When you hear Virginia Beach, you may think sand, ocean breeze, and seafood! It’s true, you will find these things there, but the family fun is not limited to the beach. We had a 2 day stay in the area, and were pleasantly surprised by the city of Virginia Beach and all of the family fun it has to offer.
Virginia Beach Aquarium– Explore over 800,000 gallons of one of the best aquariums and animal habitats in the country at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. Experience their hands-on exhibits, nature path, and marshlands. My kids were extremely excited to see ocean life up close. They loved walking under the big overhead tunnel aquarium, sitting by the glass as the sea turtles swam by, and touching a stingray! It was really cool to see the mix of ocean, science, and marshlands. My kids loved the variety and all the fun, interactive sections. There was so much to see and all three of my kids ages 4, 10, and 12 absolutely loved it!
The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium– an eco-friendly zip line and aerial adventure experience in the trees above the scenic Owls Creek. Kids, teens and adults can all enjoy The Adventure Park and it’s perfect for families or groups, too. Up in the trees of the Owls Creek Path you will see wooden platforms at different heights. They are connected either by zip lines that climbers “zip” across or fun challenge bridges that climbers navigate in order to get from one platform to the next. There were kids as small as my 4 year old zipping along. This looked like so much fun!
Beaches! Depending on the style of vacation you are looking for, you can visit 3 beach areas: Resort Life, Island Life, or Bay Life. They all have something great to offer!
Oceanfront Resort Beach- from 1st to 40th Streets, families can enjoy a stroll along the iconic three-mile oceanfront boardwalk, lined with hotels, museums and more. Take a surrey ride along the separate bike path that lines the boardwalk or simply build sandcastles in the sand. When strolling down the boardwalk, be sure to visit Grommet Island, the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum, the Old Coast Guard Station and King Neptune, a 34-foot-tall cast bronze statue of the mythological sea god – an ideal spot for snapping a selfie or family photo. The area also features a fishing pier, an active inlet and plenty of opportunities for biking, boating, kayaking, parasailing and paddle boarding. Local restaurants range from coastal cosmopolitan to crab-and-oyster shacks.
Chesapeake Bay Beach– For beach-goers looking for kinder, gentler waves, refuge can be found along the scenic Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Bay Beach provides ideal waters for splashing and swimming in the gentle waves. The area is home to local hotspots, oyster farms and dockside seafood restaurants that offer incredible sunset views over the Lynnhaven River Inlet. Visitors can catch not only the sunset but also the sunrise from the same shore, thanks to the beach’s ideal location. The Chesapeake Bay Beach also carries American history within the Cape Henry Lighthouse, the first lighthouse commissioned by George Washington, and First Landing State Park, where the Jamestown colonists first landed when they arrived in the New World.
Sandbridge Beach- For more secluded shores, Sandbridge Beach – nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge – provides sheer serenity. In lieu of hotels, visitors can unwind in breathtaking ocean-view rental homes or condominiums and experience an island-like lifestyle. Those craving even more of the outdoors can explore trails, marshes and the open waters of False Cape State Park and the Back Bay by taking biking or kayaking excursions through the wildlife refuge or surfing and paddle boarding lessons from local outfitters.
My family and I love the Resort style beach! It is so fun to get an ice cream cone, rent a bike, walk along the board walk, and visit the shops. I also like that it is so close to Grommet Island. This playground is truly one of a kind and we love it! It is clear that there is so much to do and see in Virginia Beach! It is great to visit in off season as well, as crowds are lighter and more sandy paradise for you.
Where to eat? There is plenty of dining variety. Whether you are looking for fast and casual, to high quality cuisine, there are no shortage of good eats in Virginia Beach! We stopped at Big Sam’s, a local favorite located right on Rudee Inlet next to the Virginia Beach Fishing Center. It is perfect for a casual, delightful breakfast, lunch or dinner. They specialize in seafood, breakfast specials, happy hour specials and appetizers, in addition to daily chalkboard specials. The fish and chips were amazing here, and my husband ate every bite of his crab cake sandwich. This is perfect because of its location, delicious food, and great prices!
Where to stay? Virginia Beach has many properties located on the beach as well as more inland. For this visit we stayed at the Founders Inn. It is a beautiful with wonderful amenities for families. Everything from award winning dining and spa to an indoor/outdoor pool, the Founders Inn is a great destination for families visiting Virginia Beach. Stay tuned for a full feature on the Founders Inn coming soon!
Virginia Beach is such a fabulous spot for families and for kids of all ages. They have a vast selection of family friendly activities in the area, on AND off season. You will certainly want to keep coming back! For more attraction info, events, and even sample itineraries, visit VisitVirginiaBeach.com. My kids are already planning their next beach trip!