Can you sleep on Virginia Beach?

Virginia Beach is a popular beach destination located in the southeastern part of Virginia. With over 35 miles of beautiful sandy beaches, it’s no wonder why many visitors flock there during the warmer months. One of the most frequently asked questions is: can you actually sleep on Virginia Beach overnight?

Is it Legal to Sleep on Virginia Beach Overnight?

The short answer is yes, it is legal to sleep on Virginia Beach overnight in designated areas. However, there are some important rules and regulations to keep in mind.

Virginia Beach has a 10pm-6am beach curfew for the main resort area beaches from 40th Street to Rudee Inlet. During these hours, people are prohibited from sleeping on the beach. This curfew is strictly enforced by police with violators facing possible fines or arrest.

There are certain areas of Virginia Beach where overnight sleeping is allowed. Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge allows overnight camping with a permit. False Cape State Park also allows backcountry camping with a permit. At these designated campgrounds, you can pitch a tent and sleep near the beach overnight.

For most areas of Virginia Beach, sleeping overnight outside of designated campsites is prohibited. The city ordinance bans activities like sleeping, camping, or living on the beach between midnight – 6am. So you cannot just set up wherever you’d like after dark.

Reasons for Beach Sleeping Restrictions

There are a few reasons why Virginia Beach restricts sleeping on most sections of the beach overnight:

  • Prevent camping/living on the beach – The curfews deter people from setting up tents and camping on the beach long-term.
  • Public safety – Having people sleeping openly makes it harder for police to patrol and see criminal activity.
  • Health concerns – Trash, waste, and contamination can occur if too many people camp out.
  • Liability – The city wants to prevent injuries or crises occurring when there is limited supervision overnight.

By limiting overnight sleeping to designated campsites, Virginia Beach can better maintain public safety, health standards, and protect the environment.

Tips for Legally Sleeping on Virginia Beach

If you want to legally enjoy an overnight sleep session on Virginia Beach, here are some tips:

  • Obtain an overnight camping permit for Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge or False Cape State Park. This allows legal beachfront camping in those areas.
  • Stay at a local hotel or vacation rental with rooms overlooking the beach. This gives you a private vantage point.
  • Get up early and watch the sunrise. Arrive at the beach before 6am and nap there until sunrise. Pack up before the curfew hits.
  • Take a late evening nap at the beach but set an alarm to leave before midnight when curfews begin.

Best Practices for Beach Sleeping

If you do plan to nap or sleep overnight at Virginia Beach, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Protect yourself from the elements by bundling up in layers. Bring wind protection, blankets, and warm clothes for cold overnight temps.
  • Use a sleeping pad or air mattress to soften the hard ground. Sleeping directly in the sand can be uncomfortable.
  • Pack snacks and water to keep your energy and hydration up.
  • Apply bug spray to prevent sand flea and mosquito bites.
  • Bring eye masks and ear plugs if noise or light disrupt your sleep.
  • Keep valuables out of sight or locked safely in your car.
  • Let friends/family know where you are in case of emergencies.
  • Check tide schedules so you don’t get caught off guard by high tides or storm surges.

Choosing the Best Beach Spot

Not all areas of Virginia Beach are ideal for sleeping overnight. Here are some things to consider when picking a beach spot:

  • Privacy – Look for beaches set back from busy roads or boardwalks.
  • Noise – Avoid loud sections with bars, live music, etc that could disrupt sleep.
  • Lighting – Light pollution near resorts or parking lots can make sleeping difficult.
  • Tides – Pick areas less prone to high tides or erosion based on tide charts.
  • Weather – Check forecasts for storms, heavy winds, or rain before choosing your spot.
  • Comfort – Test sand and ground conditions to ensure it’s not overly rocky or bumpy.

Scout potential spots during the day to find your ideal sleeping location. Protected coves, dune areas, and beaches by nature preserves are often good bets.

Is Sleeping on the Beach Comfortable?

Sleeping on the beach may sound idyllic, but is it actually comfortable? Here are some pros and cons of snoozing on the sand:


  • Soothing waves provide “white noise” which some find calming.
  • No need for alarm clock, the sun will wake you.
  • Stars and moonlight provide dim ambient light.
  • Sea breeze keeps the air cooler at night.
  • Sand molds to the shape of your body.
  • Peaceful nature sounds of the ocean and wildlife.


  • Sand sticks to skin, hair, clothes making you feel gritty.
  • Hard ground can cause soreness without padding.
  • Cold ocean winds or chilly overnight temps may require bundling up.
  • Bug bites from sand fleas or mosquitoes can be annoying and itchy.
  • Bright moonlight or nearby lights may disrupt sleep.
  • Noise from high tides, early morning beachgoers, vehicles or wildlife could disturb sleep.

The beach atmosphere can promote rest but actually getting comfortable enough to sleep may require preparations like warm clothes, eye masks, ear plugs, and sleeping pads. Otherwise sand infiltrating your sleeping bag and achy joints from firm ground may hinder quality sleep.

Potential Downsides of Beach Sleeping

Before settling in for a beach snooze, weigh these potential downsides:

  • Safety risks – At night the beach is not supervised. You’re isolated from emergency help.
  • Environmental factors – Storms, tides, winds, and critters can quickly create hazardous conditions.
  • Health hazards – Catching colds from cold, wet night weather is a real possibility.
  • Sunburns – It’s easy to snooze too long and get burned after sunrise.
  • Ordinances – Curfews prohibiting sleeping are enforceable by law in many beach areas overnight.
  • Illness – Sand contains bacteria that could cause sickness if ingested from skin, food, eyes, etc.

While the concept of sleeping under the stars on the beach is nice, the reality poses many risks and hazards to consider before choosing to make it an overnight bedroom.


At the end of the day, is sleeping on the beach in Virginia Beach possible? In limited designated areas, yes. For most Virginia Beach shoreline, however, overnight sleeping is prohibited and actively discouraged. While beach naps are fine, settling in to sleep all night requires careful preparation, caution, and acceptance of notable downsides. For many visitors, enjoying the scenic shoreline by day and cozying up in local hotels, vacation rentals or campsites by night may be the wisest and most enjoyable Virginia Beach experience.