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Backpacker Magazine – September 2009

Top 3 Family Dayhikes

Pack up your brood for a day in the outdoors with these kid-friendly trails.

by: Alistair Wearmouth


BACK BAY NWR, VA
See river otters, whales, and dolphins.

The coast at 9,200-acre Back Bay is a great place to spot dolphins and humpbacks heading south each fall. Loggerhead sea turtles lay nests here too, though encountering a hatch, typically on evenings in early fall, is rare. Start at the visitor contact station for a four-mile leg leading into adjacent False Cape State Park (extend the trip with primitive beachside campsites at Barbour Hill; 800-933-7275). Return on the 3.5-mile East Dike Trail, cutting through still waters where bald eagles, deer, and river otters gather. This relatively long day is best for hikers 10 and up. fws.gov/backbay

The Carrot
Grab a slice at Pungo Pizza on the way home. In addition to a carb reload, kids will dig the big game room. (757) 721-4900

The Way
From Virginia Beach, take US 60 south to General Booth Blvd. Go 5.8 miles to Princess Anne Rd. Then take Sandbridge Rd. to Sandpiper Rd. to the park entrance.




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READERS COMMENTS

Howard Hudson
Jul 21, 2011

In addition to the superb trails, there is an equine area on the other side of the Silver Falls Highway, and an overnight camping facility, as well. My two kids and I have hiked one area one day, then a different area the next, making for a pleasant weekend in the (nearby) woods.
Some folks swim, but for me the water is a bit brisk (glacial runoff and all).
It is picture-postcard perfect, but weekends, especially in the summer, can be crowded at times. If you want to camp, check if you will need to reserve a spot. Aside from sleeping and cooking, we spent almost no time in camp, so the other folks were not a deterrent for us.

Steve C
Oct 08, 2009

Previous post was regarding Silver Falls, OR

Steve C
Oct 08, 2009

This classic hike may have been my daughters first hike (via snuggly) at just a few weeks old. This is a great hike for families and parents. The beauty is calendar perfect - and chances are you've owned one with a photos of these falls.

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