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Virginia Beach, VA: Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Sea turtles, white-tailed dear, and snow geese are just a few of the diverse wildlife species you might spot on this 7.6-mile coastal hike.

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Covering 9,000 acres on and around a thin strip of coastline in the southeast corner of Virginia, the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge plays host both to diverse wildlife species and habitats. This 7.7-miler near Virginia Beach ambles through beach, sand dunes, woodlands, farm fields, and marshland. Numerous wildlife species can be spotted here, including water fowl (snow geese and blue herons), endangered/threatened species (loggerhead sea turtles and piping plovers), a diverse mix of reptiles and amphibians (frogs and snakes galore), and more standard mammals (white-tailed deer, foxes, and rabbits).

Starting from the Visitor Contact Station, this hike loops counter-clockwise on fairly level, coastal terrain (and offers a few opportunities to shorten the trip). Along the way, a handful of wildlife viewing areas and platforms offer an opportunity to enjoy the tranquility of the refuge and observe its inhabitants.
-Mapped by Ivan Levin

To Trailhead

From Norfolk, VA, take I-264 E to exit 22 (Birdneck Rd.). Head south on Birdneck Rd. for approximately 3 miles and turn right on General Booth Blvd./VA 149. In 3.9 miles, turn left onto Princess Anne Rd. (becomes Sandbridge Rd.). Three miles after turning off VA 149, turn left to continue on Sandbridge Rd. to enter the refuge. In 3.1 miles, turn right onto Sandpiper Rd. and continue 5.5 miles to trailhead parking at the Visitor Contact Station.

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