Relax on sandy beaches, dine at unique restaurants, stroll along the scenic Virginia Beach Boardwalk and explore local attractions in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Kids will love the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center and the Military Aviation Museum. Best things to do in Virginia Beach for couples include the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, the Adam Thoroughgood House and a romantic picnic on the ocean's edge.
1. Virginia Beach Boardwalk
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The Virginia Beach Boardwalk is the heart and soul of the area and provides a range of fun entertainment and activities for visitors and locals alike. Stretching for three miles along the oceanfront, the boardwalk has an energetic mix of restaurants, shops, entertainment, and laid-back beach vibes.
The boardwalk features a separate bike path with vendors offering bike and surrey rentals, making it ideal for strolling, rollerblading, and biking. The boardwalk is also a center for performing arts, including live musical acts, summer concerts, and a range of nautical sculptures such as the famous bronze statute of King Neptune.
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2. Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art
© Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art
The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art is dedicated to encouraging and fostering the exploration and understanding of contemporary and modern art. Located at 2200 Parks Avenue, the museum is housed in an award-winning building designed by Boston architect E. Verner Johnson and boasts over 6,000 square feet of exhibition space. The museum features a range of ever-changing exhibitions spanning a variety of art forms and genres, from painting, drawing, and sculpture, to photography, video, and glass.
The museum also offers educational outreach programs, studio art classes, and outdoor art shows featuring local and upcoming artists to promote their works and encourage the community to take an interest in the arts.
2200 Parks Avenue, Virginia Beach, VA, Phone: 757-425-0000
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3. First Landing State Park, Virginia Beach, VA
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Named after the landing of the first English colonists in 1607, First Landing State Park is a beautiful oasis in the heart of Virginia Beach, and it is the region’s most-visited state park. Built in the early 1930s, the park is a National Natural Landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
It offers an array of recreational and educational activities, including over 20 miles of hiking and biking trails and uninterrupted views over Chesapeake Bay. A variety of diverse habitats ranging from maritime forests and lush lagoons to marshy cypress swamps serve as the home to myriad fauna and flora. Meanwhile, the visitor-friendly Chesapeake Bay Center features historical and educational exhibits, as well as a pavilion and amphitheater that can be rented for special events.
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4. The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
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Located just south of Rudee Inlet, the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is home to over 12,000 animals representing over 700 species. The animals are cared for in a variety of habitats, including the Bay & Ocean Pavilion, which features animals from oceanic marine environments, and the Marsh Pavilion, which hosts a variety of river and marsh creatures. The two pavilions are connected by a lovely outdoor hiking/walking trail that runs alongside Owls Creek Salt Marsh. If you are looking for fun things to do in Virginia Beach with kids, this is a great place to visit.
The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center also offers a range of educational programs and workshops that aim to encourage and inspire the preservation of the marine environment through research and sustainable practices.
717 General Booth Blvd, Virginia Beach, Virginia, Phone: 757-385-3474
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5. Beaches Near Me: Grommet Island Park, Virginia Beach, VA
© Grommet Island Park
Grommet Island Park is a place in Virginia Beach, Virginia that was designed for everybody. The first park of its kind in the United States, this unique playground and park is a 100-percent accessible oceanfront park. Grommet Island Park is approximately 15,000 square feet in size and features a playground consisting of a sway boat, sensory board for visually impaired and autistic children, raised sand tables designed for building sand castles at an accessible height, and poured-in-place surfacing. The playground features several sculptural features as well. There are also wheelchair-accessible entrances to the park and accessible seating areas.
100 2nd Street, Virginia Beach, VA 2345, 757-385-1100, (website link)
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6. False Cape State Park, Virginia Beach, VA
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The former home of Native Americans, False Cape State Park is situated between Back Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, and it is one the last remaining undeveloped areas along the Atlantic coast. The park is home to a diverse range of wild and untamed ecosystems and offers excellent outdoor activities such as hiking and biking opportunities through various trails, kayaking trips, beach combing, and camping.
The park is also home to the historic Wash Woods community where visitors can explore the old church and cemetery, as well as take an enjoyable round-trip tram ride through the park from the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The park is open from dawn until dusk and has no public vehicular access – it is only accessible by foot, bicycle, beach transport, tram, or boat.
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7. Military Aviation Museum, Virginia Beach, VA
© Military Aviation Museum
The Atlantic Military Aviation Museum is located at the Virginia Beach Airport and is home to one of the largest collections of World War I and World War II military aircrafts in the world. Spanning a vast complex of four hangars and an exclusive museum space for the collection’s non-flying pieces, this fascinating living history museum grew from a passion for World War-era aircraft. It features an impressive selection of meticulously restored aviation treasures.
Examples of World War I bi- and triplanes include a Bleriot XI and an Albatross DVA, and World War II pieces include a Spitfire and a MIG. Enjoy guided tours of Master Jet Base NAS Oceana on a special double-decker bus and get up close views of F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet fighter jets. You will have the exciting opportunity to watch Naval Aviators and ground crews at work.
1341 Princess Anne Road, Virginia Beach, Virginia, Phone: 757-721-7767, (website link)
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8. Blue Seafood and Spirits, Virginia Beach, VA
© Blue Seafood and Spirits
Located on Upton Drive in Virginia Beach, Blue Seafood & Spirits is a chef-owned and operated restaurant dedicated to serving high quality, fresh seafood accompanied by a range of signature cocktails, wines, and beers.
Managed by Chef Charles Thain, the 60-seater restaurant boasts an elegant yet casual ambiance and specializes in a variety of freshly prepared seafood dishes such tempura fried shrimp and crab cakes. The restaurant does not accept reservations, so be sure to get there early to get a table.
2181 Upton Drive, Virginia Beach, Virginia, Phone: 757-698-5395
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9. Ocean Breeze Waterpark, Virginia Beach, VA
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Ocean Breeze Waterpark is a family-friendly water park and entertainment center in the heart of Virginia Beach. The Caribbean-themed Park features more than 30 exciting rides and exhilarating water slides, river adventures, a pirate ship, and a massive wave pool, as well as other fun attractions.
Popular rides include the Log Rolls, Walk the Plane, and Jungle Falls. Smaller children can enjoy themselves on a real pirate ship, and adults might enjoy spending a few hours browsing the shops. The park has several restaurants and cafés that serve a variety of food, snacks, and drinks, and the park offers free sunscreen and inner tubes for all visitors.
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10. The Bee and The Biscuit, Virginia Beach, VA
© The Bee and The Biscuit
The Bee and The Biscuit is a delightful Virginia Beach restaurant housed within a 1919 cottage in the city's Pungo district, opened in 2016 by restaurateur Karen Johnson. The restaurant serves up breakfast and lunch entrees throughout the week, known for its delicious fare crafted with locally-sourced farm ingredients. Guests can enjoy delicious breakfast entrees all day, including Southern-style favorites like buttermilk biscuits with sausage gravy, Tex Mex selections like vegan or sausage breakfast burritos, and gourmet bistro offerings like stuffed French toast with mascarpone filling and orange sauce. A full menu of creative omelettes and Benedicts are also served, including favorites with bay lump crab meat. Lunch selections include health-conscious wraps, mushroom melts, and Carolina pulled pork biscuits.
1785 Princess Anne Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23456, Phone: 757-689-6243
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11. Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum, Virginia Beach, VA
© Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum
The Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum is a small museum dedicated to showcasing the history and migratory patterns of Atlantic Wildfowl that pass through Eastern Virginia. Located in the historic de Witt Cottage on the Virginia Beach oceanfront, the museum is home to a variety of exhibits and displays showcasing wildfowl and shorebirds and their migratory movements, as well as an array of artworks with this particular subject matter, from contemporary lifelike carvings to traditional decoys.
Other interesting exhibits include a diorama of the surrounding Back Bay habitat and wildlife, a mural of the Atlantic Flyway, and a modern, interactive computer that gives immersive lessons about the local wildfowl.
1113 Atlantic Avenue, Virginia Beach, Virginia, Phone: 757-437-8432, (website link)
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12. Things to Do in Virginia Beach: Baker's Crust
Baker's Crust is a charming regional Virginia restaurant chain, offering seven locations today throughout the state, including a spacious location in Virginia Beach's Hilltop North Shopping Center. The full-service restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner service throughout the week, focusing on entrees prepared from scratch highlighting the restaurant's hearth-baked European-style breads. Artisan sandwiches feature hearty ingredients sourced from regional Virginia farms, including organic-grown greens that are free of pesticides and GMO modification. Neapolitan-style pizzas highlight traditional flavors such as fennel sausage, prosciutto, and portabella mushrooms, while beef, turkey, and vegetarian burgers are served up charbroiled on housemade brioche buns. Weekly specials include half-price wine Wednesdays and pizza and pint nights on Thursdays.
704 Hilltop North Shopping Center, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, Phone: 757-422-6703
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13. Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
The Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is a freshwater refuge encompassing approximately 8,000 acres bordering the Back Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The wildlife refuge consists of barrier islands featuring large impoundments used by wintering wildfowl, ocean beach, ponds, freshwater marshes, maritime forests, and large sand dunes. The peaceful habitats found throughout the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge can be reached by the beach, the boardwalk overlook, bikes, and marsh trails. The refuge itself can also be accessed by the Back Bay Tram Tours, which run from the resort area from the beginning of April through the end of October.
4005 Sandpiper Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23456, 757-301-7329
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14. Things to Do in Virginia Beach: Terrapin
Just a short walk from the famous boardwalk of Virginia Beach, Terrapin offers diners an intimate dining experience with a menu of award-winning contemporary American Cuisine made from seasonal, farm-fresh ingredients. Chef Rodney Einhorn has created an innovative menu of farm-to-table fare that features dishes such as truffle mac-and-cheese, fresh sea scallops, and rib eye steak. The evolving menu is paired with an interesting list of signature cocktails, boutique wines, and craft beer. The recently renovated restaurant that can accommodate 50 patrons is warm and inviting with an elegant wooden bar, floating lanterns, and an open kitchen. A stylish terrace is ideal for outdoor dining during the warmer months.
3102 Holly Road, Pinewood Square, Suite 514, Virginia Beach, Virginia, Phone: 757-321-6688
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15. Adam Thoroughgood House, Virginia Beach, VA
© Adam Thoroughgood House
Named after an apprenticed servant who made a fortune in tobacco farming, the Adam Thoroughgood House is a National Historic Landmark and is said to be the oldest surviving colonial home in Virginia Beach. Built in the 1680s and later restored to its former glory in 1957, the small farmhouse is located in a quiet neighborhood near the banks of the Lynnhaven River. It features an incredible collection of late 17th and early 18th century English furniture and beautifully manicured gardens. Guided tours of the house are conducted by costumed staff members, and the museum offers a range of interactive educational programs for children to learn about the life and traditions of the past.
1636 Parish Rd, Virginia Beach, Virginia, Phone: 757-460-7588
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16. The Bagel Baker, Virginia Beach, VA
© The Bagel Baker
The Bagel Baker is a friendly bagel and coffee shop located in the Great Neck area of Virginia Beach. Established in 2011, this family-owned and operated bakery brings a taste of New York to Virginia Beach with freshly baked bagels with delicious toppings, breakfast sandwiches, soups, salads, and home-brewed coffee. Bagels are made daily in the traditional way – they are kettle-boiled, stone baked, and preservative free. Visitors can choose from a variety of fillings such as cream cheese, hummus, butter, and jelly for their bagels. A range of other sandwiches, breakfast rolls, deli salads, and soups are also available. Gourmet coffee is freshly brewed throughout the day to accompany the deli’s range of meals and snacks.
1340 N. Great Neck Road, Suite 1248, Virginia Beach, Virginia, Phone: 757-965-3050
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17. Closest beach to me: Sandbridge Beach
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Sandbridge Beach is a beautiful beach paradise and secluded hideaway just 15 miles south of the main resort area of Virginia Beach where you can escape the crowds. Stretching for five miles along the coastline and featuring pristine sand dunes and waving sea oats, this seaside oasis is home to breathtaking natural landscapes and a diverse range of wildlife.
Explore the thick marshes and mercurial backwaters of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge in search of wildlife, venture along the Seashore to Cypress Birding Trail to find some fantastic birds, or head into the False Cape State Park to enjoy hiking, kayaking, or fishing.
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18. Lake Lawson, Virginia Beach, VA
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The Lake Lawson/Lake Smith Natural Area, a natural preserve situated in the Bayside Borough, boasts over 12,000 feet of shoreline and a variety of diverse habitats. The area offers locals and visitors alike a range of fun water-based and beach activities, including fishing, boating, canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boating.
There are several walking trails, a pedestrian bridge, and picnic areas families can use, as well as a newly built playground for young children. The 42,000-acre reserve offers several fishing and overlook platforms, formalized boat and trailer parking, and a new boat ramp for fishing and boating enthusiasts.
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19. Rudee Flipper Dolphin Tours, Virginia Beach, VA
© Rudee Flipper Dolphin Tours
Explore the Virginia Beach coastline and see dolphins in their natural habitat on a fun-filled cruise aboard the Rudee Flipper. Renowned as one of the longest running and most experienced dolphin cruise companies in the region, Rudee Tours offers unforgettable tours that allow you to experience the beauty of the coastline and watch dolphins frolicking in the bay. Tours are conducted on the Rudee Flipper, a classy cruise boat with upper and lower sightseeing levels and interior windows that boast 360-degree views so you don’t miss a thing!
The boat is manned by a professional crew who will share their knowledge and passion about the area and help you find the best locations to sight dolphins. The Rudee Flipper is equipped with modern amenities for comfort, including two restrooms, climate control, and a snack bar that serves hot and cold beverages and freshly made snacks.
200 Winston Salem Ave, Virginia Beach, Virginia, Phone: 757-425-3400
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20. Little Island Park, Virginia Beach, VA
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Situated just north of Back Bay Wildlife Refuge in Sandbridge, Little Island Park is a lovely beach park that provides the public with a variety of outdoor activities. The park is home to a 400-foot fishing pier, which is a great place to surf, as well as a pristine beach where visitors can swim, beach comb, and fish.
There are also sheltered picnic and barbecue sites throughout the park for family fun days in the sun. The brackish lake of Back Bay is ideal for kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and crabbing, while lighted tennis, basketball, and volleyball courts provide extra entertainment for more energetic individuals. (website link)
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21. Tarnished Truth Distilling Company, Virginia Beach, VA
© Tarnished Truth Distilling Company
Founded in 2013 by two Virginia natives, Josh Canada and Andrew Yancey, Tarnished Truth Distilling Company in Virginia Beach boasts the title of being the first “in-hotel distillery” in the United States. The distillery is located inside The Historic Cavalier Hotel & Beach Club and uses both new and old distilling techniques for crafting a great selection of locally crafted and award-winning gin, vodka, rye whiskey, bourbon, and other types of small-batch specialty spirits. Larry Ebersold, a master distiller, leads the distilling team. Visitors can take a guided tour of the distillery or sample some Tarnished Truth’s spirits in the tasting room.
4200 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, 757-965-9652
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22. Things to Do in Virginia Beach: Cape Henry Lighthouse
Originally built back in 1792 and now a National Historic Landmark, Cape Henry Lighthouse began to crack in 1870, leading it to be replaced just 357 feet away by the new Cape Henry Lighthouse. This new lighthouse serves as a navigation aid and is operated by the United States Coast Guard. Preservation Virginia operates the old lighthouse. Which has become the City of Virginia Beach's official symbol. Since the lighthouses are located on the Fort Story military base, visitors will have to go through the security gates. Visitors must also be at least 42 inches tall to climb the Cape Henry Lighthouse.
583 Atlantic Ave Fort Story, VA 23459, 757-422-9421
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23. Mount Trashmore Park
Mount Trashmore Park totals approximately 165 acres of Virginia Beach and is made up of multi-use paths, a vert ramp and skate park, two playgrounds, two lakes, and two man-made mountains. This world-renowned park is noted for its environmental feat of transforming a former landfill into a beautiful water-wise garden boasting xeriscaping. Mount Trashmore is the larger mountain at 60 feet high and the smaller mountain in the park is called Encore Hill. Fishing at the lakes is allowed from land, but requires a fishing license. Wading, swimming, and boats, however, are not permitted on either Lake Trashmore or Lake Windsor.
310 Edwin Dr, Virginia Beach, VA 23462, 757-385-2995, (website link)
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24. Hunt Club Farm, Virginia Beach, VA
© Hunt Club Farm
A unique family owned and operated farm, Hunt Club Farm in Virginia Beach, Virginia spans across more than thirty acres and offers fun for people of all ages. The Petting Farm offers kids a chance to pet pigs, llamas, donkeys, cows, chickens, and goats, while the BirdWalk Aviary provides an opportunity to visit with more than 500 parakeets. There’s also the TreeWalk Adventure, an in-air playground made up of treehouses connected by wooden and netted bridges. Hunt Club Farm also hosts a seasonal Farm Market from April to December, a Pumpkin Patch during the fall, and a holiday market in December.
2388 London Bridge Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23456, 757-427-9520
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25. Motor World, Virginia Beach, VA
© Motor World
Motor World boasts itself as “your place to race in Virginia Beach.” This fun-filled destination attraction features more than a dozen different style go-karts for guests to choose from and over ten go-kart tracks, including the European-style race track called the Adult Speed Track. There’s also a year-round Splat Zone with a shooting range, inflatable bunkers, and paintball fields. A place for the entire family to enjoy, Motor World also includes miniature golf, a variety of thrill rides, bumper boats, the Skycoaster, a climbing wall, and much more. For younger visitors, there’s the Kiddie City theme park.
700 S Birdneck Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, 757-422-6419
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The top attractions to visit in Virginia Beach near me today according to local experts are:
- 1. Virginia Beach Boardwalk
- 2. Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art
- 3. First Landing State Park, Virginia Beach, VA
- 4. The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
- 5. Beaches Near Me: Grommet Island Park, Virginia Beach, VA
- 6. False Cape State Park, Virginia Beach, VA
- 7. Military Aviation Museum, Virginia Beach, VA
- 8. Blue Seafood and Spirits, Virginia Beach, VA
- 9. Ocean Breeze Waterpark, Virginia Beach, VA
- 10. The Bee and The Biscuit, Virginia Beach, VA
- 11. Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum, Virginia Beach, VA
- 12. Things to Do in Virginia Beach: Baker's Crust
- 13. Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
- 14. Things to Do in Virginia Beach: Terrapin
- 15. Adam Thoroughgood House, Virginia Beach, VA
- 16. The Bagel Baker, Virginia Beach, VA
- 17. Closest beach to me: Sandbridge Beach
- 18. Lake Lawson, Virginia Beach, VA
- 19. Rudee Flipper Dolphin Tours, Virginia Beach, VA
- 20. Little Island Park, Virginia Beach, VA
- 21. Tarnished Truth Distilling Company, Virginia Beach, VA
- 22. Things to Do in Virginia Beach: Cape Henry Lighthouse
- 23. Mount Trashmore Park
- 24. Hunt Club Farm, Virginia Beach, VA
- 25. Motor World, Virginia Beach, VA