Explore the Vibrant Shores: Your Guide to Virginia Beach’s Charms

Explore the Vibrant Shores: Your Guide to Virginia Beach's Charms
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Located on the southeastern coast of the state, Virginia Beach is situated where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. Explore the 3-mile stretch of boardwalk, or visit the First Landing State Park where in 1607 the Jamestown colonists arrived from England.

Best Time to Visit

Late May to early September in order to enjoy the warmer water and weather temps, but be aware that this is peak season for the coastal city

Also Read: 10 Tips for Healthy Living All Summer Long

Places to Go and See

Busch Gardens – Williamsburg

Explore the Vibrant Shores: Your Guide to Virginia Beach's Charms

Ranked as one of the top ten best theme parks by USA Today and voted “most beautiful theme park” 33 years in a row by the National Amusement Park Historical Association, Busch Gardens in Williamsburg is the destination for roller coaster enthusiasts. Separated into different countries, each section has thrill rides for all ages and several options for food and drink to keep you satiated.

  • Hours: ~11-8 each day, but always check ahead of time
  • Best Time: A clear sunny day to fully take advantage of all the attractions and shows offered at the park 
  • Price: $104.99

Virginia Zoological Park

Virginia Beach
Credit: Michele Wyckoff

Home to more than 700 animals, themed gardens, tours, and informational shows, the Virginia Zoological Park is a perfect place to explore the flora and fauna of our planet.

  • Hours: 9:30-4
  • Best Time: During the summer months so all of the animals will be on display
  • Price: $19

Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center

Explore the Vibrant Shores: Your Guide to Virginia Beach's Charms
Virginia Aquarium

Displaying hundreds of aquatic species, the Virginia Aquarium is one of the best in the country. Watch as divers repair some of the bigger tanks, or find a staff member with their animal ambassador as you walk through numerous exhibits.

  • Hours: 9-6
  • Best Time: Anytime, as all the animals are located indoors
  • Price: $29.95

Virginia Beach Boardwalk

Explore the Vibrant Shores: Your Guide to Virginia Beach's Charms

Twenty-eight feet wide and three miles long, the boardwalk is home to several statues, shops, and live musical performances each night. The most impressive piece though is King Neptune, a twelve-ton bronze statue that stands at the gateway of the Neptune Festival Park and is one of the most popular photo opportunities in the area.

  • Hours: 24hrs a day
  • Best Time: Warm, sunny day
  • Price: Free

False Cape State Park

Explore the Vibrant Shores: Your Guide to Virginia Beach's Charms

A former home of Native Americans, the Wash Woods community and Little Island Coast Guard Station, this is one of the last remaining undeveloped areas along the Atlantic coast. The State Park honors those souls who made a living from the tumultuous sea.

  • Hours: Sunrise to sunset
  • Best Time: Summer months
  • Price: Free

Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art

Explore the Vibrant Shores: Your Guide to Virginia Beach's Charms
Credit: Dannie Jing

People from all over the community and tourists can come and explore this museum that explores shared humanity through “locally relevant and nationally resonant” pieces. You can also come and participate in hands-on activities, or just have the opportunity to talk to an artist.

  • Hours: Closed Mon-Wed, Thurs 10-8, Fri-Sun 10-4
  • Best Time: Anytime as the art pieces are indoors
  • Price: Free

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Hidden Gems

Cape Henry Lighthouse

Cape Henry Lighthouse

Near the historical “First Landing” of Jamestown settlers, Cape Henry was one of the first federally funded public works projects of the new U.S. government, being authorized by George Washington and overseen by Alexander Hamilton.

  • Hours: 10-4
  • Best Time: Clear day to see from the top of the lighthouse
  • Price: $10

First Landing State Park

If you enjoy spending the day swimming, hiking, boating, or fishing take a look at First Landing State Park. Comprising 2,888 acres, there will never be a point where you run out of wilderness to explore.

  • Hours: 8am-Dusk
  • Best Time: Warmer months
  • Price: $5

Cherie’s Bicycle and Blade Rentals

Coined as the “oldest and largest bike rental on the east coast”, visit one of the 14 rental locations to rent a variety of bikes to take for a ride down the boardwalk and back.

  • Hours: 8-11
  • Best Time: Sunny day to pedal around the boardwalk
  • Price: Depends on the type of rental and length of rental time

Related: 7 Tips For How To Survive Your Family Beach Vacation

Sandbridge Beach

Located just a few miles away from the main stretch of Virginia Beach, Sandbridge is for those looking for a laid-back beach to just bask in the sun. Along with delectable restaurants cherished by locals, this small community is a nice break from the more congested tourist areas.

  • Hours: 24 hours
  • Best Time: Warmer months, but you can go whenever you want
  • Price: Free

Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

Containing 113,000 acres, this refuge is the largest intact piece of a swamp that covered more than a million acres. Explore one of the most important wildlife habitats in the mid-Atlantic on bike, foot, boat, or just dip your pole into the water to catch one of the many types of fish living there.

  • Hours: Sunrise to sunset
  • Best Time: Any time of the year
  • Price: Free

Top Restaurants

Tulu Seaside Bar & Grill

Boasting ocean views and locally sourced food, Tulu Seaside Bar & Grill has plenty of reasons why they are top ranked on TripAdvisor. Come for breakfast, lunch or dinner and pick from three unique menus, along with hand-crafted cocktails.

  • Hours: Breakfast 7-11, Lunch 11:30-5, Dinner ~ 5-10
  • Featured Food: Quinoa Crusted Rainbow Trout / Teriyaki Miso Glazed Salmon Bowl
  • Featured Drink: No More Thyme / Blueberry Lavender Mojito

Blue Seafood & Spirits

Serving the freshest seafood possible, this multiple award-winning restaurant needs no introduction. Located on Upton Drive, make a stop at this small restaurant nestled in a strip mall and taste the delicious flavors of the sea.

  • Hours: Closed Sun & Mon, Tues-Sat 4-9
  • Featured Food: Crab Soup / Tempura Fried Shrimp
  • Featured Drink: Great White Margarita / Sandbridge Sangria

The Bee and the Biscuit

Serving locally sourced food out of a c.1919 cottage, The Bee and the Biscuit is the perfect place to stop for breakfast or lunch, serving both all day. Eat next to a warm fireplace or under a shady deck in this welcoming atmosphere.

  • Hours: Closed Monday, Tues-Sun 7am-2pm
  • Featured Food: Papa Joe’s Breakfast Tostada / Aviator’s Club
  • Featured Drink: Manmosa / Ghost Pepper Bloody Mary

Terrapin Restaurant

Started in 2006, Terrapin aims to bring only the best foods to their customers, including a menu free of hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup. Supporting both local farmers and watermen, this restaurant brings new flavors to prized dishes.

  • Hours: Closed Sun & Mon, Tues-Sat 5:30-8:45 (last seating)
  • Featured Food: Short Rib Rigatoni / Josper Grilled Halibut

Mojito Cafe

Fusing both Puerto Rican and Cuban flavors, Mojito Cafe is the locals favorite Latin restaurant on the beach. With a wide range of flavors and dishes, you want to make sure you get a spot at one of the six tables or four seats at the bar early, so you can enjoy this cafe.

  • Hours: Closed Sun & Mon, Tues-Fri 5-9, Sat 12-9
  • Featured Food: Pernil y Arroz / Ropa Vieja
  • Featured Drink: Cherry Berry Mojito / Citrus Medley Mojito

Captain George’s Seafood Buffet

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If you’re having a seafood craving, this is the destination for you. A plethora of options await you, whether it is seafood or non-seafood products. Make sure to eat as much as possible, especially since this restaurant is a buffet.

  • Hours: M-F 3:30-9:30, Sat 2-9:30, Sun 12-9:30
  • Price: ~$50/person
  • Featured Food: Snow Crab Legs

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Top Hotels

Howard Johnson by Wyndham Virginia Beach at the Beach

  • ~$100/night
  • Featured Amenities: Free WiFi, Beach access, Outdoor pool, Air conditioning, Free breakfast, In-house restaurant
  • Hotel Information: Check in 4pm, Check out 11am, Free Parking

Doubletree by Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront South

  • ~$200/night
  • Featured Amenities: Free WiFi, Beach access, Horseback riding, Indoor Pool, Fitness Center, In-house restaurant/bar
  • Hotel Information: Check in 4pm, Check out 11am, Free parking

Candlewood Suites Virginia Beach Town Center, an IHG Hotel

  • ~$200/night
  • Featured Amenities: Free WiFi, Convenience Store, Fitness Center, Self-Service Laundry, Pet-Friendly, Refrigerator
  • Hotel Information: Check in 4pm, Check out 11am, Free Parking

Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront

  • ~$300/night
  • Featured Amenities: Free WiFi, Beach front, Indoor/Outdoor Pool, Hot Tub, Water Skiing, Fitness Center
  • Hotel Information: Check in 4pm, Check out 11am, Parking

Spending the day at the beach is just one of the few activities you can enjoy at Virginia Beach. Explore state parks, ride down thrilling rollercoasters, or just enjoy really good seafood at one of these delicious restaurants and enjoy a vacation on the Atlantic coast.

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Alexandria is a News Editor, writer, and reader of all things literature. She graduated from the State University of... More about Alexandria Wyckoff

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