Rainbow Sheen in Cypress Swamp in First Landing State Park Virginia Beach

2500 Shore Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23451-1415

Where is First Landing State Park

Located on Cape Henry in North Virginia Beach, First Landing State Park has three entrances.  The main entrance is located off of Route 60/Shore Drive.  Here you can access parking, the bay beach, restrooms, the information and Environmental Education Center, and the campgrounds. On Route 60, opposite the main entrance, is a secondary entrance. You can access trailheads, the park's cabins, parking, restrooms, and the Trail Center here.  On the south side of the park, located off of Route 60/Atlantic Avenue, is the 64th Street Entrance. This entrance provides access to the Narrows boat launch and beach, the bike trail, and hiking trails.

How Big is First Landing State Park

Enjoy this 4.5 square mile and 2,888-acre park that fronts the Chesapeake Bay.  With over a million visitors per year, First Landing State Park features 1.25 miles of beach and more than 19 miles of hiking/biking trails through protected salt marsh habitat, freshwater ponds, beach, dunes, forest, tidal marsh and cypress swamp.  This amount of space offers something for every visitor.  A single First Landing trail allows for bicycles - the Cape Henry Trail. It runs right through the park and is 5.9 miles long.

First Landing State Park Weather

It’s not too hot or too cold! Mild weather abounds at this East coast location. Temperatures remain rather steady from day to night at First Landing US State Park.  You might want to bring an umbrella or raincoat in case of surprise showers. In the summer, the temperatures remain in the 70s and 80s while in the winter, it never drops below freezing.  The park is unique in every season because it is located at the northernmost spot on the east coast that can host both temperate and subtropical plants. Because of this, a wide variety of plants can coexist here. Year-round, visitors will have a rare opportunity to learn about many new species of plants that don't exist in their home states.

Wooden Pathway Along Dunes First Landing State Park Virginia

When did First Landing become a State Park

Originally built in the 1930’s, this park was first known as Seashore State Park. It is name was changed to First Landing State Park in 1997 to commemorate the 1607 landing of the Virginia Company on Cape Henry. On April 26, 1607, some 100 English settlers landed here and established the first elective government in English America before pushing up the James River to establish Jamestown.

Things to Do at First Landing State Park

First Landing State Park is one of the oldest and most popular state parks in Virginia. Our State Park Visitors Guide created a list of opportunities for every visitor to enjoy.

Chesapeake Bay Beach

There are 1 1/4 miles of beach located along the Chesapeake Bay. First Landing's popular Chesapeake Bay Beach is open every day. There are no lifeguards on duty, so you swim at your own risk. No swimming allowed in the Narrows or at the boat launch area.


There are more than 200 available campsites nestled within the back dunes of the beach that are inside the park. Camping fees range from $24 to $32.  There are also 20 cozy cabins available for nightly rent.  Fees range from $94 to $139 a night.

Fishing /Boating

The First Landing boat launch is located at the end of the 64th street park road. The launching fee is $4, but if you are staying overnight in the park, it is free. Local fishermen agree that the best fishing and crabbing area is at the narrows. Make sure to bring your Virginia saltwater fishing license.

Cape Henry

The park’s longest trail, the Cape Henry Trail, will take you to the nearby Cape Henry Lighthouse where you can climb to the very top. The highly trafficked trail is wide and well-worn.  It passes through forests, cypress swamps, and salt marshes.


With over 19 miles of trails to explore, visitors can experience various habitats as they wander through the park.  From cypress swamps, salt marshes and maritime forests to freshwater wetlands, dunes, and the beautiful bay shoreline, hiking or biking the park is an experience like none other.


Come and have a meal with your friends at the picnic area located off of the road that leads to the cabins and Trail Center. There you will find drinking water, fire grills, trash cans, picnic tables, a group camping pavilion, and a restroom facility.

The Chesapeake Bay Center

Learn about the history of the First Landing and local marine life at The Chesapeake Bay Center.  Children will love the hands-on demonstrations that are designed just for them.  A stop by the center will prove to be a fun, educational field trip for the whole family.

Walks and Talks Program

This program is meant to entertain and educate visitors on wildlife and the history of First Landing State Park. They can be at night or during the day and sometimes include movies at the amphitheater.

Sunset on Chesapeake Bay First Landing State Park Virginia

When to go to First Landing State Park

The grounds and trails of First Landing State Park are open daily from 8am until dusk.  The Chesapeake Bay center is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM. Come and spend the day near the shore with family and friends. During the busier times of the year, the park regularly plans events in which visitors can participate. These include nighttime walks, talks about wildlife and human history in the local area, and Wednesday night movies in the amphitheater.  Admission to the park is $4 per vehicle on weekdays and $5 on weekends.  Regardless of how long you can stay, this Virginia Beach experience will be well worth your hours spent. Extend your visit and stay in the park overnight at a campsite or park cabin.

Must-Haves to Bring to First Landing State Park

No matter the season, there are must-have items that every visitor should bring to best enjoy the East coast outdoors.  List of Parks advises bringing the following items:

Sunscreen, Bug Spray

First Landing can be a “buggy” location.  Make sure don’t forget the bug spray to keep the mosquitoes away.  On trails and water, sunscreen is also advised.  A day without bug bites or sunburns is always a good day.

Your Dog

Bring your best friend to the park!  Pets are always welcome as long as you clean up after them and keep them on leash.  There is an additional $10 charge per night for pets to spend the night at campsites or cabins.


Pack snacks and drinks or even a picnic lunch when visiting First Landing State Park, but make sure not to leave scrap behind.  Coyotes love leftover peanut butter sandwiches. There are no restaurants or snack bars on site.  There is a camp store, in the same building complex as the main office, that sells a variety of camping supplies, firewood, and basic food items. Close by you can find lots of great Virginia Beach restaurants to enjoy.

Recreation Supplies

Whether swimming, boating or hiking, there are supplies that you will need to carry in with you to make your day most fun.  Chairs, beach towels, camera, proper shoes, fishing license, overnight camping gear...the list goes on and on.  Make a list and check it twice before leaving home.

Violet Wood Sorrel Axalist Vilaea First Landing State Park Virginia

Where to stay near First Landing State Park

Visitors are always welcome to stay the night inside of the park.  Campsites and cabins are available on-site from $24 - $139.  Telephone Virginia Parks reservation center (daytime on weekdays) toll-free 1-800-933-7275.  All cabins have AC and heat, a fireplace, a deck, a screened porch, kitchen, linens and an outside grill.  Beyond this, there are a plethora of hotels, Airbnb and VRBO beach destinations to choose from all throughout the Virginia Beach area.

Food nearby First Landing State Park

There are many restaurants and food trucks within a mile from First Landing.  Favorites include Hot Tuna, ShoreBreak Pizza and Taphouse and Margaret’s Hotdogs.  For the best seafood, check out the Maine-sourced lobster rolls, clam chowder & other New England classics at A Bite of Maine food truck. You can also find a few basics at the camp store near the office and camping sites.

Sunset of First Landing State Park Virginia Beach Virginia

Airports near First Landing State Park

The nearest international airport to the park is Norfolk International Airport, which is only 12 miles from the park on US-60 E. The beautiful East Coast shoreline will beautifully come into view as you arrive.  You can also enter through Virginia Beach Airport, which is a short 35-mile drive north to your destination.

First landing state parkState parkState park guide