Tidewater’s Hidden Gem

TOUR NAME: Tidewater’s Hidden Gem 

DATE: Saturday, May 27, 2023
Rain date: Sunday, May 28, 2023 (save both dates)

DURATION (ROUND TRIP): 9:00 am – 2:00 pm (traffic dependent; flexible return time) 

Please arrive 15-30 min before departure to board the bus. (REI 350 Independence Blvd, Virginia Beach)

PRICE: $40 per person (5 hour tour; small nature journal included) 

DESCRIPTION: Lake Lawson/Lake Smith Park is a beautiful nature park; a hidden gem! While walking the extensive trail system, we will learn to identify native trees and shrubs using leaf and bark characteristics, and perhaps see breeding bird species, reptiles, and insects. Participants will view a large expanse of mountain laurel, rare in this area. We will also talk about the various invasive plant species found there and techniques to control them. Aspects of park history will also be discussed. Near the end of the tour will have a picnic lunch on the observation platform by the lake.

About your expert guide: Allen Carter received his bachelors degree in wildlife science from the University of Maine and his masters degree in forest management from Duke University.  In 1980 he began work at Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge as refuge forester, and later became fire management officer for the Northeast Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  After retiring in 2011, Allen worked as a horticulturist for Norfolk Botanical Gardens from 2016 to 2021.  He has most recently worked as a seasonal park ranger at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge.  Allen is a certified arborist, horticulturist, and Virginia Master Naturalist.  He enjoys nature study, hiking, reading, gardening, family time, and travel to interesting places.

– Air conditioned/heated new vehicle
– Transportation
– expert guide Allen Carter (see bio above)
– a small nature journal (brown natural color; blank pages, no lines)
– All fees (including admission/permit/tolls, excluding food/drink.
– Expert pre-planning services

Pack your lunch (we have coolers on board the bus and picnic blankets and folding chairs)
– Your digital/printed ticket
– Printed/signed waiver (please print at home, sign and bring to board the bus)
– Photo ID
– Cash (it is customary to tip 15%+ to the guide)
– Water bottle, sunscreen, sunhat if it is a sunny day
– insect repellant (for forested tours); it is advised that you wear long pants and tuck them into knee high light colored socks to protect yourself from ticks. Always be sure to “do a tick check” when you return home.
– Rain jacket/umbrella if needed (we go in light rain)
– Closed-toed/tennis shoes/boots (if could be muddy at the refuge if it rained the day before)
Snacks for your pocket when walking outdoors (please no eating on the bus). Since the picnic lunch will be at the end of the tour, you may need these pocket snacks while walking. 
– $20 cash if you’d like to purchase The Nature Bus t-shirt! You’ll love it. Can only be purchased on board the bus. 

Important NOTES  “Know before you go” ~

*We go “light rain” or shine. See our weather policy FAQs  page. Please dress for the weather. In the case of light rain, we simply take cover and wait it out. In the case of very heavy rain and wind, we move the experience to our rain-date. Be sure both dates will work for you (the original date and the rain-date). ALL SALES FINAL/NO REFUNDS

*PLEASE: Eating, drinking, chewing gum is not permitted on the bus. Please arrive 15-30 min before departure. Save time at check-in by bringing your signed waiver. No restroom on board the bus; arrive early enough to use the rr at REI/Fresh Market grocery store. We will make rr stops throughout the tour. We cannot wait for latecomers because we must adhere to our planned itinerary. Therefore we must pull away at the exact departure time. We cannot receive telephone/text calls to let us know your are running late because we will driving and using the phone as a GPS.
*ALL OUR TOURS INVOLVE WALKING; GUESTS SHOULD EXPECT VARYING DEGREES OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. Due to lack of storage space, the bus cannot accommodate wheelchairs or walkers. TICKETS ARE NOT REFUNDABLE.

COVID SAFETY MEASURES: We care about the health and safety of those participating in our nature experiences. The bus is sanitized between each tour. Feel free to open your window if you prefer. Please stay home if you are not feeling well or have a fever. Federal Law no longer “requires” masks be worn on airplanes, trains and buses, however we strongly recommend them in the closed in space.  It is optional and encouraged to wear your mask while inside of the bus; of course it can be removed when outdoors.

    • We look forward to seeing you on the tour! Check out all of the 5-star reviews, so you will be super confident that you will have an amazing experience! You can read these reviews at TheNatureBus.com > click the REVIEWS tab. See you soon!
  • Please help fill up this tour! Share on your social media and with everyone you know! We need a minimum of 10 seats, maximum of 16 seats for each tour to go. Spread the word!
  • If you have any questions, please text/call the owner. Suzanne 757-288-9595


Details Price Qty
show details + $40.00 (USD)  


350 Independence Boulevard, Virginia Beach, Virginia, 23462, United States

  • May 27, 2023
    9:00 am - 2:00 pm