Bethel Beach Natural Area Preserve contains sandy shoreline, low dune, and salt marsh habitats. Wind and water move sand creating an ever changing
habitat on the narrow beach. Portions of the shoreline, especially the sand spit at the southern end of the preserve, are constantly being shaped by
storms and strong lower Chesapeake Bay currents. Over the course of a season, islands can be created and reabsorbed and different maritime landforms,
like low overwash flats and shallow channels, appear and disappear. Rare marsh and colonial nesting birds as well as the globally rare northeastern
beach tiger beetle (Cicindela dorsalis dorsalis) and
a globally rare beach plant, sea-beach knotweed (Polygonum glaucum), are protected on the property.
VISITATION: Bethel Beach Natural Area Preserve is open to the public. Facilities are limited to a gravel parking area; there are no restrooms or trash receptacles so please plan your trip accordingly. Dogs must be on-leash while at the preserve. The preserve supports pristine sandy shorelines that provide habitat for the federally threatened northeastern beach tiger beetle and nesting sites for rare shore birds. To protect these species and their significant habitats, designated sections of preserve shorelines may be closed during specific periods of the year to both land (walking) and water (boat landing) access. Thank you for your help in conserving some of Virginia's rarest wildlife by observing the posted seasonal closings of designated shorelines.