First Landing State Park is a hidden oasis in bustling Virginia Beach. This 2,888-acre park located on Cape Henry is one of the best places to go on a family hike. Here are great tips for visiting First Landing State Park.
What is First Landing State Park?
Need some fresh air? First Landing State Park‘s got you covered! With sand dunes, lots of trees, and spectacular wildlife, it’s one of the best places to go on a family hike in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Going for a hike is a great way to teach your children an appreciation for nature while enjoying each other’s company, nature, and exercising at the same time.
First Landing State Park is a hop, skip and a jump from the Atlantic Ocean, several different bodies of water like Long Creek, Crystal Lake, and Broad Bay. Besides being a prime example of environmental stewardship in Virginia, it’s a National Natural Landmark and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Accessibility is easy, as there are two entrances, one-off Route 60 / Shore Drive (with restrooms, the information center, the Environmental Education Center, and the campgrounds), and the second off 64th Street, which provides access to the Narrows boat launch and beach, the bike trail, and hiking trails. First Landing State Park’s trails are friendly and fun for all ages, levels, bikers & dogs (on a leash).
Plan Ahead at First Landing State Park
Here are a few things to remember while you’re packing up the essential tools, especially if you’re hiking with kids.
It’s important to be aware of the weather conditions when you’re hiking and what you’ll need. Usually, this means dousing everyone in sunscreen and spraying legs and arms with a bug/tick protection. Brushing up on what poison ivy appears as (three leaves) is a must, and definitely keep an eye out for snakes, snapping turtles, and other small reptiles you may meet as you weave along the trails.
“Search & Find” on the Trail
Take your adventure up a notch by stocking up on binoculars, magnifying glasses, and a pack of Search & Find Adventure Cards by local Virginia Beach artist Tessa Duquette. The First Landing Search & Find Adventure card encourages everyone to slow down as they walk along the trail.
The best part of hiking might be collecting small acorns, leaves, and cool stones. However, our one rule is “if it’s living, it stays in the woods”. It’s fun to keep track of your location on the map with the mile markers you pass. You’ll also pass different bodies of water on the Cape Henry Trail. So be sure to challenge your hiking buddies to throw rocks or have a pinecone competition.
Take a photo while you’re hiking along First Landing State Park’s magical trails and tag #searchandfindadventures to share the fun! Or you can send them securely to friends and family on the FamilyApp.
First Landing State Park is a great bird park for birdwatching and is a National Wildlife Refuge. Be sure to keep your binoculars handy as you watch for the different types of birds flying or perched above in the treetops. If you are very quiet, you can hear their distinctive “chirps” and calls.
First Landing State Park Trip – Don’t Forget the Snacks
Having a bunch of “Trail Magic” (nuts, chocolate pieces & dried berries) always helps to motivate small legs just a little bit further. Sandwiches, apples, or carrots to munch on at your halfway point also do the trick! Packing a water bottle for each member of your group is essential too – hydrating is important, especially in the heat of the summer months!
The “Sagging Wagon” In First Landing State Park
As you might already know, hiking with kids has it’s high’s and low’s. So be prepared to stop as many times as they need to. It’s Progressive. Don’t expect them to hike for over an hour! If you go in intervals and take your time, you’ll have a higher success rate. And eating a snack between intervals is always a wise decision.
We always plan for the “Sagging Wagon”, which basically means – prepare yourself for having to carry a kid at some point. For babies and smaller toddlers, a light hiking backpack will do the trick. Jogging strollers with bigger wheels will get you through the dirt and sand terrain of First Landing State Park’s trails.
With all of your preparations and planning, you’re sure to have an incredible family adventure. So HAVE FUN! Enjoy nature with your family!