25 Free Things to Do in Virginia Beach, VA

Free Things to Do in Virginia Beach, VA

Let's embark on a journey through the free things to do in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: David Miller, Amanda White, Livia Hooper, Bessie Marino, Richard Reyes, Michele McGlynn and Justin Seay.

Capture the Wild Beauty of False Cape State Park

Mesmerizing view of the False Cape State Park
SCOTT CAMERONCC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There's nothing quite like waking up to the sound of the Atlantic Ocean, and there's no better place for it in Virginia Beach than at False Cape State Park.

The fact that it's inaccessible by car only adds to the park's allure, making it one of the most remote and pristine stretches of coastline in the area.

The trek to False Cape State Park isn't for the faint-hearted, and the absence of vehicular access means you'll need to strap on your hiking boots or hop on your bike.

But trust me, the journey is part of the experience.

With every step deeper into the park, the hum of city life fades away, replaced by the sounds of nature.

And what a nature show it is!

The park is teeming with wildlife.

Birds at the False Cape State Park
Virginia State ParksCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Herons and egrets swoop across the marshes, while dolphins often play offshore.

I've even been lucky enough to spot a sea turtle on the beach a couple of times.

It's like a slice of National Geographic right in my backyard.

Camping at False Cape State Park is a unique experience.

The campsites are primitive, with no running water or electricity, but that's what makes it special.

Sitting around a fire under the stars, with the ocean waves as your soundtrack, is an unforgettable experience.

Of course, with such a wild environment, there are a few challenges.

Bugs can be a nuisance during summer months, so insect repellent is a must.

And always keep an eye on the tides, especially if you're camping near the beach.

It's also crucial to respect the park's wildlife - remember, we're just visitors in their home.

Harp seal at the False Cape State Park
Virginia State Parks staffCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Get a Glimpse into History at the Norwegian Lady

Walking along the Virginia Beach boardwalk, I’m always struck by the silent sentinel watching over our coastline - the Norwegian Lady.

She stands there, a poignant reminder of an age-old tragedy and the enduring ties between Virginia Beach and Moss, Norway.

The statue commemorates the wreck of the Dictator, a Norwegian vessel that tragically met its end off our shore in the 1890s, at a place ominously known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic.

I often stand before the statue, imagining the bravery of our local Coast Guard and fellow townsfolk, who risked their lives to save as many of the ship's passengers as they could.

The sight of the Norwegian flag fluttering in the breeze always fills me with a sense of pride and kinship.

It is a symbol of our shared history, a testament of the courage and resilience of the people of two continents, forever bonded by a tragic incident.

But the beauty of the Norwegian Lady lies not just in her story, but in her twin.

Yes, Moss, Norway, the homeport of the ill-fated Dictator, has the same exact statue, with the same inscription, gazing out to sea.

I find this incredibly moving - two countries, separated by an ocean, yet connected by a shared history and a pair of statues that echo each other across the miles.

Conveniently located near the Naval Aviation Memorial, it's easy to pay your respects to the Norwegian Lady while also exploring a part of our proud military heritage.

Each visit offers a poignant tribute to the past, a moment to remember and value the bravery of those that risked their lives, and a reminder of our connection to a small town in Norway.

Build Sandcastles at Grommet Island Park

Entrance to the Grommet Island Park
refrina / Shutterstock.com

Isn't it lovely to find a place where not only can you enjoy the sun, surf, and sand, but also have your kids entertained all day long?

Well, that's exactly what you'll get at Grommet Island Park.

I still remember the first day I took my kids there.

Their faces lit up like never before when they saw the beach combined with a playground. Unique, isn't it?

Grommet Island Park is conveniently located on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk and 2nd Street, so it's hard to miss.

There's this massive area filled with cool beach sculptures, which my kids absolutely love.

View of the shoreline from the Grommet Island Park
Vadim 777 / Shutterstock.com

The sensory board is a hit too, allowing them to explore different textures and shapes.

One of the highlights of the park, especially for those of us who love to build sandcastles, are the raised sand tables.

They're perfect for everyone, allowing even those in wheelchairs to join in the fun.

And let's not forget about the restrooms and showers, which are just across from the park.

A quick rinse after a round of fun in the sand is definitely a plus!

As a parent, I appreciate the seating areas where I can relax and watch my kids play while admiring the surfers catching waves.

It's such a serene experience.

If you're planning on spending the whole day, you can pack your lunch, and your boogie boards too!

View of the Grommet Island Park
Sherry V Smith / Shutterstock.com

Discover Naval History at the Navy SEAL Monument

In the glow of the setting sun, the life-size statue of the Navy SEAL demolition-team swimmer, created by Seward Johnson, speaks volumes of the valor and sacrifice of our Navy SEALs.

My evening strolls often lead me to the Navy SEAL Monument, a stone's throw from the Courtyard Marriott, near 38 1/2 street.

Each visit to Navy SEAL Monument brings a lump to my throat - a silent salute to the unsung heroes who fought and fell for our country, often in the shadows - their stories never making it to the public eye.

The monument stands majestic, the embodiment of courage and patriotism, a constant reminder of the often unspoken price of freedom.

During my visits, I linger, taking in the details of the statue, the swimmer poised for action, the embodiment of readiness, strength, and commitment.

It's a site of quiet reflection. A site of gratitude. A site of honor.

Every time I pass by, I can't help but feel a profound sense of pride and respect, a wave of gratitude for those brave souls who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

Even on days when I'm just passing by, its presence is impossible to overlook.

It stands as a testament to the valor of those who served with the Navy SEALs, and a gentle reminder of their immense contribution to our country.

It's more than just a feature of our neighborhood, it's a piece of history, a tribute to heroism, and a symbol of our nation's enduring spirit.

Stroll through the Past at Naval Aviation Monument Park

View of the Naval Aviation Monument Park
Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock.com

Every day, I get the pleasure of witnessing the most moving tribute to heroism in my own backyard.

The Naval Aviation Monument Park, nestled right off the boardwalk in Virginia Beach, is home to a collection of intricately designed monuments that tell a powerful story of our local naval history.

When you step into the park, your gaze is immediately drawn to the nine bronze statues that stand proudly against the backdrop of the Atlantic.

Each one is a testament to the bravery of our naval forces, from the early pioneers to the war heroes of WWII, right up to the modern day warriors.

There's something incredibly poignant about these figures, frozen in time yet resonating with the spirit of a thousand untold tales.

Statue at the Naval Aviation Monument Park
Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock.com

One of the things I love most about the park is the depth of information available.

Each monument is accompanied by a plaque that narrates the story of heroism and patriotism displayed by the fallen heroes.

It's like getting a history lesson with every visit; a reminder of the sacrifices made for our freedom.

Even if you're not particularly into military history, you can't help but appreciate the artistry of the bronze statues.

Each one is beautifully crafted, with painstaking attention to detail.

It's clear that the creation of Naval Aviation Monument Park was a labor of love, dedicated back in 2006 to honor the heroism of our naval forces.

Whether you're a local like me, or a visitor exploring Virginia Beach, I highly recommend taking a moment to visit the Naval Aviation Monument Park.

Play Disc Golf at Munden Point Park

Every time I feel the need for a breath of fresh air, the call of Munden Point Park is hard to resist.

Nestled alongside the North Landing River, this 100-acre oasis is an embodiment of serenity and the perfect spot for anyone seeking solace in nature.

It's been my haven for many years now, a place where I unwind, breathe in the crisp, fresh air, and simply enjoy life's simple pleasures.

Munden Point Park, nestled at Virginia Beach, is a treasure trove of activities. I've spent countless hours exploring the 18-hole disc golf course.

Even though I'm no professional disc golfer, the lush, expansive course offers an exciting and unique challenge.

There's always an air of camaraderie among us players, which creates a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.

For days when I crave a little more action, the basketball courts never fail to deliver.

From pick-up games with friends to shooting hoops to let off some steam after a long day, the courts are a hub of energy and excitement.

Where Munden Point Park truly shines though, is its beautiful, tranquil picnic spots.

My family and I have shared many memorable lunches under the shade of towering trees, watching boats gently bob in the river.

The playground, undoubtedly the best in the area, is always buzzing with children's laughter, a delightful soundtrack to our picnic outings.

Roll in the Grass at Mount Trashmore Park

Spectacular view of the Mount Trashmore Park
Sherry V Smith / Shutterstock.com

There's something about the first light of day that breathes life into the hills of Mount Trashmore Park.

As the sun begins to creep over the horizon, the park comes alive with the rhythmic hum of active people.

On any given morning, you'll find me there, lacing up my running shoes for a jaunt around the lake or tackling the challenging climb to the summit of the "mount".

Mount Trashmore Park, a former landfill transformed into a beautiful recreational area, holds a unique charm that beckons to people from all walks of life.

Be it fitness buffs like me, families with young kids, or the elderly couple who take their morning walk hand in hand, there's a spot for everyone.

One can't help but marvel at the green expanse that once was a heap of trash.

The kids' playground buzzes with laughter and excitement, while the skate park nearby thrums with the energy of adrenaline-fueled teens.

A man jogging at the Mount Trashmore Park during snow
Outlook / Shutterstock.com

The view from the top of the hill, overlooking the shimmering lake, is a scene to behold.

It's a sight that never fails to make the huffing and puffing of the climb worthwhile.

The park is also host to a variety of events and festivals.

I fondly recall the Water Lantern Festival of 2023; despite the recent rain, the ground held firm, a testament to the park's excellent upkeep.

The sight of hundreds of lanterns floating on the lake under a starlit sky was nothing short of magical.

And then there are the impromptu picnics.

With plenty of tables and benches dotted around the park, it's a perfect spot for an outdoor meal. The park even boasts clean public restrooms, a rarity in most city parks.

I often end my visits with a peaceful sit-down by the lake, watching the sun set behind the hill.

As the darkness creeps in, the park quiets down, leaving behind the echoes of the day's laughter, chatter, and cheer.

Mount Trashmore Park, with its unique charm and captivating beauty, is truly a gem in the heart of Virginia Beach.

Boardwalk at the Mount Trashmore Park
Sherry V Smith / Shutterstock.com

Walk Dour Dog at Marshview Park

The sun was setting at Marshview Park, casting long shadows between the trees and painting the sky with hues of pink and orange.

This park has always been my go-to place whenever I need a moment of solitude or just want to spend some quality time with my dog.

The park is quite large with several dog parks at the front.

It's not uncommon to find myself having an entire dog park to myself during less busy hours.

My furry friend enjoys this as he can freely roam around, and I can relax knowing he's safe and contained.

For human convenience, there are trash cans, poop bag stations, and even ashtrays scattered around, making it easier to maintain cleanliness.

Marshview Park isn't just about the dog parks.

To my surprise, there are decently paved trails for anyone looking for a leisurely walk or a morning jog.

I appreciate how it gives me a chance to stretch my legs and get some fresh air.

Albeit not the most complex, the trails are still charming and offer a pleasant experience.

Moreover, there are a few small playground areas for kids to enjoy and a mountain bike trail for those seeking a bit of adventure.

Unfortunately, the fields were under construction during my most recent visit, but they seemed quite promising.

One of my favorite features of this park is the little free library located where the main trail goes past a residential development.

It’s such a thoughtful touch and a perfect opportunity to pause my walk, sit on one of the benches, and lose myself in a good book.

Catch an Event at Virginia Beach Boardwalk

Virginia Beach Boardwalk during vibrant sunrise
Chansak Joe / Shutterstock.com

Ever walked down a stretch of coast where the Atlantic Ocean crashes against the shore rhythmically, while the sun shimmers off the water?

That’s an everyday spectacle for me at the Virginia Beach Boardwalk.

Just a stone's throw from my house, this bustling boardwalk stretches for three miles and is lined with a myriad of restaurants, shops, and endless entertainment options.

Whether it’s a sunny day or a breezy evening, the boardwalk comes alive with locals and tourists alike.

What I love about it is that it's more than just a walkway - it's a slice of life from Virginia Beach.

Imagine cycling down the boardwalk while the cool sea breeze teases your hair, or simply lounging on the beach, watching the ships float by.

Bird's eye view of the Virginia Beach Boardwalk
MBK Photos / Shutterstock.com

The sand beneath your toes, the sound of the sea, and the sight of shells scattered sporadically - it's a sensory feast.

Not to forget the numerous tourist stores on the boardwalk where you can shop till you drop.

From local crafts to beachwear, there's something for everyone at Virginia Beach Boardwalk.

When hunger pangs strike, the boardwalk offers a variety of food options - be it the catch of the day from a seafood joint or a creamy ice cream cone to beat the heat.

The boardwalk is also a hub of live entertainment.

On any given day, you can catch a live band performance or try your hand at water ski boats.

And if you're lucky, you might even spot a few dolphins dancing in the distance.

Games at the Virginia Beach Boardwalk
James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com

Hop on a Prehistoric Adventure at Jerrassic Park

Ever wonder what walking with dinosaurs would feel like?

Well, look no further than Jerrassic Park, right here in Virginia Beach.

This park, located near the Military Aviation Museum, is a veritable playground for children and adults alike.

It feels like stepping into a time machine and landing back in the prehistoric era.

All around you, amid the lush greenery, are towering metal dinosaurs, each more intriguing than the last.

Walking around the park is an easy, leisurely stroll, ideal for families or even solo adventurers.

And the best part? It's all free. Yes, you read that right.

Jerrassic Park, as well as its shaded parking area, doesn't cost a penny.

It's a fantastic place for a day out, especially if you're on a budget.

Just make sure to pack a few snacks and your camera, because the photo opportunities are endless.

Each dinosaur in the park is a testament to the exceptional craftsmanship of the creators.

The attention to detail is truly remarkable, ensuring the dinosaurs appear as lifelike as possible.

As someone who's seen them up close, I can tell you that the little ones are just awestruck.

The whole setup is so well thought out that it feels like you're on a genuine prehistoric adventure.

Take a Dip at Oceanfront Beach

View of the Oceanfront Beach
Kyle J Little / Shutterstock.com

I've been fortunate to call this area home for many years now, and one of my favorite spots to soak up the local vibe is the Oceanfront Beach.

It's an early bird's paradise - I often find myself there before sunrise, camera in hand, ready to capture the breathtaking hues of dawn spreading across the horizon.

On a good day, you might even spot dolphins frolicking in the waves, providing a perfect photo op against the backdrop of the rising sun.

The impressive Neptune statue is a visual treat - I often see people, locals and tourists alike, posing for pictures with it.

The water at Oceanfront Beach isn't your typical murky beach fare, it's clear and inviting, great for a refreshing swim.

It's easy to make a day of it at the beach, with a plethora of shopping and dining options available just a stone's throw away.

Come nightfall, the area transforms.

The homeless make their presence felt, but so do the nightlife options, with clubs and concerts aplenty.

An eclectic mix of people can be seen enjoying their evening, walking, riding bikes, or just soaking in the beauty of the outdoors.

Popular with families, it's an inclusive space where everyone is welcome.

During the summers, lifeguards watch over the beach, ensuring a safe environment for all.

Each visit for me brings something new, something interesting - it's a vibrant corner of the city that never fails to surprise.

Discover History at the Grace Sherwood Statue

Just another day on N Witchduck Road, a stone's throw away from Sentara hospital, I found myself standing in front of a historical sculpture that was almost hidden from the main road.

I must tell you, it's not a sight you'd easily come across, I used the Atlas Obscura app to find it.

This sculpture is a tribute to the last woman convicted of witchcraft in our very own Princess Anne County - Grace Sherwood Statue.

It's a harsh reminder of an era when trials by water were considered lawful.

As the story goes, Grace consented to this trial, where she was put in water just over her head.

The logic was, if she sank she was innocent, but if she floated, she was a witch.

Fate had it that Grace floated and was thus convicted and imprisoned.

Grace Sherwood Statue stands as a testament to her ordeal and subsequent resilience.

Released eventually, she lived till the ripe age of 80, farming and carving a life for herself.

A letter from the governor, included on the statue, is essentially an apology to her family and a posthumous exoneration of Grace.

The statue isn't just a stone figure, it's a mirror into our county's deep history.

And while it was a struggle to locate it initially, the effort was entirely worth it.

What took me by surprise was the respect it commanded - people actually left money and coins at the statue!

Reflect at the Miyazaki Japanese Garden

Waterfall at the Miyazaki Japanese Garden
PumpkinSkyCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Who would have thought that a piece of Japan's serene beauty and tranquility could be found right here in our hometown?

The Miyazaki Japanese Garden, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of our city, is my personal sanctuary. It's a place where I often retreat to, away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

It was a beautiful, spring afternoon the last time I visited the garden.

The cherry blossoms were in full bloom, painting a picturesque view of pink and white.

Memorial at the Miyazaki Japanese Garden
PumpkinSkyCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I strolled along the neatly manicured paths of Miyazaki Japanese Garden, taking in the stunning flora and the meticulously maintained sand zen garden.

It's a shame that someone had recently disturbed the sand, but it did little to mar the overall tranquility of the place.

There was a Cherry Blossom Festival on that day, and the weather couldn't have been more perfect.

Warm breeze, fresh air, and petals dancing in the wind - it felt like a scene straight out of a movie.

I couldn't help but snap tons of pictures to capture the beauty of it all.

Beautiful red bridge at the Miyazaki Japanese Garden
PumpkinSkyCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Make a Splash at Lake Lawson

Imagine a leisure walk, with the sun setting over a beautiful lake, painting the sky with a palette full of pink, orange, and purple hues.

That's how I end my regular days at Lake Lawson, my favorite local spot, just a stone's throw away from home.

My adventure at Lake Lawson usually begins on the main trails, offering a fantastic opportunity to soak in the natural beauty.

The side trails and overlooks are even more stunning, revealing hidden angles of the lake and its surroundings.

On my last trip, I encountered our native honeysuckle for the first time in the wild.

The sight of these blossoms in their natural habitat was pure delight.

On another day, I was lucky enough to witness our native mountain laurel in full bloom, a sight that left me speechless.

Weekends are special at Lake Lawson, where I love to engage in some water fun.

The easy kayak launch sites make it a seamless experience, even for a beginner like me.

My Labrador loves it too! He has found several spots to jump in for a quick swim and cool off.

Besides the natural treasures, Lake Lawson also offers great amenities.

The lake has a large picnic area, perfect for family gatherings or a quiet lunch with a view.

For the little ones, there is a big playground to burn off energy.

And for the book lovers, there's a fun little rock library - a take one, leave one setup that I frequently contribute to and benefit from.

Observe the Wildlife at Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum

Entrance to the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum
Vadim 777 / Shutterstock.com

I've been living here for years and I still find myself drawn to the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum time and again.

The charm of the restored de Witt Cottage, each corner whispering tales from the past, never fails to captivate me.

Built in 1895 and given a new life in 1994, it's a treasure trove of wildfowl decoys, antiquities and old photographs.

The first floor, which is free to all, is a haven for art lovers with its array of beautifully carved decoys.

Climbing up to the upper gallery comes with a mere $2 donation request.

But the stairlift makes it a breeze for anyone who finds the steps a bit daunting.

This floor is like a window to the past, with an extensive collection of news clips and photographs shedding light on the history of the Virginia Beach boardwalk.

The curator is like a living encyclopedia, showering us with trivia, anecdotes and tales from the yesteryears.

I've spent hours on end listening to him, and trust me, it's never a dull moment. The gift shop is equally enticing with its variety - from books and art to jewelry and yes, more decoys!

And the best part? You get a complimentary state-branded canvas tote with every purchase.

Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum is a quiet sanctuary amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, a place where you can immerse yourself in a bygone era.

It's fascinating to dive into the history of the local hunting clubs, marvel at the decoys from different time periods and even read through a mid-century hunting diary.

Learn Stories of Heroism at the Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum

Signage of the Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum
Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock.com

It's always an adventure visiting the Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum.

Despite being a regular visitor, I always find something new and interesting every time I step through its doors.

This museum, housed in a charming white clapboard building, is a celebration of coastal rescue missions, shipwrecks, and Virginia Beach history.

Walking through the museum, you are immersed in the history of lifeguards and the heroic rescues they performed.

One of my favorite displays is the chart that meticulously catalogues all the ships that have found their watery grave off Virginia Beach's coast.

It's sobering and fascinating in equal measure.

Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum also hosts a variety of programs for children.

I remember taking my grandchildren to a program about pirates.

Their eyes lit up as they learned about the history and legends of these maritime marauders.

It was a great way for them to learn while having fun.

Go Birding at Stumpy Lake Natural Area

Trees at the Stumpy Lake Natural Area
Adonis Page / Shutterstock.com

Whenever I need a break from the city's hustle, my go-to spot is the Stumpy Lake Natural Area.

Nestled within Virginia Beach, this public park is a phenomenal place to relax and enjoy some quality family time.

Open from sunrise to sunset, it's free and meticulously maintained.

I especially love the forest walking trail, which loops twice around the park.

It's a fantastic spot to take in the local wildlife, with turtles sunbathing and blue herons flying from tree to tree - an absolute visual treat!

The lake, lined with cypress trees and never surpassing a depth of five feet, is perfect for a serene canoeing or kayaking experience.

The waves are typically small and the currents aren't overwhelming, making it an ideal spot for beginners. 

View of the Stumpy Lake Natural Area
Adonis Page / Shutterstock.com

Stumpy Lake Natural Area even has a kayak launching dock right by the parking lot for easy access.

Just remember, motorized watercraft and swimming aren't permitted here.

When I'm not out on the water, I love kicking back at one of the picnic tables (one even has a canopy!) and watching golfers enjoy their game from the nearby course.

This park is dog-friendly, but make sure your furry friend is on a leash.

Don't forget to bring some food and drinks for a lakeside picnic, and of course, your sun protection!

As a hobbyist photographer, I'm always on the lookout for the perfect shot, and the beautiful views at Stumpy Lake never disappoint.

The natural beauty of this area is truly a sight to behold.

Snake at the Stumpy Lake Natural Area
Adonis Page / Shutterstock.com

Get Your Dose of Artistry at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art

I had a day off, so I decided to spend it at one of my favorite places in the city, the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art.

There's always something new to see with their regularly changing exhibitions, boasting a variety of art forms such as paintings, sculptures, and photography.

As I stepped inside the museum, I found myself surrounded by a calming environment, beautifully maintained as the city of Virginia Beach funds its upkeep.

The museum may be small, but it's the perfect getaway on a leisurely day.

The variety of art is astounding - from paintings and prints to sculptures and videos.

Each exhibit opens up a new world of thought and creative energy.

My little ones joined me on this day and they absolutely loved the interactive activities designed for children.

It's not just a place for art enthusiasts but a space where kids could learn and have fun.

And of course, the trip wouldn't be complete without a visit to the museum's adorable gift shop.

Full of books and stickers, it's like a treasure trove for the kiddos.

One of my favorite spots in Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art is the get well room.

It's a quiet space where I love to unwind and take a breather.

After a relaxing time there, I usually head over to the bookstore and the ceramic studio, just to explore and perhaps get inspired.

Uncover the Past at First Landing Cross

View of the First Landing Cross
Sherry V Smith / Shutterstock.com

Living by the sea, it's hard to resist the pull of the ocean and the lure of the local lighthouse.

There's something special about climbing the old lighthouse at Cape Henry, even with the new active military base lighthouse nearby.

While the new one is off-limits, the original 1792 beacon welcomes climbers, offering a glimpse into history and a panoramic view of the ocean.

The beach is easily accessible, and I often find myself taking a quick dip, even when I only planned for a short visit.

Sure, you might occasionally see some trash washed ashore, but it doesn't diminish the charm of this quaint beach, nor the significance of the First Landing Cross.

Closer view of the First Landing Cross
Sherry V Smith / Shutterstock.com

First Landing Cross, a reminder of our area's history, stands tall, alongside a super cool statue.

The surprise view of the new lighthouse peeking over the hedge adds a touch of modernity to this historic site.

For history buffs or simply beach lovers, a visit to the Cape Henry Memorial is a must.

From learning about Captain Henry's first landing to the naval battle of 1781 between the French and British fleets, this place is swimming in history.

And don't forget to check out the statue of De Grasse, which is as much a part of the site's charm as the cross itself.

Inscription on the First Landing Cross
karenfoleyphotography / Shutterstock.com

Pay Tribute to Fallen Heroes at the Flame of Hope Memorial

I stumbled upon the Flame of Hope memorial during one of my routine morning jogs.

Tucked away amidst lush parkland, this majestic structure holds a special place in my heart, as it honors the POWs and MIAs from the Vietnam War.

During one of my visits, I was swept over by a wave of curiosity about its history.

The narrative of the Vietnam War isn’t an easy one to encapsulate, and the information presented at the memorial only gives you a glimpse.

So, I found myself spending countless hours on Google, piecing together the story behind the memorial.

The park that surrounds the Flame of Hope is impeccably clean and serene, save for a few areas requiring repair.

An unexpected bonus is the breathtaking view of jets taking off and landing.

Get Your Caffeine Fix at West Neck Creek Natural Area

Vibrant sunset at the West Neck Creek Natural Area
Catherine B Johnson / Shutterstock.com

What's not to love about Saturday mornings?

Especially when I get to spend them at the West Neck Creek Natural Area.

I've been exploring this local parks for years now, and it never loses its charm.

The canopy of the trees is like a natural ceiling, keeping the trails cool even on the sunniest days.

It's a much-needed reprieve from the Virginia Beach heat.

Starting with an easy, short walking trail, you can choose between paved and dirt paths.

It's always an adventure!

But be warned, some branches might need a little ducking or dodging, especially after a storm.

But don't worry, the path is quite clear.

Sometimes, I like to bring along my kids.

They always have a blast exploring the different trails, even though we sometimes get lost due to the absence of trail maps.

But hey, that's part of the fun, isn't it?

But of course, the cherry on top of every visit to West Neck Creek Natural Area is the little coffee shop just a stone's throw away from the parking lot.

It's the perfect place to relax and wrap up our morning explorations with a hot cup of coffee or a cold refreshing drink for the kids.

At West Neck Creek Natural Area, we create memories while leaving nothing but our footprints behind.

Cast a Line at Sandbridge Fishing Pier

Sandbridge Fishing Pier during sunset
Kyle J Little / Shutterstock.com

Whenever I have some free time, I find myself drawn to the Sandbridge Fishing Pier.

It's a place to relax, particularly on a sunny afternoon, where you can enjoy the tranquility only the ocean can provide.

The pier itself has a wonderful atmosphere.

I've spent countless hours there, just soaking in the sun and casting my fishing line.

I must admit, there can be times when the front of the pier gets a little crowded, especially when a group of fellow fishing enthusiasts sets up for the day.

And it's true, the best catch is usually up front.

But that's part of the charm.

View of the Sandbridge Fishing Pier
Jay Yuan / Shutterstock.com

Conversations with these passionate anglers often strike up naturally, and the friendly banter easily makes up for any inconvenience.

There's a shared sense of camaraderie, a mutual love for fishing that transcends any territorial disputes over the pier.

But it's not just the fishing that draws me to the pier.

The facilities are top-notch. $5 gets you all-day re-entry, a fair price for a day of serenity.

The place is always clean, and never too crowded.

The bathrooms are well-maintained, and the outdoor showers are a godsend on hot days.

And did I mention the picnic tables?

They're aplenty, perfect for a leisurely lunch with friends or family.

They're not covered, so you might want to pack some sunscreen, but the view is worth a little extra UV exposure.

Bird's eye view of the Sandbridge Fishing Pier
Kyle J Little / Shutterstock.com

Bring Your Favorite Read at the Tranquil Lotus Garden Park

Virginia Beach offers a myriad of exciting places to explore, and one of my favorite spots to visit is the Lotus Garden Park.

This charming park is a hidden gem, tucked away on the journey to Sandbridge Beach.

With free parking, it's a blissful little detour that never fails to brighten my day.

The park isn't massive, but it's the perfect size for a leisurely stroll.

A short, easy path takes you right up to the edge of a serene lake.

It's resplendent with blooming yellow lotus flowers, a sight that never fails to captivate my heart.

There's a quaint picnic area too, dotted with a few tables.

Lotus Garden Park is the perfect spot to settle down with a book, or perhaps sit and ponder life as you watch the sun set over the lake.

If you're lucky, you might spot a tiny frog perched on a lotus leaf, waiting patiently for an insect to pop out.

The garden is teeming with life, and the sense of tranquility it offers is truly unparalleled.

Its peak bloom period is mid-summer, and that's when it truly comes alive.

While it may not be as grand or as vast as some of the other parks around, its unique charm lies in its simplicity.

If you're looking to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature without going on a long hike, this is the perfect spot.

Have a Mundane Time at Virginia Beach Fishing Pier

Distant view of the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier
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Throwing a line from the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier has been part of my routine for years now.

This venerable wooden pier, open seasonally, offers a perfect refuge to many like me who enjoy the peace that comes along with fishing.

It's never a dull day at the pier, especially when the weather's nice, and you can observe an array of seabirds, each more amusing than the last.

But the charm of the place doesn't stop with its natural beauty.

The pier houses a tackle shop, fully stocked and comparable to any other.

It's an added convenience to not have to carry all your fishing gear from home.

Entrance to the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier
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The seafood restaurant at the pier is a hidden gem.

It's a great place to cool off after a day of fishing, serving some delightful bites that only add to your pleasant day out.

The fact that you can enjoy a day of fishing and park your car at a premium spot, all under twenty dollars, is not something you come across every day.

But what makes Virginia Beach Fishing Pier more enjoyable, is the sense of community.

The people here, they look out for each other. It's not uncommon to see fellow fishers helping each other out, sharing advice, or simply sharing a laugh.

And oh, there's an additional treat you might come across - the spectacular sight of F-18's flying by on their way to land at NAS Oceana.

It's a sight that never fails to amaze me.

Visitors fishing at the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier
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Have an Exercise at Virginia Legends Walk

View of the Virginia Legends Walk
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Just before sunrise, I often find myself taking a leisurely stroll through Virginia Legends Walk, soaking in the history of my beloved state.

The park might seem small and unassuming, but it is brimming with rich tales of the many Virginians who have left a significant mark on our state.

As the day breaks, I'm surrounded by the beautifully detailed plaques, each one a tribute to a legend.

The names inscribed on them are like a roll call of the famous people who once walked these grounds.

I'm not a history buff, but there's something fascinating about being so close to the stories of these impressive individuals.

One of the highlights of my morning routine at Virginia Legends Walk is the tranquility of the place.

It's a quiet little walk, almost hidden from the bustling city.

As the first rays of the sun touch the ground, the area is bathed in a soft glow, the park comes to life.

It's easy to get lost in time, reading about the legends of Virginia and their impact on our state.

And for those who enjoy the quieter hours, the walk is very well lit at night.

It's like walking through a quiet, open-air museum under the stars - pure magic!

No matter when you choose to visit, Virginia Legends Walk is a testament to the legends who have shaped our state, a drama of history unfolding with every step.

Final Thoughts

Virginia Beach offers an abundance of free activities that cater to different interests.

Whether you're a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or simply a person who enjoys a leisurely walk along the boardwalk, there's something here for you.

Regardless of what you choose to do, you're bound to create beautiful memories without spending a dime.

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