First Landing State Park is a great park and campground on the beach in Virginia Beach, VA. It’s a great place to enjoy the woods and water.
First Landing State Park Overview
First Landing State Park is built on the site where the Jamestown Settlers first landed in North America before moving up the James River to found Jamestown. The park includes 1.5 miles of beach on the Chesapeake Bay along with 20 miles of hiking and biking trails. This large, 2,888 acre park is divided into two sections split by Shore Drive. On one side is the beach and campground. On the other is the hiking and biking area that goes though forested and swampy areas.
First Landing State Park has been in operation since 1936 when Virginia opened its first six state parks at the same time. It is the most visited Virginia State Park.
First Landing State Park offers a variety of outdoor activities, camping and outdoor recreation. You can have fun at the beach and swim in the Chesapeake. There are multiple hiking trails and you can ride your bike on the 6 mile paved Cape Henry trail. You can launch a kayak or small boat from the boat launch.
Near First Landing State Park there are a lot of activities including the tourist hot spot Atlantic Avenue and the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. Near Virginia Beach, you could also visit Williamburg VA with its fun and historic attractions.
First Landing State Park Walking Tour Video
In our First Landing State Park YouTube video, we walk you through all of the highlights of this great Virginia State Park.
First Landing State Park Amenities
First Landing State Park Beach
First Landing has a 1.5 mile sandy beach. The main access is by the visitor center. There are also several beach access boardwalks spread throughout the campground.
Hiking at First Landing State Park
First Landing offers almost 20 miles of hiking and biking trails. You might enjoy the Bald Cypress trail with views of cypress trees growing in a swamp. Or, maybe try a quiet hike on the Osmanthus trail. If you are up for a bike ride, the Cape Henry trail is a level, paved 6 mile trail. To help plan your visit, you can find the park’s trail map at Virginia State Parks First Landing Trail Guide.
First Landing Picnic Area
There is a large picnic area on the trail side of First Landing. It has a picnic shelter, several picnic tables and a playground.
First Landing Visitor Center
Check out the visitor center to learn about the park. Nearby is a gift shop with a snack bar. Firewood is available at the gift shop.
At the visitor center, be sure to get a trail map along with the helpful tree, bird and beach walk guides they provide.
First Landing State Park Campground
The campground at First Landing is large and offers a variety of tent & RV campsites. There are two loops. The first is a smaller loop. The second loop is large and contains a mix of site types and sizes. RV sites are water & electric and come in 20, 30 or 50 foot lengths. Many campsites have 20/30/50 amp electric service while there are some sites with no hookups. Note that water & electric connections are at the back of most sites.
Most are back-in sites with a parking pad at an angle to the road. Note that the campground road is a relatively narrow, single lane road. RV parking pads are gravel. However, the sites appear to be a mix of sand and gravel. All sites have a picnic table and fire ring.
Most of the sites are wooded and offer good privacy. The trees in the sites closest to the beach have trees in between them but the trees do not go over the site. Sites that are not beachfront often have significant shade. Some of the sites in the smaller loop back up to Shore Drive and provide minimal privacy from this busy road.
You can reserve many of the campsites in advance. First Landing State Park Campground is open from March through the beginning of December. Reservations can be made at Reserve America or by calling 1-800-933 7275.
Before reserving a site, it is recommended that you do a bit of research. You can check site pictures in two places. The park provides a First Landing Site Specific Flickr page. Images on the Flickr page appear to be from 2013. You might also check CampsitePhotos First Landing State Park for site images.
From our tour of First Landing, there were some sites that appeared to be a good fit for larger campers. You might start by checking out the following: 142, 155, 157, 158, 161, 165, 171, 188 or 191. In our video walking tour through the campground you can see some example sites.
There are several beach access boardwalks spread through the campground.
The best view in the campground might be from the Yurts. First Landing has several Yurts, large round tents, available for rent. Each has a deck with Adirondack Chairs and an amazing view of the Chesapeake.
Visiting First Landing State Park With Dogs
Like most Virginia State Parks, First Landing is dog friendly. You can walk the trails with your dog. They can stay in the campground with you. And, since First Landing is designated as a multi-use beach rather than a swimming beach, dogs are even allowed on the beach. As long as you keep your dog on a leash, you should have a great time exploring First Landing with them. Note that dogs aren’t allowed inside the buildings.
First Landing State Park Rates
A Virginia State Park is a great value. A day pass to the park is only $7 per vehicle. It’s a bit higher on Weekends April-October when it is $10. Or, you could consider a Naturally Yours Passport that provides access to all Virginia State Parks for a year for $75.
Camping for a water & electric site is $40 per night and includes access to all the park activities. For non-Virginia residents it is $46 for camping. Note that there is a $5 online reservation fee. Taxes for a three night weekend are approximately $6. A full list of fees can be found on the Virginia State Parks Fees page.
First Landing State Park Directions
First Landing State Park is located at 2500 Shore Drive in Virginia Beach, VA. Your GPS will generally guide you well to First Landing.
According to the Virginia State Parks, the directions are as follows. “From I-64, take Northampton Blvd.-U.S. 13 North (Exit 282). Go through eight lights, then turn right at the Shore Drive/U.S. 60 exit (last exit before the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel). Take a right on Shore Drive and go four and a half miles to the park entrance. To reach the Chesapeake Bay Center, park office, camping or cabins, turn left off U.S. Rt. 60 at the stoplight and check in at the contact station or park office. For the Trail Center, picnic area and trails, turn right instead.”
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