Virginia Beach is a fantastic independent coastal city situated in the southeastern portion of Virginia.
It is a resort town at heart and, despite being very suburban, it is Virginia’s most populous city.
It sits within the metropolitan area of Hampton Roads, where it rests on Chesapeake Bay’s mouth on the Atlantic Ocean.
It is, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the city with the world’s longest pleasure beach – a fact that’s hard to beat!
There are tons of places to visit in Virginia Beach, ranging from free things to do like parks and beaches to more expensive offerings like museums, aquariums, special tours, and amusement parks.
Each one has its own charm that reminds you of the sunny vibrancy of such a delightful oceanfront town!
So, where should you go while you’re visiting the area?
To help you decide which Virginia Beach attractions to head to first, here is our travel guide for the 42 best and fun things to do in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Things To Do In Virginia Beach
1. First Landing State Park
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First Landing State Park is a beautiful combination of nature and history.
It is named as such because it is here that colonists from England first arrived on American shores centuries ago in 1607, making it one of the top Virginia Beach attractions for its contextual importance and natural serenity alike.
First Landing State Park was built in the 1930s and is situated in Virginia Beach’s heart, where it has become the wider state’s most-visited park.
From here, you can go sightseeing along the uninterrupted panorama of the Chesapeake Bay, hike or bike through more than 20 miles of trails, relax along the 1.5-mile stretch of beach, and camp in special sites facing the ocean.
As a lovely recreational haven, First Landing State Park offers additional stuff to enjoy.
You can rent a cabin, learn about local history, or explore the forest of sand dunes, lagoons, pine trees, swamps, and cypress trees alike.
Many different kinds of flora and fauna live here, and you can try and spot them as you go across more than 2,888 acres of land.
You can also rent a water vessel – including a Jet Ski – to enjoy yourself out on the waves!
Address: 2500 Shore Dr, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States
2. Virginia Beach Boardwalk
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Virginia Beach Boardwalk is one of the key places to visit in the area, and it’s the main reason that tourists flock to this part of the state – especially in the summer, for some fun in the sun!
The boardwalk extends north of the local Fishing Pier, flanked by shops, hotels, and eateries of all kinds, as well as the lovely and renowned Neptune Statue that greets you as you enter.
The boardwalk is wide and welcoming, spanning three miles, and paved perfectly for running, walking, biking, relaxing, or even skateboarding.
There are many benches available to stop to rest if needed, and the casual atmosphere of everything makes it even more enjoyable, whether you’re sightseeing or seeking some other form of entertainment.
Address: Virginia Beach, VA, United States
3. Sandbridge Beach
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Sandbridge Beach is close to the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, off to the side of the main attractions.
It’s quieter and provides all the same oceanfront views, so if you’re here in the summer months when the whole city is abuzz with activity, this is your best bet for a relaxing time.
It spans five miles and is packed with gorgeous, clean dunes of sand, blue coastline, and breathtaking wildlife and landscapes.
The main beach certainly has its charms, but Sandbridge Beach is a must-do alternative if you need a break from the high energy of peak season.
You can have a picnic, take a walk, enjoy the soft sand, or go sightseeing along the way with all the charming houses that line the shore.
Water-based activities, like swimming, surfing, and more can all also be performed.
With no entrance fee, Sandbridge Beach is also one of the city’s free things to do – a real treat for one of its nicest vacation spots!
Address: Sandfiddler Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23456, United States
4. False Cape State Park
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False Cape State Park is yet another one of the things to do in Virginia Beach that involves a park of greenery and sand!
With marshes, woodlands, sand dunes, undeveloped beaches spanning six miles, this is a gorgeous spot for simple biking, hiking, and camping throughout the year.
It is near the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, too.
False Cape State Park feels very remote thanks to its quiet space and limited road access, which makes it feel a world away from the rest of the business city of Virginia Beach.
Once upon a time, this was where Native American settlers lived, and it is today one of the last undeveloped parts of the Atlantic Coasts’ shore.
Ecosystems are untamed and solitude is maximized!
While you’re in False Cape State Park, you should make it a point to stop by Wash Woods, a once-busy community with lots of historic value, now lying in ruins that attract tourists and visitors.
Having been abandoned for more than eight decades, it is a mysterious town that was supposedly founded by shipwreck survivors, though no one knows for sure.
Wash Woods was a very strange location for a community, earning its name due to its tendency to become “washed by heavy storms in the area”.
It was – and still is – very secluded, which would make it hard to travel in and out of.
A cemetery and old church, as well as many houses, were built from the remains of the wrecked lumber ship the people came in.
Wash Woods grew bigger when Life-Saving Service stations were set up in the area, promoting the servicemen and their families to move into the community.
At its biggest, the little town was home to 300 or so individuals.
When a bad hurricane struck, the population slowly dwindled, and by the 1930s it was a mere ghost town – but that just makes it all the more intriguing to explore this weekend!
Address: 4001 Sandpiper Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23456, United States
5. Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center
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Rightfully termed as one of the top travel destinations, the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center is one of the top 10 most fun spots in Virginia Beach – a chance to get indoors and enjoy a wonderful, exciting day without being on the sand.
It can be found at Owl Creek, south of Rudee Inlet, positioned perfectly to provide scenic decks and outdoor locations that gaze out over the water.
More than 12,000 animals across 700 species and 300 exhibits live at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center.
It’s so large that it’s split between two different buildings, and it’s packed with all sorts of things to check out.
There is a Red Sea Tunnel that is see-through glass, so you can walk through an aquarium as marine life swims around you, an otter exhibit, a Komodo Dragon exhibit, a 3D movie theater, an Adventure Park with an obstacle course and zip-lining, a boat trip out to watch whales and dolphins, and even a dinosaur exhibit with moving mechanical dinosaurs.
But what about the heart of the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center – marine life?
You’ll spot sharks, rays, seals, sea turtles, and more across different habitats that cater to coastal areas, streams, lakes, and more.
Habitats such as the Harsh Pavilion, Bay and Ocean Pavilion, and others ensure that you get to see these creatures as close to their natural habitat as possible!
Address: 717 General Booth Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States
6. Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art
Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art
The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art is situated on Parks Avenue and sits within an award-winning building, taking up a whopping 6,000 square feet of space for exhibitions that are ever-changing.
With sculptures, paintings, videos, photos, glasswork, and more from local, national, and international artists, the variety is huge and welcoming across genres and styles!
The cultural wonder of the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art is truly something to behold!
Its exhibition areas are fairly hands-on and some are pretty interactive, and lots of exhibitions over the years have colored VA Beach with history, artistry, and creativity.
Though primarily for adults as a target audience, kids can still enjoy parts like the ARTlab, or the whole family can try some art classes or see an art show!
Better yet, there is no entrance fee, making this one of the greatest free things to do in the city – just make sure to reserve tickets in advance!
Address: 2200 Parks Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States
7. Cape Henry Lighthouse
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If you’re seeking cheap things to do around Virginia Beach, one of the best you can try is checking out the Cape Henry Lighthouse, a significant landmark that sits on the Chesapeake Bay.
It was built in 1792, authorized by George Washington as the first lighthouse funded by the US government.
It is a National Historic Landmark close to First Landing State Park.
The Cape Henry Lighthouse stands 55 feet in height and was once a very crucial beacon for vessels on the ocean, important for Maryland and Virginia coastal trade.
It is made of simple brick and situated on the military base of Fort Story, which means that visiting – though definitely a great option for what to do in Virginia Beach – requires that you show your ID to enter!
After that kerfuffle, you’ll get to climb the stairs of the Cape Henry Lighthouse.
It’s a relatively easy climb, though senior citizens, small children, and disabled individuals may have trouble with it.
When you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the coast, and a glimpse right into another lighthouse close by!
Address: 583 Atlantic Ave Fort Story, Virginia Beach, VA 23459, United States
8. Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum
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The Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum is dedicated to the preservation of Virginia Beach’s maritime heritage, historically showcasing statewide Oceanfront communities, and honoring the coast guards.
It teaches visitors all about how VA Beach and the Atlantic Ocean interact, from the local community to the wider significance of water-related heritage.
At the Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum, there are two galleries.
They depict the history of the American Coast Guard Services as well as their predecessor, Live-Saving Services.
The galleries also shine a spotlight on Virginia Coast shipwrecks. In total, more than a thousand images and 1,800 artifacts are on display here.
Most interestingly, the Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum is situated inside a genuine Life-Saving Station that dates back to 1903.
A research library onsite provides oral histories, books, papers, and more about the subject of its exhibits.
In addition to all of that, it is a part of the list of the National Register of Historic Places and looks out on the gorgeous Atlantic Ocean.
Address: 2401 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States
9. Military Aviation Museum
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The Military Aviation Museum is what it says on the tin – a cool and interesting museum dedicated to aircraft used in and by military organizations across the world.
It’s one of the great things to do in VA Beach this weekend, boasting about 60 different aircraft, most of them flightworthy, from World War 1 and World War 2.
Interestingly, the Military Aviation Museum doesn’t aim only to display the aircraft that it finds, but also to restore them so that they can fly again, whether for airshows or to bring guests on a ride on some of them!
Add that to the fact that the museum is home to one of the world’s largest private historical aircraft collections and you have an incredible attraction for history-lovers, aviation enthusiasts, and curious tourists alike!
The Military Aviation Museum continues to build its collection of well-restored aircraft over time, with four hangars and a huge museum space all in Virginia Beach.
Some triplanes and biplanes you’ll find are an Albatross DVA, a MIG, a Bleriot XI, a Spitfire, a F/A-18 Hornet, and Super Hornet fighter jets, and you’ll even get a tour of Master Jet Base NAS Oceana while you watch aviators and crew work!
Address: 1341 Princess Anne Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23457, United States
10. Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
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Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is a peaceful recreational spot in Virginia Beach and one of the best tourist attractions for a nice, laidback time spent in nature.
With a very low entry fee, it’s one of the city’s cheap things to do this weekend.
It covers over 9,200 acres of land and is full of different hiking trails, ranging from easy to moderately challenging, each one bringing you through diverse planes of sand dunes, wetlands, seagrass, and even pine forests.
Due to the sheer size of the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, you aren’t likely to encounter many other people there, though you will see quite a few animals as you walk through the area, like bobcats, muskrats, deer, otters, and beyond.
Migratory birds are especially plentiful, as they are well protected within the habitat of the refuge.
The waters within the refuge are also great for paddleboarding and are still and reliable.
If you feel like hopping elsewhere, you can get to False Cape State Park from Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge!
Address: 4005 Sandpiper Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23456, United States
Exploring other parts of Virginia? Why not check out some of the fun things to do in Charlottesville, VA?
11. Lynnhaven House
The Lynnhaven House is a shining example of Virginia’s early vernacular design trends in architecture.
Built in 1725 on Wishart Road of Virginia Beach, it is one of the top ways to truly immerse yourself in the history of a location.
The Lynnhaven House was built by a ship carpenter and plantation owner as a family home and boasts design details like a closed-spindle staircase complete with a teardrop pendant, jack arches made of brick, and a floor contracted with ship’s lap.
Francis Thelaball lived here with his wife, an apprentice, five sons, and several slaves.
Now, special tours of the Lynnhaven House allow you to dress up as a person from the 18th century as a guide brings you around, showing you how people lived back then.
It’s a truly fascinating and one-of-a-kind tour and is known as one of the most unique Virginia Beach attractions.
Each tour lasts up to an hour, and there’s a lovely souvenir shop at the end of it.
Address: 4409 Wishart Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23455, United States
12. Ocean Breeze Waterpark
Ocean Breeze Waterpark
Ocean Breeze Waterpark is one of the most fun and exciting places to visit in Virginia Beach, located 2 miles south of the Oceanfront and boasting a family-focused paradise of Caribbean delight and activities in a lively theme park.
It opened in 1974 and is open during the warm period from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Ocean Breeze Waterpark boasts an impressive number of more than 30 different rides, including 16 water slides, a pirate ship, river adventures, a Runaway Bay wave pool, with one million gallons of space, the enchanting Buccaneer Bay Water Playground, and many more!
Rides like Jungle Falls, Log Rolls, and Walk the Plank add even more variety to the thrilling list.
When you’re done with all the rides, you can stop by a private cabana, head to the snack stands for candy, funnel cakes, and slushies, or eat at one of the many cafes and restaurants.
There are also shops and gift shops galore for all your shopping needs.
Address: 849 General Booth Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States
13. Ferry Plantation House
The Ferry Plantation House is an old brick house that sits on Old Donation Farm and it’s a must-see in Virginia Beach.
It is a brick house that dates back to 1642, named after the Hampton Roads’ second ferry service, which brought passengers to a county courthouse down to Lynnhaven River – or simply to visit other plantations on the water.
There are a total of 11 stops along the way, and a cannon was used as a signal for the ferry.
Over the years, the Ferry Plantation House has been used as a post office, a courthouse, a school, and more, and today it is an educational center and museum.
It is also commonly toured by ghost-hunting enthusiasts and is considered one of the best haunted spots for such exploration in the area.
Address: 4136 Cheswick Ln, Virginia Beach, VA 23455, United States
14. Rudee Flipper Dolphin Tours
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Rudee Flipper Dolphin Tours is one of the coolest things to do in Virginia Beach, allowing you to explore the gorgeous coastline and see dolphins all in one go.
You’ll do this onboard the Rudee Flipper by Rudee Tours, which is famous in Virginia Beach as one of the most experienced and long-running dolphin cruise establishments in the area.
There are many options at Rudee Flipper Dolphin Tours, and they all involve an unforgettable time in an elegant cruise boat with 360-degree views on the two levels for better viewing.
A professional crew ensures the safety of passengers while imparting educational information about dolphins, the region, the waters, places to see in the area, and even some history.
Rudee Flipper Dolphin Tours last for 90 minutes and come with amenities like restrooms, snack bars, and climate control features.
Guides narrate the experience and are happy to answer questions.
All boats used by Rudee Flipper Dolphin Tours are certified by the ADA, and the tours offer guaranteed dolphin sightings; if dolphins aren’t located, you’re able to ride again for free.
Address: 200 Winston Salem Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States
15. Captain Jack’s Pirate Ship Adventures
Captain Jack’s Pirate Ship Adventures
Captain Jack’s Pirate Ship Adventures are incredibly fun ways to spend your time in Virginia Beach.
The pirate ship of Captain Jack is called the Lost Pearl and is a fantastic Spanish Galleon replica, but approved by the US Coast Guard!
Designed with kids in mind but perfect for all ages, Captain Jack’s Pirate Ship Adventures offers family-friendly and 21+ cruise options.
Children will be able to try their hand at using water cannons to sink little rowing boats in the water, and the adventure involves going on the high sea in search of lost treasure.
With games, cold drinks, and lovely ocean views, your family will have a blast about Captain Jack’s Pirate Ship!
Address: 308 Mediterranean Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States
16. Blue Seafood and Spirits
Blue Seafood & Spirits
Blue Seafood and Spirits is one of the best eateries in VA Beach to grab fresh seafood.
Owned and operated by Chef Charles Thain, the restaurant, which seats 60, provides casual but classy dining with delicious meals like tempura fried shrimp, crab cakes, award-winning crab soup, and more.
The restaurant is home to renowned desserts like homemade chocolate pudding and it sells local beers, wines, and cocktails.
Blue Seafood and Spirits stands by the goal of buying fresh and local, sourcing ingredients from the Virginia Beach area.
All produce, meat, and seafood are made hormone-free and purchased from local small businesses whenever possible.
The restaurant also provides vegan and gluten-free options for food, too.
Address: 2181 Upton Dr #420, Virginia Beach, VA 23454, United States
17. Atlantic Fun Park
Atlantic Fun Park
The Atlantic Fun Park is one of the top family-friendly attractions in Virginia Beach, so it should be on your list of what to do if you have kids.
It is an old-school type of amusement park with classic rides for people of all ages with the charming tradition that you won’t find at a Six Flags joint.
What it lacks in modernity, it makes up for in pure heart and a lot of excitement – a good reminder that things don’t have to be super technologically advanced to be a whole lot of a blast!
There are 16 rides, lots of Midway Games, and plenty of delicious foods at Atlantic Fun Park.
Rides to get the adrenaline pumping including the Skyflyer that soars to 100 feet in height, the Gravitron, Flying Bob’s, Sea Dragon, and more.
Classic, family-friendly rides are also included, like the Kiddy Elephants and the city’s largest Ferris Wheel, which offers stunning views of the beach.
Address: 233 15th St, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States
18. Nightmare Mansion Haunted House
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If you love being spooked, one of the best ways to enjoy that in VA Beach is by heading to the Virginia Beach resort strip and going to the Nightmare Mansion Haunted House.
It is designed to be scary to grown-ups and, widely considered America’s most frightening haunted house, this is one of the key things to do in VA Beach for those who want to get the adrenaline pumping.
The Nightmare Mansion Haunted House opened more than three decades ago and is one of the East Coast’s oldest haunted houses.
You’ll roam the mansion’s halls and be plagued by Dr. Morgan and his family as they continue to inhabit the halls in death!
The establishment also offers a new escape room-type experience, and there’s a lovely souvenir shop waiting once you survive the ordeal!
Address: 2008 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States
19. Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum
The Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum is a small but fun museum that focuses on Atlantic Wildfowl, their migratory patterns, and their history as they pass through the state’s eastern side.
The museum sits within a legacy-packed building, the Witt Cottage, on the oceanfront of Virginia Beach.
With all sorts of displays, exhibits, and artwork showcased, the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum uses traditional decoys, life-filled carvings, and dioramas to better illustrate the subject of their discussion.
A modern computer provides interactive and immersive methods of education regarding local wildfowl, and there is even hunting memorabilia to see.
The museum has been open since 1995, and the cottage itself goes back a century further.
It’s no wonder, then, that the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum is on the National Register of Historic Places!
The museum was founded by the Back Bay Wildfowl Guild and, from its humble beginnings, it has grown into one of the city’s most loved attractions.
Address: 1113 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States
20. King Neptune Statue
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The King Neptune Statue is situated at the entrance area of the Virginia Beach Boardwalk and is something that is worth the title of one of the city’s tourist attractions in its own right.
Standing at 34 feet in height and fashioned from aesthetically pleasing bronze, it rises out of the Atlantic and stares down over Neptune Park.
The money used to construct the King Neptune Statue was raised at the Neptune Festival, an annual event that has been held since 1973 as one of America’s greatest festivals.
The statue is so large that you can see it from a distance and up-close, the strength in defined muscles, large imposing triton, and tight grip on a giant loggerhead turtle measuring 11 feet all make the statue even more jaw-dropping.
Behind the King, a pair of dolphins, 15 and 17 feet in length respectively, give him a dramatic backdrop.
Address: Boardwalk, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States
21. Harrison Opera House
Harrison Opera House
The Harrison Opera House is one of the best historic spots in the city.
It was a World War II USO theater back in the day but received a full facelift in 1993.
It boasts 1,632 seats in total and is decorated with opulent chandeliers, grand tables perfect for sipping champagne, and grand staircases worthy of royalty.
The lobby of the Harrison Opera House is already stunning, boasting three stories and windows running from floor to ceiling.
The acoustics are incredible, and the balcony and mezzanine levels provide luxurious box seating.
Here, you can watch performances that make up some of the coolest, most awe-inspiring Virginia Beach attractions, like the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the Virginia Opera.
Address: 160 W Virginia Beach Blvd, Norfolk, VA 23510, United States
22. The Bunny Hutch Boutique and CLIMATES Exotic Animal Rescue
The Bunny Hutch
The Bunny Hutch Boutique and CLIMATES Exotic Animal Rescue is a rather unique location, set up like a zoo with only the behind-the-scenes feature.
It provides tours of its interior, with a reptile room packed with snakes and lizards, a mammal room with ferrets and rats, and an outside portion that houses pigs and chickens.
The pride and joy of the Bunny Hutch Boutique and CLIMATES Exotic Animal Rescue are its rabbits, of course – and the most famous of them is Junior, whose full name is Lord Roland Watson Beldon Maxwell VIII.
The 25-pound fluffy rabbit is the establishment’s mascot and the only non-adoptable pet onsite.
He’s currently America’s biggest bunny, and to say hello to him alone, this is one of Virginia Beach’s fun places to visit.
Address: 1165 Jensen Dr, Virginia Beach, VA, United States
23. Adam Thoroughgood House
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The Adam Thoroughgood House is a National Historic Landmark, and for good reason.
It’s one of Virginia Beach’s oldest remaining colonial homes, finished in 1719 by Adam Thorowgood’s great-grandson, Argall.
Adam Thorowgood, of course, was essential in the establishment of Princess Anne Country, which would grow into the city of Virginia Beach that it is now.
It’s only natural, then, that the house would be a top must-do in that very city.
The home was finished after Argall passed away by his wife, and their son would go on to add its most-loved features: a dramatic staircase, extensive paneling and wainscoting, and furnishings that reflect their son’s childhood years.
Though it faced some difficulties in staying up and well-kept, it was restored in 1957 and, despite being a small farmhouse, it’s surprisingly impressive!
The inside is packed with furniture from the 17th and 18th century and the gardens are nothing short of stunning.
Address: 1636 Parish Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23455, United States
24. The Bee and The Biscuit
The Bee & The Biscuit
The Bee and The Biscuit is a delightful little cottage restaurant that rests on Pungo’s main intersection in Virginia Beach.
The building dates back to 1919 and fits well with the charming aesthetic of farm country, serving up farm-fresh produce sourced locally from the surrounding farms, too.
The Bee and The Biscuit serves delicious sweets and tidbits as well as all-day breakfast and lunch.
Omelets, sandwiches, eggs benedict, biscuits, salads, seasonal specials, and more make up the simpler side of the menu.
More specific delights include breakfast burritos, buttermilk biscuits, and sausage gravy, bay lump crab meat eggs, mushroom melts, stuffed French toast with orange sauce and mascarpone, Carolina pulled pork biscuits, wraps, and more.
For drinks, you can enjoy creatively made lattes, custom-blended coffees, Mimosa Flights, and Bloody Marys galore.
Drink them outside on the shaded deck when it’s hot, or head indoors and sit by the fire when it’s cooler!
Since 2016, a trip to The Bee and the Biscuit has been one of the things to do in Virginia Beach for foodies seeking good meals!
Address: 1785 Princess Anne Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23456, United States
25. Little Island Park
Little Island Park
Little Island Park is a beautiful beach park that stretches out over 112 acres of land in Sandbridge, near Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Its fishing beach boasts a 400-acre pier and a 775-foot beach stretch, and an additional 2,000 feet of beach span out on the pier’s south side.
The beach is gorgeous and clean and the water is great for swimming, canoeing, and kayaking.
Lots of facilities are provided in Little Island Park for all sorts of activities.
You can make use of the volleyball, tennis, pickleball, and basketball courts to play sports.
There are picnic shelters complete with grills, playgrounds for the little ones, vending machines and seasonal snack stands for a quick bite, and even beach wheelchairs available for use.
If you’re looking to have a good mix of fun and relaxation in Virginia Beach, Little Island Park must be on your list of places to go!
Address: 3820 S Sandpiper Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23456, United States
26. Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
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If you like to drive, one of the best ways to do that in Virginia Beach is using the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.
It is one of the world’s only eleven bridge-tunnels and spans 17,2 miles, connecting the Eastern shore to the mainland of Virginia so people could cross the Chesapeake Bay with ease.
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel was finished in 1964 in order to replace the need for ferries for passengers and cargo.
There are lots of cool stops along the bridge-tunnel, too, allowing you to get a fantastic VA Beach experience before you even get to the beach itself.
Address: Virginia, United States
27. Lake Lawson and Lake Smith Natural Area
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Termed as one of the best places to visit in Virginia, the Lake Lawson and Lake Smith Natural Area is one of the most stunning natural destinations in Virginia Beach.
It rests in the Bayside Borough, covering 42 acres and 12,000 feet of shoreline.
There is a range of diverse habitats scattered about the expanse, and it’s a great place for many different activities.
Lots of people come to the Lake Lawson and Lake Smith Natural Area to fish, but there are also plenty of water-based options for ways to spend your time.
You can go paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, boating, and more.
There are also lots of useful amenities, such as a new boat ramp, proper parking for boat trailers and cars alike, shoreline stabilization to fight erosion, platforms for fishing, a bridge for north-south connections, a picnic shelter, and a playground.
Keep an eye out for cool native vegetation, too!
Address: Virginia Beach, VA 23455, United States
28. Virginia Beach Rock Gym
Virginia Beach Rock Gym
Virginia Beach Rock Gym is an exciting way to work out, especially if you love climbing!
Run by a family, it is VA Beach’s only indoor rock gym and opened its doors in 1994.
It is welcoming to people of all skill levels, with professional instructors on-site for the young ones and the beginners.
The skills you’ll learn will even prepare you for real-life outdoor rock climbing!
All the necessary equipment is provided for you, too.
The main wall of the rock gym rises 32 feet into the air and is textured with impressive realism.
Bulges, slabs, roofs, corners, and aretes making it a versatile and varied experience with many climbing surfaces.
Safety is ensured with tabbed routes, bolted walls, and auto-belays, with regular route changes for additional variety.
Address: 5049 Southern Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23462, United States
29. Baker’s Crust
Baker’s Crust is a lovely chain of restaurants in Virginia, and there’s one in Hilltop North Shopping Center in Virginia Beach.
It is one of the best full-service restaurants you can visit while in the area, providing for all three meals made with scratch-made entrees that show off their European-style artisan bread, baked in an authentic hearth.
If you need some good places to eat, trying Baker’s Crust should be on your list of stuff to do.
Baker’s Crust opened in October 1993 with a storefront measuring 3,000 square feet, and this branch was actually its very first.
At first, it was a self-service location with 36 seats, but it has since grown into the fantastic full-service joint that it is now.
They source ingredients from regional farms, ensuring pesticide-free organic greens, among other fresh produce.
Burgers on house-made brioche buns, Neapolitan style pizzas with traditional flavors, and from-scratch desserts are some of the most delightful offerings.
Address: 1628 Laskin Rd UNIT 704, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States
30. Surf & Adventure Co
Surf and Adventure Company
Surf & Adventure Co opened its doors in 1974 and has been spreading its love for the great outdoors across America ever since.
If you’re looking for where to go to get a great Virginia Beach ocean experience, the company’s local branch is an incredible way to gain knowledge and experience of the outdoors in an exciting way, led by experienced guides and well-designed gear.
Surf & Adventure Co focuses on Sandbridge, a five-mile stretch of land that separates the Back Bay from the Atlantic.
It is here that many incredible and exciting adventures take place.
You’ll get to explore with expert instructors that clue you into important information about the maritime environment and underwater atmosphere.
While you have an experience at Surf & Adventure Co, you’ll get to spot marine fauna like amphibians and reptiles, as well as birds such as bald eagles, ospreys, pelicans, and kingfishers.
You may even spot dolphins or turtles as you take your splash!
From paddleboarding to surfing and from biking to kayaking, there’s a lot that Surf & Adventure Co offers, and it’s all worth trying out!
Address: 577 Sandbridge Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23456, United States
31. Go Whale Watching
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One of the Virginia Beach attractions that everyone rushes to the shoreline to see isn’t a specific tourist spot.
Instead, it’s a wider activity: whale watching!
Thousands of visitors come to Virginia Beach to see the whales as they pass by from winter to the middle of March.
Out on the Atlantic Ocean, a boat tour will give you the opportunity to spot humpback whales as they rush past, as well as any dolphins who happen to be swimming by.
There are lots of different charters available to bring you to the places with the biggest potential for catching a glimpse of these large and majestic creatures.
32. The Bagel Baker
The Bagel Baker
The Bagel Baker is one of the best places to visit for a lovely fresh-baked bagel – whether for breakfast or any time of day – and a good coffee while in Virginia Beach.
It can be found in the Great Neck area, where it opened in 2011.
The Bagel Baker is a family-owned and family-run business that serves authentic New York-style bagels made with preservative-free dough, baked fresh each morning.
The business places a lot of importance on tradition, so all bagels are kettle-boiled and then stone-baked.
So, what should you eat while at The Bagel Baker?
Their fresh bagels, topped with options like hummus, cream cheese, jelly, butter, and more, make for obvious choices.
There are also soups, deli salads, breakfast sandwiches, breakfast rolls, and other snacks and meals.
Address: 1340 N Great Neck Rd #1248, Virginia Beach, VA 23454, United States
33. Norfolk Botanical Garden
Anne Katherine Jones / Shutterstock
The Norfolk Botanical Garden is Norfolk‘s biggest botanical garden – and, by extension, that means it’s Virginia Beach’s, too, though it is about half a day away.
It spans 158 acres and regularly puts on all sorts of events, sometimes even daily.
Situated in Hampton Roads, it’s a must-see for nature-lovers and anyone who appreciates a little serene beauty.
The Norfolk Botanical Garden began with horticulturalist Frederic Huette and city manager Thomas P. Thompson, who received a grant for the land in 1938.
At the time, the land spanned 75 acres, with an additional 75 acres of the reservoir area.
Within just a year, shrubs and trees filled the lovely garden, and it opened up to the public, wowing visitors from far and near.
In 1958, the Norfolk Botanical Garden earned its current name as its ownership was given to the Old Dominion Horticultural Society.
Today, it has the honor of being on the National Register of Historic Places and boasts a wide variety of different gardens, like a Japanese garden, a desert plants garden, and a rose garden.
Address: 6700 Azalea Garden Rd, Norfolk, VA 23518, United States
34. ViBe Creative District
TYL Photography / Shutterstock
If you’re looking for free things to do in Virginia Beach related to arts and creativity, check out the fun and vibrant ViBe Creative District.
Its clever play on words with “ViBe” for Virginia Beach greets you on your way into this area, and you’ll soon be walking among colorful murals, trendy eateries and coffee shops, classy art galleries, quirk shops, lovely boutique stores, and more.
The streets at ViBe Creative District are always lively, with local artists showcasing wares in stands and people from all walks of life feasting their eyes on the beauty.
Events and activities held all year round add to the variety and novelty of the experience; there’s an Art of Humanity event in April, a Mural Festival in August, and all sorts of other discussions, exhibitions, and live entertainment too!
Address: 611 18th St, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States
35. Terrapin Restaurant
Terrapin Restaurant is a short walk away from the Virginia Beach boardwalk and is packed with award-winning cuisine of a contemporary American variety.
Everything is made from organic farm-fresh ingredients or freshly-caught components, and the menu is prepared seasonally.
The restaurant has been operating since 2006 with the goal of serving high-quality food without the use of harmful ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils.
Terrapin Restaurant’s chief in the kitchen is Chef Rodney Einhorn, who serves up a delicious farm-to-table fare in an ever-changing, ever-evolving menu featuring sea scallops, truffle mac-and-cheese, and rib-eye steak.
Boutique wines, unique cocktails, and craft beers are available to have along with your meal, too.
With space for about 50 people, it’s one of the places to go for intimate dining with a stylish terrace, a lovely wooden floor, mood-setting lanterns, and an open kitchen.
Address: 3102 Holly Rd #514, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States
36. Grommet Island Park
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Known by locals as one of the most beautiful places in America, the Grommet Island Park spans 15,000 square feet and is one of Virginia Beach’s best family-friendly attractions – especially given its ADA accessibility!
It is a lovely green space with a beautiful beach, lovely sculptures, options for water activities, scenic palm trees, and much more.
At Grommet Island Park, VA Beach, features are as inclusive as possible.
Sand tables are raised for easy sandcastle building, surfacing is poured-in-place for a navigable playground, and a sensory board provides options for children who want or need it.
There is a sway boat, sculptural features like waves, dolphins, and surfboards, and decking made from wood polymer that stretches from the playground to seating areas.
The seating areas are fitted with umbrellas and are easily accessible, too!
Address: Boardwalk &, 2nd St, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States
37. Edgar Cayce A.R.E. Library
Edgar Cayce A.R.E. Library
The Edgar Cayce A.R.E. Library is an interesting collection of metaphysical research centered on one interesting man.
In the early 20th century, Edgar Cayce was a relatively renowned claimant of healing and psychic abilities, and he was one of the biggest influences that brought concepts of paranormal activity, extra-sensory perception, and spiritual holistic healing to the public eye.
Cayce had an estate in Virginia Beach, and it is here that he founded the Association for Research and Enlightenment, or the A.R.E., in 1931, with the goal of exploring the metaphysical in a scientific way.
The association structure included a hospital, which Cayce used for his patients, implementing his knowledge of nutrition, spiritual guidance, acupressure, and massages to help nurse them.
Throughout his lifetime, Cayce kept very close and accurate records of the visions that he had.
One of these visions was the famous statement that the ruins of Atlantis would be found in the Bahamas, off the Bimini coast, in 1968.
For decades, divers searched the area far and wide – and then in 1968, they found a series of limestone blocks submerged beneath the water, spanning six to eight feet in height.
However, Cayce also made several incorrect predictions – such as the conversion of China to Christianity, the dating of the Great Pyramids, and even Lindbergh kidnapping details.
Today, the Edgar Cayce A.R.E. Library is one of the region’s cool things to do.
Here, every single reading Cayce ever made – 14,306 of them! – are contained, as well as an ESP testing machine, some original manuscripts, and well-cataloged transcripts available for public viewing.
If you’re there at the right time, you can go on a guided tour or watch a fun ESP demonstration – if not, explore on your own!
Need more options for what to do?
Check out the A.R.E. Visitor Center, commissioned by Cayce’s son, or visit the adjacent labyrinth, meditation garden, and meditation chamber.
Address: 215 67th St, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States
38. Tarnished Truth Distilling Company
Tarnished Truth Distilling Company
Tarnished Truth Distilling Company was created in 2013 by natives of Virginia Beach, Josh Canada, and Andrew Yancey, with the partnership of state local Bruce Thompson.
It is an incredibly unique and fun location, situated inside the renowned Cavalier Hotel – which, in itself, should be on your list of what to see in the area.
This means that the distillery is the only one in America to be housed inside a hotel.
Tarnished Truth Distilling Company’s master distiller bears over four decades of knowledge and experience, and he crafts everything from straight bourbon whiskey to Rye Bourbon with the use of state-of-the-art handmade equipment.
This equipment includes an impressive hybrid pot still system with a 500-gallon size and a 20-inch vodka column.
After you’re done doing a little tasting at Tarnished Truth Distilling Company, you can head to the gift shop.
Here, you’ll find all sorts of goods, like merchandise related to the company, barware, and even bourbon candles and bourbon maple syrup.
Address: 4200 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States
39. Hell’s Point Golf Club
Hell’s Point Golf Club
Hell’s Point Golf Club is one of the key things to do in VA Beach for avid golfers.
It opened its doors in 1982 and has since been named among America’s greatest 100 courses.
It is situated within the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and was made by Rees Jones, a famous architect.
Jones used the natural environment of the plot of land in order to craft a gorgeous course.
Saltwater marches edge along the fairways, a sculptured bunker promotes Jones’ signature style, and a close proximity to the ocean provides a glorious sparkling backdrop to this weekend’s golf excursion.
Though there are many golf courses in Virginia Beach, if you’re pressed for time and can only choose one, Hell’s Point Golf Club is a surefire way to have fun.
It is relatively affordable and even boasts lower rates during off-seasons.
It’s charming, peaceful, and a great way to get a little exercise away from the livelier surrounding region.
Address: 2700 Atwoodtown Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23456, United States
40. Mount Trashmore
Sherry V Smith / Shutterstock
Mount Trashmore is rather unusual among Virginia Beach’s tourist attractions.
It is kid-friendly, it’s often used as a skate park, and it sprawls at 165 acres, boasting two mountains, two lakes, and many different trails to walk along.
So how did it earn its rather unflattering name?
Well… let’s just say that its title is no exaggeration!
Mount Trashmore’s parkland was created using clean soil to compact layers upon layers of refuse.
It doesn’t smell bad and it certainly looks like the perfect picture of relaxation for things to do in Virginia Beach – but that hides a bit of a secret.
A thick rubber layer covers the surface just beneath the surface to prevent water from entering the track beneath, flag poles are designed to double as vents so methane gas can be released safely, and if you were to go digging, you’d find piles of gross!
Address: 310 Edwin Dr, Virginia Beach, VA 23462, United States
41. Spirit Of Norfolk Cruise
Spirit Of Norfolk Cruise
The Spirit Of Norfolk Cruise is a calming, beautiful, and romantic dinner cruise that you can go on with your special someone, your family, your friends, or even just to treat yourself!
As the waterfront and sea are Virginia Beach attractions in themselves, this cruise gives you the greatest of many worlds all at once.
Onboard the Spirit Of Norfolk Cruise, you and other diners will receive a full dinner buffet with tea and coffee, a launch party before you set off from the dock, onboard entertainment, games, dancing, and the lovely backdrop of the sea.
Alcohol can be purchased at the bar and you’ll enjoy all of this in the gorgeous Virginia Beach sunset, watching ships go by on Elizabeth River!
Want to experience more thrill outside Virginia Beach? Why not take a trip to Richmond and Williamsburg? If you do plan the trip, here are some top things to do in Richmond, VA, and some of the best things to do in Williamsburg, VA!
42. Hunt Club Farm
Hunt Club Farm
Hunt Club Farm is one of Virginia Beach’s most fun options for places to visit for families with children.
It is a beautiful location that has had a significant role in the agricultural history of Virginia: a community-based business owned and operated by a family, with a concentration on providing education and fascination to visitors from all walks of life and of all ages.
It spans 35 acres of land.
At Hunt Club Farm, livestock such as goats, chickens, alpacas, llamas, geese, pigs, peacocks, and more are raised, and you can see them up close and personal.
A wealth of different activities are also available, such as a BirdWalk Aviary, a Petting farm, pony rides, a TreeWalk Adventure, and more.
Seasonal events also occur regularly, such as Easter’s Egg Hunt and carnival or the Halloween Haunted Hunt Club Farm!
Address: 2388 London Bridge Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23456, United States
Start Planning Your Trip To Virginia Beach
Virginia Beach and all its places to visit make for a medley of sand, surf, nature, food, art, history, culture, and enjoyment.
There are parks to relax in, beaches to lounge on, piers to fish from, and water to dive into for a good swim.
And, of course, places like museums offer a unique and close look into the city’s past, galleries celebrate its culture, and special locations like aquariums and theme parks ensure that people of all ages can enjoy their time here.
Regardless of whether you’re the outdoorsy type, a foodie, a history buff, an aircraft aficionado, a whale enthusiast, or all of the above, you’re sure to find something you’ll love in this vibrant, lively, and sunshine-filled city.
This list should help you decide which things to do in Virginia Beach are first on your list!
What is the number 1 attraction in Virginia? ›
1. Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive. In the center of Virginia, Shenandoah National Park protects portions of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which range in height between 2,000 and 4,000 feet.What is the coolest thing in Virginia? ›
- Virginia Beach Boardwalk. 7,943. Piers & Boardwalks. ...
- Colonial Williamsburg. 12,593. Historic Sites • Points of Interest & Landmarks. ...
- Maymont. 2,060. ...
- Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. 3,112. ...
- Historic Jamestowne. 5,472. ...
- Shenandoah Valley. 115. ...
- Monticello. 7,102. ...
- Battleship Wisconsin at Nauticus. 1,643.
1. Shenandoah National Park – one of the most stunning places to explore in Virginia. The very beautiful Shenandoah National Park extends along the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains. This park covers nearly 200,000 acres and gets well over one million visitors each and every year.What's Virginia Beach famous for? ›
Also known for its flourishing local dining scene, arts and entertainment, maritime history, and family-friendly attractions, Virginia Beach features its own unique districts that offer experiences for everyone to enjoy. It's no surprise the Oceanfront and 3-mile boardwalk is the center of the action in Virginia Beach.How can I save money in Virginia Beach? ›
5 Tips for Planning a Vacation to Virginia Beach on a Budget
- Avoid Peak Vacation Times. ...
- Plan Your Vacation Ahead of Time. ...
- Start Saving Early. ...
- Choose Accommodations Away from the Busy Areas.
Virginia is known for its southern-style fare including oysters, peanuts, BBQ, country ham, blue crabs, trout, apples, and Brunswick stew. Many recognize these Virginia foods but don't know the origin or how they became a tradition on our tables.Is Virginia worth visiting? ›
Virginia is a beautiful vacation destination, filled with historical attractions, sandy beaches and the Blue Ridge Mountains where visitors can spot an array of species of birds and land animals. The birthplace of eight U.S. Presidents, Virginia has a rich history and many well-preserved historical sites.Is Cape Henry Lighthouse free? ›
Cape Henry Lighthouse Tours
Tours are $10 but discounts are available to AAA, seniors, military, students and children. AAA, seniors (age 60 and older) and military cost $9, students cost $8 and children under 6 are free.
More specifically, Virginia Beach is for beach lovers! This is the most notable beach on Virginia's east coast, and it's known for its boardwalk, lovely sandy beaches, nightlife, and entertainment. It's also known for the resort-style hotels that line the boardwalk, giving way to balcony views of the entire shoreline.Does Virginia Beach have nightlife? ›
The coastal city of Virginia Beach is a late-night playground for those who love some post-sunset revelry. Whether you choose to stay in one of the numerous sandy promenades or within a regional center, there are exceptional restaurants, bars and nightclubs that cater to every vibe imaginable.
Are there hurricanes in Virginia Beach Virginia? ›
Virginia Hurricane Climatology. Statistics. On average, a tropical storm, or its remnants, can be expected to impact the Old Dominion yearly, with hurricanes expected once every 2.3 years. These averages are competitive to what is seen down south along the Gulf coast, even though major hurricanes are far more rare.Is VA Beach Nice? ›
Known for its outstanding beaches, Virginia Beach is a haven for summer vacationers, particularly families, who come to swim in the ocean and bask in the sunshine. The casual atmosphere and relaxed pace make it a great getaway or holiday destination.Why is Virginia the state for lovers? ›
The phrase came from a creative team headed by George Woltz of Martin & Woltz Inc., the Richmond advertising agency that won the Virginia State Travel Service account in 1968.Where should I vacation? ›
- Paris. It's a prime destination for travelers from around the world. ...
- New York City. New York City is the full of culture and diversity. ...
- Hawaii. The Big Island of Hawaii is always a popular destination for travelers. ...
- Rome. ...
- Cancun, Mexico. ...
- Orlando. ...
- London. ...
Alcohol is not allowed on most beaches in Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware, but that doesn't stop many people from imbibing.What snack is Virginia known for? ›
The Tidewater area of Virginia is famous for peanuts. Virginia peanuts are the largest of the four peanut types grown in the United States. Peanuts are a high protein and naturally low sodium food that makes a great snack.
Virginia. The Old Dominion State is happy to be known for its cured country ham—the perfect addition to a breakfast plate full of eggs, biscuits and gravy, and grits. We're talking salty ham here; it's not for the faint of heart.What is the most popular food in Virginia Beach? ›
Virginia Beach, a city bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay, and Lynnhaven River, is most famous for its seafood, so Old Bay spice just comes with the territory. It's commonly used on shellfish, but Chick's Oyster Bar puts a unique twist on wings with Old Bay.What kind of seafood is Virginia Beach known for? ›
Oysters. Our greatest seafood delicacy is the Lynnhaven Oyster, available only in the Lynnhaven River that winds through Virginia Beach. Oysters are collected all over the world, but those from the Chesapeake Bay area are universally recognized as being the best.Is Myrtle Beach better than Virginia Beach? ›
If you want a more fun-filled family vacation with bustling beaches, amusement parks, an outstanding golfing experience, pubs, bars, a vibrant shopping scene, and plenty of activities on and off the beach for you and your children, Myrtle Beach is a better choice than Virginia Beach.
Are beaches free in Virginia Beach? ›
Enjoy Our Beaches
Sandbridge Beach, Chesapeake Bay Beach and the Oceanfront Resort Beach are all free and open to the public.
During the shoulder season, which runs from November 1 through March 31, metered spaces and municipal parking lots are free of charge to use. There's also free two-hour parking on Atlantic Avenue from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.Is Va Beach expensive? ›
Not to mention, it's an affordable place to live on the East Coast—the median home price in Virginia Beach is $262,200, and the median monthly rent is $1,258. Virginia Beach is more than just a popular coastal travel destination; it's also a safe, economically stable, and family-friendly city!What is Virginia best known for? ›
Virginia is known for the Appalachian Trail, oysters, Presidential homes, the Arlington National Cemetery, Dirty Dancing, Wild Ponies, Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, and the Brunswick Stew. Virginia is also famous for Shenandoah National Park and the numerous lakes it houses within its borders.Which part of Virginia is the best? ›
Best Cities To Live In Virginia: Arlington
Located in Arlington County, it is one of the most livable areas in the country. Livability.com ranks Arlington #3 on the Top 100 Places to Live in the U.S., while Niche.com has named it the Best Place to Live in Virginia and #3 in Best Cities to Live in America.
Virginia is a beautiful vacation destination, filled with historical attractions, sandy beaches and the Blue Ridge Mountains where visitors can spot an array of species of birds and land animals. The birthplace of eight U.S. Presidents, Virginia has a rich history and many well-preserved historical sites.Why is Virginia Tourism Important? ›
Tourism primarily supports the business sectors of food & beverage, lodging, transportation, retail, and recreation. In the City of Lynchburg, tourism jobs comprised 3,245 of our local employment in 2020 and 3,825 jobs in 2019.What is Virginia Beach known for? ›
Also known for its flourishing local dining scene, arts and entertainment, maritime history, and family-friendly attractions, Virginia Beach features its own unique districts that offer experiences for everyone to enjoy. It's no surprise the Oceanfront and 3-mile boardwalk is the center of the action in Virginia Beach.Why is Virginia known for lovers? ›
There is a public perception that the 1968 design of the slogan is a response to the 1967 court ruling in Loving v. Virginia, which legalized interracial marriage in the United States after an interracial couple were issued jail sentences for marrying in violation of Virginia law.What is the cheapest city to live in Virginia? ›
|Rank||City||1-BR Average Rent|
What is the safest city in Virginia to live? ›
1. Purcellville. Purcellville is the safest city in Virginia.What is the most popular city in Virginia? ›
Virginia Beach is actually kept very clean. There are plenty of beaches in the world littered with trash, dead fish, algae, and things that made the water look so dirty you wouldn't dream of dipping your toe in it.How many tourists visit Virginia each year? ›
The Virginia Tourism Corporation just released its 2020 Tourism Economic Impact data. Overnight visitation dropped 33% from 2019, down to 29.3 million visitors. Visitor spending fell to $17.5 billion in 2020, a 39.7% decrease.How was Virginia affected by the Great Depression? ›
Factories closed their doors, homes and farms were foreclosed, and the banking system verged on collapse. Itinerants, soup kitchens, and shantytowns became common features of the urban landscape. In Virginia the economic impact of the Great Depression was less severe than in other parts of the country.What do you mean by heritage tourism? ›
The National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States defines heritage tourism as "traveling to experience the places, artifacts and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past", and "heritage tourism can include cultural, historic and natural resources".