Sandy Bottom Nature Park: the outdoor getaway that has it all

View of the Sandy Bottom pond and dock.
View of the Sandy Bottom pond and dock.
Denise Penn
Denise Penn

The feeling of leaves crunching underfoot is what greets you once you fully step into Sandy Bottom Nature Park. The sun beats down relentlessly on your body as you decide which of the various trails to follow. Birds of all kinds chirp overhead, children screaming on the playground when you pass by. The Nature Center stands tall as you approach, beckoning you in to further explore what the park has to offer.

Bear Facts staff sitting in Sandy Bottom Center. (Denise Penn)

“It [the park] is a good thing for the community,” Maverick Lorminey, a sophomore athlete, stated.

Sandy Bottom Nature park is a park that has it all. This park offers camping, fishing, a dog park, trails, wonderful scenery, and plenty of wildlife. 

It has 456 acres of environment education and wildlife management facilities. Considered a success story of recreation of natural resources, the park is home to a variety of fish, like the Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, Crapple and the Catfish. If you are not into fishing though, you can reserve a site for an event or just come to camp.

Our staff polled 25 people at Bethel high school. 17 people said they would most likely go back and 6 people said they would most likely not go back. Overall a lot of people would want to go back and visit Sandy Bottoms.

Snake in a terrarium inside Sandy Bottom Nature Center. (Keira Morgan)

“I go there all the time, and I know my way around there,” said Desire DeArce, a Bethel senior who likes to walk her dog at the park. 

 For Bethel, the park has become the site for a lot of things like holding meetings and training. The cross country team uses the trails to practice, while various groups celebrate their achievements there. The park holds a lot of memories not only for Hampton residents but for the Bethel community in particular.

Pergola providing shade at Sandy Bottom Nature Park. (Denise Penn)

“[I’ve been] to Sandy Bottom to enjoy the time with the football team because we had won the state championship” Torah Branch, a Bethel sophomore and football player. “We went out to just hang around, eat hot dogs, and play [cornhole].”

Torah remarked that the mosquitoes were annoying, but said he would go back to the park for future events. 

Practicing at the park often, cross country runner Israel Hopson stated, “It’s a really crazy trail…it’s hard to run on, but it really gives you that endurance and stamina that you need.”

Teachers too have made memories at Sandy Bottom. The librarian Mr. Boyd shared that he used to take his son to the park for quality time, while Ms. Lindsey said she has visited with her family to enjoy nature.

“I enjoy walking the park,”  Mr Rotruck, a history teacher, said. “It is clean; it seems to be peaceful. If I’m by myself, [I] just relax; it’s a peaceful walk. If I’m with somebody else like my family or my wife ,we just have conversations while we walk.”

The park serves a lot of purpose to Hampton Roads and brings a lot of wildlife to our city.The scenery of a quiet, calm, peaceful resting place is exactly what someone’s needs for a nice tranquil day or weekend.

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