Virginia State Parks open up beaches along the coast to recreation

Published: May. 29, 2020 at 5:11 PM EDT
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Following Governor Ralph Northam's

on Friday, Virginia State Parks issued an announcement about their tidal beaches.

The governor, on Thursday, said that Virginia Beach had proven in the previous week that their comprehensive plan for reopening worked to keep visitors safe and socially distant while enjoying the beach, so he would allow all public beaches to open back up to recreational use by using the same guidelines that Virginia Beach did.

Now, Virginia State Parks says their tidal beaches at Mason Neck, Leesylvania, Widewater, Caledon, Westmoreland, Belle Isle, York River, Chippokes, Kiptopeke, First Landing and False Cape are officially open to recreation.

Visitors are advised that the beaches at those state parks are generally small, though, with limited spacing for recreation while social distancing.

Some are merely thin strips of sand along the shoreline and are not guarded for swimming.

The following safety protocols will be in place at the state park beaches:

• Strict social distancing between non-related groups must be followed

• Groups of more than 10 beachgoers will be prohibited

• No entertainment or programming that generate mass gatherings

• No beach playsets, tents or grouping of umbrellas

• No team sports

However, this only applies to beaches along Virginia's shore – not to any inland lakefront beaches.

Lakefront beaches at Hungry Mother, Claytor Lake, Smith Mountain Lake, Fairystone, Douthat, Holliday Lake, Bear Creek Lake, Twin Lakes and Lake Anna will remain closed.

None of those will reopen until adequate staffing is available and they've been able to implement additional safety protocols.

Guests are encouraged to “know before they go” to the beach by checking the individual state park’s website before their visit for the latest updates. This includes information on the use of face coverings in park facilities, respecting social distance and visiting in groups of 10 or fewer.

For the most up-to-date information regarding available recreational opportunities at Virginia State Parks, check


Virginia State Parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

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