The Commonwealth of Virginia is a treasure trove of beach destinations. From secluded spots along the shore to famous beaches that draw throngs of tourists, the state has more than enough coastline for vacationers from in and out of town. Even if your vacation plans aren’t beach-centric, the coast offers plenty of attractions and activities suitable for the entire family. So whether you’re looking for a nature escape, a fishing trip, a historic tour or need some R&R, here are the best beaches in Virginia to take your vacation up a notch. You can make your trip a breeze with hundreds of vacation rentals in Virginia to choose from.

1. Virginia Beach

With attractions such as the Virginia Beach Ocean Breeze Waterpark and the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, the Virginia Beach area is popular among families with children as a vacation destination. The three-mile boardwalk of hotels, restaurants, and shops also propels this beach to the forefront of both daytime and evening entertainment. As one of three beach hotspots in the area, and perhaps the most resort life of them all, Virginia Beach is a central hub for vacationers who enjoy attractions and activities.

2. Sandbridge Beach

If a contained resort scene isn’t as appealing as acres of natural land as far as the eye can see, head about 15 miles south of Virginia Beach to Sandbridge Beach. This is a hideaway for nature lovers. You can take in the breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean and discover diverse scenery along the coast. Explore the 130,000 or so acres of natural land nearby, and see the wildlife that roams the area. There are also marshes and open waters for fishing and kayaking.

3. Chesapeake Bay

The Chesapeake Bay is another quiet beach destination that’s the world away from nearby Virginia Beach. Its where you can see history firsthand at the Cape Henry Lighthouse, or head deep into nature at First Landing State Park. You’ll can enjoy traditional beach activities in the calm waters, or plan for a romantic evening watching the sunset over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

4. Yorktown Beach

Yorktown is quaint little beach located in a historic town. It’s where families can spend all day engaging in water recreation including swimming, boating, and fishing. Visitors can also rent kayaks and paddleboards, or take a cruise on the York River. As evening falls, riverfront venues set the scene for an engaging night out with family or friends. The Riverwalk Landing offers everything from dining on the waterfront to shopping by the sea.

5. Buckroe Beach

Buckroe Beach is a part of one of the oldest areas in the state, becoming a public use area in 1619. Since then, the site has seen the rise of a public bathhouse, dancing pavilion and amusement park, and more. Traces of history are still visible at Buckroe Beach, especially at the pavilion that has stood the test of time. Now, vacationers can catch summer concerts and events by the waterfront, or watch movies out by the shore. The beach’s eight acres are the perfect place from which to enjoy picnics, biking, sunbathing and more.

6. Assateague Island National Seashore

The most iconic aspects of this national seashore are difficult to find anywhere else. The wild ponies that roam freely across the land are stunning, as are the white sand beaches that are also perfect for camping. You can visit the Assateague Lighthouse in between bird watching and wildlife viewing or simply drink in the glory of the national seashore just a few feet from the waves.

7. First Landing State Park

As you set foot on the beaches of First Landing State Park, imagine yourself back in 1607, when the first colonists landed on shore. The state park abounds with tidbits of history and lore, including the site where Blackbeard and his band of pirates used to hide. First Landing State Park is ideal for vacationers who enjoy hiking; there are over 20 miles of trails and freshwater cypress swamps to explore.

8. Colonial Beach

If you want a true escape from the city, head to Colonial Beach. Its located in the small town of Colonial Beach, set along the Potomac River. You’ll find your share of shops, galleries, and restaurants in town. The sandy beaches are perfectly secluded for a peaceful time where you can try your hand at boating, fishing or biking.

9. Jamestown Beach

Jamestown Beach is close to Jamestown Settlement and Busch Gardens Williamsburg, but deserves credit for its own points of appeal. The beach is located right on the shore of James River, the historic body of water that led Captain John Smith to Jamestowne. But in addition to its historic significance, the beach offers plenty to do for the whole family. You and your family can fire up the grills on site and have a picnic, and spend the day playing in or near the water.

10. Chincoteague

If the name Chincoteague sounds familiar, you may remember it from the children’s book Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry. The book is an island town where wild ponies reside, which is not completely off the mark. In reality, Chincoteague is Virginia’s only resort island, the world famous for its oyster beds, incredible beauty and as the gateway to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge, which is home to the ponies, is also where you’ll find the Assateague Island National Seashore.