Virginia Beach is a beautiful coastal city in south-eastern Virginia.
Located on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Beach is the largest city in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area.
It’s known for its sandy beaches, impressive Virginia Beach Oceanfront, vibrant nightlife and rich history.
Off the beach, you can find a variety of outdoor adventures and interesting things to do.
If you want to get active, head to the parks and natural areas for hiking trails or kayaking.
With over 8 million visitors each year, Virginia Beach, also known as VA Beach, is one of the most popular vacation destinations on the East Coast.
Whether you’re looking to relax on your Virginia Beach vacation, enjoy the local food scene or explore the city’s historic landmarks or visit a Virginia museum, there’s something for everyone in VA Beach.
Things To Do In Virginia Beach
1. Virginia Beach Boardwalk
Virginia Beach’s Boardwalk is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the state of Virginia.
The Boardwalk is located on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in the city of Virginia Beach.
It was originally built in 1888 as a way to keep sand from blowing onto the streets of the city.
Virginia Beach Boardwalk is built overlooking the beautiful Atlantic ocean, and the scenic views from many of the area hotels and restaurant patios are breath-taking.
It is used as a promenade for people to enjoy the view of the bay and in the early 1900s, the boardwalk was extended to its current length of 3 miles.
Virginia Beach Boardwalk underwent a major renovation in 1988, which included the addition of concrete, asphalt, and wooden planks.
It is a very popular spot for walking, jogging, biking, and rollerblading.
There are also several restaurants and cafes along the boardwalk.
Virginia Beach’s Boardwalk is open year-round and is free to the public.
Address: Virginia Beach Boardwalk, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
2. Sandbridge Beach
Sandbridge Beach is a beautiful beach, well known for its wide range of activities, including swimming, sunbathing, fishing, and surfing.
If you’re looking for a quieter beach option with fewer tourists, head 15 miles south of the city area to Sandbridge Beach.
The sand here is very clean and soft, making it a popular spot for families with young children.
The beach gets its name from the sand dunes that are found in the area.
These sand dunes were formed over thousands of years by wind and ocean currents.
The dunes are now home to many different types of plants and animals.
The Beach is also home to a variety of different bird species. Some of the most common birds that can be seen at the beach include seagulls, pelicans, and ospreys.
Sandbridge Beach is free to visit 24 hours a day, but Little Island Park pier is only open between sunrise and sunset daily.
Address: Sandfiddler Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23456
3. Military Aviation Museum
The Military Aviation Museum is an aviation museum that is home to one of the largest flying collections of World War I and World War II era military aircraft in the world.
This Virginia museum also offers a variety of flight experiences, including rides in a restored World War II-era bomber plane.
The Military Aviation Museum is located in the southern portion of Virginia Beach at the Virginia Beach Airport and was founded in 2001 by Dave Hall and Jerry Yagen.
The two men had been collecting vintage aircraft for years, and decided to open a museum to share their collection with the public.
Today, the Museum is one of the largest privately-owned collections of military aircraft in the world.
A trip to the Military Aviation Museum is perfect for the whole family.
Address: Military Aviation Museum, 1341 Princess Anne Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23457
4. Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is one of the largest and most respected aquariums in the United States.
Founded in 1986, the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center provides educational opportunities that help guests experience the unique marine environment of Virginia Beach.
The facility is home to more than 800,000 gallons of fresh and saltwater displays, and over 800 different species of marine life.
Visitors can get up close to turtles, sharks, otters and much more, and there is also an oyster reef, nature trail, a ropes course and a zip line area to enjoy.
The Aquarium is located a mile south of the downtown resort area and is a popular tourist destination for families and individuals alike.
Address: Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, 717 General Booth Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
5. First Landing State Park
First Landing State Park is located on Cape Henry in North Virginia Beach.
The Park is the site of the first landing of English settlers in North America on April 26, 1607, as well as the largest protected area of coastal habitat in Virginia.
First Landing State Park is a 2,888-acre park that fronts the Chesapeake Bay and features 1.25 miles of beach and more than 19 miles of hiking trails.
The hiking trails take visitors through protected salt marsh habitat, freshwater ponds, beach, dunes, forest, tidal marsh and cypress swamp.
First Landing State Park offers a wide range of recreational opportunities, including swimming, fishing, hiking, biking, and picnicking.
There are guided kayak ecological tours that allow exploration of the marshes and bays, and the visitor center exhibits explain much about this coastal environment.
Cabins, campsites, picnic areas, a swimming beach, boat ramps, kayak rentals and tours, and a bicycle trail are also offered at the First Landing State Park.
Address: First Landing State Park, 2500 Shore Dr, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
6. Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is a coastal refuge that consists of 9,108 acres of land and water, including the Back Bay estuary and a portion of the Atlantic Ocean.
Back Bay is one of the busiest refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System, with over 2 million visitors each year.
The primary mission of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is to protect and manage habitat for migrating birds and other wildlife.
The refuge provides critical stopover habitat for over 500 species of migrating birds each year.
In addition to birds, the refuge is also home to many different types of wildlife, including deer, rabbits, squirrels, foxes, turtles, and snakes.
Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is open to the public for wildlife observation, photography, fishing, and hiking.
The refuge has a 12-mile network of trails that wind through different habitats, including maritime forest, fresh and saltwater marshes, dunes, and beaches.
The refuge also offers many educational opportunities for visitors of all ages.
The Visitor Center is open daily and offers a variety of exhibits about the wildlife and habitats of Back Bay.
The refuge also offers ranger-led programs, including hikes, kayak tours, and Junior Ranger programs.
Address: Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge 4005 Sandpiper Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23456
7. Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art
The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art is a contemporary art museum in Virginia Beach, Virginia, located near the oceanfront resort area.
One of the best Virginia Beach attractions for art lovers, showcases rotating art displays, paintings, sculptures, photography and digital media projects.
Although the museum is mainly geared toward adults, there is a kid-friendly interactive space where children can get a better understanding of the themes displayed in the artwork.
Tickets are free, but must be reserved online in advance.
Address: Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, 2200 Parks Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
8. Cape Henry Lighthouse
Cape Henry Lighthouse is a historic landmark that has been a part of the Virginia landscape for centuries.
The first Old Cape Henry Lighthouse was built in 1792 and was used as a guide for ships entering Chesapeake Bay.
In 1881, the New Cape Henry Lighthouse was completed and has been in use ever since.
Cape Henry Lighthouse is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Virginia.
The lighthouse is open to the public and offers stunning views of the coastline.
Address: Cape Henry Lighthouse, 6101 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
9. Mount Trashmore Park
Mount Trashmore Park is a 130-acre municipal park created in 1974 from two man-made hills of compacted trash, covered with soil and grass.
It is now a recreational area that includes two lakes, walking trails, playgrounds, and skate parks.
Mount Trashmore Park was created as a way to dispose of the growing amount of trash in the city of Virginia Beach.
In the early 1970s, the city was dumping about 500 tons of trash per day into landfills.
These landfills were quickly reaching capacity, so the city needed to find a new way to dispose of its waste.
The city decided to create two man-made hills from the trash, which would then be covered with soil and grass.
The first hill was completed in 1974, and the second hill was finished in 1976.
Today, Mount Trashmore Park is a popular recreation spot for residents and visitors alike.
The park features two lakes, walking trails, playgrounds, and skate parks.
Address: Mount Trashmore Park, 310 Edwin Dr, Virginia Beach, VA 23462
10. King Neptune Statue on the Boardwalk
King Neptune is one of the most popular and well-known statues in Virginia Beach.
He was created in 1931 by sculptor Paul Di Pasquale and stands at a towering height of 22 feet.
Visitors to the Boardwalk can’t help but be drawn to his impressive form and curious expressions.
Despite his commanding presence, there is actually quite a bit of mystery surrounding King Neptune.
For example, it’s unclear why he is shown holding a trident and riding on a sea horse.
Some believe that the trident represents his power over the ocean, while others believe it may be a reference to the Roman god Neptune.
As for the sea horse, some say it symbolizes strength and power, while others believe it represents the many creatures that live in the sea.
Whatever the meaning behind his symbols, one thing is for sure: King Neptune is a beloved icon of Virginia Beach.
He greets visitors with a friendly smile and serves as a reminder of the city’s strong connection to the ocean.
Address: King Neptune Statue on the Boardwalk, 3101 Boardwalk, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
11. Atlantic Fun Park
Atlantic Fun Park is one of the most popular amusement parks in Virginia Beach.
The Park has plenty to do for all ages, including rides and carnival-style games.
Atlantic Fun Park has a variety of rides that the whole family will enjoy, including both kid-friendly and thrilling rides.
In addition to rides, the park also has classic midway-style games.
There are several ticketing options available when you visit Atlantic Fun Park.
Ride tickets can be purchased individually or Unlimited Armbands are available.
Address: 233 15th St, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
12. False Cape State Park
Located in southern Virginia Beach, False Cape State Park is a mile-wide barrier spit between Back Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
Featuring six miles of unspoiled beaches in an ocean-to-freshwater bay habitat, False Cape State Park also includes dunes, woodland, farm fields, salt marsh, maritime forest and wooded swamps.
False Cape State park is named for its location on a peninsula that is only accessible by boat or foot.
The cape is bordered by water on three sides and is one of the few undeveloped areas along the heavily populated Virginia coast.
False Cape State Park was established as a state park in 1974 and is open year-round for activities such as hiking, camping, bird watching, and fishing.
A variety of plant and animal species can be found in the park, including several endangered or threatened species.
Address: False Cape State Park, 4001 Sandpiper Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23456
13. Ocean Breeze Waterpark
Located just 2 miles south of the Virginia Beach Ocean front, this family-friendly island-themed destination features over 30 rides, slides, and attractions
Spanning over 28 acres, this Virginia Beach waterpark is a popular destination for families and thrill-seekers alike.
One of the most popular attractions at Ocean Breeze Waterpark is Vortex, with a 35′ drop, this is an exhilarating ride from start to finish. Centrifugal forces pulls you around a bowl 30′ in diameter, followed by a quick drop into the splash pool below.
Other adrenaline-pumping rides include Earth Shaker and The Hurricane, a tube slide that reaches speeds of up to 30 miles per hour.
For those looking to take it easy, the waterpark also offers a lazy river, a wave pool and a number of smaller slides and attractions.
There are also plenty of places to eat, drink and relax, with a food court, several bars and a gift shop on site.
Address: Ocean Breeze Waterpark, 849 General Booth Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
14. Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is a 23-mile marine highway crossing the lower Chesapeake Bay in Virginia.
It connects Hampton Roads with Virginia’s Eastern Shore via two 1.25-mile long bridges and a 2.5-mile long tunnel beneath the bay’s Thimble Shoals channel.
The facility also includes four manmade islands where travellers can take a break during their journey across the bay.
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel was built to relieve traffic congestion on the Hampton Roads Beltway, which had been the only route across the bay since its opening in 1957.
The facility opened to traffic on April 15, 1964, and is one of only a few crossings of the Chesapeake Bay that are open to vehicular traffic.
It usually takes no more than 30 minutes or so to drive the entire Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel route.
It is also one of the world’s longest bridges-tunnel complexes.
Address: Chesapeake Bay Bridge -Tunnel. 32386 Lankford Hwy, Cape Charles, VA 23310
15. Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum
The Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the wildfowl heritage of the Atlantic Coast of North America.
This Virginia museum is located in the last remaining Virginia Beach Boardwalk cottage, de Witt Cottage, which was built in 1895.
The museum’s exhibits focus on the ecology and evolution of waterfowl, the history of waterfowl hunting, and the art of taxidermy.
There is an array of wildfowl artefacts and art as well as representations of the early history of the Virginia Beach.
The Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum sponsors research on the ecology and conservation of waterfowl and wetland ecosystems.
One of the best Virginia Beach attractions for nature lovers and admission is free.
Address: Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum, 524 S Birdneck Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
16. Hunt Club Farm
Hunt Club Farm is a one-of-a-kind family-owned and operated farm attraction in Virginia Beach with over 30 acres of farm fun for everyone.
Families can visit the Petting Farm and make friends with animals, including goats, chickens, cows, donkeys, llamas, and pigs.
Hunt Club Farm also has a large garden with a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Visitors to the farm can take part in a variety of activities, including horseback riding, hayrides, and corn maze tours.
The farm also offers a variety of events throughout the year, such as fall festivals and Easter egg hunts.
Address: Hunt Club Farm, 2388 London Bridge Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23456
17. Grommet Island Park
Grommet Island Park is a public beach located on the southern end of Virginia Beach oceanfront, at the intersection of Laskin Road and Atlantic Avenue.
The park is open year-round and offers a variety of amenities, including a playground, picnic areas, a pavilion, and a bathhouse.
The beach at Grommet Island Park is wide and sandy, with plenty of room for sunbathing, swimming, and other activities.
The water is clean and clear, making it ideal for snorkelling and scuba diving.
There are also several coral reefs offshore that are perfect for exploring.
The park is named for its unique shape – it resembles a grommet, or ring-shaped object.
Grommet Island Park is a popular destination for both locals and tourists.
It is one of the most popular beaches along the Virginia Beach coastline and receives over 1 million visitors each year.
Address: Grommet Island Park, Boardwalk &, 2nd St, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
18. Norfolk Botanical Garden
The Norfolk Botanical Garden is listed on the National Register of Historic Places because of its unique history.
The Botanical Garden is located just a few miles inland from the Boardwalk.
This 155-acre garden features more than 40 themed sections, many of which are open year-round.
Visitors can take a free tram ride through thousands of stunning plants including primary collections of camellia, holly, hydrangeas and roses.
There is also a great area for kids called The WOW Children’s Garden.
This adventure park garden has animal habitat areas to observe, off the path spaces to explore, and other obstacles that allow children to dig, climb, and investigate.
The garden also has twelve miles of walking paths, a picnic area, the Garden Café, Gift Shop, water fountains and lots of benches.
One of the best things to do in Virginia Beach for families.
Address: Norfolk Botanical Garden, 6700 Azalea Garden Rd, Norfolk, VA 23518
What is Virginia Beach known for?
Virginia Beach is known for its flourishing local dining scene, arts and entertainment, maritime history, and family-friendly attractions.
Virginia Beach features its own unique districts that offer experiences for everyone to enjoy.
What is the best time of year to go to Virginia Beach?
The best time to visit Virginia Beach is from late May to early September although the city and beach can get crowded during these months.
For lower prices and relatively comfortable temps, arrive in spring or fall.
What is Virginia Beach Restaurant Week?
Virginia Beach’s restaurant scene offers a great experience for diners especially during the Virginia Beach Restaurant Week (VBRW), which is held every February (and fall edition in October).
The event, that is hosted by Virginia Beach’s Restaurant Association, features special breakfast, lunch and dinner menus from over 100 local restaurants.
Can you go whale watching in Virginia Beach?
Whale watching is best in winter, from late December to mid-March, as humpbacks, minkes, fin whales, and other species can be spotted in Virginia Beach as they make their annual migration south for breeding.
Where is the Virginia Beach Blvd?
The Virginia Beach Blvd is a major connector highway.
It was the first hard-surfaced road from Norfolk to Virginia Beach and opened in July 1921.