ISSUE: Why Are There So Many Rules About the Beach? I Just Want to Have a Good Time at the Oceanfront!

FACT: There are rules pretty much everywhere, so it should come as no surprise that there are rules about behavior at our beaches, as well. The ultimate goal of any regulations around beach activities is to keep the area clean and safe while allowing everyone equal enjoyment of the beaches. 

​​​​NOTE: This article was added to this site in June, 2019. For COVID-19 related issues concerning the beaches, please visit Beach Reopening: Phase I

One important thing to keep in mind about our beaches: they’re all public! That means they are for everyone to use, residents and visitors alike. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that, especially for those who are fortunate enough to live or rent a property right on the waterfront. 

However, there are times when events are permitted on the beach that temporarily restrict access to a certain area – something like a music festival or a beach replenishment project. Other than that, the sand and ocean are for everyone’s enjoyment.

​There is plenty of fun to be had along our sandy shores. Here are just a few examples of safe fun for everyone:
  • Play beach volleyball
  • Fly a kite 
  • Plan a picnic
  • Build a sandcastle
  • Seek buried treasures with a metal detector
  • Float on a raft near the shore
  • Walk, run or jog
  • Hang out on the beach at night (no fires or camping, however!)
So what’s prohibited on the beaches, parks or grassy areas? There should be no:
  • Glass containers
  • Alcohol
  • Public intoxication
  • Littering
  • Fires, including bon fires and grills
  • Sleeping overnight
  • Electric or motorized vehicles, except City Manager-authorized use by disabled persons or authorized by a special event permit
  • Riding horses on the beaches or dunes unless authorized by a special event permit
Additionally, swimmers should take care to stay within 50 yards of the shore and follow the instructions of City lifeguards. It is also unsafe and unlawful to swim within 200 feet of any fishing pier. We don’t want anyone in the water getting caught in any fishing lines or getting hooked.

We are a family-friendly beach, so please keep your bathing suit on at all times. Changing in public, public nudity (including skinny dipping), obscene displays or indecent exposure are all off-limits.

​Locate a public restroom so you know where to go. They are available along the boardwalk in the resort area at 2nd, 17th, 24th, 30th and 31st streets. Public facilities are also available in the parking lots at Croatan and Sandbridge. Hours of operation and availability can change depending on the season. A complete list can be found in the sidebar to your right.

Whether you’re a year-round resident of Virginia Beach, or one of the many visitors who visits our City, our beaches are there for everyone. Just remember to respect the beach, and each other! 

Contact Information

VB411 - Beach Rules & Dog Ordinance Rumor