Things to do

10 Unforgettable Things to Do in Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach, located on the east coast of the United States, is a well-known tourist spot that boasts exquisite beaches, bustling boardwalks, and numerous entertainment options. With an array of attractions and things to do in Virginia Beach awaiting visitors planning a trip to Virginia Beach, they are sure not to be disappointed.

The area offers something for everyone from scenic wildlife reserves to exciting theme parks and both historic lighthouses and contemporary art museums.

One of the top-rated activities in Virginia Beach is exploring Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, a safeguarded salt marsh environment that shelters diverse fauna.

The refuge offers various recreational options including observing birds, trekking, cycling, and kayaking to enable tourists to connect with nature while taking pleasure in picturesque landscapes.

Photo by Bryan Barbee on Pixabay

To fully experience Virginia Beach, a stop at the Virginia Aquarium is necessary. This establishment boasts an impressive collection of over 12,000 creatures such as sea turtles, sharks, and otters. You can either take a leisurely walk through their underwater tunnel or get up close with interactive animal encounters.

Offering a range of things to do in Virginia Beach, from serene beach getaways to thrilling adventures. Boasting various prominent attractions and others yet undiscovered, Virginia Beach promises an exceptional holiday experience that you won’t forget anytime soon.

1. Introduction

Virginia Beach, situated on the eastern seaboard of America, is a captivating seaside town celebrated for its stunning beaches, lively atmosphere, and eclectic mix of recreational activities. Whether you have a penchant for nature exploration, artistic indulgence, or historical quests or simply relish fine dining and exhilarating nocturnal entertainment; Virginia Beach caters to every taste and financial plan.

With plentiful options for outdoor adventures, cultural landmarks to discover, and mouth-watering cuisine to savor at your disposal; it’s no surprise that Virginia Beach retains its status as a preferred vacation spot season after season.

In this article, you will discover a detailed handbook on the top-rated things to do in Virginia Beach. These include outdoor adventures, cultural landmarks, and culinary delights that cater to solo travelers seeking leisure or couples looking for romance. With its serene atmosphere and diverse range of entertainment options, Virginia Beach is an ideal destination for unwinding and having fun simultaneously. Join us as we encourage you to pack your bags and explore the exciting activities awaiting you at Virginia Beach!

2. What is Virginia Beach Known for?

Virginia Beach is an idyllic coastal city that rests at the junction of the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay. It’s famous for its unparalleled location, with vast stretches of immaculate beaches and balmy waters that attract tourists seeking endless sunshine-filled activities.

From swimming to surfing, fishing to boating, there’s no shortage of exhilarating entertainment options available along over 35 miles of shoreline. Virginia Beach has something for everyone!

With a plethora of activities and sights, Virginia Beach is an ideal destination for tourists seeking thrills. The city boasts a wide range of outdoor pursuits, from invigorating hikes to exhilarating zip-lining adventures.

Not to be missed is the iconic Virginia Beach Boardwalk which houses numerous amusement parks along with endless dining options, shopping opportunities, and entertainment venues that guarantee non-stop excitement.

Photo by David Mark on Pixabay

For those interested in history there are many museums and historic sites to explore around Virginia Beach. Aviation enthusiasts should make sure they visit the Military Aviation Museum situated nearby in Pungo while First Landing State Park marks the spot where English settlers first landed back in 1607.

Additionally, visitors shouldn’t miss out on exploring the interactive exhibits at the popular attraction Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center which showcases thousands of marine animals.

Virginia Beach attracts numerous tourists globally due to its stunning natural scenery and diverse selection of activities. Tourists can easily personalize their itinerary according to their interests and desires while visiting Virginia Beach, whether it be a family excursion, romantic getaway, or solo trip. Notably, the friendly locals are renowned for extending a warm welcome by sharing recommendations on the best things to do in Virginia Beach

3. Things to Do in Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is an absolute must-visit for anyone looking for things to do in Virginia Beach and indulging in a plethora of leisure activities. Its prime location by both the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay makes it perfect for individuals who are passionate about aquatic adventures.

Whether you’re into swimming, surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, or fishing – Virginia Beach has something thrilling and exciting in store for everyone! Additionally, the Virginia Beach Boardwalk stands as one of its most renowned landmarks with a three-mile expanse that features beachfront shops, dining venues, and entertainment hubs.

Virginia Beach has become a top choice for tourists, thanks to its array of enticing attractions, picturesque scenery, and agreeable weather. Whatever your holiday preference may be – lounging on sandy shores, delving into the area’s heritage and arts, or embarking on an adventure in nature – you’ll find everything you need here to make your stay truly memorable. Immerse yourself in a plethora of unforgettable activities while exploring Virginia Beach, leaving behind an indelible mark on your memories!

3.1. Visit Virginia Beach Boardwalk

Photo by Bruce Emmerling on Pixabay

For those on the hunt for things to do in Virginia Beach, be sure to add a visit to the famed Virginia Beach Boardwalk at the top of your list. This renowned tourist attraction spans an impressive three-mile stretch and boasts breathtaking vistas of the Atlantic Ocean along with a diverse range of exhilarating attractions.

The Virginia Beach Boardwalk, which was originally constructed in 1888, has undergone an impressive series of enhancements and expansions over the years to become a remarkable emblem of the region. Comprised of three distinct sections, each possessing its own distinctive features and amusements, it stands as a testament to the area’s enduring allure.

The boardwalk’s most impressive landmark, the King Neptune Statue stands tall at a majestic height of 34 feet and weighs an astounding 12 tons. This iconic statue not only represents the city’s vibrant maritime culture but also attracts countless visitors who can’t resist snapping memorable photographs in its presence.

Additionally, those exploring the boardwalk should make it a point to visit Atlantic Fun Park, where they can partake in various exciting rides and games suitable for people of all ages.

Apart from the various places of interest, Virginia Beach Boardwalk is also host to a variety of dining and retail establishments that are ideal for satisfying hunger pangs or purchasing souvenirs.

It’s crucial not to miss out on strolling along the boardwalk during daylight hours as well as at night when it transforms into a completely different atmosphere with its glowing lights and energetic ambiance.

Undoubtedly, a trip to Virginia Beach Boardwalk is an essential experience for anyone looking for things to do in Virginia Beach. With its breathtaking sea vistas and diverse array of activities and amusements, the boardwalk offers something to delight everyone who visits.

3.2. Explore Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge

For those in search of a peaceful escape from the frenzied pace of city life, be sure to include Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge as one of your top things to do in Virginia Beach. Situated just below the tourist hub, this calm sanctuary offers an optimal locale for individuals who yearn to revel in Virginia’s innate splendor.

The main objective of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is to safeguard and preserve the natural dwelling place for migratory bird species like ducks and geese. Nevertheless, individuals who drop by can relish a wide range of outdoor pastimes such as trekking, canoeing, and observing wildlife.

The refuge presents numerous pathways that vary in difficulty levels from effortless to challenging which provide remarkable glimpses of the wetlands, woodlands, and hillsides.

Indulging in nature’s wilderness is a must-do activity for all adventure enthusiasts. The False Cape State Park trail, stretching over five miles through Back Bay and into the park, should be on top of your list. It’s an ideal path that offers solitude to those seeking escape from overcrowded places. During this hiking expedition, don’t miss out on glimpses of majestic wildlife like deer and foxes who make their habitat within the refuge.

When exploring Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, it is important to adhere to the refuge’s guidelines and regulations. Stick to the assigned pathways, refrain from disturbing any wildlife you encounter, and make sure you take all garbage with you upon departure. Your actions will contribute significantly towards safeguarding this extraordinary ecosystem for future generations.

3.3. See the False Cape State Park

False Cape State Park, situated in the southern part of Virginia Beach, is a lesser-known but remarkable destination that presents tourists with an exceptional coastal wilderness encounter.

It lies between Back Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, creating an ideal environment for different creatures like turtles, birds as well as several marine species to thrive. With its vast expanse of 4,321 acres, False Cape State Park boasts various outdoor pursuits bound to amaze you.

The park boasts various hiking paths, offering 15 miles of immaculate beaches, dunes, and marshes to discover, making it one of the best things to do in Virginia Beach for nature enthusiasts. Visitors can partake in guided tours that highlight the area’s natural splendor and its assorted wildlife.

Fishing is also a favored pastime here; anglers may fish in either the Back Bay or Atlantic Ocean waters. For those keen on camping at False Cape State Park, it’s crucial to keep in mind that amenities are limited while terrain conditions pose significant challenges.

Visitors to False Cape State Park are drawn in by the opportunity to witness the untouched loveliness of the shoreline without any hindrances like boardwalks or towering buildings. Strolling for miles along its beaches, spotting dolphins frolicking in waves and pelicans gliding above is a common sight there. When planning your trip during summer, do not forget to carry sunscreen and enough water as scorching sun rays can be unforgiving at times.

It is important to keep in mind that False Cape State Park is a preserved and natural space, and it is advised for visitors to abide by its regulations. The park’s distinct setting necessitates being ready for the uneven landscape, thus appropriate clothing such as sturdy footwear should be worn according to weather conditions.

For those in search of an exceptional coastal wilderness encounter, False Cape State Park is a must-see spot. Offering various outdoor pursuits such as fishing and hiking, it appeals to both nature enthusiasts and thrill-seekers alike. However, one should come prepared for the arduous terrain and sparse facilities while also adhering to park guidelines that safeguard its ecological splendor for generations to come. Don’t miss out on this hidden gem of Virginia Beach!

3.4. Climb Cape Henry Lighthouse

A must-visit destination for tourists looking for things to do in Virginia Beach is the renowned Cape Henry Lighthouse, an iconic landmark with a fascinating past. It has been witness to various significant events and proudly stands at the intersection of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Since 1792, it has provided navigational assistance to sailors through its far-reaching light beam visible from miles away.

With its extraordinary design, the lighthouse stands as a remarkable achievement of the skilled artisans who erected it. Its octagonal structure sets it apart from others, while its striking black and white stripes make it instantly recognizable. This is among the very few remaining lighthouses in the nation that employs a first-order Fresnel lens to emit light rays up to 18 nautical miles into offshore waters.

Climbing the Cape Henry Lighthouse is a thrilling adventure that rewards visitors with stunning vistas from its summit. Climbers can ascend 191 steps to reach the lighthouse’s peak and marvel at sweeping panoramas of their surroundings. Ascent may prove physically demanding, as steep stairways and confined corridors lie ahead, so preparation is key for all those embarking on this climb.

If you want to fully enjoy your visit, you must arrange tours and tickets in advance. The lighthouse is a highly sought-after destination with limited capacity for tours. By booking online beforehand, not only will you skip the endless queues but also secure yourself a spot on the tour. Moreover, it’s recommended to wear comfy shoes and dress accordingly as climbing up could take approximately 30 minutes depending on weather conditions.

Without a doubt, ascending the Cape Henry Lighthouse is an unparalleled adventure that should not be missed on your things to do in Virginia Beach. It’s an extraordinary chance to witness historical significance and relish in breathtaking panoramic views of both the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay. Ensure your spot by reserving tickets well in advance, putting on comfortable footwear for this demanding trek, and bracing yourself for a gratifying challenge!

3.5. Relax at Sandbridge Beach

Looking for things to do in Virginia Beach that offer a peaceful escape from the crowds? Look no further than Sandbridge Beach. Nestled to the south, this idyllic shoreline offers ample space to relax on soft sand and wade in crystal-clear waters surrounded by untouched natural beauty. It’s an oasis waiting just for you!

Photo by Brianna Tracy on Unsplash

Sandbridge Beach can be found around 15 miles south of Virginia Beach and extends for a distance of five miles along the Atlantic shore. In contrast to Virginia Beach, which tends to get crowded with tourists during its peak season, Sandbridge provides a calm and serene environment making it perfect for individuals traveling alone or in groups such as families or couples. The beach is enveloped by unspoiled natural surroundings, flanked on one side by Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge while False Cape State Park lies at its southern edge offering visitors picturesque vistas to appreciate.

Sandbridge Beach offers a perfect getaway for individuals who desire to lounge under the sun, take a dip in the sea, or enjoy a relaxing stroll on the coastline. The gentle waves and velvety sand make it an excellent location for kids to frolic around and construct sand sculptures. Moreover, various water sports are accessible such as stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and surfing.

or those seeking things to do in Virginia Beach that offer excitement, options such as renting a jet ski or trying parasailing provide a wide view of the beach and its surroundings. Alternatively, individuals who prefer to remain on solid ground can make use of available volleyball courts for some casual play.

Sandbridge Beach hosts a distinctive ecosystem of salt marsh that offers an essential dwelling for diverse plant and animal kinds. To show respect towards the fragile ecosystem, it is essential to avoid disturbing the plant life, refrain from littering and steer clear of disrupting any animals during your trip.

3.6. Discover Marine Life at Virginia Aquarium

As a lover of the great outdoors, make sure to prioritize a trip to Virginia Beach’s esteemed aquarium – an absolute must-see for those who appreciate all things nature. Boasting hundreds of exhibits and over 800,000 gallons of water, this attraction is perfect for all ages and worth checking out.

The Virginia Aquarium boasts a wide variety of marine creatures such as sharks, sea turtles, and jellyfish that you can get up close and personal with through interactive experiences like petting stingrays or turtles. You also have the option to take behind-the-scenes tours or embark on exciting whale-watching excursions. To top it all off, catch exclusive films at the IMAX theater located within the aquarium.

The outdoor aviary at the Virginia Aquarium is a crowd-pleaser, with its variety of feathered inhabitants such as pelicans, bald eagles, and owls. Guests can stroll along the boardwalk within the aviary and delight in observing these majestic creatures take flight above them.

The Virginia Aquarium places a high value on conservation efforts, making it one of the top things to do in Virginia Beach for nature lovers. The institution urges its guests to explore the diverse range of programs offered by the aquarium, which includes interactive exhibits and informative educational opportunities aimed at raising awareness of conservation efforts and safeguarding marine life and their ecosystems.

3.7. Experience Military Aviation Museum

Virginia Beach houses several captivating sights, and the Military Aviation Museum stands out as one of the most distinct. Rated 7th among Virginia Beach activities, discovering this museum is an unforgettable moment for history buffs and aviation aficionados alike.

With a focus on military air transportation, the Military Aviation Museum boasts an impressive array of historical planes including fighters, bombers, and other aircraft utilized during World War I and II. Conveniently located in close proximity to Virginia Beach Airport and nearby oceanfront attractions, visitors are treated to a memorable experience while being educated about aviation history.

The museum invites guests to embark on an exhilarating journey through time by delving into its extensive collection of aircraft. With guided tours, visitors can indulge in a comprehensive understanding of each plane’s historical significance and their role in major conflicts throughout history. Moreover, the chance to experience sensational aerial adventures awaits those daring enough to take flight on antique biplanes or refurbished fighter planes from the World War II era. Adding more excitement are the annual events hosted by the museum that include spectacular air displays and aviation-inspired festivities- all set against a stunning backdrop of rich aviation history!

The objective of the Military Aviation Museum is to safeguard the extensive past of aviation, particularly military aviation. Guests can acquire a more profound comprehension and admiration for individuals who have helped progress technology in this field and played an essential part in military occurrences by exploring the museum. The museum’s dedication to protecting history manifests through its meticulous refurbishment of aircraft that brings them back to their original state.

If you’re interested in aviation history, be sure to check out the Military Aviation Museum, which is one of the top things to do in Virginia Beach for aviation enthusiasts. With a remarkable assortment of vintage planes and thrilling flight opportunities, this attraction offers something for everyone. Above all else, those who visit will develop an enhanced admiration for the amazing accomplishments made by those involved in shaping aviation’s past.

3.8. Spend a Day at Norfolk Botanical Garden

There’s something for everyone in Virginia Beach, with its range of attractions. In addition to the popular beach, there are several other noteworthy sights worth exploring while staying in the city. Among these is Norfolk Botanical Garden – a nearby destination that can be easily accessed by car.

Photo by Max Letek on Unsplash

The Norfolk Botanical Garden, situated by Lake Whitehurst, spans 175 acres and comprises distinct areas with their attributes. Within the garden premises, visitors can wander around various gardens like the Bicentennial Rose Garden boasting more than 3,000 roses, or observe over 200 species of butterflies at the Butterfly House.

Aside from the gardens, tourists can also partake in various other activities within the premises of the garden. For example, there is an Enchanted Forest that houses a treehouse and numerous play areas specifically designed for children. Furthermore, visitors may opt to take a tram ride around the entire property or embark on a seasonal boat tour that takes them across the lake.

For an optimal experience, it is crucial to refer to the garden’s schedule of events tailored for each season. A range of activities such as the LanternAsia display with numerous lighted lanterns is held annually in the garden. Additionally, exploring the gift store that showcases one-of-a-kind items like books and souvenirs besides gardening equipment will be worth your while.

For those seeking a serene and stunning location to enjoy the day, Norfolk Botanical Garden presents an excellent choice and is one of the top things to do in Virginia Beach for nature lovers.

3.9. Enjoy Adventure at Ocean Breeze Waterpark

If you’re searching for an enjoyable method to escape the hot weather in Virginia Beach, then consider visiting Ocean Breeze Waterpark. This thrilling park has a diverse selection of water slides, pools, and other entertaining features that cater to individuals with varying interests.

Individuals of every age can delight in a day filled with amusement and sunshine, thanks to exciting attractions such as the Typhoon and Pirate’s Plummet alongside laid-back voyages down the Adventure River. Moreover, younger children have access to multiple designated areas while visitors may also enjoy additional features like a wave pool and lazy river.

Ocean Breeze distinguishes itself from other waterparks by placing great emphasis on safety and hygiene, making it one of the top things to do in Virginia Beach for families. The park implements rigorous safety measures such as having lifeguards stationed at every ride and frequently sanitizing commonly touched surfaces, thereby ensuring that guests can enjoy a carefree day of aquatic entertainment while staying safe and healthy.

To fully enjoy your time at Ocean Breeze, it is crucial to prepare in advance. The park has a range of ticket choices such as season passes and group discounts, therefore make certain you explore their website for the most favorable bargains. In addition, it is highly recommended that guests come prepared with sufficient amounts of sunscreen, towels, and water bottles in order to guarantee their utmost comfort throughout the entirety of their stay.

3.10. Explore Local Culture at Vibe Creative District

The ViBe Creative District in Virginia Beach is a remarkable and inclusive neighborhood that wholeheartedly backs and honors its native artists, musicians, and chefs. This region is comprised of privately-owned small enterprises that are resolute in their commitment to the flourishing of Virginia Beach as a community. With an emphasis on originality and communal spirit, tourists can discover galleries featuring art pieces by local creatives as well as one-of-a-kind boutiques and restaurants showcasing the region’s finest cultural offerings.

To fully immerse oneself in the Vibe Creative District, attending its diverse range of events is highly recommended. Virginia Beach Restaurant Week, a well-liked occasion that transpires annually in January, showcases exclusive menus and promotions at various restaurants. Every first Friday of each month features First Fridays where guests can appreciate the district’s art community through exhibitions, outdoor spectacles, and musical performances.

When tourists visit and endorse the Vibe Creative District, they are not only immersing themselves in Virginia Beach’s distinctive culture but also contributing to the local economy and its innovative community. This area serves as a center for homegrown artists, designers, and business owners, offering a variety of things to do in Virginia Beach. By patronizing their enterprises and attending their functions, visitors play a role in preserving Virginia Beach’s imaginative energy.

4. Conclusion

There are numerous things to do in Virginia Beach. If you wish to unwind by the seaside, appreciate nature, or engage in cultural activities, Virginia Beach is an ideal destination with plenty of alternatives. The options range from the well-known boardwalk to the quieter Sandbridge Beach. Visitors can also gain knowledge about local history and military aviation through multiple museums or have fun at Ocean Breeze Waterpark all day long.

Virginia Beach stands out from other beach getaways because of its unwavering commitment to preserving the environment and uplifting local enterprises and creatives. The Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge as well as False Cape State Park provide avenues for visitors to revel in nature while championing conservation efforts, whereas Vibe Creative District spotlights homegrown artists’ and entrepreneurs’ exceptional abilities. By lending support to these initiatives, vacationers can leave with more than just fond memories but also a hand in fostering sustainable growth within the community. Overall, Virginia Beach is an absolute must-see destination that merges natural splendor, and deep-rooted history alongside dynamic culture into one indelible experience that will not be easily forgotten.

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