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Summer Outdoor Adventure Guide to Sandbridge Beach, Virginia

Summer Outdoor Adventure Guide to Sandbridge Beach, Virginia

What's your idea of fun in the sun?

  • Riding the crest of an amazing wave?
  • Casting your line for largemouth bass?
  • Bicycling through "birdwatcher heaven"?
  • Or simply basking on the beach?

No matter which pastime you prefer, you can enjoy it at Sandbridge Beach, especially in summer when the beach is at its best. Here's your guide to outdoor adventure in this pristine coastal paradise.

Blue Skies and Balmy Breezes: The Summer Weather Outlook

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Sandbridge Beach's average daily temperature hovers around 80º F. Summer heat reaches its peak in mid-July when average daily temps can climb as high as 90º. At the same time, though, refreshing breezes often blow in off the ocean. And occasional showers take the edge off heat and humidity.

Not every day is sunny, of course, but there's more than enough Southern sunshine for your favorite outdoor activities.

Prime Time for Shorebird Sightings

Each fall, thousands of migratory birds flock to Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, the 9,250-acre nature reserve just southeast of Sandbridge Beach. Throughout winter, these waterfowl feed, rest, and nest in the Refuge's rich habitats. But by spring, they're ready to wing their way north, and only a few stragglers remain. Nonetheless, if you visit the Refuge in June, you may still spot an occasional raft of ducks or even a gaggle of geese.

What's more, you're almost sure to spot some native Virginia shorebirds. Unlike ducks and geese, these Sandbridge locals stick around for the summer!

Hike or bike one of the seven Refuge trails that wind through woods and shrubs, across emergent managed wetlands, over massive grassy dunes, and along 3 miles of beach. And keep your eyes peeled for beautiful birds like these:

  • Great Blue Heron: It's hard to miss these majestic birds. Known for their gray and blue coloring, they're typically about three feet tall, with wingspans reaching a full 6-1/2 feet. You'll find them in both freshwater and saltwater habitats - walking slowly along the shore, foraging in Back Bay, or wading through shallow ponds in search of tasty prey. Don't forget to snap a few pics!
  • Great White Egret: Here's another famous wading bird known for its lofty height. You'll mainly find it foraging in freshwater ponds, pools, marshes, and mudflats, but it can also be seen gracefully wading through Back Way's brackish waters.
  • Plus Ibises, Bitterns, Snowy Egrets, and Other Wading Birds: Look for these elegant creatures near ponds, pools, swamps, and marshes. Use a wildlife app like iNaturalist to identify the various species.

All Kinds of Other Critters

As you stroll along Sandbridge Beach or hike through the Wildlife Refuge, be on the lookout for:

Loggerhead Sea Turtles: Technically considered reptiles, these beloved creatures can grow up to 3 feet long. During May and June, females come ashore to lay their eggs in the sand. Usually, they nest at night, but you may occasionally spot one on the beach during the day. Feel free to take a few pics, but definitely keep your distance - these nesting mamas are endangered and vulnerable!

Toads and Frogs Galore, including the Southern Toad, Green Tree Frog, Southern Leopard Frog, and common American Bullfrog.

Stripe-Back Skinks and other fascinating native lizards.

Red and Grey Foxes along with the occasional black bear. Who knows? You may even catch a glimpse of a herd of feral ponies.

Game and Sport Fish Galore

Many anglers consider Sandbridge a fishing paradise. It's easy to see why, especially in summer, when prized sportfish throng the temperate waters of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and Back Bay on the other.

If you have a Virginia fishing license - easy to obtain online - you'll enjoy surf fishing right from the shore of Sandbridge Beach. Or, you can try pier fishing at Little Island Pier, deep-sea fishing via bass boat or charter boat, and freshwater fishing in and around Back Bay.

What kinds of fish might you reel in? That depends on where you're fishing:

  • Surf Fishing from the Beach: Cast your line for gray trout, speckled trout, red drum, black drum, spot, pompano, sea mullet, Spanish mackerel, and more.
  • Inshore Fishing at Little Island Pier (no license required): Fish for croaker, flounder, striped bass, and other saltwater favorites.
  • Offshore Fishing: Look for wahoo, striper, mackerel, marlin, sea bass, tautog, cobia, mahi-mahi, shark, and yellowfin tuna.
  • Back Bay: Largemouth bass flourishes here amid lush underwater grasses. Plus, you'll find other species that thrive in fresh and brackish waters, including crappie and channel catfish.

Water, Water Everywhere

Looking for thrilling watersports? You've come to the right place. Along with swimming and surfing, you and your family can enjoy:

  • Kayaking, paddleboarding, and stand-up paddleboarding on Back Bay's placid waters
  • Jet skiing and parasailing on the sparkling Atlantic
  • Kiteboarding and hang gliding on the beach
  • Sailing, canoeing, powerboating, and more

Safety First at Sandbridge 

No matter where you travel this summer, you'll want to follow that time-honored motto: Always Be Prepared! At Sandbridge Beach, look out for:

  • Sunburn: Before heading out to the beach, apply plenty of UV-blocking sunscreen (30 SPF or above).
  • Insect Bites: Spray up with insect repellent to ward off flies, mosquitos, and ticks, especially when you're hiking through woods or near ponds, swamps, and marshes.
  • Riptides: Spot a sign warning of rip currents or undertows? Steer clear of that part of the water.

Ready for Outdoor Adventure at Sandbridge Beach, VA?

Pack the car, gather the family, and head to your summer getaway.

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