15 Free Things to Do in Sandbridge Beach, VA

things to do in Sandbridge

They say “the best things in life are free,” and that’s certainly true here in Sandbridge Beach. Whether you’re splashing in the surf, exploring grass-covered dunes, fishing right from the shore, or relaxing at a free outdoor concert, you and your family will find endless opportunities for no-cost fun in the sun.

#1 See the Sunrise and Sunset.

Few sights are more awe-inspiring than sunrise over the sea… unless it’s sunset over the sound. At Sandbridge, you can witness both of these breathtaking natural spectacles. Hit the beach early to watch the sun climbing slowly above the horizon. While gulls wheel overhead and waves lap the shore, sip your coffee and savor the cool morning breeze and the tangy scent of the spray. Later that day, come back for the full-color sunset spectacular. You can view it directly from the Back Bay shore or see its rosy reflection lighting up the entire ocean. Either way, it’s unforgettable.

#2 Do a Beachfront Workout.

Everything’s better at the beach, including your daily exercise. Stake out your spot in the a.m. before temperatures start to soar. Bring your barbells, towel, and water bottle… and go through your usual routine while you listen to pounding surf and soak up all that Vitamin D.

Prefer Yoga or Pilates?

Think of Sandbridge Beach as your outdoor yoga studio. Stretch out your mat and start striking poses in this perfectly peaceful setting. You’ll love the soft murmur of the waves, the cool caress of the breeze, and the feeling of oneness with nature. Namaste!

Go Shelling.

You won’t find many shells up at Virginia Beach, because crews comb the beaches daily to clear out seashells and other “nuisances.” But here at Sandbridge Beach, it’s a whole ‘nuther story. We treasure our beautiful shells! What’s more, our shoreline is known as one of the East Coast’s best shelling beaches… which is why you’ll see beachcombers out every day, scouring the sand in search of the finest specimens. Come join them and get in on the fun. See how many large, perfect shells – or tiny delicate ones – you and your family can find. It’s win-win for everyone! Kids love holding conch shells up to their ears to “hear the sound of the sea.” And grownups love nabbing gorgeous shells and rare shark’s teeth for use in crafting and decor.

Go Fish.

You’ll need the proper Virginia fishing license – either freshwater, saltwater, or both – but that’s no problem: Licenses are available at modest fees online and at most bait-and-tackle shops. With license in hand, you can fish for free practically anywhere at Sandbridge. Cast your line from the shore for saltwater favorites like drum, bluefish, croaker, and flounder. Or try trolling Back Bay for largemouth bass, crappie, and channel catfish. 

Enjoy Your “Catch of the Day.”

Once you’ve landed your prize game fish, simply clean it, fillet it (if desired), and pop it right in the pan. Nothing beats freshly caught trout or flounder, sizzling in butter and seasoned with savory spices. Add a crisp garden salad plus your favorite cold beverage, and you’re all set for a seaside feast you’ll remember for years to come.

Go Crabbing.

Blue crabs abound in the shallow waters around Sandbridge Beach, VA. For best results, head out at night with a flashlight or lantern, a length of twine, a bucket, and some meaty bait (such as a chicken neck). Tie the meat to the twine and cast it into the water. Twitch the dangling line now and then to attract the attention of nearby crabs. In minutes, you may see a crab (or two) latching onto the meat. Simply draw up the clinging crab and deposit it in your bucket. Daytime crabbing works well, too, and little ones absolutely love it. No license is needed but restrictions apply: Blue crabs must be a certain size; you cannot catch more than one bushel a day; and you must keep your crabs alive until you cook them. For a simple yet truly scrumptious treat, boil them and serve with drawn butter. Yum!

Build a Traditional Sand Castle.

Or try your hand at more inventive sand sculptures, from turtles to birds to palm trees. You can even create a life-size sand mermaid: Have someone lie down, cover her up with sand, then add sandy fins and flowing hair. Instant Ariel! Your kids will be in stitches, and so will you. Be sure to have your camera on hand.

Get Artsy.

Sandbridge Beach is the perfect place to rediscover your artistic side. Write a poem about the beauty around you or the feelings that wash over you when you hear the waves lapping the shore. Scribble down a short story featuring characters you see walking by on the beach or in town. Take a photo per day (or twenty!) to capture the details of your trip. (They’ll look great in a scrapbook or album.) Keep a small journal to remember interesting tidbits. Plus, gather driftwood and sand dollars to use in your crafting projects.

Get in the Game.

At Little Island District Park, you’ll find a pristine public beach and spacious picnic area… plus state-of-the-art facilities for all kinds of outdoor games. Shoot hoops, try your hand at tennis, play pickleball (the latest sensation), or enjoy a vigorous game of beach volleyball. Then, when you’ve worked up an appetite, break for lunch at the sheltered picnic area. Charcoal grills are available free, so you can cook up your own tasty barbecue. Plus, you’ll have access to clean public restrooms. If you wish, you can even rent kayaks, paddleboards, and fishing poles (for fishing off of nearby Little Island Pier).

Take a Stroll.

When is the last time you took a walk with no particular destination in mind? At Sandbridge Beach, you can wander for hours, exploring soft, sandy beaches and friendly shops and communities. Who knows? You might meet some new friends, sight some legendary local wildlife, or find the perfect spot for a picnic.

Play in the Sand.

Scrawl a friendly note in the sand for the next passerby to read. Make “sand angels” (just like the snowy kind) – a favorite pastime for kids. Walk along the shoreline and count how many footprints you can identify (for example, human, crab, dog, seagull, etc.).

Finish Reading That Book.

Don’t forget to bring your favorite book or e-reader on your trip to Sandbridge Beach. You’ll be turning pages in no time as you soak up the sun and relax to the lullaby of the waves. If you need something new to read, visit our local Princess Anne Area Library.

Write a message in a bottle.

Leave a small note (with your contact information) in a glass bottle and send it on an adventure-filled journey to sea. You never know where it might end up or who you might meet as a result.

And last — but certainly not least…

Swim and surf.

You wouldn’t visit the ocean if you didn’t plan to actually get in it. Sandbridge Beach offers plenty of beautiful coastline, so find your favorite place to make a splash. Feel free to bring your dog, surfboard, or paddleboard board, too. Then dive in. The water is great!

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