24 Best Things to do in Virginia Beach

24 Best Things to do in Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is one of those places that will surprise you. With 35 glorious miles of coastline complemented by the 3 miles of the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, it is no wonder that Virginia beach attracts millions of visitors each year. Located on the Atlantic Ocean in south-east Virginia this beach town offers more than just fun in the sun. Yes, the beach is fantastic, but pair that with an amazing food scene, interesting museums, and outdoor adventures, and you will see that there are so many things to do in Virginia Beach you just may need a couple of extra days.

Top Things To Do In Virginia Beach

One of the things that attracted us to Virginia Beach was the laid-back atmosphere and slow pace which made it the perfect place for a relaxing vacation. Add on the great selection of outdoor activities and choice of restaurants and you can understand why this place is so popular. To help you plan your time in this cool East Coast city we put together our 15 best things to do in Virginia Beach that you don’t want to miss.

1. Go Hiking At First Landing State Park

Did you know that Virginia was the first established European settlement in the United States? It was right here at First Landing State Park in 1607 that 100 English settlers landed. This 2,888-acre park not only has 1.25 miles of beachfront but there are 19 miles of walking trails through protected salt marsh habitat. As the most visited park in all of Virginia, it is not to be missed.

First Landing State Park in VA Beach is beautiful and a perfect day trip for hiking or biking with the family. There are freshwater ponds and picturesque swamps. There is a great visitor center here with museums and interpretive centers telling visitors of the history of both the pilgrims and Native Americans. After you’ve had a good hike and learned about history, you can spend some time on the beach enjoying a beautiful sunset at the dunes.

Read more: A Historical Look at Virginia Beach – 2500 Shore Dr, Virginia Beach, VA 23451

2. Kayak In Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge

The Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is a bird lover’s heaven. Kayaking through the backwaters is a relaxing experience away from all the hustle and bustle. We booked a guided tour with Surf & Adventure where we launched from the dock at their shop for an hour-and-a-half paddle through grasslands and channels.

It features more than 9000 acres of refuge and is the perfect place to spend an afternoon if you want to get away from the busy beach and bask in the tranquility of nature.

We spotted bald eagles and sea birds during our hour-long and relaxing trip through the National Wildlife Refuge while taking in the view. The tour ended at the restaurant Blue Pete’s, a local favorite specializing in seafood dishes.

  • Surf and Adventure address: 577 Sandbridge Road Virginia Beach, VA 23456

3. Take A Flight In A War Plane At The Military Aviation Museum

When we went looking for the ultimate adventure on your Virginia Beach vacation, we didn’t expect to have one of the greatest adventures we’ve had in our travels. Virginia Beach’s Military Aviation Museum not only offers a tour of dozens of classic planes from World War I and II but they give you the opportunity to fly in one! Visitors to the center can fly with a genuine pilot in a World War II biplane.

We met Captain Rober ‘Boom’ Powell at the runway and donned our flight suits for our 15-minute flight over the area where he showed us the old runways left over from WWII. Biplanes cannot take off in high crosswinds. Back then the runways were set up crisscrossing each other so the pilots could take off in any direction.

After all, war doesn’t wait for wind. It was a thrill of a lifetime as Boom dove through the air and did maneuvers as the wind ripped through my helmet. Yes, we actually wore leather helmets just like the fighter pilots of World War II. This is definitely one of the best things to do in Virginia Beach. Check out more of the amazing history of Virginia Beach.

For more information visit the Military Aviation Museum 1341 Princess Anne Road Virginia Beach, VA 23457

4. Adventure Park

If you want to feel like a kid again, and you are looking for some adventurous things to do in Virginia Beach then the Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium is a fun way to get the adrenaline pumping. Dave and I love doing via ferratas when visiting Europe. The high ropes at the Adventure Park are as close as you’ll get to the thrill of scaling a mountain.

Don’t worry if you don’t have experience on high ropes, guides will show you how to lock your harness to the cables keeping you safe and sound. There’s no possible way to unhook once you are on the course so you are free to try any obstacle you choose. The climb is a ton of fun as you cross cable bridges and pull yourself along opens spans on surfboards.

  • Courses range from beginner purple to double black diamond. You could spend an entire day challenging yourself to seek new heights. Addres: 801 General Booth Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States

5. The Virginia Aquarium And Marine Science Center

If you are visiting with the family then one of the top Virginia Beach attractions you will want to catch is the Virginia Museum and Marine Science Center. Located on General Booth Boulevard and with over 300 species which include Otters, seals, and loggerhead turtles, the family will have plenty to keep them interested. There are also themed exhibits as well as the Habour Seal Exhibit that you will not want to miss.

717 General Booth Blvd., Virginia Beach, VA 23451, USA

6. Virginia Beach Boardwalk

When it comes to VA Beach tourist attractions this has to be on the top of the list. Virginia Beach’s boardwalk stretches 3.4 miles along the Atlantic Ocean and features a ton of restaurants, shops, and entertainment. The Virginia Beach oceanfront is the perfect place for a nighttime stroll or you can grab yourself a bike and use the dedicated bike lane to explore the beach.

Don’t forget to stop at the King Neptune statue. This 34-foot tall bronze statue is hard to miss as it overlooks Neptune Park at 31st Street and Atlantic Avenue. Admire the detail that went into it and snap a picture to share on your social media!

7. Pleasure House Oysters Boat & Tasting Tour

Oysters play a huge part in Virginia Beach’s economy. Going on an oyster boat tour gives you insight into how the industry works and how the economy depends on it. Captain Chris Ludford is as passionate about oysters as he is about the environment and going out to his oyster farm is fun and informative.

We met him at his boat in the Lynnhaven Marina, close to First Landing State Park, where we took a tour out to his plot of oysters. The fishermen of Virginia Beach are very focused on making sure the waters are sustainable. They’ve been working towards regrowing the oyster corals and bringing the numbers back to the area.

After learning about how he raises the oysters to the optimal three-inch size, we took a tour of the canals to check out the mansions and waterfront homes. Rapper and producer Pharrell Williams has a house right on the shore. He was born and raised in the area and comes home often. If you are looking for something different to do, this is definitely a unique tour. When looking to book oyster tours, contact Chris directly. 

It’s a relaxed tour where you are free to really do anything you choose. Be sure to bring your appetite as Chris will feed you as many oysters as you can stomach. There is nothing better than a freshly shucked oyster right out of the sea.

Where to Eat in Virginia Beach

We have an entire article on where to eat in Virginia Beach. The food scene here is outstanding with restaurants serving everything from classics like Carolina pulled pork biscuits, to contemporary cuisine and fine dining serving fresh seafood and oysters. Our favorite places were Terrapin, Esoteric for their charcuterie board and Commune for a delicious breakfast. See our full breakdown here. The very best places to eat and drink in Virginia Beach

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