Water Play

Water is a defining element of the City of Norfolk, and access to that water, natural or man-made, should be through methods that are safe, sustainable, and environmentally responsible. Norfolk believes in providing opportunities for every resident to learn to have safe and easy access to that water. Below is a summary of water access locations:

  • Beaches and access points spreadsheet (PDF) linked to Google Earth/Map
    • Norfolk has 7.3 miles of public beaches for visitors to play in the sun, sand, and surf! Located along the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, the calmer waters and ample free parking, make Norfolk's beaches ideal for a family day at the beach. Norfolk beach lifeguards protect swimmers in three park beaches daily Memorial Day through Labor Day, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    • Kayak and boat put-ins
      • One of the best ways to explore our waterways and observe our native wildlife is by grabbing a paddle and a kayak. Recreation, Parks, and Open Space (RPOS) Lifeguards conduct group kayaking and canoeing, but for those who wish to explore on their own, Norfolk has 13 existing official kayak/canoe access locations located throughout the city. Norfolk Lifeguards conduct group kayaking and canoeing for summer camp children each summer in Pretty Lake and Willoughby Bay. Adults and teens get the chance to join the fun with group paddles in September and October.
    • Fishing and crabbing locations
      • Fishing is another popular water activity, whether at points along the 7.3 miles of public beaches in Ocean View or inlets along the Lafayette River. The Lavalette Fishing Pier and Kayak Launch has recently been completed and will serve as an education opportunity as well, as its location is also the site of successful oyster restoration efforts by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and signage on site will bring awareness of those activities to visitors.
    • Indoor/Outdoor Pool locations and descriptions
      • Norfolk has four indoor pools, three outdoor pools, and three splash pads throughout the city. Hours vary by location and season.
    • Aquatics classes
      • Norfolk's Division of Aquatics offers a variety of fee-based courses to introduce you to swimming, improve your swimming skills, or enhance your aquatic workout. American Red Cross Learn to Swim programs, for swimmers six months and up, and Water Fitness classes, are found in the quarterly Good Times magazine.
  • Public School Children Lessons

    Norfolk Public Schools students are brought to pools during the school year for lessons. Similarly, summer camp participants are taught through the Summer Plunge program.

    • Information on Summer Splash
      • Norfolk residents age 5 to 18 are eligible for this free water and safety program. The program runs all summer long at several pools throughout the city. Hours vary by location. Lessons are taught by American Red Cross certified instructors.