First Landing State Park
2500 Shore Dr., Virginia Beach, VA, 23451; Phone: 757-412-2300; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The park is the site of the first landing of the Jamestown colonists in 1607. Native American canoes, colonial settlers, 20th century schooners and modern cargo ships have navigated the park’s waterways. During the War of 1812, its Cypress swamps were a source of fresh water for merchant mariners, pirates and military ships. According to local legend, Blackbeard hid in the Narrows area of the park, and interior waterways served as landing sites for Union and Confederate patrols and blockade-runners during the Civil War. Built, in part by an all African-American Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933-1940, the park is a National Natural Landmark and National Historic Landmark. Now, as Virginia’s most-visited state park, it’s a natural oasis in Virginia Beach’s urban oceanfront area. The park has 20 miles of trails and 1.5 miles of sandy Chesapeake Bay beach frontage. Offering many recreational and educational activities, it’s a great place to explore unusual habitats featuring bald cypress trees, lagoons, rare plants and wildlife, and maritime forest ecology. Cabins, water and electric hook-up campsites, picnic areas, boat ramps and a camp store with bicycle rentals are also available. The Chesapeake Bay Center houses historical and educational exhibits. The Trail Center, outdoor courtyard, pavilion and amphitheater can be rented for special events and weddings.
Please note: The park is by a military training center that operates year-round in any weather at any time of day or night. Park guests may experience unusual sights and loudness. Training maneuvers usually, but not always, cease by 10 p.m. These activities pose no risk to park guests.
Dawn – dusk. Beach, dawn – 10 p.m.
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.
Its address is 2500 Shore Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23451-1415; Latitude, 36.918020. Longitude, -76.051547.
Drive Time: Northern Virginia, three and a half hours; Richmond, two hours; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach, 20-30 minutes (this facility is in the area); Roanoke, five and a half hours.
2,888 acres. Beach, 1.25 miles.
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Cabins, camping. For information on availability of overnight accommodations, particular park amenities or to make a reservation, you can reserve online or call (800) 933-PARK.
Weekly rentals begin Friday, Saturday or Sunday. The contact station is open 24 hours Memorial Day through Labor Day. All cabins have two bedrooms. Although near the Chesapeake Bay, none has a view of the water. Cabins 1 through 6 are wood-frames with hardwood floors. Cabins 7 through 20 are cinderblock with cedar siding and have concrete floors. All cabins are across Shore Drive, which separates them from the beach and bay.
When you reserve a cabin, you’ll get a confirmation letter that includes a reservation number. Please bring the letter or the reservation number when you check in. The reservation number is part of a pass code you’ll need to get into your cabin, which has keyless entry. Also, be prepared to show a valid ID. And if you’ve arranged for someone else to check in for you, make sure that person has the reservation number.
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Park has sites with and without electric/water hookups.
- Firewood for sale at Bay Store (in season).
- Swim at your own risk in Chesapeake Bay; no lifeguards
- Boat launch is free for overnight guests
E01-E22 Group Campground – No electric/water on these sites. Three-site minimum purchase required. Each campsite has a picnic table and fire-grill. Bathhouse with hot showers. Good for tents, pop-ups and small campers. Group camp area – site specific; maximum six people per site. A large shelter, which is available only to campers, may be rented.
Also, the TRAV-L-PARK