I lived in Norfolk, a neighboring city of Virginia Beach, for 10 months, so the visits to this beautiful city were quite frequent. I was going at least once every two weeks to VB, and the main reasons for that were the vibe of the city, the variety of fun activities and the feeling of freedom. You can imagine the great advantage that I had, living so close to an oceanfront city and having the opportunity to explore it like a local.
Virginia Beach is located on the East Coast of the United States, specifically in the state with the same name, Virginia, on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s the largest city in the state, by population.
Best things to do in Virginia Beach
1. Go to the beach
It is one of the most family-friendly beaches in the US and also holds the Guinness Book title for being the longest pleasure beach in the world. The most famous three beaches in Virginia Beach, are Chesapeake Bay Beach, Oceanfront and Sandbridge Beach. Oceanfront is the most touristy, so if you want an area a little wilder and secluded, you can opt for Sandbridge Beach, located about 30 minutes drive away to the South. Sandbridge Beach is located near the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
2. Walk along the boardwalk
With a length of 3 miles and located right next to the beach, the boardwalk is perfect for a relaxing walk or for jogging early in the morning or in the evening. It is a very attractive area and I like that they have separate routes for bicycles and pedestrians. There are many flowers, palm trees and restaurant terraces in the area. All kinds of festivals are also frequently organized during the summer and they come together with the ice cream, cotton candy, and other delights.
3. Admire the sunset or the sunrise
It is true that you won’t be able to see the sunset if you sit on the beach in Virginia Beach, but you get to see the sunrise every morning. However, even if you can’t see exactly the sun disappearing, you can still watch the beautiful colors of the sky in the evening.
4. Walk along the fishing pier
You have two options: either you just walk around and for that, you have to pay a $2 entry or you can go fishing and have to fork out $10. If you don’t want to do either one, you can just go to the souvenir shop or you can dine at the restaurant on the pier.
5. Have fun in a nightclub
The city has no shortage of nightlife, with so many pubs and clubs in the area. I went once or twice at Peabody’s and I must say that I wasn’t that much impressed by it, but I can’t say that there was no fun at all. What I don’t like in the USA regarding nightclubs is that they usually close at 2 a.m., which seems way too early in my opinion.
6. Practice water sports
This category includes countless opportunities. Blessed are those who know how to swim, and I hope to learn at a time. So, in Virginia Beach, you can swim, ride a boat, do parasailing, surf, do snorkeling, aerial twist or, why not, all of them.
7. Watch the dolphins
That is one of my favorite activities. Dolphins are crossing this area every morning and you can see them if you look closely into the distance. If you forgot your binoculars bearer home, it will be harder to spot them, but the feeling still remains very pleasant. I absolutely adore these beings and I’m sure that I’m not the only one.
8. Take a picture next to the statue of King Neptune
It’s basically the city’s symbol. You’ll find it in Neptune Park, right on the oceanfront, surrounded by many tourists. The statue is a major tourist attraction and it’s pretty impressive at first glance, being 34 feet tall and weighing 12 tons.
9. Take part in one of the festivals or summers events
2016 is the 43rd edition of the Neptune Festival and it lasts for 3 days starting on September 30. There are many live concerts along the waterfront and many places for shopping and dining on the street, so it seems to be a lot of fun.
10. Visit the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
This is a must if you are a marine life lover. It’s the largest in the state and you get to see over 300 species of sharks and giant sea turtles. The aquarium is located on General Booth Boulevard.
11. Have an ice cream with candies
There are several places of this kind in Virginia Beach, so everyone should be satisfied, no matter what his/her favorite flavor is. You can try Ben & Jerry’s, Cold Stone Creamery, Rita’s or Kohr Bros. I wish to tell you from where I got the one in the picture, but I swear I can’t remember. However, in all the locations listed, you’ll find something to your liking, whether you’re a fan of vanilla, chocolate, melon, pistachio or any other delicious flavor.
12. Admire the sport cars
Not exactly Miami Beach, but still you’ll have what to stare at in the middle of summer. I laid my eyes on the twin of Bumble Bee from the movie Transformers.
13. Visit a museum
- Military Aviation Museum – if you want to see one of the largest collections of planes participating in the first and the second world war. Many of them are still functional
Opened every day from 9- 5 p.m., except on Thanksgiving and Christmas
- Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art – features rotating exhibitions year-round
14. Rent a surrey
You will see them everywhere on Atlantic Avenue. They are fun, comfortable and a great activity to share with your friends.
15. Spend a day in a theme park
- Atlantic Fun Park – right next to the beach. They have Thrill Rides, Kids Rides, and Family Rides
- Adventure Park at the Virginia Aquarium– climbing and zip lining through majestic trees. Sounds like a lot of fun, right?
- Ocean Breeze Waterpark – with over 30 attractions and free parking
16. Visit Cape Henry Lighthouse
Why is it so special? Because it’s the oldest government lighthouse, built in America in 1791.
17. Eat or go shopping in the Town Center
They also have a sparkling fountain. Now, leaving the joke aside, there are dozens of restaurants from where to choose. My favorites are Cheesecake Factory, Safron Indian Bistro, and Royal Chocolate.
If you want to do some shopping or see a movie, you can choose Lynnhaven Mall, about 15 minutes drive away from the Town Center. For some extra fun, go to Dave & Basters, located inside the mall, where you can play all kinds of video games, basketball, roulette, watch 4D movies and simultaneously earn tickets that they convert into awards, at the end. There is a store inside where you go and choose products, based on the number of tickets collected.
18. Visit First Landing State Park
There are over 20 miles of hiking and biking trails. It is also an important historic site. First English speaking settlers stopped right here for a short time on their way to Jamestown 1607.
19. Drive on the famous Chesapeake Bridge-Tunnel
This tunnel passes beneath the Atlantic Ocean and it actually has a length of 20 miles. There are 2 tunnels and bridges, and at the ends of each tunnel are placed some man-made islands. It is an engineering miracle that left me gasping the first time when I saw it. It’s the largest complex of tunnels and bridges in the world.
How to get to Virginia Beach:
- By plane: The nearest airport is Norfolk International Airport, about 25 minutes drive away from the city center. You must know that usually, the flights are more expensive than as if you would fly to/from Washington, for example.
- By bus: If you opt for the bus, then you should know that you can get here with Greyhound. I used Greyhound when I traveled from Washington, D.C. to Norfolk and I will soon write a review to help you know more about the quality of this company.
- By train: Amtrak service is available in Virginia Beach.
- By car: There are plenty of routes that lead to VB, regardless of what part of the country you are coming from. If traveling from N-W, it is likely to have to cross the Chesapeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel, for which you will have to pay a fee. Most roads intersect with Interstate 64 which leads directly to the Virginia Beach oceanfront. There are a lot of parking lots, but you have to pay. Try to find hotel parking a little farther from the beach. We found many times with only $5/day, which is quite a convenient price.
- By boat: Approximately half of the city is occupied by water, which makes this means of transport become indispensable.
Hotels in Virginia Beach: