Things to do in Virginia Beach

There's more to do in Virginia Beach than walk the soft sands and feel the ocean waves foaming over your toes.


When your shoulders get burnt from the warm sunshine or you just need a change of pace, you'll find no end of interesting things to discover around the city. Pack your swimwear and plan a trip to escape to Virginia Beach where you can make memories and inside jokes with your friends and family.

1. Drive Across the Water

Travel across one of the seven engineering wonders of the world—the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. You can download a narrated MP3 tour from the bridge website that points out points of interest as you cross the 18-mile span. See sights along the way, including a deep-sea fishing pier, man-made islands and two tunnels. The bridge skips across Fisherman's Island National Wildlife Refuge before landing on the Eastern Shore. If you get nervous driving high above the water—or 50 feet below it—for such a long stretch, you can hire a drive-over service to shuttle you across and back in your own car.

2. Get Historical

Follow along the Bayside History Trail to explore historic homes and buildings dating back to the 1600's. The story begins at First Landing State Park, where sea-weary settlers first trudged ashore in 1607, with a stone cross that commemorates the spot. Just east of First Landing, two lighthouses preside over Cape Henry. The modern black-and-white lighthouse is closed to the public, but you can climb steps of the Old Cape Henry Lighthouse—all 191 of them. It's the state's oldest lighthouse, built in 1791. Head inland for a glimpse of life in simpler times with a visit to the Adam Thoroughgood house, Ferry Plantation or Lynnhaven House. The historic trail returns you to Resort Beach at the old Coast Guard station on 24th Street.

3. Experience Marine Life Close Up


A visit to the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center involves so much more than peeking at fish behind glass. Hands-on and interactive experiences ignite the imagination. Kids and adults alike can touch marine life from the Chesapeake Bay in a special tank. You'll find creatures from around the world in special marine ecosystems. Walk through a 100,000-gallon Red Sea aquarium, get a crab's eye view of life from inside a crab pot, or pop into an acrylic bubble to see the inside a Komodo dragon habitat. You can go behind the scenes to watch feeding and training sessions, or climb aboard the Atlantic Explorer boat tour to see dolphins and other creatures splashing around in their natural habitat.

4. Have a Tree Top Adventure


Rediscover the childlike wonder of being high in the trees as you soar through the treetops above Owls Creek on a zip line. Adventure Park at Virginia Beach Aquarium has 13 aerial trails for every age and ability. The trails are color-coded for each ability level, similar to ski runs. Both kids and adults can enjoy the challenge of climbing, zipping and swinging through the obstacle courses. Don't worry, Mom—safety harnesses and double clip technology ensure that everyone is safe and secure at all times. The park is open year-round, making it an ideal place to view spring's new growth or autumn's foliage. You can enjoy summer nights with live music at Glow in the Park events.

5. Take a Hike


Get away from it all with a peaceful hike through a towering forest. False Cape State Park hugs the shoreline of Sand Bay. The park isn't accessible by vehicle—you must hike, boat, catch a tram or take all-terrain transport to access the park's 3,800 acres. More than a dozen trails of varying difficulty lead to scenic vistas, camping areas and historic sites. North of the Virginia Beach boardwalk, you can hike 10 trails covering 19 miles at First Landing State Park. Your best chance for solitude is the Osmanthus Trail, a 3-mile loop through the park's bottomlands. Explore the Long Creek and Osprey Trails for a hike along Broad Bay. The 5-mile Long Creek Trail also heads into wetlands for prime bird-watching opportunities.

6. High Seas Adventure


Grab your eyepatch and set sail for a pirate adventure aboard Captain Jack's Pirate Ship. The daytime Family Fun Cruise bursts with pirate song and the search for treasure. The adventure culminates in a water cannon battle with rival pirates. After dark, party cruises for the over-21 crowd include music and cocktails. Shake your pirate booty in rhythm with bawdy entertainment on the 21+ Club Cruise. If you prefer a mellower crowd, join the Parrot Head Cruise and sway along to Jimmy Buffet-style island music. For fast-paced adventure, zip over the water in the Rudee Rocket boat. There's no missing the 70-foot bright yellow speedboat with toothy face painted on the front. The 60-minute cruise travels along the mouth of Chesapeake Bay and the coast.


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