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        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
        Alison is the chaos-commanding family photographer in Virginia Beach, VA thriving in the loud & messy offering in home lifestyle, outdoor, and extended family sessions.

        Owner & Photographer of Alison Bell, Photographer, she is also the circus ring leader of four boys, half-homeschooling USMC family.

        Alison offers full-contact family photo sessions with wardrobe styling, sessions that feel like a party and custom print shopping. Even Dad has a good time!

        She's on a mission to get your images in your hand, rather than gathering digital dust! Get an album and print dozens of shots in one place!

        If you can't remember last time your family did photos, its time to chat asap!

        Clients rave about how easy and enjoyable their session is and how their kids wanting to do it again!

        Alison Bell, Photographer serves VA Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cape Charles, and Hampton in Hampton Roads area of Virginia.

        Find her on Insta @alisonbellphotog!

        Hi! I’m Alison!

        I find joy in chaos. The louder, the better!

        I’m a chaos-commanding family photographer thriving in the loud & messy.

        I love freezing time, photographing families in their own element at home, or on the beach!

        I’m  the ring leader of four boy circus, half-homeschooling USMC family, currently in Virginia Beach, VA!

        Follow the antics on IG @alisonbellphotog!