First Landing State Park

The name First Landing commemorates the 1607 landing of the Virginia Company on Cape Henry. The group of settlers that made landfall here eventually moved west and formed Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America. The park name was changed from Seashore State Park to reflect the historical significance of Cape Henry. The cape was originally named by the settlers to commemorate the Prince of Wales, Henry Frederick, who was the eldest son of King James.

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.

First Landing State Park is located on Cape Henry in North Virginia Beach. This 2,888 acre park offers a wide range of activities for visitors. You can go swimming, hiking, biking, boating, fishing, or enjoy a picnic when you visit First Landing. Regardless of how long you can stay, for a few hours or for a full day, you can have a nice time visiting the park. You can also stay in the park overnight, at a campsite or in one of in one of the park's cabins. By planning an overnight stay you can escape the busier pace of the more heavily developed areas of Virginia Beach yet still remain in close proximity to all that the local area has to offer.

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.

Another First Landing State Park distinction is a botanical one - the park is the northernmost east coast location where subtropical and temperate plants can be found growing together.

Hours Dawn - dusk. Beach, dawn - 10 p.m.

Entering First Landing State Park Admission to the park is $4 per vehicle on weekdays and $5 on weekends. The grounds and trails are open daily, from 8am until dusk, to day visitors.

Main entrance - located off of Route 60 / Shore the main entrance road and entry station in First Landing State ParkDrive (driving directions). From here you can access parking, the bay beach, restrooms, the information center, the Environmental Education Center, and the campgrounds.

The information center is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM.

On the other side of Route 60, opposite the main entrance to First Landing State Park, is a secondary entrance to the park. You can access trailheads, the park's cabins, parking, restrooms, and the Trail Center from this entrance.

64th Street entrance - on the south side of the park, located off of Route 60 / Atlantic Avenue. This entrance provides access to the Narrows boat launch and beach, the bike trail, and hiking trails. There is a fee of $4 fee for use of the boat launch (free for overnight park visitors).

There are 19 miles of trails in the park. With the exception of the Chesapeake Bay beach, the trail system traverses most all of the habitats found in First Landing State Park - cypress swamp, salt marsh, maritime forest, freshwater wetlands, dunes, and bay shoreline. A single First Landing trail allows bicycles - the Cape Henry Trail. Fortunately it runs right through the park and is 5.9 miles long. You can rent bicycles at the park store or from businesses in Virginia Beach.

There is a picnic area near the main entrance to the park. It is located off of the road that leads to the cabins and Trail Center. First Landing State Park's picnic area has drinking water, fire grills, trash cans, picnic tables, a group camping pavilion, and a restroom facility.

Details & Events

Local street map. Click "+" or "-" to zoom in and out. Click on map to drag and position the view.

  • First Landing State Park
  • 2500 Shore Dr
  • Virginia Beach, VA 23451
  • 757-412-2300
  • Directions
  • Web site

Copyright 1998-2018 - Guide to Virginia Beach Events and Places

Other Guides: The Chicago Guide The Miami Beach Guide The New York Guide The Orlando Guide The Phoenix Guide San Diego Guide The San Francisco Guide The Washington Guide