, most of these beaches are free – only Assateague Island National Seashore and Kiptopeke State Park charge entrance fees.

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ON THE ATLANTIC

Barrier Islands
FREE
One of the world’s longest remaining stretch of wild barrier islands, Virginia’s outer banks are mystical in their isolation. You can visit these delicate barrier islands, most owned by the Nature Conservancy, via boat or kayak, as long as you follow the Nature Conservancy guidelines. Pack a picnic and walk for miles and miles along the deserted shorelines. Enjoy the solitude of no houses, no people and no civilization. If you don’t have a boat, hire an ecotour guide to take you to areas that allow commercial activity.

Chincoteague Island National Wildlife Refuge
FEE
The only seaside beach accessible by land on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, the refuge’s beach is perfect for swimming, surf fishing, sunbathing, surfing or just walking. The island’s most famous residents, the wild Chincoteague Ponies, freely roam the island’s sands and marshes.

 

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ON THE CHESAPEAKE BAY

Tangier Island
FREE

Escape to another world. Take the ferry out of Onancock to Tangier Island spring to fall. This tiny island community is home to delicious seafood, friendly locals and a beautiful beach that is so isolated and pristine you’ll feel like you’re the last person left on earth.

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Savage Neck Dunes Natural Area Preserve
FREE

A 300-acre preserve starts you on your hike through a maritime forest that leads to miles of dunes and beach. A small parking area leads to three marked hiking trails with interpretive signs. This is a very secret and hidden spot only the locals know about.

Cape Charles Beach
FREE
This is the only beach on Virginia’s Eastern Shore where you can park your car on the street, walk 100 steps and have your toes in the sand. This beach is popular with families for its ease of access and gentle, warm waters.

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Kiptopeke State Park
FEE

Hike the trails and play along a half-mile of beachfront at a 500-acre state park with lots of amenities: campsites, cabins that sleep 16 people, a yurt, a boat launch and fishing pier and picnic tables. The park’s hawk observatory is among the nation’s top 15.

To plan your visit to Virginia’s Eastern Shore click here.

You may also like: How to See the Chincoteague Ponies Year Round
VA’s Eastern Shore for Budget-Minded Travelers
Annual Fests for Foodies, Virginia’s Eastern Shore

4 thoughts on “Six Great Beaches on Virginia’s Eastern Shore

    1. Sunset Beach wasn’t included because it’s private. It is only open to guests at the resort, just as Smith Beach and Silver Beach weren’t included because they’re only open to people who own houses there or people who are staying in a house there.

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