Nothing beats being on the water in a kayak. You get so connected to nature, and the rocking of the boat lets you feel every wave. With so much water around though, you may be wondering – where are the best places to kayak? That’s why we’ve scouted around to bring you the very best places in Virginia Beach to paddle your kayak! Check out what’s on offer.
Perhaps one of the most interesting features of Back Bay is its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. Despite the fact the bay runs so closely to the ocean, the two are separated for about 65 miles in length – finally connecting in the Oregon Inlet, NC. What may be just as remarkable is that the Back Bay has very low salt content. This makes it far more refreshing to take a dip during the hotter months, if that interests you.
This picturesque wildlife refuge allows small boat launches, perfect for a kayak exploration of the area. Located in the Sandbridge area, you can surround yourself with various different animals, such as deer, otters, and bobcats. Of course, there are plenty of birds to spot too, so if you have a penchant for birdwatching, you’ll definitely enjoy your time here.
Kayaking along Broad Bay can sometimes feel like a trip back in time. You are surrounded by fascinating wildlife, who are completely undisturbed by your presence. Birds such as Osprey, Herons and Egrets will be visible almost all-year-round, but if you visit in October, you may get lucky and see an eagle. Occasionally, you may also spot a Ray or a Dolphin swimming about. Whether you visit in Spring, Summer, or Fall, you’re always bound to see at least one captivating aspect of nature.
If you want to paddle in the Broad Bay, then I’d advise visiting the First Landing State Park, and launching from there. If you want to explore as part of a guided tour, then Kayak Nature Tours is a great option. They can provide you with loads of information and help you get the most out of your trip to Broad Bay.
If you fancy a romantic kayaking trip, why not take a sunset dolphin-watching tour of Chesapeake Bay? Amongst sights of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, you’ll also find impressive landmarks. The Cape Henry Lighthouse is particularly historic, having been built in 1881. The water isn’t very difficult to manage, as long as the weather is good. This also makes it a fantastic fishing spot, so if you’re interested in fishing and kayaking, you’ll have the best of both worlds here.
Whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced kayaker, you’re bound to enjoy the experience of paddling along the Chesapeake Bay, especially if you have company. It’s a spot I urge you to visit, especially at sunset.
One of many inland bays in Virginia Beach, Linkhorn Bay is a brilliant way to see local wildlife. Thanks to the calm waters, this location is perfect for complete beginners getting into kayaking too! There are guided tours of the area, with groups reported to see dolphins, cow nose rays, herons, and even eagles.
If you want to launch without a tour, the easiest access would be from Birdneck Launch. This way, you can easily explore all the natural wonders that Linkhorn Bay has to offer. Whether you decide to go solo, with a friend, or as a tour, you’re sure to enjoy the amazing experiences Linkhorn Bay has available.
Paradise Creek Nature Park
A finger of the Elizabeth River, the Paradise Creek Nature Park has been lovingly restored by the Elizabeth River Project since 2001. Once heavily polluted and unable to sustain life, the incredible efforts of the Elizabeth River Project and partners have allowed an emerging ecosystem to take root.
Now you can paddle through the restored salt marsh, amongst native grasses, and beside red wing blackbirds, osprey, and even otters. A lot of work has gone into reviving this small slice of paradise, and now you can visit it for yourself. I would highly suggest that you do.
Elizabeth River Park
If you’re looking for a little more energy around you when you’re paddling, then the Elizabeth River Park could be for you. The park is accessible both by water and by land, so you’re more than welcome to paddle into it or launch there. This makes it a great place to stop if you’re on a longer journey.
If you’re a fan of fishing, then feel free to bring your gear along. Since no fishing licenses are required, you can catch to your heart’s content. There is also a Snack Shack located in the park, so if you (or any of your group) fancy a quick bite, then you can simply hop onto land and grab some food and drink.
West Neck Creek
Plenty of wetland wildlife are waiting for you in the West Neck Creek. This picturesque creek off the North Landing River presents a brilliant opportunity to explore natural waterways, regardless of your skill level. The gentle creek trail is nearly 6km in length, which makes it a brilliant choice for a range of water-based activities.
If you’re looking to launch, the best spot is the West Neck Marina. You can park in the car park, and launch your kayak straight into the creek. Paddling between partially submerged trees is a unusual experience the first couple of times you do it, but it’s still an amazing one. The adventure can become even better, since some visitors have reported seeing jumping fish.
The Lynnhaven River is a beautiful natural area that fully supports aquatic exploration and interest for all ages. It is home to the world’s second-largest restoration program for oyster reef restoration, and receives large amounts of kayaking, fishing, ecotourism, and educational observation.
If you are paddling in the Lynnhaven River, it’s important to remember that the depth of the water can carry dramatically. Both the tides and the wind can cause a change in depth, between 3 inches and 4 feet.
Paddling along the river can also allow you a sneaky peak at some of the most luxurious available in Virginia Beach, which can be interesting if you have an interest in architexture. If more natural sights strike your fancy, there is plenty of wildlife to catch a glimpse of – so make sure you bring a spotters guide!
One for the more experienced kayakers, the ocean waves will be a lot more challenging than the still waters of the rivers and creeks. You’ll have to launch from Rudee Inlet or Little Island Park, but paddling out to the ocean is quite easy.
Once you’re out on the ocean, you can fully explore the Atlantic Coast. You can also paddle along the beaches, if you don’t feel comfortable straying too far away from land.
And that’s our list. Whether you’re planning to paddle somewhere new, or visiting Virginia Beach for the first time, there will be something suited to your skill level and personal preferences. So go, explore all the magical things Virginia Beach has to show you!