Family Activities:

Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge


Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge

4005 Sandpiper Road, Virginia Beach, 23456-4325, VA

This 8500-acre slice of heaven is for the birds, but in the loveliest way possible. Created in 1938 to provide a protected spot for migrating and wintering waterfowl, nature lovers will be enchanted to potentially glimpse over 300 bird species (depending on the particular season) including the snow and Canadian goose, the Tundra swan, many duck species, songbirds and shorebirds. Threatened and endangered species can be spied as well including the Loggerhead sea turtle, Piping plover, Peregrine falcon and Bald eagle. Even a President got to have a say in protecting this important part of Virginia: a Presidential Proclamation closed 4,600 acres to migratory bird hunting decades ago.

Several walking trails, some just a quarter mile long; others three miles long, are located in Back Bay as well, beginning just a half mile from the Visitor Contact Station. The trails are flat so a jogger stroller works beautifully. To protect the wildlife, pets are allowed in Back Bay from October through March only.

A Jewel to Note: Close to Back Bay is Little Island Park with beach access, a great picnic spot and it’s own pier.