Visit the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge

Thing To Do Visit the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge

Virginia Beach, known for its sandy shores and vibrant boardwalk, offers much more than just beach fun. If you're a nature enthusiast or just looking for a peaceful escape, consider a visit to the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Located just south of Sandbridge Beach, this pristine sanctuary is a haven for wildlife and a perfect destination for visitors seeking a unique outdoor experience.

A Natural Oasis

Back Bay Wildlife Refuge encompasses over 9,200 acres of diverse habitats, making it a haven for a wide variety of wildlife species. Within the refuge, you’ll find beachfront, freshwater marsh, dunes, shrub-scrub, and upland forest. Whether you're an avid birdwatcher, a hiker, or simply someone who enjoys the serenity of the great outdoors, Back Bay has something to offer for everyone.

Visitor Center

Before setting out to explore the refuge, consider starting your visit at the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. Here, you can find maps, educational displays, and friendly staff who can provide valuable information about the area and its wildlife. Don't forget to check their event schedule for guided hikes and programs that can enhance your visit. Here are some activities you can enjoy while visiting Back Bay:

Wildlife Viewing

One of the main draws of the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge is its incredible bird-watching opportunities. The refuge serves as a vital stopover for migratory birds along the Atlantic Flyway, making it a haven for bird enthusiasts. Throughout the year, you can spot a diverse array of species, including herons, egrets, ospreys, and even the majestic bald eagle.

Hiking Trails

Back Bay offers several well-maintained hiking trails that wind through various ecosystems. The trails range from short, easy walks to longer, more challenging hikes, so you can choose one that suits your comfort level. As you wander the trails, you'll have the chance to encounter deer, foxes, and other native wildlife in their natural habitat.

Kayaking and Canoeing

Another fun way to experience the refuge is by paddling through Back Bay's waters. Kayaking and canoeing are popular activities here, and you can rent watercraft from nearby outfitters if you don't have your own. Glide through the calm waters of Back Bay and take in the scenic beauty that surrounds you.

Visitor Tips:
  • The refuge is open year-round, but operating hours may vary by season. It's a good idea to check the official website or call ahead for the most up-to-date information.
  • Wear comfortable and weather-appropriate clothing, as conditions can change rapidly, especially during the cooler months.
  • Bring binoculars and a camera to capture the incredible wildlife and scenic views.
  • If you plan to hike or paddle, pack water and snacks to keep you energized during your outdoor adventure.

If you’re looking for a peaceful escape into nature during your Sandbridge vacation, the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge is a gem waiting to be explored. Take a break from the beach and immerse yourself in the tranquility and natural beauty of this remarkable coastal refuge.