Croatan Beach is three quarters of a mile long and stretches from Rudee Inlet to Camp Pendleton. With 2 designated surfing areas – one at the north beginning at Rudee Inlet and one at the south at Camp Pendleton – it has long been a favorite of local surfers. Lifeguard services are available in season for swimmers and surfers alike, and are situated along the entire beach front. This expanded coverage is due in part through an ATV vehicle donated by the residents of Croatan.
Because of the popularity of the beach, The City of Virginia Beach operates a large parking lot year-round adjacent to Camp Pendleton. Some additional parking is available in the neighborhood, and parking hours are clearly marked. Due to the amount of traffic through the neighborhood, speed limits are strictly enforced. Violators of the posted speed limit are susceptible to $200 fines.
Historical views of Croatan Shoreline can be found here Croatan Shoreline History.
The City of Virginia Beach is currently conducting an assessment of the Croatan Beach Shoreline The primary objective of the project is to determine whether the current level of protection provided
by the beach and dune to upland structures and infrastructure meets adopted criteria to determine whether inlet, dune, and beach management practices have affected the
level of protection, and to determine if any changes may be needed to these practices to maintain a sufficient level of protection. The assessment report can be found here.
To the immediate south of Croatan Beach, adjacent to the Municipal Parking Lot are two secure military bases – Camp Pendleton and the Dam Neck Amphibious Base. Both are patrolled by serious armed security officers. These officers prohibit unauthorized entry to the bases. THIS INCLUDES SURFING SOUTH OF THE MUNICIPAL PARKING LOT! Anyone found recreating south of the Croatan Beach is subject to arrest and prosecution by the City, State and Federal authorities.
In addition, a rifle range exists adjacent to the parking lot behind the fence. Often the range is in use with the direction of fire being towards the ocean. When firing is in progress, a red flag flies to warn all away from the range; and the lot is closed. Please be aware of these conditions for your own safety.
For the protection of swimmers, surfing is restricted to the surfing areas during certain hours.