Nice isolation, wonderful clean beach, have to hike or bike minimally 4mi from Back Bay NWR to get to the park. Bring plenty of water for hike in during summer, hardly any shade hiking in. Campgrounds are clean, fair amount of bugs so bring spray, multiple drinking water locations around Barbour Hill Bay and Ocean Side.
This place was really unlike any campground I've been to. I've hit some pretty remote places, but this one was different because it was on the beach but still out in the middle of nowhere. I think we went about 7 miles before we got to our campsite, and I think the closest sites from the parking area were 5 or 6. Really there wasn't hardly anyone else out there, so it felt like we had our own private beach. We hiked out to our spot, but we saw some people biking into theirs.
There was a little gift shop when you first came in, so if you really need something you can hike back out to get it. Not too much else out here though besides hiking trials and the ocean.
The most stunning part was definitely the sunsets. No two looked the same, and I attached a bunch of pictures here to show ya. Nothing better than a beach sunset. Plus there are a ton of different types of birds out there if you like wildlife. Also, the saltwater fishing in the area was great. My cousin even caught a few baby sharks.
This was a great way to get away from civilization for a bit and enjoy the beach. Definitely better than going to a touristy beach town. Would really recommend this spot!
Arrived here before sun down and planned on hiking in to camp, but was stopped by virginia beach police! Myself and two others were turned away without reason, your'e supposed to park and hike in but an officer was waiting there telling people to leave. Given there was a music festival right down the street with hooligans runnin around, they probably didn't want certain types staying the night here and i guess i fit the bill! Dont know if ill be willing to come back and try again..
Even on the fourth of July weekend, with every campsite booked, this place was quiet and felt very removed from the beaches several miles north in Virginia Beach. We biked in from Little Island Park.
From the parking lot to our campsite, it was about 7.5 miles. Some campsites are closer by a couple of miles. We're both in good shape, and on bike we made the trek in less than an hour. I rode my mountain bike, and my wife road her hybrid commuter bike without issue. We brought a collapsible 5 gallon jug that I had to ride back to the visitors center (about 2 miles from our campsite) to fill up.
It was a fair amount of work, but we took our 9 month old and 2 year old children. We towed them in a trailer and they loved their time at the beach.
The visitors center is a great spot to stop and rest for a while. It is air conditioned, and they have a small gift shop with cold drinks and ice cream available.
We were on site 22, which is ocean side, and right up next to 23. They could easily act as companion sites. If you camp on the ocean side, you are permitted to set up your tent on the shore (in a designated strip) as long as you let them know at the visitors center.
All other campers we met were quiet and friendly. and we really just could not have asked for a better situation.
This is my kind of day at the beach. I loved it.
Also, pets are allowed, but they are not allowed through Black Bay. You either have to bring them in via boat, or coming up south from North Carolina.
We’ve lived so close to this park for so long and I regret not coming sooner. This park is 5+ miles from the Little Island Park Parking lot, where you have to park if you’re staying overnight. So, you have to hike, bike or boat into the primitive campground because its access is blocked by Back Bay Wildlife Refuge. But because of this, the Park is a serene oasis away from traffic, no RV’s, not a lot of people. A great place to get away from it all! We hiked in on the East Dike trail through Back Bay, about 5.4 miles, with everything for the weekend on our backs. The trail is a rock/gravel road, probably more suited to bikes as it was pretty hard on our feet. But beautiful views of Back Bay on the way to the Park. Once we made it to the park, we stopped in the Visitors Center, which sells cold drinks, is air conditioned, has clean full-service bathrooms and friendly attendants who answered all our questions we had about the camping. From the Visitors Center, it’s about another .5 or so of a soft sandy hike to the Oceanside Barbour Hill campground, where we stayed. Our campsite was #12 and the attendant told us it was one of the new sites this year. It was close to the pit toilet bathrooms, drinking water faucet, and outdoor shower. The campsite was very secluded, you can’t see it from the main road, it’s tucked back in the live oaks. Site #13 is close by, would make a great buddy site. The campsite has a picnic table and a hook to hang your food and trash at night. Fires are not allowed but small camping stoves are, so we brought a little pocket rocket butane stove to cook on. What we didn’t know when we made reservations here is that you actually have two sites to choose from at this campground. There is the #12 in the live oaks site and then is you walk a short distance to the Beach, you have a designated #12 spot on the beach that you can choose to camp at as well! It was awesome! We ended up doing most of the cooking and eating at the live oaks site and sleeping and hanging out at the beach since there is no picnic table or anything at the beach site. Such an amazing experience to wake up to the sun rising over the Atlantic ocean and sleeping under the stars. There were only two other tents camped out on the beach with us when we were there so it was still pretty isolated. If you want to be on the beach by yourself, just walk less than a mile down either way and there is not a soul. There’s tons of hiking, interesting things to see, beautiful nature. We saw dolphins playing in the ocean! The beach alive with crabs! Osprey catching fish! We saw an old graveyard and church steeple at Wash Woods, that’s definitely worth the hike. We walked to the North Carolina border. There’s a Loveworks and a buoy that marks the southernmost Virginia State Park. We hiked over 30 miles over the weekend, there so much to do, we are exhausted! We came in mid-June and the weather was gorgeous - 80s during the day and 60s at night. There were some biting flies and mosquitos but nothing a little bug spray couldn’t take care of. We did not see any snakes. At the end of our trip, we opted to hike back to Little Island on the beach through Back Bay. It was slightly shorter, 5.1 miles, but a tougher hike because of the sand. We came home exhausted, sunburnt, blisters, but just in awe of this amazing park. It’s definitely worth the hike!
I used to live in the area and would hike from Back Bay into False Cape almost every weekend and sometimes during the week as well! The only way into the park is by boat foot or bike so it is NEVER crowded which is PERFECT! Wildlife is in great abundance. Shorebirds and waterfowl with the setting or rising sun make for beautiful pictures! Snakes can get pretty bad along the right trail starting fro the parking lot in Back Bay down near the fishing pond so watch your step. We usually stomp our feet and the vibrations make them move off of the trail :-). The staff are amazing, the campsites are right there at the beach for a beautiful peaceful weekend. I can not recommend this place enough! 5 stars and then some!
beach side camping or sound side camping. primitive camping. About a 6 mile hike into the park. about a mile walk to the beach if you camp on the sound side
False Cape is a primitive campground that can only be accessed by walking or biking through the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge along the southern coast of Virginia. The first grouping of sites are 6 miles from the closest parking area, and the second grouping are 9 miles away. There are both ocean side and bay side campsites. For the ocean sites, you have the option of setting up your tent at the marked site behind the dunes, or at a marked location directly on the sand, although depending on the tides the rangers may prohibit camping on the beach.
There are no campfires allowed at False Cape, but the proximity to the beach and the solitude can't be beat. Beside the 6-9 mile hike/bike ride in, there are plenty of trails within the park to explore, many leading to historical landmarks.
When we went we brought our 2 and 4 year old children. My husband and I each hooked a trailer to our bikes, and I towed the kids and he towed our gear. The kids loved riding through Back Bay, and all of us enjoyed having the beach essentially to ourselves for the two nights we were there. This was exceptionally kid-friendly as there is plenty of sand for kids to play in right at the campsite, and there are very few hazards for small children aside from the ocean itself.
Bring bug spray--we went in May and the bugs were already overwhelming--including many, many ticks.
I first stumbled into False Cape by accident while hiking down from Back Bay Wildlife reserve north of the park. I was VERY happy to see a gift shop off the trail, where I grabbed an ice cream sandwich before heading back to the beach. The park has some great hiking trails, that have some wonderful views. Watch out for the bikes! I did help a guy repair a busted inter-tube that day.
As far as the camping goes, the sites are on the beach, so plan for sand and wind. Beautiful views though! The park is RIGHT on the NC/VA state line.