Virginia Beach Guide

Virginia Beach hugs 35 miles of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay in southwestern Virginia. Combine that with the city’s multitude of bays and wetlands—including the nearly 10,000-acre Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, a critical resting point for migratory birds—and it’s easy to see why it’s been nicknamed “Neptune City” after the Roman god of the sea. Millions of visitors flock to Virginia Beach each year to take advantage of this oceanfront setting filled with golden-sand beaches, high-rise resorts, and family-friendly activities.

Three Sandy Beaches

  • Best beach for entertainment: The wooden boardwalk on Resort Beach was named one of America’s best by Travel + Leisure. Shops are abundant, as are restaurants with open-air patios.
  • Best beach for swimming: Chesapeake Bay Beach overlooks the calm waters of Chesapeake Bay, where waves are smaller and gentler.
  • Best beach for peace and quiet: Located 15 miles south of bustling Resort Beach, Sandbridge Beach boasts windswept dunes and sea oats.

Family-Friendly Attractions

  • Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center: See cownose rays and sand sharks swim in front of you; there’s even a rare tomistoma crocodile, which soaks in a re-created Malaysian peat-swamp habitat.
  • A bicycle built for six: Up to 12 legs can help pedal a surrey bicycle, a sort of covered buggy with pedals. Available for rent along the boardwalk at Resort Beach.
  • From trash to treasure: Mount Trashmore Park used to be a landfill until it was converted to a playplace complete with two playgrounds, a skate park, and multi-use paths.

400 Years of History

  • English colony: In 1607, settlers from the Virginia Company of London dropped their anchors in what is now Virginia Beach, where they erected the First Landing Cross to claim the area for England.
  • Historical lighthouse: You can get a nice view of Chesapeake Bay from the octagonal stone lighthouse at Cape Henry, completed in 1792.
  • Military history: A B-17 Flying Fortress and a Spitfire fighter plane from World War II are highlights of the Military Aviation Museum.

Where to Stay

  • Belvedere Beach Resort features an outdoor heated pool, complimentary bicycles, and a retro diner. It’s steps from Resort Beach.
  • Virginia Beach Resort Hotel: Look out onto Chesapeake Bay from private balconies in the suites at this hotel, which come equipped with kitchenettes.
  • Ocean Key Resort: Located at the southern end of Resort Beach, this resort has oceanfront views from its guest rooms and a second-floor patio with contemporary furnishings.
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