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Living at the beach has many perks that I often take for granted. In the almost eight years I’ve been living in Virginia Beach, I’ve never ventured down to Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge or False Cape State Park, which is why I made it one of my 2012 resolutions to get my bike down there and go for a ride.

For those of you not from around here, Back Bay is a 9,250-acre wildlife refuge situated on a narrow spit of land bordered on either side by the Atlantic Ocean and the Currituck Sound. False Cape State Park — accessible only on foot, by bicycle or via boat — borders Back Bay to the south and forms the adjoining border of Virginia with North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

It was a gorgeous day — perfect for breaking in my new Electra cruiser and spending some quality time with my parents while they were in town. We spent hours pedaling along the gravel road, taking in the sights, and snapping photos. When gravel turned to sand, we hiked up and over a gigantic sand dune, landing ourselves on a breathtaking beach, where wild waves and a sandy shore stretched for miles and miles with nary a soul in sight.

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