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A Local’s Guide to Norfolk’s Ocean View Beaches

by | May 19, 2021

A Local’s Guide to Norfolk Beaches


We’re finally starting to see some warm days hit our weather forecasts and after a few months stuck indoors during a pandemic, everyone’s craving sunshine like chick-fil-a on Sunday. When it comes to picking a beach in Norfolk, let alone the whole 757, the choices can be overwhelming. Norfolk alone has over 144 miles of total shoreline, with seven miles of beach directly on the Chesapeake Bay. We’re going to break down the best NFK beach spots, so you can soak up the sun like a local. 


There are 24 official beach accessways in Norfolk. These are the big wooden stairs that get you up and over the dunes and onto the beach. They’re spread out across Ocean View and the vibe at each point can vary a lot. Typically, you can bet on the ones with great parking to be extra busy and the ones with little to no parking to be the most isolated. 


Willoughby Spit: 

15th View, 13th View, 12th View

9th view, 8th view, and  6th View. 

There are a bunch of pedestrian access points along Willoughby Spit. There’s a pretty chill residential beach town vibe here. What you need to understand about Willoughby Spit is that it’s basically one or two blocks wide across the entire length. Parking is limited just by the nature of the landmass. There are public spots available at almost every pedestrian access point, but they’re limited. Ranging from two parking spots to seven or eight.  The limited parking means that the beaches here are typically less crowded and gear much more to a local’s vibe. 


4th View & Sarah Constant Beach 

Sarah Constant Beach Park is home to a slice of history. At this beach on April 26th, 1607, Captain Christopher Newport and crew stopped at this location during a storm. One of their three ships was, you guessed it, the Sarah Constant. Those ships went on to be the first settlers at Jamestown. There’s not just a beach here though, several beautiful live oak trees cover a handful of picnic spots. While the parking here is plentiful, the picnic spaces make it an especially desirable location. You’d be hard-pressed to drive by midday on a summer Saturday and not find a huge cookout happening and the parking lot packed. If you’re not finding space underneath the oaks at Sarah Constant, it’s just a short walk to Monkey Bottom park which is full of the same live oak trees. 


1st View & Ocean View Beach Park 

There is a dedicated lot here, but demand in the summer quickly fills it up. The Ocean View Beach Park stocks the big amenities like foot rinsers and bathrooms. There’s also a open air stage that Festevents programs throughout the summer. You’ll find concerts, art fairs, yoga events and more happening here. 


Norfolk Ave & Community Beach

Community Beach is the full package: there’s lots of parking, a full playground, bathrooms, a couple of grills, and a couple of nice shade trees. Not to mention, it’s basically next door to the Ocean View Golf Course so you can hit the surf after knocking down 18. Also, there’s a 7-11 nearby so water and snacks are never out of reach. For good reason, this is a popular spot, so expect some crowding if you head there on weekends and holidays. 


Sturgis Street

Sturgis Street has snuck under the radar for a long while. It has a nice new beach accessway, but it doesn’t have any huge amenities nor a proper parking lot. The secret is that there is plenty of public street parking on the neighborhood streets up Sturgis Ave. Sturgis Ave is also connects you to the Bayview neighborhood making it prime for biking or avoiding the HRBT summer traffic. This is a particularly popular spot for locals to sneak over to on a busy beach day. 


Cape View

The quickest beach access from Bayview comes with a particularly great perk: Bold Mariner Brewing is stationed right across from the beach access. That means you’re only ever a few minutes from a beer and some barbecue. 


5th Bay

5th Bay beach access is directly across from Bay Oaks Park. That means lots of green space, a playground, picnic shelters, bike racks, and a few parking spots. Honestly, under-hyped as a beach going spot. 


13th Bay

The 13th Bay neighborhood has become increasingly popular in recent years due to a few flourishing small businesses that include Karla’s Beach House, Jessy’s Taqueria, and Lionshead Barber Shop. With great popularity comes a few downsides; parking here is going to be tight during evening hours. 


East Beach

With the booming neighborhood in East Beach and lots of local businesses, it’s a popular place to hit the sand. There are several beach access points in the East Beach area, but parking is almost always going to be tough on a nice day. Be sure to watch out for tow-away zones that are dedicated to neighborhood residents. 


Other Notes

Now you’re probably wondering what’s up with beach closures? A few times a year when there’s a big rain, the City will shut beaches for unsafe bacteria levels or red tide. Both issues are related to runoff from nearby communities. Just remember to double check with the City website before you swim after a rainy day. 



Kayaks and paddleboards can be seen throughout beaches in Ocean View. There’s typically pretty minimal wave action, which is ideal for both activities. If you’re looking for a boat ramp, your best bet is the Willoughby Boat Ramp.


Beach volleyball nets can be found at 4th View Street near the Ocean View Fishing Pier. 



Beach fishing is allowed throughout Ocean View. Keep in mind that saltwater fishing and shore fishing requires a slightly different gear set than freshwater, but you can grab bait and tackle at Ocean View Fishing Pier. You are also required to carry a fishing license in Virginia, so be sure to get one. You can get those online or get one from a local shop. 


Rules to abide by:

You’ll see rock jetties and stormwater pipes at some points along the seven miles of beach. Keep in mind that these are technically off limits and you could get a ticket from the police. Dogs are permitted on the beach within certain hours. Additionally, you are not allowed to bring any vehicles (or horses) onto the beach. Grab a full list of rules here.


See you in the sand!  

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