Natural beauty abounds in Hampton Roads, and several areas - namely State and National Parks, as well as wildlife refuges - allow you to enjoy nature and the great outdoors -
Assateague Island National Seashore
7206 National Seashore Lane, Berlin, MD 21811
Encompassing land at the Maryland/Virginia border on the Eastern Shore, Assateague Island National Seashore offers sandy beaches, salt marshes, maritime forests and coastal bays.
Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
4005 Sandpiper Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23456
Because of its unique geographic location along the Atlantic Coast that provides overlapping ranges for both northern and southern species, biodiversity is high. Habitats include barrier island beach and dunes, shrub-scrub, woodlands, farm land and fresh and brackish marsh.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore
US-64 and NC-12, Nags Head, NC 27959
A haven for recreation and reflection, the islands of Cape Hatteras National Seashore are constantly changing by tide, storm, current, and wind.
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
8231 Beach Road, Chincoteague, VA 23336
The refuge, comprised mainly of salt marsh and woodlands, contains habitat for a variety of trust species, including upland and wetland-dependent migratory birds.
Chippokes Plantation State Park
695 Chippokes Park Road, Surry, VA 23883
Chippokes Plantation State Park is one of the oldest working farms in the United States. Chippokes is a living historical exhibit located in a rural agricultural area along the James River in Surry County. In addition, the park has a wide variety of traditional park offerings, including a swimming complex, visitor center, picnic facilities, and hiking and biking trails.
Currituck National Wildlife Refuge
3/4 mile after Route 12 ends in Corolla, NC 27927
Refuge is in the northern portion of Currituck Sound on an Outer Banks barrier island. Some tracts transition from the Atlantic Ocean to Currituck Sound which include sandy beaches, grassy dunes, maritime forests, shrub thickets, and fresh and brackish marshes.
Dismal Swamp State Park
2294 US 17 North, South Mills, NC 27976
Feel your daily stresses melt away as you cross the historic Dismal Swamp Canal and walk along the 300-foot boardwalk into this geological wonder. Experience first hand the lush swamp forest and get up-close and personal with the wide variety of wildlife.
Eastern Shore Of Virginia National Wildlife
5003 Hallett Circle, Cape Charles, VA 23310
This area is one of the most important avian migration funnels in North America. Each fall, like colorful clockwork, the refuge is the scene of a spectacular drama as millions of songbirds and monarch butterflies and thousands of raptors converge at the tip of the peninsula on their voyage south.
False Cape State Park
4001 Sandpiper Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23456
Located in southern Virginia Beach, False Cape State Park is a mile-wide barrier spit between Back Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Access is through the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and is limited to hiking, bicycling or boating. The park features primitive camping and an extensive environmental education program in one of the last undisturbed coastal environments on the East Coast.
First Landing State Park
2500 Shore Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
Originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, First Landing State Park is located on the Chesapeake Bay. The park, which is Virginia’s most visited state park, is nestled in Virginia Beach. First Landing offers boating, swimming, nature and history programs, hiking, biking, picnicking, a boat launch, cabins and 19 miles of trails on 2,888 acres.
Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
3100 Desert Road, Suffolk, VA 23434
The Great Dismal Swamp has long been considered a place of natural beauty, mystery, and legend. The swamp is an integral part of the cultural history of the region and remains a place of refuge for both wildlife and people.
Jockey's Ridge State Park
Carolista Drive, Nags Head, NC 27959
At Jockey's Ridge State Park you can experience the world of the desert. Shifting sands, high winds, extreme temperatures and a lack of water make the park resemble barren environments such as the Sahara Desert.
Kiptopeke State Park
3540 Kiptopeke Drive, Cape Charles, VA 23310
Located on the eastern shore of Virginia, this park offers recreational access to the Chesapeake Bay and the chance to explore a unique coastal habitat featuring a major flyway for migratory birds.
Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge
316 Marsh Causeway, Knotts Island, NC 27950
Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1960 to provide habitat for migratory waterfowl, primarily the greater snow goose.
Merchants Millpond State Park
71 US Hwy 158E, Gatesville, NC 27938
Merchants Millpond State Park, where coastal pond and southern swamp forest mingle, is called an "enchanted forest," featuring primitive species of fish relatively unchanged over millions of years, towering bald cypress trees with massive trunks, and luxuriant growths of Spanish moss.
York River State Park
5526 Riverview Road, Williamsburg, VA 23188
Eleven miles west of Williamsburg, York River State Park offers visitors an opportunity to experience the environment of a coastal estuary. This park is known for its rare and delicate environment, where freshwater and saltwater meet to create a habitat rich in marine and plant life.