Brianna Simmons

Southern Living has partnered with Virginia.org to form a guest blogger network. Today’s post is provided by guest blogger Brianna Simmons of Casual Travelist. Check back every Monday and Thursday for new ways to explore the state of Virginia.

 

As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer my thoughts immediately turn to one thing—getting outside. Luckily for me, Virginia Beach offers a wide range of outdoor adventures just minutes from my front door. With miles of shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Beach draws over 13 million visitors a year looking to enjoy the sand and surf. The wide sandy beaches and the iconic boardwalk of the Oceanfront are the most popular draw, but Virginia Beach actually offers three distinct beach experiences.  Here are a few recommendations on how to find your Virginia Beach outdoor adventure.

 

Resort Beach

Virginia Beach's legendary oceanfront has an outdoor experience for everyone. The three mile long boardwalk is perfect for a long stroll or exploring by beach cruiser while swimmers and surfers take to the Atlantic Ocean. At the southern end of the boardwalk lies Grommet Island, a wheelchair accessible playground providing fun for all kids. Dolphins are commonly seen frolicking just beyond the beach, get a closer look on a naturalist guided Dolphin Discoveries Sea Adventures Boat Trip from the Virginia Aquarium.

 

Chesapeake Bay

When I want a more relaxed beach experience, the beaches of the Chesapeake Bay are where I head. The gentle waters of the Chesapeake are popular with young families and perfect for the first time stand-up paddle boarder. Tula Adventure Sports offers SUP tours and lessons on the inlets off the Chesapeake Bay. If you prefer a more Zen experience, you can try one of their SUP yoga classes. I also love hiking at First Landing State Park, home to a unique maritime forest ecosystem, with miles of trails winding past bald cypress and salt marsh—it's no wonder this is Virginia's most visited state park.

 

 

 

Sandbridge

Located at the southern end of Virginia Beach, Sandbridge is a little harder to travel to, but your effort is definitely well rewarded. Without a hotel in sight, visitors opt for a rental home to experience the wide sandy beaches and rolling waves popular with surfers. Sandbridge also offers easy access to Back Bay Wildlife Refuge and the more remote False Cape State Park. The serene waters of Back Bay are best explored by kayak where you can spot wildlife, including bald eagles (as well as over 300 species of birds), foxes, deer and wild horses. The pristine dunes and woods of False Cape State Park are only accessible by foot or bike (as well as limited tram service during the summer months) meaning there's a high chance you may have this untouched coastal environment all to yourself. From surfboard and SUP rentals to bike and kayak tours the folks at Surf & Adventure Co. have everything you need to experience all that Sandbridge has to offer.

 

Photo credit: Virginia Beach CVB

 

Photo credit: Virginia Beach CVB

 

Check out http://www.virginia.org/outdoors/ to find more about Virginia’s outdoor adventures.

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