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Sandbridge Beach picture in Virginia Beach
Sherry Smith / Getty Images

Key Info

Details

  • Beaches, Natural Wonders, Recreation, Swimming/Pools Type
  • 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.3
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    5.0
  • Facilities
    4.5
  • Atmosphere
    4.0

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

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).

According to recent beachgoers, this natural wonder is beautiful and relaxing. In fact, a few previous visitors said its sunrises and sunsets are some of the best you'll see on the East Coast. Others appreciated the facilities (think: restrooms, picnic pavilions, sports courts, a playground and a fishing pier) found at Little Island Park, which is located at the southern end of the beach.

Sandbridge Beach is free to visit 24 hours a day, but Little Island Park's pier is only open between 5:30 a.m. and 11 p.m. daily, and lifeguards are only on duty from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend. Surfing restrictions are enforced and pets are not permitted during the peak season. Parking is generally free, but in the summer, municipal parking lots and Little Island Park's lot charge a maximum fee of $5 per day for cars. Buses and RVs incur a $10 charge per vehicle. Check out the Virginia Beach CVB's Sandbridge page to learn more.

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#1 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 ... Read more » eurobanks / Getty Images

#2 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 ... Read more » jomo333 / Getty Images

#3 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 ... Read more » Sherry Smith / Getty Images

#4 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 ... Read more » Sherry Smith / Getty Images

#5 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 ... Read more » tmersh / Getty Images

#6 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- ... Read more » Joanna Poe / Flickr

Virginia Beach Boardwalk and Beachfront picture in Virginia Beach
First Landing State Park  picture in Virginia Beach
Sandbridge Beach picture in Virginia Beach
Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center picture in Virginia Beach
Cape Henry Lighthouse picture in Virginia Beach
Military Aviation Museum picture in Virginia Beach
Virginia Beach Boardwalk and Beachfront picture in Virginia Beach
First Landing State Park  picture in Virginia Beach
Sandbridge Beach picture in Virginia Beach
Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center picture in Virginia Beach
Cape Henry Lighthouse picture in Virginia Beach
Military Aviation Museum picture in Virginia Beach

The Virginia Beach Boardwalk offers 3 miles of bike and walking paths, plus a pristine white sand beach. eurobanks / Getty Images

First Landing State Park is filled with tall cypress trees, some of which tower above the park's 20 miles of hiking trails. jomo333 / Getty Images

For a quiet day at the shore, check out Sandbridge Beach, which sits 15 miles outside the city's resort area. Sherry Smith / Getty Images

At the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, travelers will find multiple animal exhibits, as well as a ropes course and a 3-D theater. Sherry Smith / Getty Images

One of the best times to climb the historic Cape Henry Lighthouse is on a cloudy, cooler day. tmersh / Getty Images

An array of military planes from World War I and II are on display at the Military Aviation Museum. Joanna Poe / Flickr

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