Welcome, fellow explorers!
Living in Virginia Beach, I've spent countless hours strolling along the sandy shores, savoring the mesmerizing sunsets, and immersing myself in the vibrant culture that infuses every corner of this charming coastal city.
I remember when I first set foot here, the lively energy and the intoxicating blend of city life intermingled with the rustic allure of the beach had me instantly hooked.
Ever since then, I've continuously discovered new wonders that make Virginia Beach a truly unique destination to unwind, relax and create unforgettable memories.
Now, I'm excited to take you on a virtual journey through my hometown, sharing my top picks for the absolute best things to do in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Buckle up, it's going to be a thrilling ride!
Our aim is not just to guide you to popular places but to encourage you to venture out and experience the city for yourself.
Immerse in the Unspoiled Beauty of False Cape State Park
Ever since I moved to the neighborhood, False Cape State Park has been my refuge and sanctuary.
Truly untouched by man, the park offers a wealth of wilderness, teeming with life and breathtaking vistas.
The tranquillity of this place is unlike any other, with only the sounds of nature to accompany you on your journey.
It's a unique experience, leaving the car behind and either hiking or biking to reach the False Cape State Park.
It keeps the place truly secluded, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
The park's beaches are some of the best I've seen, often deserted, even in the height of summer.
It's an exhilarating experience to have an entire beach to oneself, watching as the waves lap up against the pristine sand.
The wildlife here is rich and diverse; it's not uncommon to spot dolphins, sea turtles, and a myriad of different birds.
Camping here is a special experience too.
While the sites are primitive, they're well-kept and comfortable.
Waking with the sunrise over the water or marshes is an experience that you can't put a price on.
It's a humbling experience, truly connecting with nature.
Sure, the park has its challenges.
You won't be able to drive to it, and the bugs can be a nuisance in the summer months.
But trust me when I say that the journey is worth every step. Just make sure you come prepared.
Carry plenty of water, especially if you're hiking or biking, and don't forget your insect repellent.
My favorite tip to share is to always be aware of the tides when camping.
It might seem like the perfect spot to camp on the beach, but the tide can come in quickly.
And, of course, respect the wildlife. They're the true locals here.
Learn Local History at the Military Aviation Museum
Every so often, I find myself wandering to the Military Aviation Museum to marvel at the vintage WWI & WWII military planes.
The sight of these historic aircraft, many still in flying shape, never fails to inspire awe.
The museum isn't just a showroom; it's a hangar that breathes life into history.
From the International hangar to the German World War II section, each exhibit is a time capsule.
The staff and volunteers at Military Aviation Museum are both helpful and well-informed.
On my numerous visits, they've been eager to answer questions and share fascinating nuggets of information.
One of the things that I particularly enjoy about the museum is watching the planes take off.
It's a surreal experience to see these vintage planes, relics of a bygone era, soaring into the sky.
On my last visit, I discovered that with advance booking, one could actually take a ride in one of these restored planes.
Talk about an adrenaline rush! I can't wait for my next visit when I finally get to take to the skies.
A little word of advice if you're planning a visit in the summer, it can get quite hot.
So, remember to bring some water and maybe even a fan.
Have a Retreat at Pleasure House Point Natural Area
I discovered Pleasure House Point Natural Area a few years ago, and I have been a regular visitor ever since.
Nestled on 118 acres of marshlands and rich wildlife habitats, this natural spot has become my go-to place for some relaxed recreation.
My typical day at the Pleasure House Point Natural Area starts with a relaxed stroll through its numerous paths.
These trails are not just mere paths; every turn offers a unique encounter with nature, be it a remarkable view of the wetlands or a chance sighting of a rare bird species.
I also love that there's beach access within the area.
Nothing beats a quiet, introspective walk on the beach, listening to the ebb and flow of the waves.
On a few occasions when the weather was not on my side, I found solace in observing the park's efforts in sustainability - they recycle old shells!
There are also designated fishing spots around the wetlands, which often become my pastime, especially on weekends.
In the evening, the place transforms into a photographer's haven.
The setting sun casts a magical hue over the wetlands, making it a popular spot for capturing some fantastic photos.
I'm no photographer, but I have found myself snapping more than a few shots on my phone!
While the area lacks certain amenities like public restrooms and a bustling playground, the tranquillity of the place more than makes up for it.
It's always a rejuvenating experience to escape from the busy city life and spend some quality time in the lap of nature.
Go Hiking and Canoeing at the First Landing State Park
Every morning, I make a beeline to First Landing State Park, my personal oasis.
This historic site, nestled on the Cape Henry beachfront, is a spectacle of maritime forests, marshes, and breathtaking hiking and canoe trails.
There's something about the clean, fresh air that invigorates my senses as I meander through the spacious campsites.
I appreciate the thoughtful amenities, from outdoor showers to a well-stocked store filled with camping necessities and a snack bar for a quick bite.
In my opinion, they could add changing rooms for day visitors, but that's just a minor detail in the grand scheme of things.
What I love most about First Landing State Park are the multiple entries to the beach via boardwalk paths.
Each path leads to a different adventure, from hiking through various biomes to canoeing along the beautiful shoreline.
The diverse landscapes, including tiny beaches, inland pools, and swampy areas, give the park a truly wild feel, enriching every visit.
In the midst of all this natural beauty, Shore Dr. can sometimes be noisy.
So while planning a camping trip, I always make sure to pick a spot further away from the road.
One of the First Landing State Park's best features is its extensive network of walking trails.
These trails, some of which are also cycle-friendly, take you through the forest and along the creeks, offering unparalleled views of the park’s natural beauty.
I've spent countless hours exploring these trails, and every walk feels like the first time.
I've also participated in some of the activities they offer, adding an extra layer of fun to my experiences.
Go Jogging at Mount Trashmore Park
Ever wondered what it's like to run laps on a former landfill?
In Virginia Beach, an outing to Mount Trashmore Park provides just that unique experience.
This must-visit location, now teeming with life and activities, serves as my favorite spot for a morning jog or a lazy Sunday picnic.
It's always bustling with locals and visitors alike, engaging in all sorts of activities, from biking to fishing.
One thing that still amazes me is how well-maintained the park is, regardless of the weather.
Even after heavy rain, the ground absorbs the water quickly, making it ideal for events.
I remember attending the Water Lantern Festival in 2023, held right here in this park.
Despite the rain, it was a fantastic experience, with the ground not turning into a swamp, unlike most places in Norfolk.
The park's amenities are another aspect that can't be overlooked.
The clean and well-maintained public restrooms provide a much-needed convenience for frequent visitors like me.
Also, Mount Trashmore Park is surprisingly spacious and can easily accommodate a large crowd without feeling crammed.
For fitness enthusiasts, there are countless opportunities to get a good sweat in the park.
From climbing the steps to running alongside the lake, it's a perfect spot.
It’s important to note, though, accessibility to the summit of the mount is limited, and there are no ramps, so it may be a bit tricky for those with strollers, wagons, or wheelchairs.
Recently, I took my family to the park after almost 24 years, and it was a blast.
My oldest had a fantastic time at the skate park, and the younger ones enjoyed rolling down the hill.
This park truly has something for everyone.
It's a place that I cherish, and I’m sure you would too.
Gaze at the Art Pieces at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art
I was scrolling through the museum's website Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, when I noticed a new exhibit they were debuting.
With nothing but time on my hands, I decided to add a little culture to my day.
Driving down Park Ave, I turned into the museum's parking lot just before reaching the boardwalk, a blessing in disguise, as there's always plenty of parking here.
Walking into the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, I was immediately struck by the spacious interior, enhanced by the perfect lighting.
The welcome was warm, with a friendly host at the door who briefed us about the main exhibit.
Handing us a map, she guided us to the location of the exhibit.
With permission to take pictures, and numerous helpful staff members around, it felt more like an indulgent art adventure than a museum visit.
What I genuinely appreciate about this place are the thoughtful little nooks and crannies scattered throughout the gallery.
Just to the left of the entrance, there's a small book corner where you can indulge in some interesting art books.
Also, they have several benches placed around the gallery, providing a perfect spot to sit, relax, and absorb the art.
This particular visit was a treat to my senses as the museum was holding an intriguing quilting exhibition.
With several beautiful quilts on display, it was an unexpected delight.
But the main attraction that day was an art piece by an artist named Kara Walker, entitled "Cut to the Quick," and LaToya Hobbs' exhibit, "Flourish." B
oth were captivating in their unique ways.
I also need to mention their cute little gift shop.
It's a treasure trove of books and stickers, a charming end to an enriching day.
Looking forward to my next visit, I keep an eye on their website for the announcement of new exhibits.
Catch a Concert at Neptune's Park
Growing up in Virginia, I've had the pleasure of spending countless afternoons at Neptune's Park.
The grassy beachfront park, adorned by a large statue of the Roman god Neptune, has always been a sanctuary for me.
The view from the boardwalk is nothing short of therapeutic - gazing at the water and the pristine beaches is an experience I never tire of.
The statue of Neptune himself is a marvel to behold.
Majestic and well-maintained, it stands as an emblem of the park, a true testament to its elegance and charm.
Neptune's Park is always clean - you'd be hard-pressed to find a single piece of litter or garbage lying around.
It's a quality that makes you appreciate and respect the place even more.
The park is not just about the statue and the views, though. It's a place teeming with life and activity.
During summer, the park becomes a hub of live music and community events, drawing in crowds from all around.
If you're into picnics, Neptune's Park has you covered.
The grassy expanse is perfect for a relaxing day out with family or friends. And if you have kids, there's even a playground within a stone's throw.
The water at the beach, although a bit chilly, is refreshing and worth the dip - I've braved it several times myself.
Living so close to the Pacific, I've had the chance to visit many beaches over the years, but I must confess, there's something about Neptune's Park that keeps pulling me back.
Perhaps it's the nostalgia or just the charm of the place; I can't really tell.
Enjoy Various Water Activities at Croatan Beach
Every day feels like a vacation when you live near the seaside wonder that is Croatan Beach in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Nestled between Rudee Inlet and Camp Pendleton, this gem of a place offers the most pristine views and shorelines of all beaches in Virginia Beach.
Mornings at Croatan Beach are pure magic.
I usually take my dog out for a walk along the shore before 10 a.m., allowing us both to enjoy the peaceful serenity before the day's activities hustle and bustle starts.
The wide expansive sandy beach, the cool breeze, the rhythmic sound of the waves - it's a perfect start to the day.
I've spent many afternoons surfing in one of the two designated areas.
The beach is a favorite among surfers, paddle boarders, and boogie boarders.
I've taken a few surfing lessons here, and I can't tell you enough about the thrill of riding the waves under a clear sky.
Evenings are a different story altogether.
The beach at night is a whole different world.
On colder nights, a long walk on the beach under the starlit sky is something you wouldn't want to miss.
The darkness of the night, the quiet of the beach, and the peaceful crashing of the waves create a different kind of calm.
Parking is pretty straightforward too.
The public parking lot is a bit of a distance from Croatan Beach, but the walk to the beach is a small price to pay for the beauty that awaits.
And if you're a local like me, it's only $3 to park.
Soak up the Sun at Grommet Island Park
Ah, the salty sea air and the therapeutic sounds of waves crashing on the shore - there's no better way to spend a sunny day than at Grommet Island Park.
Nestled in the heart of Virginia Beach, this fully accessible beach park is my go-to spot for some downtime.
I love the convenience that this park offers.
Parking is a breeze, and for just $7, my car is safely tucked away for the entire day.
Be sure to download the mobile app when you arrive - it makes the whole process even simpler.
While the park doesn't have a plethora of eateries around, the seafood from Watermans, located nearby, is a treat for my taste buds.
Of course, there's always the option of packing a cooler for those long, leisurely days.
After all, who wants to step away from all the fun to grab a bite?
What I find most appealing about Grommet Island Park is the variety it provides.
From a separate section for swimmers and surfers to a jetty perfect for fishing, there's something for everyone.
And did I mention the park's amenities?
With public restrooms and shower stalls available, spending the entire day at the beach is a breeze.
Being a parent, I appreciate how the park caters to kids too.
The playground is always a hit with my little ones, and the wheelchair access pads make it easy for everyone to enjoy the park.
Plus, there are raised sand tables and a sensory board to keep them entertained.
Go Fishing at Little Island Park
I almost can't believe how lucky I am, to have a slice of paradise like Little Island Park in my backyard.
This 130-acre beach park has become a staple of my weekend routine, offering a plethora of activities to indulge in.
I usually start my Saturday mornings with a walk along the beach, taking in the clean, refreshing air and the stunning coastal views.
I tend to lose track of time while walking because the panorama is just so mesmerizing.
The park's boardwalk is a must-visit; you can't beat the feel of the cool morning breeze in your hair and the sound of gentle waves lapping at the shore beneath you.
One of the biggest draws of Little Island Park for me is its fishing opportunities.
I've had some of my best fishing experiences off the park's pier.
There's nothing quite like the thrill of hooking a good catch while surrounded by such stunning natural beauty.
The park's picnic shelters and sporting courts are always alive with activity.
It's a joy to see families and friends coming together, whether for a friendly game of basketball or a laid-back lunch under the sun.
The park is also home to a wonderful playground that is a big hit with kids.
I've often seen parents taking a breather, watching their little ones run around in a safe, well-kept environment.
And, of course, safety is a priority here. The presence of numerous lifeguards ensures that we can all enjoy the beach without worry.
Even the restrooms are clean and well-maintained, adding to a sense of comfort and convenience during the visit.
Stroll down the Virginia Beach Oceanfront
Every morning, I lace up my shoes and head out for a walk along the Virginia Beach Oceanfront's 3-mile boardwalk.
It's my daily routine, my meditation, my moment of peace before the day's chaos begins.
The view of the sparkling sea is mesmerizing.
Sometimes, if I'm lucky, I catch sight of dolphins surfacing from the water's depths, a sight that never fails to take my breath away.
There's always something happening on the boardwalk.
It's bustling with life, but never too crowded.
It's a perfect balance, full of cafes where I grab my morning coffee and locally-owned shops where I pick up beach essentials.
Every time I walk down Virginia Beach Oceanfront, I see families enjoying their time together, children laughing in the playgrounds, and couples strolling hand in hand.
Although the playgrounds are not covered, they are a hotspot among kids who don't mind a little heat.
My Sundays are reserved for a special treat.
That's when I dine at one of the many oceanfront view restaurants that dot the beach.
The food is always incredible, but the real star is the panoramic view of the ocean that stretches as far as the eye can see.
Life in Virginia Beach is a constant vacation.
It's a place where you can soak up the sun, play in the surf, and experience a slice of coastal living.
Enjoy the Splash at Ocean Breeze Water Park
As a long-time fan of water parks, Ocean Breeze Water Park has fast become my absolute favorite.
There's something for everyone here, with over 30 rides that range from the exhilarating to the relaxing.
A typical day at Ocean Breeze Water Park sees me kicking things off with a thrilling drop-down Pirate's Plummet, which is the perfect way to shake off the cobwebs and get into the action.
The end is a bit of a jolt, but that's all part of the fun! I then switch gears and let the Largo Loop's orange slide take me on a more leisurely ride.
This old-school slide is great for all ages and has a nice, gentle pace compared to some of the more intense rides.
One thing I particularly love about the park is how it keeps things simple.
In an age where everything seems to be about technology, this water park is a refreshing change.
It's all about riding, sliding, smiling, and getting refreshed.
It's just pure, old-fashioned fun, and it's one of the reasons why my 10-year-old absolutely loves it here.
I've got a season pass, which is great value considering the free parking.
So many other amusement parks charge extra for parking, which is a major annoyance.
As long as Ocean Breeze keeps offering free parking,
I'll keep coming back year after year.
Visit Virginia Beach Boardwalk for a Morning Walk
Every morning, just as the faintest hint of dawn starts creeping into the sky, I find myself drawn to the Virginia Beach Boardwalk.
The smooth path winds its way along three miles of sandy beach, a silent observer of the changing sea tides and seasons.
The boardwalk has been my morning routine for years.
I love the feeling of the crisp sea breeze on my face, the smell of the ocean's saltiness filling my lungs.
It's the perfect backdrop to clear my head and get my blood pumping for the day ahead.
One of the highlights of my morning walk is watching the dolphins play in the surf.
It’s a daily spectacle that never fails to bring a smile to my face.
And if you're an early bird like me, you can have this tranquil scene all to yourself.
As the day progresses, the boardwalk fills up with cyclists, joggers, and tourists, all soaking up the charming beach town vibes.
The boardwalk is not just a place for exercise and relaxation; it's also a hub for summer events and concerts.
During these times, it transforms into a lively carnival, with the scent of delicious food wafting through the air, the sound of music filling the atmosphere and the sight of people having a great time.
Sure, parking can sometimes be a bit of a challenge, especially during peak season. But the experience is worth it.
Whether it's a quick bite from one of the many food stalls, renting a Surrey for a fun ride, or simply lounging on the beach, there's an activity for everyone.
While the Virginia Beach Boardwalk is a popular spot for visitors, it has a special place in my heart as a part of my everyday life.
Each day, I look forward to my morning walks on the boardwalk, appreciating the stunning views of the sunrise over the ocean and the rhythm of life as it unfolds before me.
Discover Coastal History at the Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum
Every now and then, when I feel the need for a quiet retreat, I find myself drawn to the Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum.
This quaint, white clapboard museum provides a fascinating window into our coastal city’s past.
In my countless visits, I've come to appreciate the rich history told through its diverse exhibits.
The museum, which is graciously free to enter, is a treasure trove of information about lifeguards, their origins, and the critical role they play in our beach community.
One of my favorite exhibits in Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum is the chart showcasing the numerous ships that have met their watery end off our coast.
It paints a vivid picture of the treacherous waters that mariners used to navigate. The surfing exhibit is another highlight.
It provides a delightful insight into the sport’s history and the role it has played in shaping Virginia Beach's culture.
The museum also boasts a charming nautical gift shop.
Here, you can find unique keepsakes to commemorate your visit and gifts for those ocean lovers in your life.
Experience the Paranormal at the Ferry Plantation House
Have you ever had a paranormal encounter?
Or maybe just love a little bit of history mixed with thrill and mystery?
Well, that's exactly what my visits to the Ferry Plantation House have been all about.
It's this beautiful 1830 brick manor house, situated beside the river, that holds a myriad of stories - stories of the 11 known spirits and a cat that are said to grace its hallways.
My own experiences have been, let's say, a little uncanny.
Remember the first time I entered the upstairs bedroom to the left?
There was this uncanny vibe that sent a chill down my spine.
Yet, I must admit, most of the house feels pretty normal until you witness a chandelier shaking with no one moving.
But it's not just the paranormal activities that make Ferry Plantation House stand out.
There's so much history within those brick walls!
The house is filled with vintage items, each holding a story of its own.
And don't even get me started on the knowledgeable guides.
They always have a unique tale to share.
On a lighter note, did I ever tell you about the story of how the Witchduck area, where the house is located, got its name?
It's quite a tale! You should ask the guides about it the next time you visit.
Oh, and if you're a history buff or a lover of antiques, you’ll find the Ferry Plantation House fascinating.
And let me tell you, the annual membership is a bargain.
You also get a lengthy newsletter filled with more interesting info about the house and its prior inhabitants.
Take a Trip down Memory Lane at the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum
Just another day in paradise, basking in the Virginia Beach sun, I found myself walking along the bustling boardwalk.
I decided to escape the crowd and get lost in history at the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum tucked away in a quaint, beachfront cottage dating back to 1895.
Stepping inside, I was immediately captivated by the array of hand-carved decoys, each one telling a unique story about the migratory birds that once flocked this area.
Walking around Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum, I felt as if I'd traveled back in time, witnessing the evolution of hunting techniques through the artifacts and historical photographs displayed in every corner.
One of my favorite exhibits is the mid-century hunting diary.
It's fascinating to see the meticulous records hunters kept detailing every hunt, every bird, and the changing patterns over the years.
While the displays of waterfowl and hunting gear are impressive, the building itself is a gem.
This historic de Witt Cottage serves as a testament to the architectural artistry of the 1800s with its charming details and serene ambiance, despite being in the center of Virginia Beach's hustle and bustle.
On the second floor, more historical treasures await, accompanied by a brief video presentation that provides an in-depth look into the region's waterfowl heritage.
Before leaving, I always stop by the small gift shop on the first floor.
It's the perfect place to pick up a little keepsake or gift, featuring an array of beach and bird-themed items.
Bring Your Kids for a Fun Learning at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
What an unforgettable day at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center!
The excitement started right from the moment I stepped inside.
The place was spotlessly clean, and I was taken aback by the vast number of exhibits on display.
There were countless fish tanks housing a fantastic variety of marine life that had me captivated for a good couple of hours.
The interactive exhibits were like nothing I'd ever experienced before.
I felt as if I had traveled back in time, exploring the marine life of Virginia's past and present.
The colors, the diversity, and the sheer beauty of it all were spellbinding.
The highlight of my day? Watching the sharks being fed!
It was such an extraordinary sight to behold.
But that's not all! Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center also has an aviary and a boat tour that add to the overall experience.
The aviary is home to some majestic birds, and the boat tour offers a different perspective of marine life.
One of the unique features of the center was a tunnel, which allowed me to walk through and watch the fish, sharks, and stingrays swim above and around me.
It felt like I was just another creature of the sea, co-existing in their vibrant underwater world.
In certain sections of the center, you could touch and interact with some of the species.
Yes, I got to pet stingrays and hermit crabs (under supervision, of course)!
Each of the best things to do in Virginia Beach, Virginia, has its unique charm that I’ve come to appreciate over the years.
Here, there's a place for every mood and interest.
I invite you to explore these gems in Virginia Beach, and perhaps you'll understand why I feel so lucky to call this place home.