Virginia Coast Reserve

Barrier Islands

Visiting the Virginia Coast Reserve? Read below for VCR Barrier Island Visitation Policies.

Visiting the Brownsville Preserve? Click here for more information.

VCR Barrier Island Visitation Policies

Most Conservancy owned islands at the Virginia Coast Reserve (VCR) are open to the public for low-impact, non-commercial, recreational day use, such as hiking, bird watching, surf fishing and photography.  These include Hog, Cobb, Myrtle, Parramore, Smith, Sandy, Revels, Rogue, Godwin and Mink Islands, and the Conservancy owned portions of Metompkin and Cedar Islands. 

Continue reading for important use policies in place to protect sensitive resources on the barrier islands:

  • Pets, motorized vehicles, camping and campfires are PROHIBITED on all islands at all times.
    • Remain at the water's edge and below the high tide line at all times in all areas on the barrier islands.
    • Do not walk on or traverse upper beaches, dunes or mudflats.
    • Respect posted areas and corridors.
  • Harvesting of shellfish is prohibited in all TNC / Virginia Marine Resources Commission shellfish sanctuaries.

Little Cobb and Ship Shoal Islands are CLOSED to visitor use at all times for scientific research and safety reasons.

Download a copy of our Virginia Coast Reserve barrier islands visitation policy brochure (PDF)

VCR's barrier islands shelter more than 250 species of raptors, songbirds, and shorebirds, which find food in the adjacent bays and salt marshes.  For over four decades, VCR's migratory bird program has managed and protected coastal habitats for the bird species that depend on them for survival. 

Download a copy of our beach-nesting bird brochure (PDF) or watch the video below to learn how you can help protect VCR's beach-nesting birds.




Stay Updated

Learn about the places you love and find out how you can help by signing up for Nature eNews.

I'm already on the list Read our privacy policy

Thank you for joining our online community!

We'll be in touch soon with more Nature Conservancy news, updates, and exciting stories.