Virginia Beach is a vibrant oceanfront resort town on the east coast of Virginia. With a population of over 450,000 people, it is the most populous city in the state. The city’s modern history dates back to the very first colonists who landed on Cape Henry in the early 17th century.
The eponymous Virginia Beach itself stretches across a combined 38 miles (61 kilometres) of sand along the oceanfront and Chesapeake bay. This puts it in the Guinness book of world records as the longest pleasure beach in the world. Between the miles of golden sand and the wealth of things to see and do, it’s little wonder that Virginia Beach is such a popular destination.
When not relaxing on the beach, you can explore local nature reserves, browse the many museums, or have fun at the various entertainment options. I’ll start you off on your discovery of this lively city by taking you through the best things to do in Virginia Beach, Virginia. From the best beaches to niche monuments and museums and family-friendly attractions, you’ll soon know how to make the best of however long you’ll be staying in Virginia Beach.
- Virginia Beach, Virginia
- Top 3 Tours
- 20 Things To Do In Virginia Beach
- 1- Meet The Critters At Virginia Aquarium
- 2- Go Wild At The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium
- 3- Fly Through History At The Military Aviation Museum
- 4- Drive Through Aviation Historical Park
- 5- Walk The Trails Of First Landing State Park
- 6- Admire The Cape Henry Lighthouse
- 8- Relax On Resort Beach
- 9- Take A Break In Neptune’s Park
- 10- Play Around At The Atlantic Fun Park
- 11- Pop Into The Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum
- 12- Browse The Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum
- 13- Enjoy Some Peace At Chesapeake Beach
- 14- Wander Around Ferry Plantation House
- 15- Peer Into The Past Of Lynnhaven House
- 16- Stop By The Flame Of Hope
- 17- Tap Into Your Creativity At The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art
- 18- Look Inside Thoroughgood House
- 19- Enjoy A Drink At The Tarnished Truth Distilling Co.
- 20- Treat Your Tastebuds At Virginia Beach Winery
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Top 3 Tours
- Sunset Dolphin Kayak Tour – Go on a kayaking tour from Virginia Beach to watch the sunset and see dolphins.
- Wetland Zipline Tour – Get an adrenaline rush in nature on this zipline adventure.
- Ghosts of Virginia Beach Dark History – Join a walking tour to learn about its dark history and hunt for ghosts.
20 Things To Do In Virginia Beach
1- Meet The Critters At Virginia Aquarium
Where better to learn about the ocean than a waterfront aquarium?
The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Centre is home to hundreds of marine species from the local region and worldwide.
There are plenty of fun activities and creative displays, from boat tours to opportunities to meet some of the resident animals.
It’s the perfect spot for keeping everyone entertained for an afternoon.
If you’ve got someone in your group who isn’t too keen on fish, you’re still in luck, as the aquarium also houses various species of reptiles, small mammals and even birds.
The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Centre is at 717 General Booth Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States.
2- Go Wild At The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium
Just down the road from the Virginia Aquarium is a thrilling adventure park where you can enjoy some fun in the open air.
From treetop trails to ziplines and climbing walls, the adventure park is the perfect place to get the whole family moving and burn off some energy.
The Adventure Park At Virginia Aquarium is at 801 General Booth Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States.
3- Fly Through History At The Military Aviation Museum
If you have an appreciation for aviation history, you’ll want to pay a visit to the Military Aviation Museum.
Housed in an old hangar, the museum is home to a wide variety of still-serviceable authentic World War 1 and 2 planes.
There are some vintage cars in there too, and if you’re with someone who’s not interested in planes, they can take a wander around the dinosaur park next door instead.
Find The Military Aviation Museum at 1341 Princess Anne Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23457, United States.
4- Drive Through Aviation Historical Park
If you don’t have time and want to appreciate some vintage planes without even needing to get out of the car, then try the Aviation Historical Park instead.
The planes are conveniently arranged along the side of the road.
If you do want to get out for a closer look, there is also a handy carpark to stop in.
5- Walk The Trails Of First Landing State Park
Escape into nature without leaving the city by heading into First Landing State Park.
The leafy reserve boasts over 20 miles (32 kilometres) of trails leading through the trees and along the water.
As the name suggests, this is where colonists first landed in the 1600s.
The park’s history has interesting connections to the civil war and even pirates, including the legendary Blackbeard.
First Landing State Park is at 2500 Shore Dr, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States.
For more ideas in Virginia and West Virginia:
6- Admire The Cape Henry Lighthouse
Peering over the water to the north of First Landing State Park is the lovely red-brick Cape Henry Lighthouse.
The lighthouse dates back to the late 18th century and you can climb the spiral staircase to take in the view from the top.
Although the historic Cape Henry Lighthouse is no longer in active use, the newer black and white lighthouse right next door still operates.
However, you cannot enter or climb that one.
The Cape Henry Lighthouse is at 583 Atlantic Ave, Fort Story, VA 23459, United States.
8- Relax On Resort Beach
Virginia Beach is, of course, particularly well known for its beaches and Resort Beach is one of the top tourist beaches in the city.
One of the fun things to do in Virginia Beach in summer is to enjoy the sun, sand and sea at Resort Beach.
Resort Beach is backed by various hospitality and entertainment options, so you’ll have plenty to do when you get bored of lazing on the sand.
Museums, amusement parks, and plenty of bars and cafes are always just a few steps away.
Resort Beach is along the east of Virginia Beach, VA, United States.
9- Take A Break In Neptune’s Park
This little park is best known for its large bronze statue of the Roman god of the sea, Neptune.
The mighty statue is set against the backdrop of the ocean, which makes for some impressive photo opportunities.
Neptune’s Park also hosts frequent live music events from its covered stage area and beachfront concerts are part of the lifestyle.
Neptune’s Park is at 3001 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States.
10- Play Around At The Atlantic Fun Park
Just a few metres from Resort Beach, the Atlantic Fun Park offers rides, games and activities to keep the whole family entertained once they get bored of the beach.
It’s got all the fun of the fair in a super convenient location.
Win some souvenirs from the skills games, indulge in carnival snacks and take in the view from atop the Ferris wheel.
There’s an arcade right next door too.
Atlantic Fun Park is at 233 15th St, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States.
11- Pop Into The Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum
Once you’ve spent some time getting harassed by seagulls, you might as well learn a bit about them.
The Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum occupies a charming little seafront cottage right by the beach.
The museum showcases the diversity of local waterfowl and wildlife.
It has a vast collection of intricately carved wooden decoy birds, along with paintings and sculptures.
Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum is at 1113 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States.
12- Browse The Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum
There’s not much more important at a beach resort town than the local coastguard, so discover the history of Virginia Beach’s lifeguard operations at the Surf And Rescue Museum.
It’s right on the beach, so it’s convenient to get to and the museum is housed in the old coast guard station, easily recognisable by its white watchtower.
You can enjoy displays of vintage rescue boats and various pieces of equipment from throughout the years.
There are also exhibits on local shipwrecks.
This Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum is at 2401 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States.
13- Enjoy Some Peace At Chesapeake Beach
Compared to Resort Beach, Chesapeake Beach is a little haven of calm away from the bustling entertainment district of the eastern seafront.
Chesapeake Beach has a much more laid-back and local vibe.
What it lacks in attractions, it makes up for with the peace and quiet of far fewer visitors.
You won’t be battling crowds for a space on the sand and there are still plenty of cafes and restaurants just a short walk from the beach.
Chesapeake Beach is along the far north of Virginia Beach, VA, United States.
14- Wander Around Ferry Plantation House
The history of Ferry Plantation dates back to 1642, but the current Ferry Plantation House was completed in 1830 following the burning down of the previous manor house.
You can explore the house and grounds on a guided tour.
Ferry Plantation House is a haunted site in the city, so keep your eyes peeled when wandering the grounds as you may spot one of the spirits that supposedly lingers here.
Ferry Plantation House is at 4136 Cheswick Ln, Virginia Beach, VA 23455, United States.
15- Peer Into The Past Of Lynnhaven House
Built around 1725, Lynnhaven House is a charming little red brick house nestled amongst the trees on the banks of Lynnhaven River.
Lynnhaven House is one of the best remaining examples of early Virginian vernacular architecture.
Largely unchanged since it was first built, and with an estimated 85% of its original features, Lynnhaven House offers a unique glimpse into the lifestyle of 18th-century Virginia.
Tour guides dressed in period costumes add to the immersive experience.
Find Lynnhaven House at 4409 Wishart Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23455, United States.
16- Stop By The Flame Of Hope
The Flame of Hope is a monument to those lost in the Vietnam War.
The monument consists of a stone column topped with a constantly burning flame.
The ashes of US flags are buried beneath the monument.
The Flame of Hope is surrounded by a small park populated with memorial trees.
The Flame Of Hope is at 815 Oceana Blvd Suite 801, Virginia Beach, VA 23454, United States.
17- Tap Into Your Creativity At The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art
The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art is bursting with brilliant works of modern art.
Covering a range of mediums from sculptures to photography, there’s sure to be something to suit your preferences on display.
The exhibits and installations are constantly changing, so this is one place that’s always worth another visit.
The museum also hosts frequent events and workshops to let you get hands-on and explore your artistic side.
The Virginia Museum Of Contemporary Art is at 2200 Parks Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States.
18- Look Inside Thoroughgood House
One of the oldest surviving buildings in Virginia, Thoroughgood House was built in 1719.
The pretty, red-brick house is settled in ornamental gardens and furnished as it would have been during the 18th century.
Take a free tour of the Thoroughgood House to learn more about life in the colonial period.
Thoroughgood House Education Centre contains further exhibits and artefacts for you to appreciate.
Thoroughgood House is at 1636 Parish Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23455, United States.
19- Enjoy A Drink At The Tarnished Truth Distilling Co.
If you like trying local produce, why not spend an evening enjoying the offerings of Tarnished Truth?
Specialising in award-winning bourbon, Tarnished Truth has also won accolades for its vodka and gin.
The cosy bar is a top spot to warm up with a dram of whiskey on a chilly night and you’ll enjoy learning about the whiskey-making process by taking a tour of the Tarnished Truth Distillery.
Tours include a guided tasting session.
The Tarnished Truth Distilling Co is at 4200 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States.
20- Treat Your Tastebuds At Virginia Beach Winery
If whiskey’s not your thing, perhaps wine is more up your alley.
Virginia Beach Winery is a small, family-run business turning local produce into delicious blends.
Book a wine tasting or head to one of their frequent events.
Virginia Beach Winery specialises in fruit wines, offering interesting and unique flavours.
From summery mango or watermelon to a cranberry blend perfect for the festive season, you’re sure to find something to whet your interest.
Virginia Beach Winery is at 1064 Lynnhaven Pkwy #110, Virginia Beach, VA 23452, United States.