Best Photography Spot in Newport News, Virginia

November 29, 2021

The best photography spot for wildlife and nature in Newport News, Virginia is the area called Lion’s Bridge located in the Mariners’ Museum property. A dam that separates Lake Maury from the James River is hidden under the bridge. In October 1932, Anna Hyatt Huntington designed four stone lions which were placed on the bridge. Thus, the name of Lion’s Bridge was given. These four stone lions are located on columns on the wall of the bridge and face towards the James River.

The Mariners’ Park is 550 acres of naturally wooded land and is privately maintained. A five-mile trail called Noland Trail surrounds the Mariners’ Lake on the property. The Lion’s Bridge area provides breathtaking views of the James River as well as scenic views of Lake Maury.

Deer on Museum Drive

Museum Drive runs along the west side of the Mariners’ Museum to the Lion’s Bridge area. You may find several deer that frequently inhabit this area of the woods. The white-tailed deer is the largest mammal to be found at the Mariners’ Park. These deer are crepuscular which means the deer are active primarily during twilight.

I have observed at least two bucks and three does on several occasions this autumn along Museum Drive at the Mariner’s Museum and Park.

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) buck up close in the woods off of Museum Drive at the Mariner's Museum in Newport News, Virginia.
White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) buck up close in the woods off of Museum Drive at the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, Virginia. In Virginia white-tailed deer breeding season occurs from late September through February. During breeding season, the deer to move around a lot more and usually are highly visible in the twilight hours of the day.
White-tailed deer doe (Odocoileus virginianus) pausing in the woods on an early autumn morning at the Mariners' Museum Park in Newport News, Virginia.
White-tailed deer doe (Odocoileus virginianus) pausing while grazing in the woods on an early autumn morning. The white-tailed can affect the Ecosystem with their grazing for food. The white-tailed deer is a ruminant animal that can digest anything from moss, leaves, fungi and twigs. Also, deer can consume the buds of birch trees, maple trees, poplar trees and shrubs. When food becomes scarce in the winter, the white-tailed deer can eat hardier plants and conifers.

Best Photography Spot for Birds

Lion’s Bridge is the best photography spot for capturing images of a variety of birds in Newport News, Virginia. Along the shoreline of the James River you can see a variety of birds during the summer. These birds include osprey, bald eagle, brown pelicans, cardinals, sparrows, terns, gulls, green herons and great blue herons.

During the fall and winter, you can see buffleheads, kingfishers, warblers, wrens, hawks, pied-billed grebes as well as a variety of ducks. These birds may fly along the James River or come for a rest in Lake Maury.

Osprey, herons, pelicans and cormorants are often seen fishing in the James River right along the shoreline. Often this provides great opportunities for photographing birds in flight and/or birds catching fish. Also, song birds and kingfishers can be found in the trees and shrubbery along the shoreline.

Great blue heron (Ardea herodias) perched on a dead log along the shorline of the James River on a summer morning at Lion's Bridge in Newport News, Virginia.
Great blue heron (Ardea herodias) perched on a dead log along the shorline of the James River on a summer morning at Lion’s Bridge in Newport News, Virginia.

The shads are plentiful in this location of the James River which draws a lot of birds into the area. Birds, like osprey and pelicans, spend a lot of time fishing here. The Lion’s Bridge area provides great opportunities for photographing birds in flight and in action. Thus, I call it my best photography spot in Newport News, Virginia.


Just over a week ago, I witness hundreds of double-crested cormorants flying over the James River and landing in Lake Maury at Lion’s Bridge. This was on a very cool autumn morning. And it just proves that the location provides excellent photography opportunities.

Double crested cormorants (Nannopterum auritum) gathering in Lake Maury on a sunny autumn morning at Lion's Bridge in Newport News, Virginia.
Double crested cormorants (Nannopterum auritum) gathering in Lake Maury on a sunny autumn morning at Lion’s Bridge in Newport News, Virginia. A flock of cormorants is called a “gulp”.

Views of the James River

At Lion’s Bridge area, gorgeous views of the James River can be seen from the edge of the shoreline. The James River is the largest river in Virginia and flows from the Appalachian Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay. The shoreline here provides excellent views of various birds flying over the river as well as great opportunities for photographing the scenic James River.

Autumn sunrise on the James River at the Lion's Bridge area of the Mariners' Museum and Park in Newport News, Virginia.
Autumn sunrise on the James River at the Lion’s Bridge area of the Mariners’ Museum and Park in Newport News, Virginia. Although known for gorgeous sunsets at this location, the wide open expanse of the sky allows for colorful skies even at sunrise time.

One of the best locations to see and photograph the James River Bridge is at the Lion’s Bridge area. The James River Bridge was completed in 1928 which at that time was the longest over water bridge in the world at 4.5 miles. This bridge was reconstructed and completed in 1982 as new four lane highway with a lift bridge.

Sunrise at the James River Bridge on a cool autumn morning from the view of the Lion's Bridge area at the Mariners' Museum and Park in Newport News, Virginia.
Sunrise at the James River Bridge on a cool autumn morning from the view of the Lion’s Bridge area at the Mariners’ Museum and Park in Newport News, Virginia.

Lion’s Bridge is Best Photography Spot

Lion’s Bridge area offers so much potential for photographing wildlife, birds and landscape views of the James River and Lake Maury. Lion’s Bridge is one of my favorite Hampton Roads photography spots as well as the best photography spot in Newport News, Virginia. If you are in the area, I would highly recommend checking out this location.

Thank you for reading my Field Notes blog, and I hope you will share this post with others.

Let’s protect our wildlife and nature!

All the very best,

Lori

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4 replies to “Best Photography Spot in Newport News, Virginia

  1. Awesome post! Great information about the bridge and museum area and the birds and animals. I always learn something. LOVE the pics! Thanks for sharing so much!

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