15 Best Things to Do in Virginia Beach, VA

Virginia Beach, VA
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Virginia Beach is an independent city found on the southeastern coast of Virginia.

It is one of the most populated cities in Virginia, with a whopping 459,470 residents per the 2020 census.

It's home to several state parks, beautiful long stretches of beaches, and military bases.

With its thriving businesses, diverse restaurants, maritime amenities, and family-friendly establishments, it’s no wonder people are flocking to stay here.

Here at the best things to do in Virginia Beach, Virginia:

Take a Stroll at the Beautiful Virginia Beach Boardwalk

King Neptune sculpture along Virginia Beach Boardwalk
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The Virginia Beach Boardwalk might be the most popular attraction in Virginia Beach.

The boardwalk stretches 3.4 miles along the ocean, surrounded by many colorful and bustling restaurants and shops.

It is the best place for a stroll while appreciating the beauty of the sea.

Aerial view of the Virginia Beach Boardwalk
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You can also find shops alongside the coast that rent out bikes and surreys, with separate bike paths available.

Don’t forget to take photos with King Neptune—the 24-foot, 12-ton statue that acts as the gatekeeper to the Neptune Festival Park.

You can find Virginia Beach Boardwalk east the coast of downtown Virginia Beach.

Cycling along the Virginia Beach Boardwalk
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Have a Quiet Day on the Sand at the Sandbridge Beach

Sunny day at Sandbridge Beach
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If you don’t like crowded and noisy areas but still want to experience the shore's beauty, the Sandbridge Beach might be the place you’re looking for.

It is found just 15 miles south of the main resort coastline of Virginia Beach and offers a different beach experience.

The Sandbridge Beach has fewer visitors and crowds than the main Virginia Beach, so expect a much quieter and more relaxing beach stay.

Sand trail leading to Sandbridge Beach
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Hotels and rental houses litter the shoreline just beyond the beach, perfect for families and beachgoers who want to spend days next to the quiet beach with the fantastic seaside view.

The Sandbridge Beach also has cooler water than the main Virginia Beach, so it’s a perfect place to be in the summer.

Aerial view of Sandbridge Beach
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Find Hidden Gems at the Virginia Beach Antique Mall

The Virginia Beach Antique Mall is Southside Virginia’s largest Antique mall, filled with old toys, trinkets, rare finds, and lots of nostalgic items.

The mall is a two-storey building with mid-century products such as vintage jewelry, arts, toys, clothing, holiday items, and more.

The first floor provides a typical antique mall experience, with well-organized shelves stacking just about anything you expect and more.

If you’re a collector or are passionate about pop culture, don’t miss the second floor, as it has vintage toys, games, books, collectibles, and merchandise, from the 1980s to 1990s.

Virginia Beach Antique Mall is located at 3900 Bonney Road.

Allot a whole day or two to look around as the place is massive.

Explore Historic Planes at the Military Aviation Museum

Wild cargo plane at the Military Aviation Museum
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The Military Aviation Museum is the place to see the world’s largest privately owned vintage WWI and WW2 military planes.

Passionate collector Gerald “Jerry” Yagen founded it in 2005 and opened it to the public in 2008.

Every individual plane in the museum has been masterfully restored to its prime using parts exclusive to the warbird; most of the planes here are still air-worthy and are even used at airshows and flight demonstrations.

Besides planes, it also has a large reference library and materials and visuals to describe and show the historical context of the multiple aircraft in the collection.

An aircraft in the Military Aviation Museum
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Although it is a self-guided museum, the guides will happily teach you everything about the planes on display.

If you're with kids, they can participate in dinosaur hunts, learn more about the history WWI and WW2 planes, and enjoy fun historical rides on vintage planes.

You can find Military Aviation Museum on Princess Anne Road.

Fighter aircraft in the Military Aviation Museum
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Take a Fun Journey to the False Cape State Park

The waters of False Cape State Park
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The False Cape State Park offers a unique park experience in Virginia Beach—it isn’t accessible by public vehicles as it is restricted, so you must bike, hike, or take a boat to get there.

The park is just south of the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and stretches 4321 acres of pristine and untouched lands.

It got its name in the 1800s as it closely resembled Cape Henry, attracting unknowing ships into shallow waters and sinking them.

Welcome sign of False Cape State Park
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Here, you can hike and bike on the beautiful trails, observe the untouched Atlanta Ocean and the coastline, take guided kayak trips, and go camping.

Be sure to visit the False Cape State Park as it provides a memorable new experience filled with adventure and discovery without your vehicles.

Visitor center of False Cape State Park
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Ride Thrilling Slides at the Ocean Breeze Waterpark

Although Virginia Beach has a stunning coastline, the beach isn’t the only place here to enjoy water activities.

The Ocean Breeze Waterpark is Virginia Beach’s largest waterpark, dating back in 1974 under a different name and with only three mat slides.

Now the waterpark has over 30 colorful and unique slides, rides, and other entertainment sections that attract visitors of all ages.

You can spend the day relaxing and having fun by floating around the lazy river, riding all the thrilling slides, and swimming through the torrents of the wave pool.

The Ocean Breeze Waterpark is located just two miles south of the main Virginia Beach

Be sure to visit for the best waterpark experience at Virginia Beach.

Discover Virginia’s Marine Life at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center

Exterior of the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
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The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is an aquarium and marine science museum or zoo focused on Virginia marine life.

It is located just south of Rudee Inlet.

It offers a huge array of themed exhibits and aquariums displayed in 800,000 US gallons of fresh and saltwater, an IMAX theater, an aviary, and a boat tour.

At this self-guided museum, you can go through multiple exhibits and see various animals, such as rare fish, frogs, snakes, komodo dragons, crocodiles, and more.

A fish in the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
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You can also try out their virtual pods, a fully immersive visual simulator that allows you to experience serene and fun adventures through other worlds.

There are also some hands-on exhibits that even little children can interact with and participate in, so it’s perfect for the family.

The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is located at 717 General Booth Boulevard.

A shark in the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
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Get Close to Nature and Hike at the First Landing State Park

Camping at the First Landing State Park
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The First Landing State Park is one of Virginia Beach’s more popular state parks, with its 1.25 miles of beach fronting Cape Henry.

It’s located at 2500 Shore Drive and is named after the historic landing of the three small ships which brought the first-ever English settlers to the Americas.

You can swim at the beautiful beach facing Cape Henry or fish, boat, or kayak at the Chesapeake Bay.

The park is an amazing camp place and offers many recreational activities.

Paddle-boarding at First Landing State Park
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You can hike through trails enjoying the beauty of nature—lagoons, swamps, and a maritime forest.

You can also camp with tents at the park or rent out their cabins and yurts.

This historic and beautiful park is an oasis from the loud crowds and bustling everyday life of urban Virginia Beach.

Your visit to the First Landing State Park is your well-deserved respite from the fast-paced urban life.

Cypress swamp at First Landing State Park
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Drink World-Class Spirits at the Tarnished Truth Distilling Co.

The Tarnished Truth Distilling Co. is a unique distillery serving the best spirits in Virginia Beach.

Two passionate Virginia natives founded it in 2013 in the basement of a premium and busy five-star hotel that once was a laundry facility.

Now it’s an elegant distillery filled with all-American brass and copper distillation equipment, offering the best and great-tasting spirits.

Visit their elegant tasting room and experience deep flavors of hand-crafted bourbons and whiskeys.

You can also buy their large selection of merchandise, from barware, hats, candles, and more.

Once you’re done, visit the popular hunt room restaurant and see the distillery at work through the huge window peeking into it.

Be sure to visit the Tarnished Truth Distilling Co. at 4200 Atlantic Avenue to taste world-class spirits.

Take Tram Tours and More at the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge

A tram along Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
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The Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is one of Virginia Beach’s beautiful natural areas and wildlife refuges.

Just south of Sandbridge Beach, the wildlife refuge was founded in 1938 to take care of the many migrating species of waterfowl.

The 9,062-acre area has a variety of habitats—marshes, dunes, freshwater, beachfrom, upland forest, and shrub-scrub, home to a multitude of animals such as birds, fish, reptiles, and mammals.

The refuge offers a plentiful amount of outdoor recreational activities perfect for a fun day surrounded by nature.

Boardwalk trail at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
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You can enjoy hiking at their beautiful trails, observe and photograph the diverse wildlife, or go biking, kayaking, and freshwater fishing.

The Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge also services tram tours throughout the year, starting at the parking lot and going through the beautiful wildlife refuge, reaching the False Cape State Park.

Their professional tram driver tells stories and information about the areas and the wildlife throughout the tram ride.

Great egret flying over Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
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Experience the Lively Virginia Beach Community at the Neptune’s Park

Musical performance at Neptune’s Park
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Neptune’s Park is one of the popular areas on the Virginia Beac and is hard to miss because of its massive statue of King Neptune.

It’s found on the Virginia Beach coastline at 31st Street and is a scenic outdoor area with bustling night entertainment.

You can watch their free summer concert series, which features eight exceptionally talented musicians and recording artists.

A gazebo at Neptune’s Park
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Other than concerts, there are also special events in the area that overlooks the beautiful Atlantic Ocean.

If you want to enjoy live music during the summer, the Neptune’s Park is the place to be.

Fall in Love with Soulful Art at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art

The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art is the best place to be for a charming and brief break from beach activities.

It is a contemporary art museum at 2200 Parks Avenue that features ever-changing art from the community.

Admission is free, but donations are highly encouraged—and you’ll probably want to after seeing the beautiful works of art in different mediums showcasing the diverse mix of cultures and ideas of the brilliant artists.

Be sure to visit the Virginia of Museum of Contemporary Art for a great deviation from the typical beach activities at Virginia Beach.

Climb the Historic Cape Henry Lighthouse

Exterior of the Historic Cape Henry Lighthouse
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The Cape Henry Lighthouse is among the interesting historical places you can visit in Virginia Beach.

It is a pair of lighthouses at Fort Story in Cape Henry, the landmass that signifies the southern access to the Chesapeake Bay.

These lighthouses have been crucial to the multitudes of ships that go through the waters nearby.

The original lighthouse is the fourth oldest lighthouse, established in 1792, while the other lighthouse, built just 350 feet from the original, was built in 1881.

Entrance to the Historic Cape Henry Lighthouse
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After passing the security checkpoint, as this place is in Fort Story, you can visit the original lighthouse for a tour; the newer second tower is not open to the public.

You can climb all 191 steps and enjoy spectacular 360-degree views from the top.

Be sure to stop by the Cape Henry Lighthouse and discover 400 years of history in Virginia Beach.

Spiral staircase in the Historic Cape Henry Lighthouse
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Get Encouragement and Enlightenment at Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment

The grounds of Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment
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Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E) is a non-profit organization aiming to improve people’s lives.

Edgar Cayce, dubbed “the father of holistic medicine” established it 80 years ago.

Today, A.RE.S' goal is to continue Cayce's way of healing through holistic means.

Here you can seek relaxation and help with your problems for you will be welcomed by experts with open minds and hearts.

Meditation garden at Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment
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You will also experience meaningful changes within yourself—the mind, body, and soul.

Stop by the Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment and take the opportunity to change your life for the better.

Take the Kids to the Hunt Club Farm

The Hunt Club Farm is a charming little farm with many family-friendly activities perfect for kids.

Located at 2388 London Bridge Road, the 30-acre farm is home friendly animals.

You can visit the petting farm area to see the pigs, cows, goats, donkeys, chickens, and more.

Check out the bird aviary to see their curious parakeets that will eat out of your hand.

There is also a shaded playground for kids to enjoy.

Finally, don’t forget to try out the Treewalk experience that comes with the petting zoo payment—it’s a climb and trek through a 10- to 12-foot-tall treehouse with secure netting under it and provides beautiful panoramic views of the park.

Final Thoughts

Virginia Beach does not disappoint with its beautiful, pristine beaches, elegant hotels, and numerous restaurants and shops that provide a wonderful vacation.

It’s also a place filled with rich history and delicate places of nature—with its parks and wildlife reserves near beaches, it’s truly a unique and rare place to be.

Use this list of the best things to do in Virginia Beach, Virginia to help you finalize your travel itinerary as you visit the bustling coastline city.

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