The Best Time of Year to Visit First Landing State Park

First Landing State Park, Virginia Beach

First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, history buffs, and beach lovers alike. With its diverse ecosystems, rich history, and a plethora of activities, each season brings its own unique charm to the park.

Plan a hike through cypress swamps, a relaxing day on a secluded beach, or an educational tour through historical sites, timing your visit can enhance your experience. Here’s a detailed guide to help you choose the best time to visit First Landing State Park.

Spring (March to May)

First Landing State Park in the Spring

Spring is arguably the most pleasant time to visit First Landing State Park. The weather is mild, typically ranging from the 50s to 70s (°F), making it perfect for outdoor activities. The park comes alive with vibrant blooms and a plethora of wildlife.

Birdwatching is particularly rewarding in spring as migratory birds return to the area. Hikers can enjoy the park’s 19 miles of trails, like the popular Bald Cypress Trail, which meanders through cypress swamps and offers views of blooming wildflowers​.

Activities and Highlights

  • Hiking: Explore the trails without the summer heat.
  • Wildlife Viewing: Spot migratory birds and other wildlife.
  • Photography: Capture the park’s springtime beauty.
  • Guided Tours: Join naturalist tours to learn about the park’s ecology and history.

Summer (June to August)

First Landing State Park in the Summer

Summer is the busiest season at First Landing State Park, with visitors flocking to the beach and engaging in various water activities. The temperatures range from the 70s to 90s (°F), ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and boating. The park’s beach along the Chesapeake Bay offers a quieter alternative to the bustling Virginia Beach.

Kayaking and paddleboarding are popular, with rentals available at The Narrows. However, summer also brings larger crowds, especially on weekends and holidays​.

Activities and Highlights

  • Beach Fun: Swim, sunbathe, and build sandcastles on the park’s serene beach.
  • Water Sports: Rent kayaks or canoes and explore Broad Bay.
  • Camping: Stay at one of the 200 campsites or rent a rustic cabin.
  • Fishing and Crabbing: Try your luck at The Narrows, a popular spot for both activities.

Fall (September to November)

First Landing State Park in the Fall

Fall is an excellent time to visit the park due to cooler temperatures and fewer crowds. The foliage transforms into a stunning array of autumn colors, making hikes particularly scenic.

This season is also ideal for witnessing the “rainbow sheen” in the cypress swamps, a phenomenon where decaying leaves release oils that create colorful patterns on the water’s surface. Temperatures range from the 50s to 70s (°F), perfect for comfortable outdoor exploration​​.

Activities and Highlights

  • Fall Foliage: Enjoy the colorful leaves on various trails.
  • Rainbow Sheen: Capture photos of this unique natural occurrence.
  • Hiking and Biking: Cooler weather makes for pleasant trail activities.
  • Historical Exploration: Visit the park’s historical sites and learn about its past.

Winter (December to February)

First Landing State Park in the Winter

Winter at First Landing State Park offers a tranquil and serene experience with minimal crowds. Although temperatures can dip into the 30s and 40s (°F), the park’s natural beauty remains accessible.

This is a great time for quiet walks and wildlife observation, as you might spot whales, porpoises, and dolphins in the Chesapeake Bay. The park’s trails and beaches are less frequented, providing a peaceful escape​.

Activities and Highlights

  • Wildlife Watching: Spot marine mammals and other wildlife.
  • Peaceful Hikes: Enjoy the solitude on less crowded trails.
  • Photography: Capture the stark beauty of the park in winter.
  • Cabin Rentals: Stay cozy in a rustic cabin, available year-round.

Activities and Amenities Year-Round

First Landing State Park offers a variety of activities and amenities that make it a great destination regardless of the season:

  • Hiking and Biking: The park’s extensive trail system, including Cape Henry Trail and Osmanthus Trail, caters to hikers and cyclists alike.
  • Camping: The park provides over 200 campsites, cabins, and even yurts for overnight stays.
  • Boating and Fishing: Boating facilities and prime fishing spots are available, with rentals and licenses accessible within the park.
  • Beach Access: Enjoy the park’s quieter beach along the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Historical Sites: Discover historical structures and participate in guided tours to learn about the park’s rich history​​.