Ready to get the most from your Sandbridge Beach experience? Do what the locals do!
Long-time Sandbridge residents know about hidden haunts the guidebooks overlook. So, why not follow their example? Bike along beautiful trails far off the beaten path. Explore beaches so private you can’t even get there by car. Cast your line for largemouth bass in the grass beds of peaceful Back Bay. Kayak right to the door of a legendry local eatery. And more!
Here are a few cool ways you can enjoy Sandbridge Beach, VA, just like the locals do.
Hike – Or, Better Yet, Bike – Through Secluded False Cape State Park
A perennial favorite with locals, this unspoiled retreat covers 3,844 acres, including 6 miles of pristine beachfront. It’s one of the last undeveloped spots on the East Coast.
In fact, False Cape is so wonderfully wild it’s only accessible by foot, bicycle, paddle craft, or park-operated tram. Plus, it’s open only during daylight hours – dawn to dusk – typically 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Up for a scenic trek?Park at the parking lot for Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge (4005 Sandpiper Road). Once inside the refuge, take either the East Dike Trail or the West Dike Trail, each 4.5 miles long. During the season – April 1 through October 31 – only one trail is open at a time, but either one will take you to False Cape State Park. You’ll see a sign at the beginning pointing you to the park.
Both trails are wide, graveled, and mostly flat, so they’re ideal for both hiking and cycling. In fact, many local residents prefer the bicycle option, as it gets them to the park quicker.
Didn’t bring bicycles with you? No worries. You can rent bikes for the entire family at Ocean Rentals Ltd. (577 Sandbridge Road) and Moneysworth Beach Equipment Rental and Linen Rental (601 Sandbridge Road).
From November 1 through March 31, both the East and West Dike Trails are closed, but you can still access the park via Sandbridge Beach. Why not rent a beach cruiser bicycle to navigate the sandy terrain? That’s what the natives would do!
Many Sandbridge locals own kayaks and/or canoes, so you may spot them traveling to False Cape via the water. You can do the same. Rent a canoe, if you haven’t brought one along, and launch it from the canoe launch at the Back Bay Refuge parking lot. Paddle south to reach the park.
Ready for a ride on the wild side? Board the Blue Goose Tram at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge for a guided tour through magical marshlands and woodlands, ending at False Cape State Park. From April to October, the tram runs every morning at 9 a.m., returning at 1 p.m. Seating is first-come, first-served, so take a tip from Sandbridge natives and arrive before 8:45.
Once you reach the park, you’ll find miles of trails including:
- Marsh Ridge Trail, an easy 1.4-mile trek offering seasonal views of wildflowers
- False Cape Interior Trail, 6.5 scenic miles through gorgeous maritime woodland
- Maritime and Sundew Trail, a moderate 1.6-mile loop with plenty of pretty views
- Maple Leaf Trail, just 0.8 miles long and ideal for every skill level
- Cemetery Trail, where a weathered church steeple and primitive cemetery mark the original site of the Wash Woods community, reputed descendants of the intrepid survivors of an earlier shipwreck
Through-trails and side trails bring you out to the beach, where you can stroll along the seemingly endless shore, wade through balmy waves, and picnic on soft white sand. During the off-season, you may run into a few Sandbridge locals – they know that’s the best time to explore the shore in blissful peace and privacy.
Fish the Grassy Beds of Back Bay
Love to fish? So do many Sandbridge residents. What’s more, they know all the best fishing spots – including the sheltered grass beds of beautiful Back Bay.
Here, where weeds known as European milfoil thrive and flourish, you can cast your line for largemouth bass, bream, perch, catfish, and more.
Sandbridge natives swear these grassy shallows are seventh heaven for anglers. Come and find out whether they’re right!
Drive – or, Better Yet, Kayak – to Blue Pete’s Restaurant
It’s the locals’ best-kept secret: Blue Pete’s, a waterfront eatery only 10 minutes from Sandbridge Beach in the historic Pungo area.
Located right on Back Bay – with water literally lapping the deck – Blue Pete’s is accessible by car, canoe, paddleboard, and kayak.
Many area residents opt to go the kayak route. Why not do the same? You can even arrange a kayak dinner tour through Ocean Rentals Ltd. It’s an unforgettable experience.
Once you reach Blue Pete’s, you can feast on luscious coastal cuisine featuring fresh seafood favorites like oysters, shrimp, scallops, crab legs, salmon, she-crab soup, and mahi, along with all-American steak and chicken entrees.
You’ll find it’s well worth the drive via Sandbridge Road… or the kayak trip via Back Bay.
At Sandbridge Beach, the Natives Know Best!
See for yourself. Gather the family, pack up the car, and head out to Sandbridge, VA.