Virginia Beach, Virginia is within the Hampton Road metropolitan area at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. This beach resort city offers plenty to see and do both on land and in the water. Take to the sea and meet the local dolphins or try one of the many water sports available here like kayaking, surfing, boating, and parasailing. On land, you’ll find a dynamic nightlife and entertainment venues as well as some top museums. The pleasant weather and proximity to the Atlantic Ocean together with the array of tourist amenities make Virginia Beach a perfect summer travel destination on America’s East Coast. In Virginia Beach, you’re never far from nature, whether it’s the sea or the nearby national parks. The city even boasts a theme park, Mount Trashmore, constructed completely from recycled materials and focused on environmental preservation. Together with all the fun-in-the-sun-type activities Virginia Beach and the adjacent towns up and down this stretch of coast played a significant part in American history. Here the Chesepians first inhabited the area and it was not far from here that in 1607 British colonialists first stepped foot in the New World.
Virginia Beach Must-See Attractions!
Of course, the main attraction (as the name suggests) is the beach. Virginia Beach has a number of attractive beaches. At the Chesapeake Bay, you can play volleyball, swim enjoy the golden sand and dine along the beachfront while you watch the sunset over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. In the beach resort area follow the 3 miles-long and 28-foot-wide boardwalk along the edge of the sand past Croatan Beach and up to North End Beach. There are a number of activities along the park-like area that borders the beaches and in the summer there are entertainers and vendors. This is where you’ll find one of Virginia Beach’s symbols – the bronze statue of King Neptune, God of the Sea. Sandbridge Beach south of the resort area is a quieter beach stretching for 5 miles, the sand is fine and bordered by gentle dunes. Nearby are the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park. The city’s beaches are listed in the Guinness Book of Records as being the longest pleasure beach in the world.
Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
This reputed aquarium has a 300,000-gallon aquarium with sharks, stingrays, and other marine animals. Another aquarium in the facility is the 70,000-gallon sea turtle aquarium, here you can see turtles hatching and learn about their lifecycle and conservation. Other marine animals living here are jellyfish, seals, sturgeons, and octopuses. Among the features of this award-winning aquarium are 300 hands-on exhibits, an IMAX theatre, and an outdoor aviary as well as a nature trail. The aquarium at 717 General Booth Blvd is open daily and tickets cost $27 for adults and $21 for kids, this ticket includes the aquarium and one IMAX show.
Virginia State Park
This is where the Jamestown colonists first landed in 1607. The park is crisscrossed with waterways that have been navigated by Native Americans, pioneers, pirates, and modern vessels. The park is both a National Natural Landmark and a Historic Landmark, it is the state’s most visited state park. On a visit here you can follow the many hike trails or participate in one of the many activities. There is wildlife, interesting plants, lagoons, and a maritime forest. It is possible to rent a bike here and even camp. Make your first stop at the Chesapeake Bay Center where there are exhibits and displays about the area. The park can be found at 2500 Shore Drive only 30 minutes drive from Virginia Beach center.
Cape Henry Lighthouse
This lighthouse was built in 1792, and authorized by George Washington, to help guide boats into the Chesapeake Bay. It is one of the oldest lighthouses in the country. Today it is possible to climb to the top of the historic landmark for brilliant panoramic views across the land and sea. The “new” lighthouse not far away was built in 1881 and is the tallest iron-encased lighthouse in America. The lighthouse is within the Fort Story Military Base at 583 Atlantic Avenue. Entrance to the tower and a walking tour costs $8 for adults and $6 for 6 to 12-year-olds.
Virginia Beach Must-Eat Restaurants!
Eat: An American Bistro
This restaurant has an intriguing name, it literally tells you – Eat! The menu includes French cuisine, seafood, and modern American dishes. The location helps to make this a stunning choice, it is situated on the waterfront at 4005 Atlantic Avenue and there is outdoor and indoor seating. They serve dinner seven days a week and on Fridays and Saturdays, they stay open for late-night dining. Try the pistachio-crusted goat cheese, oysters, blue crab pizza, and grilled halloumi with poached pears and spiced dates. There are also some standard American favorites like hamburgers and vegetarian options like veggie lasagna. Don’t expect the meal to be cheap but you can expect it to be good!
Yanni’s Casual Greek
This is a Greek, Mediterranean restaurant that also serves Eastern European dishes. It is located in Dam Neck Corner/ Pungo at 2101 McComas Way and you can eat lunch and dinner here seven days a week and on Sundays they also serve breakfast. Some of the dishes on the menu are typical traditional Greek foods like tzatziki, feta cheese, Greek olives, taramosalata, and other Eastern Mediterranean favorites like hummus and calamari. There are lunchtime specials and the variety of small dishes makes this a true Mediterranean experience.
Yama Sushi Bar
This Japanese and sushi restaurant at 1485 General Booth Blvd serves lunch and dinner all week. Among the items on their menu, there are plenty of vegetarian choices. The service, quality of the ingredients, freshness, efficiency, and taste of the food makes this a favorite for diners who come from across the state. Try their volcano roll, dynamic roll, and sashimi, and enjoy some of the free tasters that they generously serve. Wash down your food with some plum wine, sake, or beer. The seating is mostly in booths and the restaurant is spacious with Japanese décor. Quality is the key to this reasonably priced Virginia Beach restaurant.
Citrus Breakfast & Lunch
Although this is a cheap eatery it is number one on Urbanspoon’s list of best Virginia Beach restaurants. Located on Shore Drive at 2265 West Great Neck Road they serve breakfast, brunch, and lunch to an eager crowd of locals and visitors alike. The restaurant is kid-friendly and there is outdoor and indoor dining. Diners rave about the down-to-earth yet delicious items on the menu like crab cakes Benedict, pumpkin pancakes, country-fried steak, rockfish burrito, and cinnamon toast. The menu includes a number of healthy dishes and some local favorites that don’t particularly breakfast meals.