With the freezing temperatures we are having right now, it may be hard to imagine wanting to spend your time outdoors or think about the beach, but spring weather is just right around the corner…We hope!
Here is a great list of the best parks around Hampton Roads to check out. Each city has many to choose from, but this list shares some we think you should visit first!
Norfolk – Town Point Park
Town Point Park is a gorgeous eight-acre park located along the Elizabeth River right in the heart of downtown Norfolk. This park is beautifully landscaped with fountains, unique art installations and boasts awesome city and waterfront views. You can see the USS Wisconsin right from the park! You can find people running, walking or biking along the tree lined paths, or just relaxing enjoying the surroundings. Another cool feature about this park is that it offers wifi, so if you decide to meet your friends here for a picnic or stroll through while on a quick break from work, you can remain connected. Throughout the year, Town Point Park hosts many fun festivals and outdoor concerts, so be sure to check our their events schedule to see what they have in store!
Chesapeake – Oak Grove Lake Park
This beautiful park is located off of Volvo Parkway and features 65 acres of forest and wetlands. There are picnic tables and benches set up throughout the park, allowing you to take in the scenery and a 1.5 mile trail that circles the perimeter of the lake where you can run, walk, jog or bike. Children can also enjoy the playground area. One of the coolest features of this Chesapeake park is that it allows bank fishing from the several fishing platforms set up around the lake! Also, this park is pet friendly making it a great spot for pet walking.
Virginia Beach – First Landing State Park
First Landing State Park is located on Cape Henry off of Shore Drive in North Virginia Beach and is one of the most popular parks in all of Virginia. This historic 2,888 acre park offers a ton to its visitors with everything from biking, swimming, hiking, fishing to boating. For those who appreciate the beauty of nature, the park has guided tours where you can learn about the unique coastal environment and wildlife. In addition, this state park provides water sport rentals, a boat launch and there are also cabins and outdoor pavilions available for rent. If you prefer the more rustic route, you can rent one of the many campsites, with water and electric hook-ups, showers and restrooms available.
Portsmouth – Paradise Creek Nature Park
This new 40-acre waterfront park allows for visitors to take in the beauty of the Elizabeth River. Located in a urban setting off of Victory Boulevard, this park features two miles of hiking trails, including a fitness and butterfly trail, through the forest and wetlands that are currently being revitalized and restored. Nature lovers be sure to bring you binoculars so you can take in views of a songbirds and waterfowl! Each month the park has new volunteer opportunities available, so be sure to check out their website.
Suffolk – Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
This park is over 111,000 acres and if you love hiking, there are many great trails to explore here! Visitors can also partake in birdwatching, biking, boating, fishing, and hunting. There are over 200 species of birds found within the park, as well as other animals such as bobcats, black bear and river otter. Throughout the year, there are several biologist led nature walks where you can learn about the history and wildlife of the park. Many find this spot a peaceful and quiet retreat, and it has been the subject of several famous authors and poets!
Newport News – The Mariners’ Museum Park
This outdoor/indoor nautical museum celebrates local maritime history featuring nautical exhibits, model ships from around the world, and interesting artifacts. The 550 acre park offers a great place to run, walk or bike along the five-mile Noland trail featuring bridges, picnic areas and many benches. There are even paddle boats available for rent to cruise along on the park’s 167 acre lake, Lake Maury!
Hampton – Bluebird Gap Farm
If you are heading to Hampton, be sure to check out this wonderful 60 acre farm featuring over 150 domestic and wild animals. Children can play on the playground, feed and pet the farm animals (goats, pigs, horses, rabbits, llamas and more!) or just run free and have fun spending time outdoors. There are snack machines on site inside the antique barn, many picnic tables, several charcoal grills or you can pack a lunch to have a picnic at the Powhatan Pavilion. If you are visiting in the spring, don’t miss the Azalea trail that has a great view of Newmarket Creek!