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First Landing State Park, VA
Saturday, April 26, 2003 - 1:00pm by Lolo
135 miles and 2.75 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay
Unfortunately, our already short visit to Virginia Beach was cut even shorter by our unexpected flat tire the day before. Not only did we now have only one day to spend with our friends, but a good part of it was filled with purchasing a new spare tire for the motorhome.
Too bad, because First Landing is a wonderful little state park, with a campground right on the Chesapeake Bay overlooking the bridge and miles and miles of beautiful biking and hiking trails through lovely marshlands and bald cypress swamps. Fortunately, we had gotten a chance to really explore the park during our visits in prior years.
However, with our compressed schedule all we really had time to do was hang out on the beach for awhile in the afternoon and then have dinner together that night. Still, it was nice to get a chance to visit and relax for awhile before making the final 7.5 hour drive home on Sunday.
First Landing State Park is located in Virginia Beach at the tip of Cape Henry, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Chesapeake Bay. The name of the park was changed from Seashore to First Landing to memorialize the fact that this was the site where Captain John Smith first touched land before settling further up the river in Jamestown.
The park’s 2,888 acres of marshlands, lagoons, forested dunes, and bald cypress swamps contain a unique mixture of northern and southern ecosystems. This is the furthest north that Spanish moss is found growing on trees.
The park is split into two sections by US 60. The smaller northern section is located on the Chesapeake Bay. It contains a beach (swim at your own risk) and a 235-site campground. Many of the sites have views of the Bay.
The majority of the park is located south of the highway and has a totally different feel from the section along the beach. It is bounded on the south by Broad Bay and on the east by Atlantic Avenue, along the Virginia Beach strip. Hiking and biking trails lace their way through the park. There are nine walking trails totaling about 19 miles. The most popular one is the Bald Cypress Swamp Trail, which goes along a boardwalk over the tannin-stained waters of a swamp where bald cypress trees stand draped in Spanish moss. The longer, less crowded Long Creek Trail meanders 5 miles through bird-filled salt marshes. The only trail open to bikers is the 6-mile Cape Henry Trail, which cuts across the park to the Narrows.
First Landing State Park location map in "high definition"