Coastal Virginia has followed suit and is slowly surrendering to the weeks of quarantine and remote work required to curb the rapid spread of COVID-19. For most, however, remaining indoors for hours on end wreaks havoc on productivity and overall well-being. We’ve rounded up five sanctuaries throughout the Southside and Peninsula that allow you to get a breath of fresh air while practicing safe social distancing.
Photo by Matt Haddaway
Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park
Virginia Beach’s most southeastern corner boasts miles of hiking and biking trails. Re-center with an afternoon beach walk or escape the mainland by kayaking the sparkling coastline of the refuge’s maritime forest. Pick up some new nature knowledge too by reading the many informational plaques scattered throughout the park.
Fort Monroe Beaches
Paralleling the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, Fort Monroe beaches are the ideal getaway for Southside and Peninsula visitors alike. Enjoy a breathtaking sunrise or golden sunset over the Chesapeake Bay. If your job allows you to work sans internet, you can even transform your beach chair into a temporary office space.
First Landing State Park
A recent update reassured residents that the oceanfront park is fully operable, but guests are encouraged to keep safe distances between themselves and fellow visitors. First Landing State Park has 20 miles of easy to moderate trails and nearly 2 miles of accessible Chesapeake Bay shoreline. You can walk, bike or run along the cypress swamps or launch your boat from the 64th Street ramp.
Photo by Melissa M. Stewart
Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
Want to learn more about local wildlife? Look no further than Chesapeake’s Great Dismal Swamp. The city’s 112,000 acres of forested wetlands are home to over 200 bird species and nearly 100 butterfly species. Trails and fishing spots are ready for visitors as well.
Norfolk Botanical Garden
Spring begins full bloom at Norfolk Botanical Garden, with 175 acres and 7 miles of paths for a retreat and perhaps an afternoon sojourn in the sun. Outdoor areas at the Garden remain open, in addition to the Butterfly Garden and picnic area. Wander in the woodlands and find tranquility between the trees; peep at flowers popping with colors; and find some peace of mind in a garden.
Plus: Your Backyard
If venturing into public spaces has you on edge, don’t forget that your very own backyard can help you seek respite from quarantine. Take up a new gardening venture or catch up on yard work. As another perk, staying close to home helps protect yourself and others from potential infection.