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First Landing State Park offers a hiking oasis in Virginia Beach

The state park has 20 miles worth of hiking trails that cover a few types of landscapes. It's right where the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean meet.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Author's note: The video above is on file from Sept. 6, 2021.

With cooler Fall temperatures on the horizon, it's the perfect time to hit the trails. 

If you're looking to get outside and explore the 757, look no further than First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach. It's a hiking oasis where the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean meet.

The state park has 20 miles worth of hiking trails that cover a few types of landscapes, including bald cypress swamps, a dense maritime forest and wetlands. There's a lot of history here as well: it's where English colonists first landed in North America in 1607. 

If you're not sure where to begin, here's a guide to hiking at First Landing with information about the trails and some safety tips.

The trails

First Landing's hiking trails can be accessed at or near the Trail Center. That's located at 2500 Shore Drive in Virginia Beach.

Virginia State Parks lists the trails as being either "easy" or "moderate." Easy trails may have short grades that can be easily accomplished by all hikers. Moderate trails have varying levels of steepness and grade.

To see a map of these trails, click here.

Bald Cypress — 1.8 miles

This trail features scenic overviews of the park's swamps and is one of the most popular hikes at First Landing, according to Virginia State Parks. The trail winds through several bald cypress swamps while intersecting with other trails.

This trail is rated moderate.

Cape Henry — 6.1 miles

This long trail is wide and flat, making it suitable for both hikers and bikers. For a large part, people will see the dense forest and occasional swamps. After crossing 64th Street, there are views of the Lake Susan Constant and salt marshes.

This trail is rated moderate.

Fox Run — 0.3 miles

This short trail is mostly flat and packed with sand and dirt. Hikers may see and hear birds, snakes and reptiles here. It connects Cypress Swamp Drive with Bald Cypress Trail.

This trail is rated easy.

High Dune — 0.3 miles

This short trail goes over and through a dune ridge. This trail is rated moderate.

Kingfisher — 0.6 miles

This connects Long Creek and Cape Henry trails. It's mostly level ground, but it does get sandier closer to Long Creek. This trail is rated easy.

Live Oak — 0.4 miles

This is another short trail. It connects the beach at the state park with the trail system. It's rated easy.

Long Creek — 4 miles

This is a longer trail that follows Broad Bay and Long Creek. Hikers on this trail will see varying landscapes: small beaches, marshy areas and the woods. Virginia State Parks said it's common to see small marsh crabs here.

This trail is rated moderate.

Osmanthus — 2.5 miles

This trail is more secluded and loops off the Bald Cypress Trail. It has some boardwalks over swamps and small hills.

This trail is rated moderate.

Osprey — 1.3 miles

This is an offshoot of Long Creek Trail that continues along the water. If you start your hike at 64th Street, you can use this trail and Long Creek as a loop to see a variety of habitats in the park.

This trail is rated moderate.

White Hill Lake — 1.4 miles

This trail also connects Long Creek and Cape Henry trails. Virginia State Parks said it's a prime area to watch birds. Osprey, egrets and herons can be seen here.

This trail is rated moderate.

Safety tips

Virginia State Parks has several safety tips for hikers. They want to make sure people prepare before they go and stay aware on the trail.

Stay hydrated

When you hit the trails, it's a good idea to bring water.

Know your limits

Be honest with yourself about how far you should go. If you're a beginner, maybe you shouldn't go too far.

Have a plan

Tell someone you know where you're going and how long you'll be gone.

Keep your pet on a leash

Your pet may get a whiff of a wild animal. Keep them on a leash so they won't get away from you.

Respect the animals

From snakes to birds, First Landing has a variety of animals that you'll likely see while hiking. Remember that you're a visitor to these animals' homes, so look at them from a distance.

Prepare for the weather

Make sure you know what the weather will be before you go hiking. You can visit 13News Now's Weather page and download the 13News Now app to stay updated.

When you're on the trails, look out for rain and storm clouds.

Use sunscreen

The sun still shines, even on overcast days. Use sunscreen to keep your skin from being burnt.

Leave no trace

Leave what you find. Don't throw your trash in the woods. Be considerate of other people on the trail.

For more information about First Landing State Park, you can visit its website.

Author's note: The video above is on file from April 2021.