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“Dog friendly beach camping on Chesapeake Bay” 4 of 5 stars
Review of First Landing State Park

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First Landing State Park
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Virginia Beach, VA (Northeast Virginia Beach)   |  
Hotel amenities
Carrboro, North Carolina, United States
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
“Dog friendly beach camping on Chesapeake Bay”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2013

After staying for one night at Kiptopeke State Park, we came here for our second night of a weekend trip. While Kiptopeke was lovely, it had one problem: no dogs on the beach. First Landing, on the other hand, was a great for dog lovers.

First, the sites. On a Saturday night, we had our choice of a few different tent camping sections and picked section B. The tent-only sites with no electric or water tend to be closer to the highway, so if you want a site closer to the beach, you need to pay for an electric/water site. The advantage, though, was that these tent-only sites were well shaded. They varied in size, but we found one (B2) that was extra private. We were bordered by trees on three sides, and the site had a nice flat spot for our tent. There was a small pond on one side, and we were visited by a pair of Mallard ducks who seemed quite used to people. We named them Rachel and Filbert. A red fox also visited us that night, but our dog warned him away. The only drawback for these sites is the noise from the highway.

The bathrooms were clean (with soap and hand dryers), and there was also a "slop sink" area for washing dishes. Campground B also had plenty of water taps.

The beach extends the length of the campground, and there is a well stocked campstore and a visitor's center in the middle, which provides access to the beach via a boardwalk. You can also walk over the dunes at certain points along the beach to get to it. The advantage of using the boardwalk by the store is that there are bathrooms, showers to rinse off, and the store if you get hungry and want a snack.

On a Sunday, the beach was pretty busy, but not unbearably so. The best part, for us, was that dogs were allowed on the beach during the day. No one seemed to worry much about dogs being on a leash, so our dog (and many others) enjoyed playing and swimming.

The camp store has RV and camping supplies, firewood, bait and fishing tackle, snacks, souvenirs, and more. We saw a few people fishing towards dusk, and they seemed to be catching a lot (mostly spot).

First Landing is located in Virginia Beach, so the advantage is that there are stores, restaurants, and gas stations nearby if you need supplies (as opposed to Kiptopeke, which requires you to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and has fewer amenities nearby). However, it feels less secluded as a result and, as I mentioned above, there's noise from the highway. Overall, though, this is a great way to enjoy the Chesapeake Bay and its calm waters for swimming.

Room Tip: Pay for a site with water/electric if you want to be close to the beach; or choose a basic tent-only...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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55 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (9)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Chesapeake, Virginia
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2013

Another VA state park that we really enjoyed! The walk over the dunes to the beach is a bit of a trek, but ended up being a labor of love. Love the shadiness of this park. Bath facilities could be tidier, but it's not the worst I have ever seen. Staff was very friendly. Be alert of the one way road as I met someone head-on going the wrong way at one time. Signs are not very visible so this could really happen to anyone. Book early, sites fill up fast during the Summer!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CA
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2013

The two-bedroom cabin we rented was fairly basic and dated, but it was clean, spacious and set back from the access road. Quick walk to a few hiking trails, including one leading to the beach, on the other side of 60. Nice, quiet and seemingly tucked away, though it's just a short drive to grocery stores and restaurants and the Atlantic Ave. scene. Pricing was a little higher than expected, even in mid-season, but we liked having our own kitchen and a fireplace, where we could toast s'mores.

Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Inwood, West Virginia
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2013

This was our second trip to First Landing, first time camping there. I read some reviews prior to our visit to get an idea of the best sites in the campground. I read a couple of reviews about a certain site saying it was the best and how lucky were we that it was available when we arrived. Well, what may be good for one camper isn't always good for every camper. The lot was not level and there was no shade, and it was hot! Anyways, we found a great site for us and set up camp. I really like the privacy at this campground. The sites are not on top of each other, although some sites in certain loops are kind of close to the highway and you can hear the traffic. I love that you can take your dogs on the beach here. It was a clean park and well maintained. I love the trails for bikes although when I was there it had just rained and the trail was muddy. There is a bike trail outside of the park that follows Shore Dr (I wouldn't take kids on it as it is on the shoulder of the highway) that you can ride all the way down to the boardwalk.

Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Williamsburg, Virginia
2 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2013

My wife and I usually stay here a few times a year. We have only been lucky once to actually get a amazing site located on the bay side, otherwise its in the "woodsy" section of the campground. The only problem we have come across here is if you stay on the far right section of the campground you will be fence to fence with Fort Story and their amazingly loud helicopters that fly all hours of the night and very low. Other than that, the campground is always clean and beach is nice to go for a swim or just hang out.

Room Tip: Making a reservation does NOT guarantee a specific site. When you arrive you have to pick the first...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arlington, VA
Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013 via mobile

I really didn't know what to expect with the cabin at the park. But I was really surprised with how nice and clean the cabin was. We had such a great time and we have already planned out next stay there. I would highly recommend this park and facilities for a relaxing vacation.

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Norfolk, VA
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2013

We are big fans of VA state parks for camping and First Landing lived up to our expectations. It is clean and well designed to give campers convenience and privacy. The park can handle tents and large RVs, so everyone has an opportunity to camp there. We were aware of the first come first pick reservations system, but camping early in the season meant that all the available spots were good. I can see that it may be a problem in high season as some of the site are very close to the road. Biggest complaint is the VA State park's insistence on charging extra if you have dogs. Our dogs consume absolutely no resources. They are on leash the entire time and it is our responsibility (enforced if necessary by rangers) to pick up after them and make sure they do not bother other campers. On the other hand, kids and extra campers (up to the 6 person limit), do consume resources and do have an impact (both financially and by convenience) on the park and other campers. Don't get me wrong, I love kids and believe that larger groups have an absolute right to camp and enjoy the area. I just wish the VA State parks did not feel that it's justified or fair to impose an unfair tax on dog owners.
Also, a warning: the park office says to secure your valuables and they MEAN it. We did lock the cars, the RV, and put away valuables, but we did not secure our bikes. Our bikes are very inexpensive and basic, but that did not stop a thief from stealing one of them during the night. Sort of creepy to think that thieves are patrolling the campground while we sleep.
Enjoy the park, but lock up and be prepared to be unfairly taxed if you bring pets.

Room Tip: Lock up your valuables. We were robbed.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about First Landing State Park

Address: Virginia Beach, VA
Location: United States > Virginia > Virginia Beach > Northeast Virginia Beach
Amenities:
Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 15 Specialty Lodging in Virginia Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 230
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Park that offers rustic cabins and camping. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
1st Landing State Park
First Landing State Park Hotel Virginia Beach
First Landing State Park Hotel Va Beach

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