Best Beaches in Virginia Beach with little kids


Best Beaches for kids in Virginia Beach.

Beach + Kids = Work

Let’s make it as little work as possible! My criteria:

  • Fewer people so I can sit on my tail and see my kids
  • Calm water, depending on the age and abilities of your crew
  • Facilities – shower, toilet for myself bc the boys can and will go anywhere
  • Reasonable parking – not crossing crazy traffic, not walking blocks and blocks either.
  • Optional: food sources. Enough said.

Ocean vs. Bay

Virginia Beach’s geography is nestled between the Atlantic Ocean & the Chesapeake Bay whichemakes for unique options when it comes to taking small kids to the beach!

The ocean is what sounds like – wide beaches, board walks and waves, generally rough enough to knock down a toddler. 

Why take kids to the Chesapeake Bay? The Bay is different! 

The Bay on a calm day is more like a salt water lake. On a rough day the waves aren’t as rough as the ocean. A small child could freely play with out being knocked over and you can sit your butt in a chair!

The bay is also very shallow for a long distance into the water – think only up to an adult’s thighs for almost 100 yards. 

The Bay is good for paddle boarding, skim boarding (in some places), and just floating in a tube!

Showers, food, parking & toilets

The next factor is facilities. With little kids you may want a real toilet with running water, and even a snack bar or restaurant in walking distance. Or if you’re like me, you just want clean water for rinsing off! Oh and a short walk from the car.

I’ll break down which beaches are best for kids in Virginia Beach based on showers, food, and even decent parking. 

Beaches on the Bay with calm water

First Landing State Park 

First Landing has all the features! Restaurant on site, small camp store, real toilets and running water for rinsing off. Parking is plentiful and only $10/day on the weekends. 

  • Toilets
  • Restaurant
  • Fresh water for rinsing
  • Easy parking
  • Lifeguards

Bay front area on Ocean Shore Drive off Shore Drive

Between the Lynnhaven Inlet and First Landing State Park is another strip of Chesapeake Bay beaches. Its residential parking, so get there early! 

E Beach on JEB Little Creek

If you’re military, this is a good option located on the back end of JEB Little Creek

  • Port a potties
  • No fresh water
  • Shelters with tables & grills
  • Easy parking
  • Free

Chic’s Beach

Bay front beaches spanning from JEB Little Creek to roughly Bayville Rd in an all residential area.

  • No toilets
  • No fresh water
  • No restaurants/food 
  • Street parking only, in residential areas. Boo.

Ocean Beaches With More Waves

North End Beaches

The area between JEB Fort Story & the Cavalier Hotel at 42nd St. It’s all residential street parking, usually requiring crossing a the busy Atlantic Avenue.

  • Tight parking in resitdentail streets, free
  • Cross busy street on Atlantic Ave
  • No Toilet
  • No showers
  • No restaurants
North end virginia beach family photo sessions at 81st by alison bell, photographer
Alison Bell, Photographer

Oceanfront Resort Area

Parking is difficult, and more expensive. There are lots, parking garages and meters 1-2 blocks from the board walk everywhere from 2nd street 41st. In the busy season they fill fast. Some lots go as far back as 4 blocks from the beach! Who wants to walk that with littles in tow?

Restaurants are everywhere, fresh showers for rinsing every single block, lifeguards, periodic playgrounds oin the sand and toilets!

And all the people and hotels to go with it! So crowded you won’t be sitting down while your kids play because you wont even be able to see them.

  • Tricky parking
  • Restaurants everywhere
  • Freshwater showers every block
  • Playgrounds in the sand
  • Pier at 30 something street
  • Real toilets
  • Lifeguards

Croatan Beach

Across the Rudee Inlet, over the bridge near the Virginia Aquarium is Croatan Beach tucked in a high end neighborhood. There’s a city owned parking lot with toilets & showers.

  • Easy parking
  • Real toilets
  • Showers
  • Good for surfing

Sandbridge Beach at Little Island Park

Sandbridge is a stretch of beach that goes for miles and miles. It’s largely residential and mostly vacation rentals. You can park along the streets and skip all the facilities or there are multiple city owned parking lots with easy parking. Little Island Park has everything:

  • Easy paid parking
  • Life guards
  • Showers
  • Toilets
  • Fishing Pier
  • Shelters with table & grill
  • Playground
  • Tennis Courts
  • Crowds, but not nearly as crowded as the Oceanfront
Alison Bell, Photographer

Military Beaches on the Ocean

Dam Neck Beach

Located on Dam Neck, its located between Croatan Beach & Sandbridge.

In the busy season there are toilets and a snack bar

  • Easy Parking
  • Toilets
  • Snack bar
  • Shelters with tables & grills

Ft. Story Beach

The beach is rough, the rocks are sharp. But its great for a history lesson or just to see the lighthouse!

Fort Story occupies all of Cape Henry which is where the Jamestown settlers first landed in North America. They stayed at Cape Henry about 10 days before traveling up the Chesapeake. One portion of the beach is along the Atlantic Ocean, the other portion is the exact opening to the bay with periodic rock formation to protect against erosion. (The parking is at the Cape Henry Cross)There are waves, but the rocks make it unwise to surf. Boogie boarding and skim boarding are doable.

There are other beach accesses on the ocean along Cape Henry Blvd.

Fort Story beach has the most wildlife we’ve ever see at the beach and its consistent! Dolphins by the dozens, horseshoe crabs, large sand crabs, and skate egg sacks. We even came with in touching distance of a 3 foot stingray in the waves!

  • Easy free parking
  • No Toilets
  • No showers
  • No snack bar/restaurant
  • Lots of wild life!
  • Cape Henry Lighthouse
best beaches for little kids in virginia beach
Ft. Story Beach, VA Beach
HEY! I'm Alison, Your Fun And Hilarious Family & Newborn Photographer!

I'm a South Carolina native, USMC spouse, and recovering homeschool mama of a four boy circus. Bring me your crazy!

After 11 years of photographing families all over the world, I've realized my clients aren't printing their images. We go through all this work to get dressed, coordinated and then let those photos die on the hard drive.

No more!

There's nothing easy about family photos but I'm here to help you with every step from what to wear to printed in your hands whether thats an album or wall art. I want you to Make your people the rock star of your house!

You'll be reminded of what really matters every day when you see the giant prints of your crew laughing on your walls every. single. day.

Currently stationed in Virginia Beach, Virginia photographing families all over the Hampton Roads area from Suffolk, Norfolk, Chesapeake and the Eastern Shore all the way to Portsmouth and Elizabeth City!

Follow along on the Gram at @alisonbellphotog or reach out today!

I find joy in chaos. The louder, the better! I'm a USMC spouse, South Carolina native, recovering homeschool mama of a 4 boy circus. They've taught me the most important facet of family photography: KEEP IT FUN!

about Alison

contact Alison