Many travelers flock to Virginia Beach for the gorgeous 300-foot-wide beach, but there is so much more to enjoy in this ocean-front city. Whether you love adventure sports, wildlife, or lazy days in the sun, each visitor will find his niche. While hotels can be pricy, there are plenty of budget options like the Oceanfront Inn that make a weekend getaway affordable for all budgets. Here is an eclectic list of the top activities to take advantage of in Virginia Beach.
Go Exploring in Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast via Flickr.com
Virginia Beach offers some of the most stunning refuges on the East Coast with Back Bay as the star. With beautifully varied habitats like dunes, marshes, islands and forests, you’ll enjoy exploring the refuge by foot or by kayak. Keep an eye out for the wild horses, feral pigs, and loggerhead turtles that are native to the area, and see if you can spy an American bald eagle. Visit the website for more information about passes, camping, and trail gear.
Visit America’s Roots at the Cape Henry Lighthouse and Memorial Park
Photo by m01229 via Flickr.com
The Cape Henry Lighthouse was the first lighthouse built by the US federal government in 1792. Climb your way to the top where you’ll be rewarded with stunning Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean views. After your descent, make your way next door to the Cape Henry Memorial Park. Here you’ll find a replica of the First Landing Cross planted by the first English colonists to arrive in 1607. Those same colonists went on to found Jamestown, Virginia just a few weeks later.
Find Something Local at the Virginia Beach Farmers Market
The Virginia Beach Farmers Market offers fresh produce, flowers, and craft goods year-round. Need some souvenirs? Pick up a local trinket or hand-made soap. For something more culinary you can visit the full restaurant, bakery, ice cream shop or local butcher. On Friday evenings you can enjoy country or bluegrass music at the Friday Night Hoedowns April through October.
Spend the Day at Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center
Photo by Ryan Somma via Flickr.com
As one of the most visited Aquariums in the country, the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center offer visitors a unique look at local marine and wildlife. However, it’s more than just the aquarium that makes this complex so popular. Visitors will enjoy walking the nature path that connects the two pavillions, as well as an outdoor aviary showcasing hundreds of migratory birds native to Virginia Beach. The more adventurous patrons can try the Adventure Park zip line running through the tree canopy. Both children and adults will find hours of entertainment here.
Go Whale-Watching Off the Coast
Photo by Mary Pat Collins via Trover.com
For something different, visitors can journey to the mouth of Chesapeake Bay where humpback and fin whales migrate yearly between December and March. Arrange a whale-watching tour and bring your camera! If you’re feeling more adventurous, arrange a kayaking excursion to paddle up close to bottle-nose dolphins. The dolphins migrate off the Virginia Coast during spring, summer and fall.
Whether you’re in town for relaxation or adventure, kids and adults alike will find plenty to do and see in this warm climate year-round.