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Virginia Beach Travel Guide

USA

Best Things To Do in Virginia Beach

The beach and boardwalk are the main attractions here. Although there are some spots (like Sandbridge Beach) where you can kayak and surf, the waters here are mostly too gentle for water sports enthusiasts. On land, Virginia Beach is home to multiple history-focused sights, including First Landing State Park, Cape Henry Lighthouse and the Military Aviation Museum. The city also offers nature parks and the kid-friendly Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center.

How we rank Things to Do.

#1

#1 in Virginia Beach

Free
Rather than your traditional wooden planks, Virginia Beach's famous boardwalk is concrete. The 3-mile thoroughfare is lined with quaint benches, Colonial-style street lamps and biking and walking paths. The boardwalk also hosts various events and festivals at different points throughout the year, though street performers can be found entertaining passersby on most days. And similar to other East Coast beach destinations, you will find various restaurants and hotels along the boardwalk, as well as a white sand beach.
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Beaches Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Virginia Beach Boardwalk and Beachfront
Rather than your traditional wooden planks, Virginia Beach's famous boardwalk is concrete. The 3-mile thoroughfare is lined with quaint benches, Colonial-style street lamps and biking and walking paths. The boardwalk also hosts various events and festivals at different points throughout the year, though street performers can be found entertaining passersby on most days. And similar to other East Coast beach destinations, you will find various restaurants and hotels along the boardwalk, as well as a white sand beach.
... more

#2

#2 in Virginia Beach

The most visited park in Virginia is First Landing State Park, where the Jamestown colonists first landed in the New World in 1607. Today, it is a nice getaway from the shoreline crowds and a fantastic spot for enjoying the great outdoors. Be prepared to hike, camp, swim, bike or just picnic and watch the squirrels run around. The park features 20 miles of trails and 1½ miles of beach on its 2,888 acres of scenic land.
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Beaches Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
First Landing State Park
The most visited park in Virginia is First Landing State Park, where the Jamestown colonists first landed in the New World in 1607. Today, it is a nice getaway from the shoreline crowds and a fantastic spot for enjoying the great outdoors. Be prepared to hike, camp, swim, bike or just picnic and watch the squirrels run around. The park features 20 miles of trails and 1½ miles of beach on its 2,888 acres of scenic land.
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#3

#3 in Virginia Beach

Free
Though Virginia Beach's main stretch of sand is situated next to its boardwalk, for a quieter option with fewer tourists, head 15 miles south of the city's resort area to Sandbridge Beach. This 5-mile swath of sand dunes, sea oats and shoreline lures swimmers and surfers, as well as families who desire more elbow room and close proximity to the area's vacation rentals. The beach also sits near Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge (where you can look for sea turtles and various bird species) and False Cape State Park (a protected area best explored by kayak, on foot and by bike).
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Beaches Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Sandbridge Beach
Though Virginia Beach's main stretch of sand is situated next to its boardwalk, for a quieter option with fewer tourists, head 15 miles south of the city's resort area to Sandbridge Beach. This 5-mile swath of sand dunes, sea oats and shoreline lures swimmers and surfers, as well as families who desire more elbow room and close proximity to the area's vacation rentals. The beach also sits near Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge (where you can look for sea turtles and various bird species) and False Cape State Park (a protected area best explored by kayak, on foot and by bike).
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#4

#4 in Virginia Beach

The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, located a mile south of the downtown resort area, offers more than 300 hands-on marine exhibits, including two animal touch pools with stingrays and horseshoe crabs. The property also features the Bay & Ocean Pavilion (where turtles, sharks, Komodo dragons and more are housed), the Marsh Pavilion (which has otters, seahorses and more), a ropes course and a 3-D theater that screens educational films and Hollywood movies.
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Zoos and Aquariums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, located a mile south of the downtown resort area, offers more than 300 hands-on marine exhibits, including two animal touch pools with stingrays and horseshoe crabs. The property also features the Bay & Ocean Pavilion (where turtles, sharks, Komodo dragons and more are housed), the Marsh Pavilion (which has otters, seahorses and more), a ropes course and a 3-D theater that screens educational films and Hollywood movies.
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#5

#5 in Virginia Beach

Just north of First Landing State Park is Cape Henry Lighthouse, the first lighthouse ever authorized by Congress. The attraction still has connections with the government; located on the grounds of the Fort Story military base, you'll have to show ID (either a REAL ID Act-compliant driver's license or a passport) at the property's entrance. The brick lighthouse was constructed in the 1790s and was an important step for trade along the Virginia and Maryland coasts, as it made the Chesapeake Bay easier and safer to navigate.
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Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Cape Henry Lighthouse
Just north of First Landing State Park is Cape Henry Lighthouse, the first lighthouse ever authorized by Congress. The attraction still has connections with the government; located on the grounds of the Fort Story military base, you'll have to show ID (either a REAL ID Act-compliant driver's license or a passport) at the property's entrance. The brick lighthouse was constructed in the 1790s and was an important step for trade along the Virginia and Maryland coasts, as it made the Chesapeake Bay easier and safer to navigate.
... more

#6

#6 in Virginia Beach

History buffs and aviation enthusiasts alike will love checking out the Military Aviation Museum. As its name suggests, this museum is packed with military aircraft (more specifically, World War I- and World War II-era airplanes), which have been restored to their prewar condition. Noteworthy items from the private collection include a de Havilland Mosquito (a plane that's primarily made of wood) and a Messerschmitt ME 262 (the world's first jet-powered fighter plane).
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Military Aviation Museum
History buffs and aviation enthusiasts alike will love checking out the Military Aviation Museum. As its name suggests, this museum is packed with military aircraft (more specifically, World War I- and World War II-era airplanes), which have been restored to their prewar condition. Noteworthy items from the private collection include a de Havilland Mosquito (a plane that's primarily made of wood) and a Messerschmitt ME 262 (the world's first jet-powered fighter plane).
... more
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