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“The early bird catches the quiet.”

Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Ranked #10 of 124 things to do in Virginia Beach
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: This Virginia Beach wildlife refuge offers visitors hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking/canoeing and nature photography in a completely natural environment. The Refuge grounds are open sunrise to sunset daily. The Visitor Center hours of operation are the following: Memorial Day - Labor Day: Tuesday-Friday 8am-4pm, Saturday & Sunday 9am-4pm Labor Day - Memorial Day: Tuesday-Friday 8am-4pm, Saturday 9am-4pm
Miami Beach, Florida
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“The early bird catches the quiet.”
Reviewed September 8, 2013

My primary purpose of going to this National Reserve was to check out some birds so I got there by 7:30am on a Saturday (which is early enough to not have to pay to enter). The place is huge, and I spent about half my time on the beach trying to figure out the different types of sandpipers; and even a quick, illegal, dip in the water because it was so peaceful and I was literally the only person on the beach I just couldn't resist. The second half of my time was walking through the trails with my binoculars and just watching the birds.

My only complaint is that the park staff close off the half of the park that has the most birds so people don't disturb them, which wasn't very conducive to me. Also, like any park on a Saturday, as the day went on it became more and more crowded so I called it quits around 12:30pm.

All in all, it's a beautiful place and I highly recommend going to all the nature lovers.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank CharlieNJ81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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274 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Date | Rating
  • English first
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  • Any
English first
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Great for nature lovers”
Reviewed September 8, 2013

We made a visit to Back Bay NWR during a trip to Sandbridge. We went in the morning, hoping for a comfortable hike and more active wildlife. We did see and doe and fawn (still had its spots!) just off the "dune trail"! Even if you have the opportunity to see white tail deer everyday, like we do, seeing them right next to the ocean is a "wow" moment! Many of the trails and boardwalks near the visitor center are stroller accessible, a bonus for parents. Overall, a great, quiet place to respectfully observe nature. Bring your camera!

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Kate W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Middletown, Delaware
Level 5 Contributor
49 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Tremendously Disappointed”
Reviewed August 21, 2013

Not sure what all of the other great reviews were seeing or experiencing. We drove a long distance to get to the refuge and very disappointed. Visitor center under renovations and bike paths not very scenic, in our opinion. Beach was very nice but you are not allowed to swim or set up chairs. Wanted to rave about the refuge but we unfortunately cannot.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank 1DelawareGal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Virginia Beach
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Beautiful and Peaceful”
Reviewed August 21, 2013

Just enjoy a day with nature the way God intended. We saw wild horses and lots of wildlife. Good for all ages. Tram through the park is the best way to see it. Walk to the ocean a bit of hike over the dunes, be prepared on hot days with water.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank C N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
west of Washington, DC
Level 6 Contributor
211 reviews
49 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
“Peaceful and beautiful!”
Reviewed August 5, 2013

Great place for a hike! So much wildlife to see and a knowledgeable staff to point out things we hadn't seen yet or held to identify birds and other critters that are abundant here! The ocean beach is unspoiled and always a treat to visit.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Nyr4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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