Virginia Beach is a wonderful travel destination that offers something for everyone. Its miles of pristine beaches are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. The city also offers a variety of outdoor activities such as surfing, kayaking, hiking, and biking.
This sunny stretch of the Virginia coastline also has many cultural attractions, including museums, art galleries, and theaters, as well as historic sites that showcase the city’s role in American history. The three-mile-long boardwalk is a popular attraction with many restaurants, shops, and entertainment options for travelers of all ages.
Additionally, Virginia Beach hosts many festivals and events throughout the year, including the Neptune Festival, the Patriotic Festival, and an array of music festivals. Foodies are also in for a treat, as the city is known for its seafood, particularly oysters and crabs, and has many great restaurants serving local cuisine. From food to fun, Virginia Beach has it all.
Best Time To Go
Sandbridge Beach in Virginia Beach, VA
The best time to travel to Virginia Beach is from late spring to early fall (May to September) when the weather is warm and the beaches are open. The peak tourist season is during the summer months of June, July, and August, so expect larger crowds and higher prices during this time.
The shoulder season of May and September can offer slightly cooler weather, fewer crowds, and better deals on accommodations, but the weather is more unpredictable. There may be more rainfall during the months of May, but the sunshine and warm weather flow gracefully into September.
October is the best time to visit for festivals and Boardwalk events, but the weather is somewhat unpredictable.
The winter months can be quite cold and many attractions and restaurants may be closed, but if you enjoy quieter beaches and lower prices, it may still be worth a visit.
Without much going on at this time, a serene getaway is what any traveler will find during this season.
What To Know When Visiting
Virginia Beach coastline with ocean and hotels
When planning a trip to Virginia Beach, here are some things to know before booking and departure.
The weather in Virginia Beach is generally mild, but can vary throughout the year. Summers can be hot and humid, while winters can be cold and snowy. June through August are the best months for the beach, but they bring the largest crowds and the highest prices.
There are rules and regulations for using the beaches in Virginia Beach, including restrictions on pets, alcohol, and beach equipment. Read up on the rules before traveling.
Virginia Beach can be busy during peak tourist season, so be prepared for heavy traffic and crowded parking lots. Staying close to or on the shoreline can ensure hassle-free beach days.
Food and drink
Virginia Beach is known for its seafood, but it also has many other great dining options. There are also plenty of bars, breweries, and nightlife establishments in the area.
Virginia Beach is more than a beach. The city has many attractions, including museums, historic sites, and outdoor activities away from the golden sands.
Events and festivals
Virginia Beach hosts many events and festivals throughout the year, so check the calendar to see what’s happening each month.
Best Ways To Get Around
Vintage bike resting against railing on Virginia Beach boardwalk
There are several ways to get around Virginia Beach:
- Car: Renting a car is a popular option and offers the most flexibility to explore the city and surrounding areas at a leisurely pace.
- Bike: Biking is a popular way to get around Virginia Beach, and there are many bike rental shops in the area.
- Trolley: The VB Wave trolley is a convenient and affordable option for getting around the city’s oceanfront area.
- Bus: Hampton Roads Transit operates bus services throughout the Virginia Beach area, with routes that connect to other cities in the region.
- Taxi/ride-share: Taxis and ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft are available in Virginia Beach.
- Walking: Virginia Beach’s boardwalk and oceanfront area are very walkable, and many attractions are within walking distance.
The best option will depend on budget, length of stay, and desired sightseeing. Staying in the oceanfront area allows for walking or biking for ease and convenience.
For exploration beyond the city limits, renting a car might be a better choice.
Where To Stay
Aerial shot of houses along Virginia Beach
There are many great accommodation options in Virginia Beach to suit different budgets and preferences. Here are some popular areas to consider when choosing where to stay:
The oceanfront area is the most popular place to stay in Virginia Beach. It offers easy access to the beach, the boardwalk, and many restaurants and attractions. There are many hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals in this area.
- Price Range: $$
- Why You Should Book: This hotel features oceanfront rooms with private balconies, an indoor pool, a rooftop bar, and several dining options.
- Price Range: $$$
- Why You Should Book: A luxurious hotel with an iconic historic building, this property offers oceanfront rooms, a rooftop infinity pool, and fine dining options.
- Price Range: $$
- Why You Should Book: This affordable hotel offers comfortable rooms with ocean views, a private beach, and an outdoor pool. It’s located in the heart of the oceanfront area, making it easy to access all the nearby attractions.
- Price Range: $ – $$
- Why You Should Book: This all-suite hotel offers oceanfront rooms with kitchenettes, a rooftop pool, and a boardwalk location near many attractions.
Sandbridge is a quieter, more residential area of Virginia Beach, located south of the oceanfront area. It’s popular for its wide, uncrowded beaches and vacation rental homes. Check Airbnb and VRBO for stellar rental options.
The Town Center area is a newer development that offers shopping, dining, and entertainment options. It’s located inland, away from the beach, and is a good option for those looking for a more urban experience.
- Price Range: $$$
- Why You Should Book: This hotel offers modern, upscale rooms, an indoor pool, a full-service spa, and on-site dining options.
- Price Range: $$
- Why You Should Book: This hotel offers comfortable rooms with microwaves and mini-fridges, an indoor pool, and an on-site restaurant.
- Price Range: $$ – $$$
- Why You Should Book: This hotel offers spacious suites with separate living areas, an indoor pool, a fitness center, and an on-site restaurant.
The Chesapeake Bay area is located north of the oceanfront and offers a quieter, more natural setting. It’s popular for its calm waters, wildlife, and outdoor activities.
- Price Range: $$$$
- Why You Should Book: This hotel offers colonial-style rooms, an indoor pool, a full-service spa, and several on-site dining options.
- Price Range: $$
- Why You Should Book: This resort offers spacious suites with full kitchens, an indoor pool, and two outdoor pools with a waterfall and a swim-up bar.
- Price Range: $
- Why You Should Book: This resort offers one- and two-bedroom suites with fully equipped kitchens, private balconies, and on-site amenities including indoor and rooftop pools, a hot tub, fitness center, and restaurant.
Virginia Beach has several campgrounds located near the beach, offering a more affordable accommodation option.
- Price Range: $
- Why You Should Book: This park offers 200 campsites, including cabins, RV sites, and tent sites. It’s located on the Chesapeake Bay and has access to hiking trails, biking trails, and a beach.
- Price Range: $
- Why You Should Book: This campground offers RV and tent sites, as well as cabins and cottages. It features amenities such as an outdoor pool, a dog park, and a jumping pillow.
- Price Range: $
- Why You Should Book: This campground offers over 1,000 RV and tent sites, as well as cabins and cottages. It features amenities such as an outdoor pool, a game room, and a convenience store.
When choosing where to stay, consider factors such as location, budget, and amenities. It’s also a good idea to book in advance, especially during peak tourist season, to ensure availability and the best rates.
Where To Eat
Plate of fresh oysters in Virginia Beach restaurant
Virginia Beach has a dynamic and diverse food scene, with a strong emphasis on fresh seafood and locally sourced ingredients. The oceanfront location means that seafood is a major component of the local cuisine, with many restaurants serving fresh catches of the day.
The city also offers a wide range of international cuisine, including Thai, Vietnamese, Italian, and Mexican food. Visitors can enjoy everything from authentic street tacos to gourmet pizzas to spicy curries.
Bay Local Eatery: This restaurant serves breakfast all day and uses fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Some of their popular items include the breakfast burrito and shrimp and grits.
- Hours: Monday – Thursday, 8 AM – 3 PM | Friday, 7 AM – 3 PM | Saturday & Sunday, 7 AM – 5 PM (Brunch only)
- Cost: $$
- Address: 2917 Shore Dr, Virginia Beach
Doc Taylor’s: This restaurant is located in the heart of the Oceanfront area and serves breakfast all day. They offer classic breakfast dishes as well as unique items like the crab cake benedict.
- Hours: Wednesday – Sunday, 7 AM – 2 PM | Closed Monday & Tuesday
- Cost: $
- Address: 207 23rd St, Virginia Beach
The Bee and The Biscuit: This charming restaurant is located in the Pungo area and specializes in southern-style breakfast dishes like biscuits and gravy and chicken and waffles.
- Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 7 AM – 2 PM | Closed Monday
- Cost: $
- Address: 1785 Princess Anne Rd, Virginia Beach
Commune: This farm-to-table restaurant serves healthy, seasonal dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. They offer a variety of salads, sandwiches, and entrées that are perfect for lunch.
- Hours: Monday – Sunday, 8 AM – 3 PM
- Cost: $$
- Address: 501 Virginia Beach Blvd suite b, Virginia Beach
Esoteric: This restaurant serves globally inspired cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients. They offer a variety of sandwiches, salads, and small plates that are perfect for a leisurely lunch.
- Hours: Sunday – Thursday, 12 PM – 9 PM | Friday & Saturday, 12 PM – 10 PM
- Cost: $$$
- Address: 501 Virginia Beach Blvd Suite A, Virginia Beach
Waterman’s Surfside Grille: This oceanfront restaurant serves seafood and American cuisine with a view of the beach. Some popular lunch items include the crab cake sandwich and the fried shrimp po’boy.
- Hours: Monday – Thursday, 11 AM – 10 PM | Friday – Saturday, 11 AM – 10:30 PM | Sunday, 9 AM – 10 PM
- Cost: $$
- Address: 415 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach
Terrapin Restaurant: This award-winning restaurant serves contemporary American cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients. They offer a variety of entrées, including steak, seafood, and vegetarian options.
- Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 5:30 pm (last seating 8:45 PM)
- Cost: $$$$
- Address: 3102 Holly Rd #514, Virginia Beach
Steinhilber’s Restaurant: This historic restaurant has been serving classic American cuisine since 1939. They offer a variety of seafood and steak dishes, as well as a famous relish tray that comes with every meal.
- Hours: Sunday – Thursday, 4 PM – 9 PM | Friday & Saturday, 4 PM – 10 PM
- Cost: $$$$
- Address: 653 Thalia Rd, Virginia Beach
Blue Seafood & Spirits: This popular restaurant in Virginia Beach specializes in serving fresh seafood dishes and handcrafted cocktails in a modern and upscale atmosphere. The restaurant also offers happy hour and outdoor seating options.
- Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 4 PM – 9 PM | Closed Sunday & Monday
- Cost: $$$
- Address: 2181 Upton Dr #420, Virginia Beach
Drinks and Nightlife
Night shot of neon hotels along Virginia Beach coastline
Virginia Beach has a vibrant nightlife scene with many options for drinks and entertainment.
For a beachside bar and grill, The Shack is a popular option. They serve a variety of drinks and pub fare and often have live music and events.
Waterman’s Surfside Grille is another oceanfront restaurant with a lively bar scene and a variety of drinks and American cuisine. For a traditional Irish pub experience, Murphy’s Irish Pub is a great choice. They serve a variety of beers, spirits, and pub fare, and often have live music and events.
For a unique brewery and music venue experience, check out The Bunker Brewpub & Cadence Hall. They serve a variety of craft beers and host live music and events in their Cadence Hall.
Commonwealth Brewing Company is another popular brewery and taproom with a lively atmosphere, food trucks, and events on the weekends.
For cocktail lovers, Tarnished Truth Distilling Company is a great option. They serve a variety of spirits, including bourbon, whiskey, and gin, and offer tours and tastings.
Top Things To Do In Virginia Beach
There are plenty of things to do in Virginia Beach. From beachside bliss and outdoor activities to history and culture, here are some popular attractions and activities to check out.
Stroll along the Virginia Beach Boardwalk
King Neptune statue on the Virginia Beach oceanfront boardwalk
The Virginia Beach Boardwalk is a popular three-mile-long oceanfront promenade. It’s home to numerous hotels, restaurants, and attractions and offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.
The boardwalk was first constructed in 1888 as a way to attract tourists to the area and has since become one of Virginia Beach’s most iconic landmarks.
Visitors can stroll along the boardwalk and enjoy street performers, festivals, and concerts or rent bicycles and surreys to explore the area.
The boardwalk is also home to the Virginia Legends Walk, a collection of bronze statues honoring famous Virginians. With its wide variety of shops, eateries, and entertainment options, the Virginia Beach Boardwalk is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to the area.
Spend the day on the beach
Golden sands and rolling waves on Virginia Beach
Virginia Beach is a popular destination for visitors seeking to enjoy miles of sandy beaches along the coastline. The most popular and well-known beach area is the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, which offers a wide, sandy beach and a bustling boardwalk filled with restaurants, shops, and entertainment.
For those seeking surf conditions, Croatan Beach is known for its clear waters and great waves, while the more upscale North End Beach features luxurious beach houses and quieter, less crowded beaches.
Each beach area has its own unique atmosphere and attractions, offering something for everyone.
Enjoy an array of water sports
Surfer at the East Coast Surfing Championship in Virginia Beach
Virginia Beach is a popular destination for water sports enthusiasts, with a wide range of activities available for visitors to enjoy on the ocean and other bodies of water in the area.
Surfing is a popular activity in Virginia Beach, with waves that are suitable for both beginner and experienced surfers. Stand-up paddleboarding is a fun and relaxing way to explore the waterways around Virginia Beach while getting a workout.
Visitors can also rent kayaks and explore the Chesapeake Bay or other waterways around Virginia Beach, or take a guided tour to learn more about the area’s wildlife and ecosystems.
For a more thrilling experience, visitors can take a parasailing tour and enjoy a bird’s-eye view of Virginia Beach from above the water, or rent a jet ski to explore the ocean at high speeds.
Fishing is also a popular activity in Virginia Beach, with plenty of opportunities to fish from shore or by renting a charter boat to explore the ocean.
Explore nature in First Landing State Park
Rainbow sheen in the Cypress Swamp at First Landing State Park
First Landing State Park is a beautiful natural area located in Virginia Beach, offering visitors a chance to explore the local ecosystem and enjoy a range of outdoor activities.
The park features more than 2,800 acres of protected land, including beaches, forests, and wetlands, and is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, foxes, and a wide range of bird species.
Visitors can hike through the park’s many trails, go fishing in the Chesapeake Bay, or enjoy a picnic in one of the park’s many scenic areas. The park’s beaches are also popular for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing.
Other activities available at First Landing State Park include camping, boating, and horseback riding. With its beautiful natural scenery and diverse range of activities, First Landing State Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts in Virginia Beach.
Get educated at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
Front entrance of the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is a popular attraction located in Virginia Beach, offering visitors a chance to learn about the local marine life and ecosystems. The aquarium features a variety of exhibits showcasing aquatic species from around the world, including sharks, sea turtles, otters, and more.
Visitors can also learn about the Chesapeake Bay and its unique ecosystem, as well as the history of marine science and conservation efforts in the area. The aquarium offers a range of educational programs and interactive exhibits for visitors of all ages, including behind-the-scenes tours and animal encounters.
In addition to the aquarium exhibits, the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center also features an outdoor nature trail and marshlands, offering visitors a chance to explore the local environment and observe wildlife in its natural habitat.
With its engaging exhibits and interactive educational programs, the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in marine life and environmental conservation.
Dig into history at the Military Aviation Museum
USA Fighter aircraft at the Military Aviation Museum
The Military Aviation Museum is a unique attraction located in Virginia Beach, offering visitors a chance to explore the history of military aviation and see some of the most iconic planes from World War I and World War II up close.
The museum features a collection of more than 60 restored vintage aircraft, including rare planes such as the Fokker DR.1 Triplane, the Curtiss JN-4D “Jenny,” and the Mitsubishi A6M “Zero.” Visitors can take guided tours of the museum and learn about the history of each plane, as well as the role that military aviation has played in conflicts around the world.
The museum also features a variety of interactive exhibits and displays, allowing visitors to experience what it was like to fly in some of these historic aircraft.
With its impressive collection of vintage planes and engaging exhibits, the Military Aviation Museum is a must-visit destination for history buffs and aviation enthusiasts in Virginia Beach.
Take a trip to the Cape Henry Lighthouse
The Cape Henry Lighthouse in Virginia Beach, Virginia
The Cape Henry Lighthouse is a historic landmark located in Virginia Beach, offering visitors a chance to explore the area’s rich maritime history and enjoy stunning views of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
Built in 1792, the lighthouse was one of the first to be authorized by President George Washington and played a significant role in guiding ships into the Chesapeake Bay during the early days of American history.
Visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding area, as well as learn about the history of the lighthouse and the local maritime industry through a variety of exhibits and displays.
The Cape Henry Lighthouse is also situated near several other historic sites, including Fort Story and the First Landing Cross, making it a popular destination for history enthusiasts and anyone interested in the early days of American settlement.
With its unique architecture, fascinating history, and stunning views, the Cape Henry Lighthouse is a must-see destination.
Taste the flavors of the area at the Virginia Beach Winery
Winery sign that says tasting room open
The Virginia Beach Winery is a charming and unique attraction located in the heart of Virginia Beach, offering visitors a chance to taste some of the region’s finest wines and learn about the local winemaking industry. The winery features a range of wines made from locally grown grapes, as well as from vineyards throughout Virginia and the East Coast.
Visitors can sample the wines at the winery’s tasting room, which is open year-round and offers a cozy and inviting atmosphere for guests to enjoy. The winery also features a retail shop where visitors can purchase their favorite bottles of wine, as well as a range of wine-related gifts and accessories.
In addition to its tasting room and retail shop, the Virginia Beach Winery also hosts a range of special events throughout the year, including wine pairing dinners, live music performances, and educational seminars.
With its delicious wines, inviting atmosphere, and range of special events, the Virginia Beach Winery is a must-visit destination for wine enthusiasts and anyone looking for a unique and enjoyable experience in Virginia Beach.
How To Spend A Perfect Day In Virginia Beach
Sunrise over wooden boardwalk on Virginia Beach
Start the day with a walk or jog on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, a scenic promenade that offers stunning ocean views and plenty of restaurants and shops to explore. For breakfast, stop by a local cafe or restaurant like Bay Local Eatery or The Bee and the Biscuit for a classic southern breakfast dish like biscuits and gravy or shrimp and grits.
Next, head to the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, where you can see over 10,000 animals and explore interactive exhibits and educational programs. For lunch, try one of the boardwalk restaurants like Waterman’s Surfside Grille or Mahi Mah’s Seafood Restaurant and sample local specialties like seafood platters or she-crab soup.
After lunch, take a hike or bike ride at First Landing State Park, where English colonists first landed in 1607. The park offers over 19 miles of hiking and biking trails as well as a beach. In the late afternoon, visit the Military Aviation Museum, which features vintage aircraft from World War I and II and other military aviation exhibits.
For dinner, head to one of the city’s top-rated restaurants like Terrapin Restaurant or Catch 31 and try local specialties like crab cakes or rockfish. Finally, end the day by watching the sunset at Cape Henry Lighthouse, a historic lighthouse that offers stunning views of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
While there’s plenty more to do in Virginia Beach, this itinerary is a great taste of the city’s history, culture, and natural beauty in just one day.
Q: What is there to do in Virginia Beach?
Virginia Beach has something for everyone, especially in summer, from outdoor activities to cultural experiences. The boardwalk and beach offer plenty of opportunities for sunbathing, swimming, and people-watching.
The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center is a popular attraction, as is the Military Aviation Museum. Other activities include hiking at First Landing State Park, visiting the Cape Henry Lighthouse, and exploring the Virginia Beach Art Center.
There are also plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops to explore, and various festivals and events throughout the year.
Q: What is Virginia Beach best known for?
Virginia Beach is known for its stunning beaches (oceanfront resorts are popular here for a reason!), deep dives into historical events, and more.
Q: Is it worth going to Virginia Beach?
Virginia Beach is an excellent travel destination for a variety of interests. Whether travelers are looking for amazing dining experiences (with a view), hiking opportunities, or fun on the boardwalk (specifically through a food tour), there’s no shortage of fun to be had.