While Virginia Beach is a busy resort town, nearby Sandbridge Beach is a peaceful, picturesque refuge with more than 130,000 acres of barely touched natural land. When you vacation at Sandbridge Beach, you’ll be near attractions that are fun for the whole family, but will feel you are a thousand miles away from the noisy vacation crowds. Sandbridge Beach is a secluded, small-town beach community just 15 miles south of the Virginia Beach resort area. Here you’ll find miles of uncrowded beaches, natural marshes, parks, and wildlife refuges. The perfect blend of peace and proximity.
Sandbridge is at the northern end of the same peninsula of the famous Outer Banks barrier island chain. The Atlantic Ocean lies to the east, Shipps Bay to the west, and the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park lie to the south. Surrounded by so much protected majestic beauty, this is truly a nature lover’s paradise.
Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park are favorite spots for hiking, kayaking, and fishing. The 8,000-acre freshwater refuge is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and Back Bay and has all of the necessary ingredients for prolific and diverse flora and fauna: sand dunes, freshwater marshes, brackish ponds, ocean, beaches, and forest. This combination is perfect for spotting migrating birds, including a vast array of ducks and exotic waterfowl. Birders will enjoy an ever-rotating population of fowl year-round. Frequently spotted are terns, ibises, egrets, warblers, ospreys, tanagers, thrushes, black ducks, tundra swans, and sea ducks, including scoters, scaups, cormorants, Northern gannets, and even harlequin ducks.
The refuge is easily enjoyed by hiking or biking marsh trails or by walking or biking the beach. If you’re visiting in winter, be sure to join the Winter Waterfowl Walk for a 1-mile hike along the Bay Trail on Saturday mornings. If you’re visiting during spring, summer, or fall you won’t want to miss taking a ride on the Back Bay Restoration Foundation tram. During the 1-hour ride you’ll travel through the refuge to False Cape, and along the way you’re likely to see birds, rabbits, deer, turtles, foxes, and even feral pigs and horses.
Another great way to experience the beauty of Sandbridge Beach is to get out on the water. You can rent a kayak or take a group kayaking tour in order to get up close and personal with sea life. Kayakers are likely to see pods of dolphins, loggerhead turtles, and diving pelicans and ospreys. Dolphin watchers will have the best luck in the mornings, but a sunset kayak ride has its own special appeal.
If you’ve soaked in your share of peace and quiet and are ready for some action, or if you find yourself in need of a rainy-day activity, Virginia Beach and its many attractions are just a few minutes away from Sandbridge. In winter, you can take an exciting whale-watching tour, or adults may enjoy a shore day shopping and exploring local cuisine. There’s nothing wrong with learning a little something on vacation, so you might want to check into a historic home tour or visit one of the many museums, including the Museum of Military Aviation, the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, the Old Coast Guard Station, or the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum. Kids especially enjoy renting bikes and riding along the boardwalk, and visiting the Virginia Aquarium, the Rock Gym, and Laser Quest.
Love to shop? Virginia Beach boasts one of the largest shopping complexes on the East Coast — Lynnhaven Mall, with 180 stores, a movie theater, and an IMAX theater. If that’s not enough to keep you busy, take a 40-block walk from 2nd Street to 40th Street for mile after mile of souvenir shops, surf shops, art galleries, and outdoor cafés.
Golfers hit some gorgeous and challenging links in the Sandbridge area. There are 198 holes of scenic golf nearby, including the famous hole #3 on the Palmer Course at Bay Creek. This hole on Allegood Pond is situated on an ancient tidal basin and is widely praised as the most beautiful golf hole on the East Coast. You just might want to linger and let other golfers play through.
A vacation at Sandbridge Beach has something for everyone. Nature lovers will enjoy the wildlife, peace, and natural beauty of a rare and diverse geography, and the whole family will enjoy the close proximity to Virginia Beach and all of its exciting activities and entertainment. Sandbridge Beach is a nature lover’s paradise, a tranquil getaway in a quiet coastal seaside community, and yet it neighbors a bustling and enticing resort city. It truly is the best of both worlds.