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False Cape Natural Area Preserve
© DCR-DNH, Gary P. Fleming

False Cape Natural Area Preserve


The area known as False Cape lies just north of the Virginia-North Carolina line and occupies one of the most pristine stretches of coastal habitat in the mid-Atlantic region. This one-by-six mile strip of land between the Atlantic Ocean and Back Bay is remote, largely undeveloped, encompasses a variety of wetland and upland habitats, and thus is a treasure of biological diversity. Maritime forest, interdunal wetlands, swamp forest and Back Bay marshes are just a few of the significant community types represented here. Also, because False Cape is near the northern limit for many southern species, it is home to many state-rare plants and animals. In all, more than two-dozen rare species have been found here. The preserve also draws an abundance of songbirds, waterfowl, and shorebirds - especially during the fall and spring migrations. Managed as a State Park since 1980, the undeveloped portions of False Cape were dedicated as a State Natural Area Preserve in 2002.

Visitor facilities at False Cape State Park include primitive campgrounds, hike/bike trails and an environmental education center. The closest parking is approximately five miles from the park/preserve, and except for limited shuttle services, access is restricted to foot, bike or boat travel. There are access fees for traveling through Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, which lies between the parking area and the park. For complete information see:
State parks website

For information on park access and recreational experiences, contact:
False Cape State Park
4001 Sandpiper Road
Virginia Beach, VA 23456
(757) 426-7128

Virginia Beach
3573 acres
Yes, with restrictions
Darren Loomis, Southeast Region Steward
Department of Conservation and Recreation
Division of Natural Heritage
Suffolk, VA
(757) 925-2318.