Just camping at First Landing State Park campground is enough to have a fun, memorable visit. And the bonus is that there are plenty of other activities at the park, as well as nearby to keep everyone happy. But in the event the weather isn’t cooperating or want to take in more of the area, you can explore plenty of other family-friendly local attractions.
At First Landing
There are almost two miles of beachfront at the campground, which are typically not as crowded as the Virginia Beach oceanfront. Another bonus is that the surf from the Bay tends to be calmer than at the oceanfront. There are no lifeguards at this beach.
You can access the beach using one of the 4 boardwalks. It is a bit of a walk to get to the beach which shouldn’t be a problem for little ones on their way there; but that is usually a different story on the way back to campsites.
Quick list of things to do at the beach
- Get partially buried in the sand
- Collect seashells
- Build sand castles
- Have a picnic
- Fly a kite
- Write messages in the sand
- Play frisbee
- Play Tic Tac Toe or hopscotch in the sand
- Identify shorebirds
- Watch for dolphins
It’s not uncommon to see pods of dolphins feeding near the pilings in the water before dusk. The pilings are also a favorite resting spot for pelicans and cormorants. Kids always also seem to enjoy watching the small sand crabs scurry across the sand near the dunes.
In the cooler months when there are fewer visitors and it is too cold for swimming, the beach is a great place for kiting, taking a leisurely stroll, or watching the sun set.
At the end of the beach on the right there is military fencing that prevents access to Fort Story’s property. This spot has a nice sand depression that holds water after high tide, which is ideal if you are looking for shallow water pool for younger kids to play in. Wingfield boardwalk provides quickest access to this part of the beach.
There is sandy area in the common area above the campsites at the top of Collier loop and below the campsites at the top of Wingfield loop. While it is not officially listed as an amenity, it is a popular spot for children that are camping in one of the 10 adjoining campsites to play (who wouldn’t love a giant sand pit?). It is partially shielded from wind, which makes it a nice place to play even in cooler weather. (see all the little footprints in the photo?)
A themed playground sits just to the right of the campground entrance. It is a bit of a distance from most of the campsites as well as bathhouses, so bringing water and stopping off at a restroom on the way there is a good idea.
There are 5 Pokemon Gyms and 5 Pokemon Stops within the campground. They are scattered throughout the campground; some are next to the camp store, a few at a boardwalk and another near the playground. That ought to be enough to keep a Pokemon fan satisfied. You can view their locations on our custom map.
High Dunes Trail
High Dunes trail is a nice trail for active kids. It is one of the shorter trails at the park, and has a higher elevation for hiking. It is also closer to parking, restrooms, and the trail center. If you are visiting the trails on bike, you can take Live Oak trail from the campground and then continue on Cape Henry trail (which allows bikes) in the park.
First Landing State Park normally offers an assortment of educational and environment programs throughout the year, many of which are tailored specifically for children. Their events calendar can be found on the state park’s website.
Trail Center Exhibits
The Trail Center exhibits (on the park trails side, across from the campground) are a really nice pit stop before heading out to the trails. The exhibits are visually interesting (even for younger children) and hold a wealth of information about the park, early american history, and the surrounding environment.
At The Oceanfront
Grommet Island Park
Grommet Island Park located directly on the Virginia Beach oceanfront. This large, 15,000 square foot playground also has shaded wind sail areas which provide some sun protection. There are the usual playground items plus sand tables and sand scoops, sensory boards, and sculptures. There are a lot of benches for seating while also allowing parents to keep on eye on their children. It is 100% accessible and they offer beach wheelchair use for free with a photo ID (first come first served). It’s well suited for ages two to eight years.
Jungle Putt Putt Golf
This cute, jungle animal-themed golf attraction is located is located on 23rd Street, just one block from the oceanfront. They offer free on-site parking (which is a plus if you know how difficult parking can be in the summer). Their golf course is 18 holes, and are well suited for younger kids. They also have an arcade and snack bar. You can offset the $12 per person fee by going on Groupon for discounts.
This is at the top of the activity list for the entire family. Although it’s primarily a go-kart track, it also features mini-golf, a sky coaster, paintball, bumper boats, and a kiddie park with 10 different rides for the little ones (ages 3 and up).
They have 11 different go-kart tracks for every skill level to race at 15-22 mph, including an adult track and as well as a kiddie track for ages 3 and up. They have over 250 go-karts with 16 different designs and styles to choose from.
There is no fee to enter the park. You only pay for the activities you participate in, which for go-karts is by the hour.
There are plenty of coupons and discounts all over the internet to help keep the fun a little more affordable.
Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
The aquarium houses over 800,000 gallons of aquarium exhibits representing 300 species, as well as some local wildlife. One of the most popular exhibits is the Norfolk Canyon Aquarium, which is home to sharks and stingrays. You can see harbor seals at play in their enclosure located near the front entrance. Plan on your visiting taking 2-3 hours. For an additional cost, the aquarium also offers dolphin and whale boat trips, as well as a zip line adventure park.
Ocean Breeze Waterpark