Top 10 Beaches in Virginia

Last updated on June 29th, 2021 at 05:20 pm. Originally published on June 28th, 2021

What are the most popular beaches in Virginia?

Virginia has no shortage of gorgeous Atlantic shoreline, but the best beaches aren’t all located along the coast! We’ve rounded up some of the best Virginia beaches, including freshwater lakes and saltwater ocean shores. The only problem you’ll have is deciding which beach to visit on your RV trip!

Top beaches in Virginia

1. Virginia Beach

2. Assateague Island National Seashore

3. Sandbridge Beach

4. Smith Mountain Lake Beach

5. Cape Charles Beach

6. Colonial Beach

7. Yorktown Beach

8. Westmoreland State Park

9. Lake Anna

10. Buckroe Beach

Virginia Beaches

With so many popular beaches to choose from it was hard to narrow it down. But here are 10 of our favorite Virginia beaches to add to your next RV itinerary.

1. Virginia Beach

First up is Virginia Beach! Located where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic ocean, This sandy ocean beach is popular with both locals and visitors and is full of activities. Besides the standard swimming, sunbathing, and sandcastle building, you can also play sand volleyball, rent bikes, explore the three-mile long boardwalk in the Oceanside district, and visit the restaurants and shops along the main street.

Things to do near Virginia Beach: You’re obviously there for the beach, but if you want to step away from the crowds, First Landing State Park is nearby with 20 miles of forested hiking trails. The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center is also nearby, along with Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. We’ve put together a local’s guide for Virginia Beach and have some great local RV rentals.

2. Assateague Island National Seashore

Horse lovers, this beach is for you! Assateague Island National Seashore is 37 miles of sandy shoreline that lies between Virginia and Maryland and is known for the wild Chincoteague Ponies that roam the barrier island. On these sandy shores you can watch for the wild horses, visit the Assateague Lighthouse, and explore the island coves, bays, and marshlands.

Things to do near Assateague Island National Seashore: Bridges connect the island with the mainland, but it’s worth taking some time to explore the entire island. The head just to the south to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. You can continue heading south and wind up back at Virginia Beach.

3. Sandbridge Beach

If crowds aren’t your thing, head to Sandbridge Beach. It’s considered part of Virginia Beach, but this 4.5-mile stretch of sandy shore is less popular and less crowded than its neighbor. It’s a peaceful place that’s great for those who want a quieter beach experience. Sandbridge Beach sits just north of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and the surrounding sand dunes and marshes offer many wildlife viewing opportunities.

Things to do near Sandbridge Beach: For those looking for quiet and nature, head to Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park for hiking, fishing, and kayaking opportunities. While those who want the bustling beach life can travel a few miles north to Virginia Beach and the main drag.

4. Smith Mountain Lake Beach

If you’re looking for lake beaches instead of ocean beaches, head inland to Smith Mountain Lake Beach. Smith Mountain Lake is the second largest lake in Virginia and is great for swimming, boating, fishing, and jet skiing. The lake has a public fishing pier and camping facilities if you’d like to stay a few nights.

Things to do near Smith Mountain Lake Beach: You’re close to Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway, so be sure to explore the gorgeous mountain and forest views. Roanoke is one of the nearby cities. We’ve got you covered with local RV rentals.

5. Cape Charles Beach

Looking for a lesser known beach in Virginia? Try Cape Charles Beach on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. It’s a great family beach with shallow and calm water. There are even kayaks for rent and different excursions that can be booked nearby. Cape Charles isn’t just a beach, but it’s also a town with plenty of shopping, dining, and activities to enjoy.

Things to do near Cape Charles Beach: Kiptopeke State Park is nearby, as well as Assateague Island National Seashore and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge where you can see the wild ponies. And if you head south across the bridge, you’ll be right near Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Virginia Beach.

6. Colonial Beach

Located between the Potomac River and Monroe Bay sits Colonial Beach. This 2.5-mile stretch of sand is fantastic for swimming and sunbathing, while the nearby marinas offer boating, fishing, and water sports activities. The town of Colonial Beach is a small, historic town with plenty of charm. Once you’re done with the beach, stroll along the boardwalk and explore the local shoping and dining scene.

Things to do near Colonial Beach: Besides exploring the town, Colonial Beach is also not too far from Washington DC, making a trip to the capital an easy drive. Shennandoah National Park is just over two hours away. Or head to another beach on our list, Westmoreland State Park to hike, swim, and explore.

7. Yorktown Beach

This smaller public beach is located in historic Yorktown. The sandy shores are great for swimming and sunbathing, and there’s also a pier for fishing as well as a picnic area. You can rent kayaks, bikes, and stand up paddleboards from nearby outfitters, as well as take boat tours of the York River. There’s not a ton of parking right at the beach, but you can park at the public lots in Yorktown and take a complimentary trolley shuttle to the beach.

Things to do near Yorktown Beach: Historic Williamsburg and Jamestown are nearby if you’d like to learn about history in a fun and interactive way. Virginia Beach is just over an hour away as well, if you’d like to spend some time on the coast.

8. Westmoreland State Park

Just south of Colonia Beach on the Potomac River is Westmoreland State Park. This 1.5-mile beach offers more than just swimming and sunbathing. The park has 6 miles of fantastic hiking trails, fishing opportunities and boat ramps, and camping spots for those who want to spend a few days at the park. There’s also the Horsehead Cliffs, which offer great views of the river and surrounding area.

Things to do near Westmoreland State Park: Westmoreland State Park is a short drive to Washington DC, and Shennandoah National Park is just over two hours away.

9. Lake Anna

We’re heading back inland to another freshwater lake for our next beach. Lake Anna is the third largest lake in Virginia with 200 miles of shoreline. Relax on the white sands of the beach and swim in the cool water. Or kick things up a notch and try out a water sport like water skiing, boating, and wake boarding. There are multiple marinas and outfitters on the lake that offer lessons and rentals for a variety of water activities.

Things to do near Lake Anna: You’re close to Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway if you’re looking for wilderness. Washington DC is about a 2 hour drive away, and you can get to Richmond, VA in about an hour.

10. Buckroe Beach

Located along the Chesapeake Bay in Hampton, Virginia is Buckroe Beach. This beach is a great alternative to Virginia Beach if you’re looking for less crowds and quieter surf. The coastline is almost a mile long and offers opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and watching both wildlife and ships coming into port. It’s a family friendly beach with lots of parking and a shop where you can pick up necessities. There are also local outfitters where you can book tours or rent stand up paddleboards or kayaks to spend time out on the water.

Things to do near Buckroe Beach: You can easily explore the local coast towns, or head south into Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach. We have local guides for several Virginia towns, and have you covered when it comes to local RV rentals.

Planning an RV trip to Virginia

There are so many fantastic beaches to choose from in Virginia, and an RV is a great way to explore them. We’ve got all the resources you need to plan a perfect beach vacation. As you explore, be sure to check out our resources on traveling in the state.

Here are guides to some of the best state parks in Virginia, as well as all the national parks in the country. RVshare is also the perfect one-stop-shop to help you find an RV rental and get all the information you need for your trip.

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