Great White Water Sports creates a harmony with the gentle crash of waves, the powerful growls of jet skis, and the excited yelps of families as they launch a variety of jet-ski rentals right from the sands of Chesapeake Bay. Ranked second on the Norfolk activity list by TripAdvisor, and backed by favorable attention from USA Today, their lifeguard-trained team also saddles up jet skis in waters warmer than the Atlantic and with smaller waves. Their jet skis are not equipped with any speed-restriction devices, allowing guests to rev up their engines and feel the wind hit their faces as they send wake waves rolling shoreward.
With the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean in its backyard, the Xscape Water Sports complex lends itself to activities ranging from jet skiing and kayaking to journeys on aqua cycles—wheeled vehicles that let riders pedal over waves while tossing newspapers onto the top hatches of resident submarines. The shop's 2,000-square-foot loft includes a private guest space, snack bar, gift shop, and a yoga area, whereas the sand outside hosts beach games such as horseshoes and volleyball.
As the annual host of the Eastern Amateur Golf Championship since 1957, Elizabeth Manor Golf & Country Club's championship course has attracted some of the country's greatest players on their journey to the PGA Tour. As golfers traverse each hole from tee to green, they can imagine themselves tracing the footsteps of Ben Crenshaw and Curtis Strange, both of whom played in the Eastern Amateur before illustrious PGA careers, during which they won a combined four major victories without ever corking a driver. Today, the 6,642-yard, par-70 course still hugs the Elizabeth River, utilizing the natural landscape with a challenging layout originally envisioned by course designer Dick Wilson in 1948. The course also benefits from more recent refurbishments that made the greens and bermuda-grass fairways more resilient.
A private establishment, Elizabeth Manor Golf & Country Club complements its golf course with a six-court tennis complex and an Olympic-size, outdoor swimming pool. The club also boasts two restaurants with two patios, where guests can enjoy views of the Elizabeth River and attempt to count the leaves on every tree in the vicinity.
Mambo Grill's chefs craft dishes of carne asada, burritos, red beans, and rice from scratch daily using fresh meats and veggies, punching them up with authentic imported seasonings and, when necessary, a burly gentlemen named Bugsy. They eschew the traditional spiciness of Mexican food for the full-bodied zest of Central American and Caribbean cuisine, ensuring each dish's taste and color is faithful to that of its country of origin.
Guarded by pirate statues perched atop treasure chests, gripping pistols, and wielding hooks instead of hands, the 18-hole course at Pirate's Paradise Miniature Golf challenges players with rolling greens and winding waterways. In addition to a bounty of buccaneers, the mini-golf course is decorated with flowering plants, waterfalls, and tranquil ponds. After rounds of mini golf, players can reenergize with hot dogs, funnel cakes, and milk shakes whipped up at the snack bar. Elsewhere, youngsters can celebrate birthdays with two hours of unlimited golfing followed by two hours on the pirate ship, where they can feast with friends and force piñatas that won't break to walk the plank.
Rudee Tours launches aspiring seafarers on thrilling excursions from Rudee Inlet through the Atlantic Ocean, illuminating aqua-tourists with frolicking wildlife and picturesque coastal scenery. Seasoned nautical navigator Captain Jeff Parks guides the double-decker Rudee Flipper in the hopes of spotting a pod of bottlenose dolphins off Virginia Beach. Each dolphin tour on the Rudee Flipper is narrated by an aquatic educator from the Virginia Aquarium, who'll enlighten passengers on dolphins' lifestyles and social hierarchy, made evident in their passion for afternoon teas. Those seeking high-velocity thrills may opt for boarding the 2,000-horsepower, 70-foot Rudee Rocket, which bolts alongside the shoreline past the historic Cape Henry Lighthouse.