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Rivah Visitor's Guide

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Rivah Beaches

Compiled by Audrey Thomasson

Itching to dig your toes into the warm sand? Want to spend the day basking in the sun on a stretch of beach? Then, pack up a picnic basket, load the kids in the car and head to one of the beaches in Rivah Country.

Whether you like the unspoiled charm of a secluded nature reserve without amenities or you’re looking for a family-friendly stretch of sand with lifeguards, fun for the kids and steps away from a coffee bar, you’ll find a beach that’s perfect for you. 

Gloucester Point Beach

Gloucester County
Gloucester Point Beach
Gloucester Point Beach on the banks of the York River is a popular spot for swimming, playing volleyball and sun bathing, and is open daily from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. There is a fishing pier and fishing licenses are not required thanks to the sponsorship of Gloucester Parks, Recreation & Tourism Department.

The park has a boat ramp, showers and playground, picnic shelter, grills, bathrooms, seasonal concession stands and beautiful views of the York River.

Directions: From Route 17/George Washington Memorial Highway, take Frontage Road to 1255 Greate Road.

Lancaster County
Westland Beach
On the southern tip of Lancaster County where the Rappahannock River meets the Chesapeake Bay, sun bathers will delight in the breezes off the bay. The beach is steps away from Windmill Point Marina and K.C.’s at Windmill Point with swimming pool and corn hole.

Directions: From Route 3/Mary Ball Road in White Stone, turn left on Rte. 695/Chesapeake Drive, go to the end.

Mathews County
Bethel Beach Natural Preserve
The 83-acre preserve has sandy beaches, low dunes and salt marches on the Chesapeake Bay. The preserve is home to rare plants and nesting birds and the rare Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle. Visitors are welcome, but asked to tread lightly and respect the restrictions.

Directions: From Mathews, take Route 14/New Point Comfort Lighthouse Road to Route 611/Tabernacle Road, left on Route 677, left on 609.

Haven Beach

Mathews County
Haven Beach
This gem on the Chesapeake Bay features a sandy bottom shoreline, designated swimming areas, light facilities and parking. There is a tidal lagoon and shrubs that provide a natural habitat for birds.

Directions: From Mathews take Route 14/New Point Comfort Highway to Route 611/Tabernacle Road, left on Route 644/Salem Church Road, right on Route 643/Haven Beach Road, right on 645 to Haven Beach.

Mathews County
New Point Beach
Lighthouse enthusiasts will love soaking up the sun overlooking the third oldest lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay—New Point Comfort Lighthouse in Mathews. Commissioned in 1804 by Thomas Jefferson, the 55-foot octagonal sandstone structure sits on an island, separated from the mainland beach by a hurricane in 1933. This is an historic, scenic and sunny setting, but there are no amenities.

Directions: Only accessible by water. Located where the Mobjack and Chesapeake Bay meet.

Middlesex County
Wake Beach
Relax on the sandy shores of the Rappahannock River, overlooking Parrott Island. Wake Beach is near the widest point on the river at nearly five miles.

There is a parking area, but no other facilities are available.

Directions: From Route 33/General Puller Highway in Hartfield, take Route 624/Regent Road to Route 626/Wake Road, left on Route 627/Mill Wharf Road to Wake Beach.

Vir-Mar Beach

Northumberland County
Vir-Mar Beach
Explore the easternmost portion of the Northern Neck at Vir-Mar Beach on the Potomac River. You’ll find a 150-foot stretch of sandy beach.

The name Vir-Mar is a combination of Virginia-Maryland, because once you step in the water, you’ve left Virginia and entered the state of Maryland.

The beach and parking area are open from 7 a.m to sunset each day. No alcoholic beverages are allowed. Toilet facilities are not available.

Directions: From Route 360 in Burgess, take Route 644/Hacks Neck Road north to Route 643/Vir-Mar Beach Road to the public landing.

Northumberland County
Hughlett Point
Nature lovers will enjoy hiking through the Hughlett Point Natural Preserve. Discover the long, secluded sandy shoreline overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. The preserve is maintained by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Bring your binoculars and continue on the trail to one of the perches for a little bird-watching. There are no other amenities. State park rules are posted.

Directions: From Route 200/Jesse Ball duPont Memorial Highway, turn on Route 606/Shiloh School Road, right on Route 606 Balls Neck Road to Hughlett Point on left.

Richmond County
Naylor’s Beach/Campground
Picnic, camp or boat on the Rappahannock River at Naylor’s Beach. A family-owned business, visitors are welcome for the day or to camp overnight.

Launch your boat or relax in your beach chair. There are two pavilions, grassy area and plenty of shade trees, bath house, swings, volleyball and other games and a general store.

Day admission is $8 for ages 13 and older and $4 for children. The ramp fee is $8. Camping is extra.

Directions: From Warsaw, take Route 360 toward Tappahannock. Turn on Route 625/Newland Road, left on Route 636/Naylors Beach Road.

Westmoreland County
Colonial Beach
Your destination for fun in the sun, sand and on the boardwalk is Colonial Beach. A half-mile boardwalk features outdoor dining and shopping.

It’s a golf cart town, so pilot your cart to art galleries and shops.

Famous homes include Alexander Graham Bell’s summer place, now a bed and breakfast, or President James Monroe’s plantation, now featuring a vineyard. There’s always boating, fishing or playing on the beach.

Directions: Follow Route 205/Ridge Road to the town of Colonial Beach.

York County
Yorktown Beach
Adventure awaits visitors to Yorktown Beach. Located close to the historic battlefield, the two-acre beachfront provides opportunities for boating, swimming and fishing on the York River across from Gloucester Point.

Facilities include a fishing pier, 10-acre grassy picnic area, restrooms and showers. The beach is open April through October 19.

Riverwalk offers dining and shopping and pubs are within walking distance. Visit the Watermen’s Museum. Sail on a pirate adventure cruise or the Alliance sunset cruise.

Directions: From Route 17 at the Coleman Bridge, exit to Yorktown on Water Street.

Click map for a large version

posted 07.05.2016

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