Virginia Beach, VA: First Landing State Park

Brimming with beach and bay views, this Virginia Beach 9.9-miler tours cypress swamps, coastal forest (shrouded in Spanish moss), and idyllic marshlands.
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Brimming with beach and bay views, this Virginia Beach 9.9-miler tours cypress swamps, coastal forest (shrouded in Spanish moss), and idyllic marshlands.

Touring five of the nine trails in First Landing State Park, this 10-mile loop also hits a wide variety of coastal ecosystems making for a fantastic four-season dayhike. Pick up the Cape Henry Trail, heading east through a flat coastal forest. The hike treks in and out of stretches like this one, and is often shrouded in heavy tunnels of Spanish moss (just try and take a bad photo of this stuff). After 3.5 miles, the trail hits the shore and runs briefly along the boardwalk while passing First Landing State Park Pond and intermittent sandy beaches (all of which afford stunning views of Broad Bay). At the end of Cape Henry, the hike turns onto First Landing (after jogging 0.9-mile east on the road), and continues back into the moss-covered forest as it treks west past a series of trailside beaches, wetland clearings, and marsh lakes en route to the trailhead. -Mapped by Ivan Levin

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 15.9

Waypoints

FLP001

Location: 36.9158554, -76.041008

At the First Landing State Park Trail Center parking lot, start hiking north on the side trail on the left side of the road.

FLP002

Location: 36.9155731, -76.0418549

Turn left @ T-junction onto the Cape Henry Trail, a multi-use trail used by hikers, runners, and cyclists.

FLP003

Location: 36.9098892, -76.0251694

To the left, a small spur trail heads up a hill to a wildlife overlook.

FLP004

Location: 36.9085159, -76.021492

Continue straight @ 3-way junction on the Cape Henry Trail. Here, the King Fisher Trail shoots off to the right, offering an opportunity to shorten this loop.

FLP005

Location: 36.9009666, -76.0064087

Continue straight on the Cape Henry Trail. Here, the White Hill Trail shoots off to the right, offering another opportunity to shorten the loop.

FLP006

Location: 36.8899269, -75.9921188

Cross 64th Street, passing the park contact station (phone booth styled ranger station). Continue along the wooden boardwalk as the trail traverses several sandy stretches.

FLP007

Location: 36.8868942, -76.0000229

The trail passes a scenic viewpoint with a bench right by the pond: this is a great spot for birdwatching.

FLP008

Location: 36.8878555, -76.0051727

Enter a clearing, continuing straight on the boardwalk. This is a great spot to soak in views of the wildlife and the watershed. As you continue to hike, take note of the tide change at spots like this.

FLP009

Location: 36.8868713, -76.0080338

Continue on trail, crossing over a small stream on a bridge. Just ahead, the trail passes a small beach on the right through a Spanish moss-covered forest.

FLP010

Location: 36.8908234, -76.0176773

The end of the Cape Henry Trail is marked by a parking lot, boat ramp, and amazing views of Broad Bay. Head southeast out of the park, walking along 64th Street for 0.9 mile to the Long Creek Trail junction (on the left).

FLP011

Location: 36.8888741, -76.0012512

Turn left off of 64th Street onto the orange-blazed Long Creek Trail.

FLP012

Location: 36.8927841, -76.0097809

Turn left @ Y-junction onto the green-blazed Osprey Trail.

FLP013

Location: 36.8967476, -76.0212708

The trail crosses a series of wooden bridges and passes idyllic beaches and superb views of Broad Bay.

FLP014

Location: 36.9007263, -76.0266953

Climb a series of large steps through a Spanish moss forest. Ahead, the trail steepens as it climbs uphill and then descends back down.

FLP015

Location: 36.906147, -76.028862

Go right @ Y- junction onto the Long Creek Trail. There is a wildlife viewing station here. Continue on the Long Creek Trail.

FLP016

Location: 36.9110451, -76.043045

Bear right @ Y-junction onto the yellow-blazed Fox Run Trail.

FLP017

Location: 36.9141617, -76.044548

Turn right and head down the stairs, then make an immediate left @ T-junction onto the red-blazed Bald Cypress Trail.

FLP018

Location: 36.9153137, -76.0414124

Turn left onto the Cape Henry Trail, and then make a quick right to head back towards the Trail Center parking lot.

Trail Center

Location: 36.9167404, -76.0412521

Information Kiosk

Location: 36.9159279, -76.0399475

Cape Henry Trail

Location: 36.9141312, -76.0392914

Mossy Forest

Location: 36.8971558, -76.0015869

Marsh View

Location: 36.8870354, -76.0050964

Marsh Wetlands

Location: 36.8867912, -76.0070572

Beach Viewpoint

Location: 36.8873097, -76.0097265

Broad Bay View

Location: 36.8892365, -76.0159531

Beach View

Location: 36.8909137, -76.0177088

Long Creek Trail

Location: 36.8889229, -76.0011005

Scenic Beach

Location: 36.8979721, -76.022728

Trail Steps

Location: 36.9007293, -76.0264635

Spanish Moss Tunnel

Location: 36.9016418, -76.0275421

White Hill Lake

Location: 36.9033032, -76.0279655

Stump Cemetary

Location: 36.9146194, -76.0428009