Considered a classic seaside city, Virginia Beach is more than a popular destination for beach-goers and weekend vacationers. The area packs a punch of historic relevance, beginning with the First Landing State Park—a place that memorializes the Jamestown colonists that arrived in Virginia in 1607. There are three miles of gorgeous seashores in Virginia Beach, with a boardwalk that spans the entire length. Don't miss the interesting King of Neptune statue proudly gracing the iconic boardwalk at 31st Street!
Aside from strings of beaches, there are several parks and natural forests, complete with hiking trails, campsites, and dog-walking paths.
Sports lovers can even find a few golf courses, tennis courts, and baseball fields to while away the hours.
Located to the east of Norfolk and Chesapeake, there are dozens of fun things to do in Virginia Beach. The Virginia Aquarium, for instance, is home to well-over 12,000 animals of 700 amazing species.
Located on General Booth Boulevard, the aquarium offers an indoor playground for kids, with climb stations and lots of interactive fun where youngsters can learn about various marine life.
Other aquarium must-sees include a nature walk with outdoor animal exhibits, hands-on animal areas, an educational IMAX theater, a small aviary, and a short but fun boat tour. According to TripAdvisor reviewers, the most fantastic animals at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center include the sea turtles, sting rays, dolphins, and jellyfish.
If you love a great arts scene, the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art is THE place to go. There are dozens of artwork exhibits, all modern and ever-changing.
The museum regularly switches out their exhibits in a continuous rotation with other museums from around the nation. Practically oceanfront, the museum hosts paintings, photography, sculptures, and old masterpieces from some prolific, historic artists.
Local artists are given a chance to shine with a few exhibits dedicated to the art you would find at Virginia Beach. For artists-to-be, the museum employs professional artists to teach classes, such as guides to drawing and beginner lessons to acrylics. Check out the permanent exhibit donated by sculptor and famed artist, Dale Chihuly.
For nature lovers, the Norfolk Botanical Garden, located within five miles of Virginia Beach, is an absolute must. The gardens are gorgeous, especially in the springtime, and well-kept, with hundreds of species of beautiful flowers, like roses, azaleas, perennials, and daisies.
There are paths woven through the gardens, with rest benches, a gazebo or two, and a fun, lovely butterfly house. Kids will love watching the butterflies flit and flutter around the exhibit and gardens.
Another fun thing to do in Virginia Beach is to take a short drive to Fort Story (583 Atlantic Avenue) and see the Old Cape Henry Lighthouse and the newer Cape Henry Lighthouse. Built in 1742, the famed lighthouse is the 'oldest of Chesapeake Bay' and the third oldest standing in the US. The beautiful sandstone lighthouse rises 90 feet into the sky. In 1881, a newer lighthouse was constructed just over 350 away from the original structure. Note: The lighthouses stand on the Ft. Story naval military base, so anyone over 16 will be asked to show valid identification to enter the gated base..
Food-wise, Virginia Beach is known for both excellent fine dining establishments and delicious cheap eats. Some days, there is nothing better than simply grabbing a slice of pizza and sitting next to the ocean on a boardwalk rest bench. While other days, you just want to sample and eat everything that Virginia Beach restaurants have to offer.
One Fish-Two Fish is a slightly upscale American/Seafood restaurant with a dock spot right on the waters. Dress in your best going-out apparel and dine on seared scallops, a baby spinach & panko fried goat cheese salad, a beautifully cooked choice ribeye steak, and a side of garlic mashed potatoes. For dessert, sample a decadent vanilla crème brulee or a flourless chocolate torte.
And finish your night with one of their top-shelf cocktails, like the signature One Fish-Two Fish [made with Godiva dark chocolate, vanilla vodka, vanilla schnapps, and Bailey’s with a touch of Kahlua].
Virginia Beach is where to have fun and luxuriate on an awesome vacation!
However, you need more than one weekend to see and do everything—so, plan to stay for a little while in one of the top-ranked Virginia Beach hotels: Country Inn & Suites by Carlson, Sheraton Oceanfront Hotel, Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Virginia Beach, and Best Western Plus.
Country Inn & Suites by Carlson
For many online reviewers, Country Inn & Suites by Carlson exceeds expectations with a handful of reliable accommodations and comfortable amenities. For instance, guests receive a full-size hot breakfast, access to a workout room and a heated indoor swimming pool; the beach is mere footsteps from the back gate. Other noted amenities include room service, super-comfortable and plush queen-sized beds, and free high-speed internet with free basic cable on flat-screen televisions.
Plan a day of adventure and historic exploration at the Naval Aviation Monument, a Virginia Beach landmark that pays beautiful, artistic tribute to the men and women of the United States Navy.
Sheraton Oceanfront Hotel
Home to an on-site restaurant with a cozy bar and lounge, the Sheraton Oceanfront Hotel is among the best hotels in Virginia Beach. It's both an accommodating and comfortable option for all kinds of travelers to the area. Their most notable accommodations include an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, hot tubs, a workout room, free high-speed internet, room service, and a banquet room for celebrations.
Dubbed one of the top romantic hotels in Virginia Beach, the Sheraton nudges the seashores, giving you abundant opportunities to walk hand-in-hand, seaside, with your sweetheart.
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Virginia Beach
The Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Virginia Beach is a classy, simple hotel with homey comforts and expected, respectable accommodations. Located on Atlantic Avenue, the hotel offers beautiful beach views, especially from the top-floor balconies. There is nothing quite like leaving the balcony door slightly open to hear the rush of the waves at night. Other notable amenities for the Holiday Inn Express include a heated indoor swimming pool, a fitness center, free hot daily breakfasts, free high-speed internet, and dry-cleaning services. Entertainment can be found in a nature walk to the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, less than a quarter-mile from the hotel.
Best Western Plus
Another Virginia Beach hotel on Atlantic Avenue, Best Western Plus has been top-ranked as one of the best hotels for business professionals. Of course, they cater to everyone, but their business center, shuttle bus services, and meeting rooms are helpful to business trippers.
While a bit old-fashioned, the hotel provides all of the homey comforts, like double-sized beds, free high-speed internet, and basic cable.
If you crave something yummy, sweet, and homemade, take a stroll to Duck Donuts for some uniquely flavored donuts, like maple cream with bacon or French Toast.
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