Which Virginia Beaches Are Most Popular As Summer Approaches?

Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

As soon as the smoke clears, we should be back to beach weather in Virginia.

And BetVirginia.com, where you’ll find the best information on Virginia sportsbooks, has compiled a Top 10 list of the most popular beach areas in the state.

Most Recent Search Interest About Virginia Beaches

Weighted Rank Beach Search Interest (vs. other topics)
1 Virginia Beach 78
2 Hampton 76
3 Norfolk 64
4 Chincoteague 51
5 Williamsburg 46
6 Cape Charles 33
7 Colonial Beach 32
T-8 Lake Anna State Park 13
T-8 Westmoreland State Park 13
10 Bethel Beach Natural Area Preserve 11

Which Beach In Virginia Draws Most Interest?

We used U.S. News & World Report’s best Virginia beaches list as a starting point to see which beaches to use in our research. We then used Google Trends to gather the search interest of each beach listed in their report over a 90-day period (March 2 to June 6, 2023) to finalize the Top 10 beach areas that people are looking to visit in Virginia.

At No. 1 is Virginia Beach, which is east of Norfolk in the southeastern part of the state. It has a 3-mile boardwalk where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean and it also has history. This is where the Jamestown colonists from England settled in 1607. If the weather turns, the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center and the Military Aviation Museum are nearby. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s also Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment.

At No. 2 is Hampton, which has four public beaches – Outlook Beach (southeast of the city), Buckroe Beach and Park (northeast of the city), Salt Ponds (further northeast of the city – and not a pond), and Grandview Nature Preserve and Factory Point (which is as far northeast of the city as you can get and not be in the water).

Coming in at No. 3 is Norfolk Beach. There are a number of beach areas along the northern coast of Norfolk, including (west to east) Willoughby Beach, Sarah Constant Beach Park, Ocean View Beach Park, Community Beach Park, Grove Beach, Ocean View Beach (not to be confused with Ocean View Beach Park) and East Beach. On the inland side of the city off the Elizabeth River, there’s also Whitehurst Beach Park and the Port Norfolk Beach Reflection Walk, which is more of a fishing spot than a place to get sun and build sandcastles.

Chincoteague rates the fourth spot. This island in northeast Virginia, bordering Maryland, is surrounded by water. Chincoteague Beach and Bow beach are on the inland side and Assateague Beach is on the ocean side. When you’re not in the water, you can hang out with the wild ponies who have their run of the place or look for Yogi Bear at Jellystone Park.

Williamsburg may be known as a place to walk back into history, but you can also walk into the James River at James Beach or College Creek Beach, or into the York River at Yorktown Beach. Yorktown Beach is near the Naval Weapons Station, if you happen to see an enemy sub approaching shore.

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Second Five On List Also Popular

Cross the Chesapeake Bay from Newport News, or drive north from Virginia Beach on Route 13, and you’ll reach No. 6, Cape Charles, home to Cape Charles Beach, Cherrystone Beach and Palm Beach by the Bay.

Colonial Beach (No. 7) is a town on the state’s northern peninsula with Colonial Beach and its boardwalk bordering the Potomac. 

Tied for eighth place are Lake Anna State Park and Westmoreland State Park. Lake Anna has a swimming area but it’s not near the ocean or the bay, southwest of Fredericksburg. Westmoreland State Park is in the northeast portion of the state, not that far from Alexandria, on the Potomac River. The Sands, Beach Park and Fossil Beach are there, but swim a bit offshore and you’ll be in Maryland waters.

At No. 10, rounding out our list, is Bethel Beach Natural Area Preserve, which is home to Bethel Beach, also on the Chesapeake, east of Richmond. It’s a quieter spot with a nature preserve, so perhaps not the best beach for noisy little kids – which is probably why it came in at No. 10.

Author

Howard Gensler is contributing writer to BetVirginia.com. Gensler a veteran journalist who’s worked at the Philadelphia Daily News, TV Guide and the Philadelphia Inquirer and is a founding editor of bettorsinsider.com.

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