15 Best Things To Do In Virginia Beach, VA

Virginia Beach offers something for every traveler—miles of sandy beaches, a vibrant boardwalk, rich history, unique museums, fantastic food, and outdoor adventures. With its prime location on the Atlantic Coast, pleasant weather year-round, and endless attractions, it’s no wonder Virginia Beach is one of the most popular destinations in the United States.

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If you’re planning a trip to this seaside city, here are the 15 best things to do in Virginia Beach, Virginia to help you make the most of your visit:

1. Relax on the Beach

Of course, no trip to Virginia Beach is complete without spending time soaking up the sun on the area’s beautiful beaches. Stretching for 35 miles, the sandy shoreline changes in width and crowd size, so you can find everything from lively spots with beach bars and volleyball games to quiet stretches for peaceful relaxation. Bring a picnic or ride along the 3-mile boardwalk to easily find dining and snacks to fuel your beach day.

2. Tour the Cape Henry Lighthouse

For amazing 360-degree views, climb the 199 steps to the top of the historic Cape Henry Lighthouse. Completed in 1792 as one of the first lighthouses built in America, this landmark still functions today. On your guided tour, learn about the lighthouse’s role in Virginia’s rich maritime history. The adjacent cemetery and memorials to early colonists and sailors make this a poignant shore excursion.

3. Ride the Waves at Ocean Breeze Water Park

At this popular 19-acre water park, thrill seekers will find waterslides, tube rides, and an epic wave pool guaranteed to provide hours of aquatic adventure. Little ones can splash safely at Buccaneer Bay with mini slides and shallow pools. When you need a break, grab a bite at one of the park’s restaurants or souvenir shops. With fun for all ages, Ocean Breeze is one of the best things to do with kids in Virginia Beach.

4. Discover First Landing State Park

Immerse yourself in nature as you hike or bike through 2,888 acres of woodlands, beaches, dunes, marshlands, and the Chesapeake Bay shoreline. The park gets its name from being the first landing site of a group of English colonists in 1607, led by Captain Christopher Newport. Today the natural area offers camping, 19 miles of trails, kayak and paddleboard launches, fishing, and plenty of wildlife viewing.

5. Visit The Virginia Holocaust Museum

This poignant museum houses an expansive collection of artifacts, documents, photos, and stories dedicated to honoring the millions of lives impacted by the Holocaust. Traveling and permanent multimedia exhibits chronicle events from Germany to ghettos and camps to liberation and beyond. The memorial garden and contemplative spaces encourage quiet reflection on a sobering yet important subject.

6. Cheer On A Surf Contest

As the East Coast capital of surfing, Virginia Beach hosts several professional and amateur surfing competitions annually that are thrilling to take in from shore. Or get right in on the action by taking a lesson and riding the waves yourself with an experienced instructor. Popular local surf shops including 17th Street Surf Shop and Wavelength Surf Co. offer gear, advice, and lessons for all levels.

7. Marvel at Chihuly Glass Creations

Dale Chihuly is one of the most renowned American glass artists and the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art holds the nation’s top collection of his breathtaking work. The pieces on display utilize a stunning color palette and gravity-defying shapes to create truly unique installations. Kids and adults alike will be amazed by these colorful, larger-than-life glass creations.

8. Tour the Military Aviation Museum

Aviation buffs will be in heaven at this museum boasting one of the world’s top collections of WWII aircraft. Get up close to vintage British and American fighter planes, bombers, trainers, and transport planes, all with fascinating backstories. Beyond the extensive hangars, don’t miss seeing the large rose garden or enjoying a meal at the 1940s-themed Miss Vicki’s Diner.

9. Catch an Intimate Show at the Sandler Center

Treat yourself to a concert, Broadway show, ballet, or opera at Virginia Beach’s state-of-the-art performing arts center. The gorgeous 1,200-seat Sandler Center for the Performing Arts brings major touring productions plus hosts talented local arts groups. Amazing acoustics and excellent sight lines make this downtown venue a wonderful option for an evening of culture during your Virginia Beach escape.

10. Explore Rudee Flipper Seaquarium

Get an up-close look at the marine life that calls Virginia Beach home by spending an afternoon at Rudee Flipper. Feed colorful birds in the tropical aviary, pet stingrays as they glide by, and watch sea turtles swim overhead in this compact yet engaging aquarium. Kids and parents appreciate the educational yet entertaining exhibits shining a spotlight on creatures big and small swimming around.

11. Take in a Performance at Zeiders American Dream Theater

For an intimate, state-of-the-art performing arts experience, don’t miss Zeiders. This flexible black box theater space located in Virginia Beach Town Center accommodates everything from cutting-edge dramas to improv comedy troupes to musical concerts by talented musicians. With several programs and a constantly changing calendar of acclaimed local and touring talents, you’ll surely find something of interest on the Zeiders’ schedule.

12. Enjoy Fresh Seafood with an Ocean View

When it’s time for a fantastic meal, Virginia Beach serves up phenomenal waterfront dining showcasing coastal cuisine. Relax over oysters, tuna tartare, she-crab soup, and fresh catches of the day while soaking in picture-perfect sunsets at places like Waterman’s Surfside Grille, Citrus Restaurant, or Island Shrimp Co. Al fresco wining and dining simply can’t be beaten.

13. Scale New Heights at Virginia Beach Rock Gym

Test your strength and agility by climbing walls mimicking mountain crags at this awesome indoor rock climbing gym. With options for all skill levels from beginner to expert, their staff helps you harness up and supports climbers of all ages. The massive indoor playground also features bouldering, fitness training opportunities, yoga classes, and summer camps for some adrenaline-pumping fun.

14. Catch a Show under the Stars

Music and movies take center stage during Virginia Beach’s summer-long Neptune Festival at the gorgeous 31st Street Park beachfront event venue. Pull up a spot in the sand and enjoy tribute bands, symphony performances, circus shows, and other lively acts. Film screenings with the glittery Atlantic Ocean in the background make for spectacular cinema under the stars.

15. Explore the Boardwalk

No trip to Virginia Beach is complete without a stroll along the iconic three-mile boardwalk paralleling the beach. Play vintage games and rides at the Old Fashioned Funland arcade before grabbing lunch from a choice of restaurants and snack stands. Don’t miss seeing the 34-foot King Neptune statue towering over the entrance to Neptune Park, a perfect photo op. Enjoy bountiful shopping and people-watching all from this bustling oceanside walkway.

With its vibrant city scenes, historical treasures, coastal landscapes, and abundance of family-friendly attractions, Virginia Beach offers an awe-inspiring getaway any time of year. Pack your sunscreen for adventures along this one-of-a-kind East Coast destination.


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