First Landing State Park

Description

This 2,888-acre venue is the most popular state park in Virginia and for good reason. The park features beach, back dunes, upland forest, tidal marsh, and cypress swamp, and contains one of the most endangered habitat types in the world, the maritime forest community. The Park’s habitat serves as the farthest northern limit for many semi-tropical species, and the southern limit for many temperate-zone species. During migrations, especially in late April/May, there can be lovely fallouts of neotropical migrants. In the winter, feeding flocks of chickadees, titmice, and warblers, including the uncommon orange-crowned warbler, as well as, the blue-headed vireo can be seen. Nesting species include many warblers, songbirds, and several species of woodpecker. Marine species add to the diversity of animals that occur here. In fact, humpback whales are sometimes seen from shore in winter, as are harbor porpoises (on calm winter days), and bottlenose dolphins during the warm months.

Interpretive trails, an excellent visitor center, and excellent venues for photography make this a premier wildlife viewing destination. Several miles of trails that include a bike trail and a boardwalk trail through the cypress swamp, provide access to much of the park. The site also hosts the highest natural points in Southeast Virginia with massive dunes that reach up to 75 feet. As the name implies, this park was the landing site of the first permanent English settlers on the American continent.

Parking Fee Information

Note: Weekends are very high visitation days. Expect delays. Once parking capacity is reached guests will be turned away.

Directions

Physical Address: 2500 Shore Dr., Virginia Beach, VA 23451

From I-64, take Northampton Blvd.-U.S. 13 North (Exit 282). Go through eight lights, then turn right at the Shore Drive/US 60 exit (last exit before the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel). Turn right on Shore Drive and go 4.5 miles to the park entrance. To reach the Chesapeake Bay Center, park office, beach, camping or cabins, turn left off US 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.

Location & Directions

View on Google Maps

Site Information

  • Site Contact: 757-412-2300, firstlanding@dcr.virginia.gov
  • Website
  • Access: Fee, Daily, hours: 8 a.m. - dusk

Birds Recently Seen at First Landing State Park (as reported to eBird)

  • Mourning Dove
  • Yellow-billed Cuckoo
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • American Crow
  • Carolina Wren
  • American Goldfinch
  • Blue Grosbeak
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Red-shouldered Hawk
  • Pileated Woodpecker

Seasonal Bird Observations

Facilities

  • Visitor/Nature Center
  • Bike Trails
  • Camping
  • Environmental Study Area
  • Fee
  • Food
  • Accessible
  • Hiking Trails
  • Information
  • Interpretive Nature Program
  • Interpretive Trail
  • Lodging
  • Lookout Tower
  • Parking
  • Phone
  • Picnic
  • Restrooms
  • Observation Platform