15 Best Things to Do in Hampton Roads

15 Best Things to Do in Hampton Roads

What better place to vacation than a place filled with water bodies and landmasses flowing around? Welcome to Hampton Roads, which is one of the world's largest natural harbors.

Incorporating the waters of as many as three rivers, including the Elizabeth, the Nansemond, and the James, alongside many smaller rivers, it is one of the best harbors in all of USA.

The landmass consists of cities, counties and towns located and distributed among the various water bodies. Moreover, it is very well developed and the metropolitan cities are all great places to visit.

Take a cab ride across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel

Chesapeake Bay Bridge tunnel
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Imagine a scene where you're zooming past your cab across a 28 kilometers long bridge tunnel surrounded by water on both sides.

This is exactly what you will experience once you take a ride down this bridge with vast blue waters spread all around wherever you set eyes. It's definitely a breathtaking view.

There's also a huge crowd and rush of vehicles most times, but you will still enjoy the ride. There are also walkways and piers constructed on sides where pedestrians can stand, click photos and just revel in the beautiful view.

Learn about aircraft at the Virginia Air and Space Center

Virginia Air and Space Center
Balon Greyjoy, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

A wonderful museum to take kids along is this museum that focuses on aircrafts and aeronautics. It is an educational facility and provides great information about various aircrafts and spaceships. There is also an IMAX digital theater where you can enjoy a show.

One of the main exhibits that is displayed here include the Apollo 12 command module, the Yankee clipper. Other than this many famous aircrafts are also placed here, including the Wright flyer replica, Grumman A-6 intruder nose section, a Pitts special, Piper J-3 club aircraft and many more.

There is also a separate exhibition area for space and space crafts called the space gallery. You can look at different replicas and space crafts here. And there are also rocks from Mars and Moon placed here.

There is also a very fine and very informational exhibit which is related to the solar system which showcases all the models of the planets in different sizes. Educational summer camps are also hosted for children here.

Pet animals at the Bluebird Gap farm

Bluebird Gap farm
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This interesting petting zoo and public City Park is located on the Pine Chapel road. It is literally in the shape of a farm and features all kinds of farm animals and fowl, alongside some wild animals, which are commonly found in Virginia. You are allowed to pet the animals and you can also buy food to be fed to them.

Bluebird Gap farm animals
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It is spread over 60 acres and has other recreation areas too, like a picnic area and a playground along with a small and beautiful lake. While at it, also you do not forget to take a walk on the Azalea trail, where you can find many beautiful Azaleas is growing.

These are pretty pink flowers, which bloom during the spring and weave their way through the walking trail in the most fascinating manner.

Bluebird Gap farm play area
Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

There is also the old family cemetery located here. It is also important historically since it is one of the city's oldest parks, the animals that you can find here include domesticated rabbits, deer, cattle, goats, sheep, and some of the poultry birds including Indian peafowl and the white peacock alongside turkeys.

If you're visiting during late June, July or early August, make sure that you visit on Fridays during the morning at 11, when an event called storytelling in the park occurs.

This is a very cute and fun performance, which is staged on a handheld theatrical stage and favorite Bedtime Stories are acted out. Sometimes puppets are also used for enhancing the performances.

View some war exhibits at the Virginia War Museum

Located in the Huntington Park area, this museum honors the American military history from as back as 1775 till today. The main collection here focuses on artifacts and exhibits from the First and Second World Wars.

The museum is also well organized and arranged very well in a chronological manner starting from the American Revolutionary War, which then follows up to the American Civil War, followed by the Philippine American War, the World War One, the world war two, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and at last at the war in Afghanistan.

So, if you are a history buff, you have definitely found your paradise!

There are also various different galleries including a weapons gallery, poster gallery and more. They also have a large collection of propellers which is a special kind of aircrafts alongside many pieces of artillery. A small resource base libraries also available on site.

Walk in tour of the Jay Thomas Newsome House Museum and Cultural Center

A famous historical home at Newport News, this two and a half story house is a very famous and important museum and cultural center. Its architecture is asymmetric and it has a Queen Anne style dwelling to it.

With an irregularly composed roof, a front Palladian window and a corner tower as some of its main features, it is sure to enthrall you with its beautiful architecture.

It was the residence of Jay Thomas Newsome, a famous African American attorney and journalist from the period of 1906 to 1942.

Today the house has been a proud member of the National Register of Historic Places since 1990. It is a big part of history and culture of Virginia.

The museum features many different art pieces related to the African American theme, alongside some exhibits exploring the history and culture of Virginia.

Cycling at the Buckroe Beach and Park

Buckroe Beach and Park
Sherry V Smith / shutterstock.com

A lovely family friendly Park, the Buckroe Park is a beautiful place to visit at the Chesapeake Bay. With many acres of Sandy lands and grasses it is definitely worth a visit.

They also host outdoor movies on Tuesday nights that you can catch up on. There’s also the playground, cycling paths and walking trails for some much needed outdoor action.

Buckroe Beach and Park
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And if you are looking for more thrill then try the water sports like kayaking and paddle boating which can also be carried out here.

The picnic pavilions are very well kept. And for a small fee, you can have a great grill and barbecue session. It can thus be the perfect way to end that weekend trip with friends.

Go to the Casemate Museum of Fort Monroe

Casemate Museum of Fort Monroe
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Focusing on the history of the magnificent fortress, it's one of the most informational museums of this area.

If you are a lover of history, and the military and also love visiting old buildings and getting lost in general, then this place is a definite visit and recommendation for you.

Casemate Museum of Fort Monroe Exterior
Sherry V Smith / shutterstock.com

The artifacts and displays are very well kept from the ancient times. It is essentially a self-guided tour that trails through the museum, then out to the moat followed by a visit to the defensive walls and more.

If you're going in as a huge group of 10 people or more you can also opt for the guided tours.

Hiking at the Sandy Bottom Nature Park

Sandy bottom Nature Park
Jan Rehschuh, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Spread over a huge area of 456 acres, this Nature Park has so many different geological features in it, including wetlands, woodlands, and more which makes it the perfect spot for hiking. The trails are muddy, and having beautiful views and great for hiking and cycling both.

You can spot many animals like the white tailed deer, frogs, turtles, salamander, and even one of the rare and endangered canebrake rattlesnakes.

Fishing is also allowed and you can rent a boat to go fishing for many local species like the crappie, the catfish, the bass and the bluegill. The water is crystal clear and you can even view the bottom part of the lake through it.

Built originally in 1920 is this wonderful carousel having hand painted that were imported from Germany. All these 48 horses are made from hard wood, but painted in beautiful and vibrant colors.

It is open for adults and children both and this is one ride that you would definitely want to take.
The oil paintings and the mirrors that had been used for decorating the carousel originally, are still intact.

While the rest has been renovated beautifully it still has that aesthetic old school appeal to it. Located in the Carousel Park, in the downtown waterfront area of Hampton, make sure that you do give this ride a big fat thumbs.

Beer tasting at the St. George Brewing Company

Featuring the Cross of St. George, who was a famous third century Roman soldier and was a famous mythological character who slayed dragons. This beer is similarly sure to slay your taste buds! With as many as 22 different varieties of ale and stout, the beer here is definitely worth a try.

Tasting tours are also available of the company if you want, which will be followed by a visit to the wonderful tasting room. These tours are given by the owner or his son himself.

Moreover, if you are lucky enough to visit on Tuesdays and Friday nights, they also arrange for a food truck where you can complement your beers with some hot burritos or tacos.

Try gaming at Rosie’s gaming Emporium

With video slot machines and horse race betting available alongside the casino tables, this is one gaming night that you won't forget.

The craft beer is also great at this place if you want to pair it up as you go gambling. Don't forget to try your luck out at one of the many video game arcades too.

Attend a concert at the Mill Point Park

It's a small park and what makes it special is that it is located right next to the water side and gives a great view. It is also one of the many hotspots of the areas and many local concerts and performances are hosted here including festivals and other events from time to time.

The playgrounds and lush green lawns are great for your kids to enjoy a game of catch as you relax and look on.

Most of the festivals focus on a variety of different themes like, The Jamaican festival or the reggae festival dedicated to music where amazing live music is also played which converts the atmosphere into a melodious confluence.

Golfing on The Woodlands golf course

This golf course will especially be liked by you if you are an amateur and a pro at playing golf. One of the oldest courses of the USA and loved by locals and visitors alike, it is spread over various different types of landforms including water on 11 of the total holes.

The grass grown on various patches are also different, including some batches with bentgrass and some with rough Bermuda grass.

The clubhouse on site has a great grill restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch both. A quaint pro shop selling golf accessories and gear is also present.

Relax on the beach at Grandview Nature Preserve

Grandview Nature Preserve
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The beach here is very clean and pristine and it is one of the hidden gems of Hampton Roads. You can find lovely seashells in plenty and go shell hunting with your daughter and sons. There is also a hiking trail across the marshlands where you can also find ruins of the light house.

Fishing is also allowed from the shores provided you have a license. Canoeing and hiking are other outdoor activities that you would enjoy in the wetlands.

Play an exciting game of paintball at Bethel paintball

Paintballing is one of the most fun sports out there that you should definitely experience at least once in a lifetime. Bethel paintballs make sure that you get the thrill without any compromise on safety and standards.

They offer various options depending on how much pain you can endure, including the PeeWee paintball that doesn't hurt or a low impact one or the traditional one, so choose accordingly!