Trails wet and dry offer great exploring in Virginia Beach

In April, Great Outdoor Provision Co. will open its first store in Virginia Beach, in the Hampton Roads area of southeast Virginia. If you live in the area or have spent any time there, you know why an outfitter would be interested in this adventure-rich area. If you aren’t familiar with the area, you need to be. Here’s an abbreviated overview to some of the opportunities available in the area. We don’t claim that they’re the best; rather, that they provide a great example of the adventure to be had.

Look at the Hampton Roads region on a map and you’d likely think the area, seemingly as much water as land, is a one-trick adventure pony. Boy, would you be wrong.
Cartographic looks can be deceiving.
Certainly, this is the place to be with a paddle in your hands. Intimate creeks, mysterious swamps, expansive sounds, rich marshlands, the Atlantic Ocean — you’ll find everything here, even whitewater if you count surfing the waves (and you should). The website Kayak Virginia Beach lists 33 separate waterways in the region with 100 access points, while VisitVirginiaBeach.com reports that that city alone has more than 121 miles of navigable waterways, 35 miles of ocean and bay beaches, and more than 18,600 acres of state parks and wildlife refuges.
It’s a great place to be a novice kayaker, a great place to be a calloused vet. And it matters not whether you prefer to sit when you paddle or stand.

But there’s so much more.
If you’re a trail runner, you’re looking not at one or two decent places get in some miles: we’ve come up five top-notch venues with about 100 miles of trail. A hiker? Sure, it’s great to head to the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah for some of the best hiking in the country. But if you’ve only got the day you’ve got great options locally.
We’ve got one of the biggest municipal parks in the country (7,700-acre Newport News Park, with 30 miles of trail), a state park with great hiking that you have to hike to hike (False Cape State Park), and remote paddle trails that start in the middle of town
About the only thing the area doesn’t have is a mountain — or, rather, didn’t have, until Virginia Beach rectified the situation by converting a landfill into Mount Trashmore, now a 165-acre park popular with runners. No need to drive three hours for a hill workout.
In fact, no need drive far at all with so many options out your front door.

Hiking

These nearby trail networks offer escapes ranging from a few hours to a few days. Lose yourself in the woods without losing your mind in traffic.

 

Trail running

These trails offer the opportunity for long (or short) runs on foot-friendly tread through scenic terrain: a combination that will make the miles fly by.

Paddling

Talk about variety! With so much water, both intimate and open, and so much access, it will take a lot of paddling to exhaust your options.

Stand-up paddleboard

With so many great SUP opportunities in the Virginia Beach area, these stand out because they’re on protected water, are in areas with few or no motor boats, and are frequented by other stand-up paddleboarders.