Nestled between Back Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, False Cape State Park is one of the last remaining undeveloped areas along the Atlantic coast. As the former home of Native Americans, the historic Wash Woods community and a Coast Guard life saving station, False Cape honors the hardy souls who made a living from the sea. The park offers an opportunity to experience nature in a unique, primitive setting. Be prepared for weather conditions. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen and insect repellent. False Cape features guided kayak trips, primitive camping, interpretive programs, hiking and biking trails, and six miles of pristine Atlantic Ocean beach. The park is accessible only by foot, bicycle, beach transport, tram or boat. There is no public vehicular access.
Camping is permitted year-round, but reservations are required. Same-day reservations aren't taken for False Cape. Campsites at the park are in four distinct areas - Barbour Hill Bay, Barbour Hill Ocean, False Cape Landing Bay and False Cape Landing Ocean - which are separated by significant distances. For camping information, contact the Customer Service Center at 1-800-933-7275.
The park accommodates tents-only primitive camping. Drinking water is available at three locations in the Barbour Hill area (one by the contact station and two in the camping areas). False Cape Landing campers must bring their own containers to transport water from the water source. Water that's adequate for washing dished but not for drinking is available in the False Cape Landing area. There are several pit (i.e., non-flushing) toilets. Open fires are not permitted; camp stoves may be used for cooking. Carry everything in and everything out.
Campers should also be aware that groups of 10 or must get a special-use permit from the refuge at least two weeks in advance of their trip. There's no vehicular access to this park. Passage by foot or bicycle only, and only during daylight hours, is allowed through the refuge. Vehicular access through the refuge and False Cape State Park is prohibited, and violators will be prosecuted for trespassing.
Distances to False Cape campsites from Little Island City Park: Little Island City Park to Barbour Hill contact station, 5.6 miles; Little Island City Park to Barbour Hill Bay or ocean sites, 6.9 miles; Little Island City Park to False Cape Landing bay sites, 8.2 miles; Little Island City Park to False Cape ocean sites, 8.4 miles
False Cape has four primitive campgrounds.
No more than four people per site are allowed at Barbour Hill Bay Side, Barbour Hill Ocean Side and False Cape Ocean Side campgrounds
Up to six people per site are allowed at False Cape Bay Side campground.
Campers may reserve as many sites as desired so long as the maximum capacity is not exceeded.
Camping at False Cape State Park is not recommended for young children, inexperienced campers, or those who need access to emergency medical care.
There is no electricity. Pit toilets only.
Campers must park at Little Island City Park (see above under "Overnight Facilities" for holidays during which access to this parking lot is limited). Campers must leave their confirmation letter on the front dashboard where it is clearly visible. If they do not, their car will be towed. On weekdays from Memorial Day through Labor Day, Little Island City Park charges Virginia Beach residents $2 a day and non-residents $4 a day. The park charges $5 on weekend days and on holidays.
Boat access: You can launch your canoe or kayak from Little Island City Park. Boat docks are provided at Barbour Hill and False Cape Landing. Only experienced boaters familiar with Back Bay, which is large, should attempt to access False Cape by boat. In particular, shifting winds can dramatically affect water depth and navigation, making it unsafe for many boaters. The park charges those unable to paddle out a fee to transport their boats out of the park.
Interior access: Cannot be used November 1 through March 31 because of wildlife management. Hikers and bikers must pay $2 or more each to travel through Back Bay Wildlife Refuge. You can only be on refuge property during daylight hours. Groups with more than 10 members must obtain a special use permit from the refuge. Fees are subject to change.
Beach trail: Plan to travel near low tide for easiest access. Hikers and bikers must pay $2 or more per person to travel through Back Bay Wildlife Refuge from April through October. You can only be on refuge property during daylight hours. These fees, which are federal, are subject to change.
Ticks and biting insects are numerous; insect repellant is a must. Also, beware of venomous eastern cottonmouth snakes.
All trash must be packed out when you leave.
Pets are allowed at False Cape but not allowed through the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Pets can be brought in only by boat to one of three landings in the park or through the North Carolina entrances.
All fees are subject to change.
Hiking, bicycle trails, self-guided trails. Five trails, including the Barbour Hill self-guided interpretive trail, total 15.3 miles. They are available for hiking, biking and exploration. The park’s location on a barrier spit allows visitors to observe beaches, dunes, maritime forests of oak and pine, wooded swamps, marshes and the bay all in one visit.
There are no designated swimming areas.
Fishing - Freshwater and saltwater fishing with a valid Virginia fishing license. Boats - Motorboats permitted.
None - no horses allowed.
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