35 Things To Do in Virginia Beach

By Janet Benoir – May 18, 2024

Virginia Beach sits on the southeastern coast of Virginia, right where the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean meet. This lively city offers lots of adventures, with its long beaches, interesting historical sites, and beautiful parks. It’s perfect for those looking for fun or relaxation. With more than 35 miles of beaches and many activities, Virginia Beach invites you to discover its wonders and enjoy everything it has to offer.

Here are the top 35 things to do in Virginia Beach to get you excited for your next trip.

Virginia Beach Boardwalk

Walking along the Virginia Beach Boardwalk feels like stepping into a lively coastal magazine. Each step reveals bright colors, lively sounds, and delicious tastes, with the Atlantic Ocean’s whispers on one side and a variety of entertainments on the other. This 3-mile walkway is where Virginia Beach truly comes to life. You’ll find entertainment ranging from magicians to musicians, making every moment an adventure.

Virginia Beach Boardwalk

Near the King Neptune Statue, a grand symbol of the sea, people from all walks of life come together to enjoy the beach life. The boardwalk, with its vibrant lights and the smell of delicious food, shows off the true spirit of Virginia Beach. It’s a place where the community celebrates by the waves, under the sunny sky.

Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center

Dive into the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center and discover the wonders of the sea. This amazing place takes you on a journey to different parts of the world, from the warm Mediterranean Sea to the mysterious waters around Indonesian volcanoes. Home to over 300 types of sea creatures, each display gives you a peek into the fascinating world of animals like otters, sea turtles, and seals.

Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center

Explore and enjoy watching these marine animals as they show off their unique behaviors and move through spaces designed just like the wild. The experience is more than just fun; it’s a tribute to the incredible variety of life under the sea, encouraging you to observe, learn, and grow a deeper appreciation for the ocean’s beauty.

First Landing State Park

First Landing State Park is a special place where history and nature blend seamlessly. With 20 miles of trails that pass through beautiful beaches, forests, and marshes, it’s perfect for anyone who loves exploring the outdoors. This park not only preserves the history of the first English settlers but also offers a peaceful retreat for visitors today. It’s a place where you can feel the history in the natural beauty.

First Landing State Park

This park is a haven for both wildlife and people looking for a break from their busy lives. Every path has its own story, inviting visitors to experience wild, unspoiled landscapes just like the explorers and settlers did long ago. Whether you enjoy hiking, biking, or just daydreaming in nature, First Landing State Park provides a peaceful getaway where you can follow in the footsteps of adventurers from the past.

Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Kayak peacefully in the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, surrounded by the gentle sounds of your paddle hitting the water and the natural music of the area. This quiet spot is a retreat from the busy city, giving you a chance to slow down among the migratory birds and serene landscapes. As you move through the grassy areas and water channels, it feels like time pauses, inviting you into a tranquil world.

Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge

This refuge is a blend of different natural habitats, each turn showing you more of its beauty. You might see bald eagles soaring or sea birds gliding gracefully through the air. Kayaking in this place is more than just an activity; it’s a way to connect closely with nature and experience the immense beauty of the natural world around you.

Military Aviation Museum

Step into the past and experience the thrill of flying in a vintage World War II aircraft at the Military Aviation Museum. This unique museum gives you a chance to fly in a historic plane, offering a glimpse into the lives of wartime heroes. As you take off, you’ll see the landscape turn into a beautiful view of fields and forests from above.

Military Aviation Museum

The museum isn’t just about showing off old planes; it honors the brave pilots who flew them during the war. Each plane, restored to its original condition, shares a story of bravery, creativity, and the enduring spirit of humanity. Flying in one of these iconic aircraft connects the past with the present, offering a rare opportunity to experience flight in a way most can only imagine.

Croatan Beach

Croatan Beach, a quiet spot away from Virginia Beach’s main area, is perfect for surfers looking for good waves. It’s a place where both experienced surfers and those new to the sport can enjoy the ocean. Known for its friendly vibe and great surfing conditions, it’s become a favorite spot for locals who love to surf.

Croatan Beach

As the sun rises, Croatan Beach comes alive with activity. Families settle on the sand, creating a lively scene of play and laughter, while surfers take to the water, their silhouettes against the sun a beautiful sight. It’s a mix of peaceful nature and joyful moments. Here, everyone finds something to love, from thrilling rides on the waves to simply soaking in the beauty of the beach.

Old and New Cape Henry Lighthouses

At the spot where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll find two historic lighthouses, the Old and New Cape Henry Lighthouses. The older one has seen a lot of history and offers visitors who climb to the top a stunning view of the ocean stretching far into the horizon. Right next to it, the newer lighthouse keeps the tradition alive, still guiding ships safely with its bright light.

Old and New Cape Henry Lighthouses

These lighthouses connect us to the past and show how far we’ve come in navigating the seas. The older lighthouse gives us a peek into the days of explorers and long voyages, while the newer one shows the advances we’ve made in technology to keep sailors safe. Visiting them is a chance to think about all the journeys that have happened over the years.

Mount Trashmore Park

Mount Trashmore Park has turned from an old landfill into a beautiful and lively park in Virginia Beach. Spread over 165 acres, it has something for everyone. You can find peaceful lakes, busy playgrounds, and trails for jogging and biking. This park shows how much Virginia Beach cares about the environment and provides fun places for the community.

Mount Trashmore Park

This park is more than just a place to play and relax; it’s a great example of turning unused land into something valuable for everyone. It teaches us about recycling and caring for our planet. Mount Trashmore Park is a favorite spot in Virginia Beach because it shows how we can improve our surroundings and make the city a better place to live and visit.

Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

Step into the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, a place where the wild beauty of nature is on full display. This large area, with hidden waterways and wide marshlands, is a perfect spot for anyone looking to explore and discover the wonders of nature. It’s home to many animals, including black bears and bald eagles, giving visitors a chance to see wildlife up close in its natural habitat.

Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

As you walk through this natural landscape, the sounds of nature create a calming backdrop, helping you feel connected to the world around you. The Great Dismal Swamp is a place to find tranquility and reconnect with the earth, reminding us of the beauty and strength of the natural world. Here, you can find a moment of peace and a sense of belonging to the vast web of life.

Sandcastles at the Oceanfront

At Virginia Beach, building sandcastles turns the beach into a place of fun and creativity for everyone. People of all ages work together to create amazing shapes and structures out of sand. From tall castles to mythical creatures, the beach becomes filled with impressive sculptures. This activity is about spending quality time with friends and family, using creativity to make lasting memories on the beach.

Sandcastles at the Oceanfront

As the day ends and the tide comes in, these sand masterpieces might disappear, but the joy and teamwork behind them remain. Building sandcastles at Virginia Beach is a special experience, where the fun of making them together is more important than how long they last. It’s a way for everyone to enjoy the moment, surrounded by the natural beauty of the beach and the sound of the waves.

Rudee Inlet for Water Sports

Rudee Inlet is an exciting spot for anyone looking to have fun on the water, offering a range of activities from the fast-paced action of jet skiing to the calm journey of paddleboarding. It’s an ideal place for both beginners and thrill-seekers to find their happiness on the Atlantic, slicing through waves and feeling the ocean spray.

Rudee Inlet for Water Sports

This area, with its vast skies and inviting horizon, is a hub for adventure and a symbol of freedom on the water. Set against the stunning backdrop of Virginia Beach, Rudee Inlet is a place where people gather to enjoy the connection with nature and each other, sharing the thrill of water sports and the joy of spending time together on the water.

Nightmare Mansion Haunted House

Enter a world where history feels alive and every corner might hold a spooky surprise. Nightmare Mansion is a haunted house that calls to the brave, inviting them to explore its dark hallways, meet the ghosts from long ago, and confront their deepest fears. It’s known as one of the scariest places around, with a chilling atmosphere that feels almost too real.

Nightmare Mansion Haunted House

This haunted house experience is designed to thrill you, drawing you into a story that makes your heart beat faster and your palms sweat. As you move through the mansion, every scream and whisper makes you feel like you’re part of a scary tale. If you’re bold enough to venture inside, you’ll come out with stories of bravery and encounters with the supernatural.

False Cape State Park

False Cape State Park is a secluded natural paradise, untouched by development, where you can truly hear and feel nature around you. It’s one of the few places on the East Coast that remain wild, offering visitors the chance to walk where animals roam free and the air is filled with the mixed scents of the ocean and earth. Here, you can wander through varied landscapes, discovering something new.

False Cape State Park

In this park, you step away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and into a world where nature rules. Walking its trails, you become an integral part of the vibrant ecosystem that calls this park home. Every sound, from a bird’s call to the whisper of the wind through the trees, connects you more deeply with the natural world.

Ocean Breeze Waterpark

Ocean Breeze Waterpark is like an endless summer paradise where fun and laughter never stop. It’s packed with exciting water slides, a relaxing wave pool, and attractions for the whole family to enjoy. Whether you’re racing down slides under the sunny sky or floating peacefully in a tube, there’s something for everyone to love here.

Ocean Breeze Waterpark

At Ocean Breeze Waterpark, the sound of children’s laughter fills the air, and adults find themselves joining in the fun, rediscovering what it feels like to play without a care. Surrounded by beautiful greenery, the waterpark is a perfect escape from everyday life. It’s a place where families and friends come to make lasting memories, enjoying the warmth and joy of spending time together.

The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art

At The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, art is not just something to look at—it’s an experience. This modern museum is where the newest art ideas and styles come alive on the canvas, challenging what you think and feel, and starting conversations. It’s a place that encourages you to get involved, to think deeply, and to explore what art can mean.

The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art

This museum is a lively exchange between the artists making today’s headlines and the community around them. It helps people understand the stories behind the art that defines our current era. Every visit offers something new and exciting, giving you a glimpse into the perspectives of today’s leading artists. Located in Virginia Beach, the museum is a source of inspiration, welcoming everyone to dive into the world of contemporary art.

Neptune Festival

Every autumn, Virginia Beach comes alive with the Neptune Festival, a big celebration of the city’s close ties to the sea. This event is filled with color, music, and activities, including art shows, sports, and outdoor concerts. Over one exciting weekend, the beach area turns into a place of fun, paying homage to Neptune, the mythical sea god, through various creative and communal activities.

Neptune Festival

The Neptune Festival isn’t just another event; it’s a beloved tradition that brings the community and visitors together. You can enjoy looking at art that reflects life by the sea, support athletes in beach-based sports, or get carried away by live music that fills the air. This festival highlights what makes Virginia Beach special, offering everyone a chance to create lasting memories through its rich culture and lively atmosphere.

Parasailing along the Oceanfront

Imagine flying high above Virginia Beach, where the sky and ocean blend into a vast expanse of blue. Parasailing gives you a thrilling chance to experience flight, lifting you from the ground to offer a bird’s eye view of the city’s beautiful landscape. From high in the air, the busy beach scene below turns into a calm, breathtaking view, making parasailing an unforgettable part of your beach vacation.

Parasailing along the Oceanfront

Parasailing is a chance to feel completely free, high above the ocean. As you soar through the air, with the breeze in your hair, you’ll see dolphins and ships below and feel a deep connection to the vast world around you. It’s perfect for anyone looking to add a little adventure to their life or to see Virginia Beach from a unique perspective.

Grommet Island Park

Grommet Island Park, located right on Virginia Beach, is a special spot where kids and families can enjoy a day out by the water. This park is all about making sure everyone can have fun, with easy access for all kids, including those with disabilities. It’s filled with cool play areas like surfboards and dolphins that make everyone’s imagination run wild.

Grommet Island Park

The park is especially focused on making sure everyone feels welcome and can join in the fun. With special wheelchairs for the beach and areas designed for children with autism, it makes the beach a place where every family can have a great time. Whether it’s building sandcastles or just playing around, Grommet Island Park offers a beautiful spot for making those summer memories that last a lifetime.

Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum

The de Witt Cottage in Virginia Beach is home to the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum, a place that takes you back in time to explore the history of bird decoys and wildfowling. This museum is full of hand-made decoys, old shotguns, and items from the past, each telling its own story of how people lived and worked with nature.

Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum

Visiting this museum is a unique experience that teaches you about the history of hunting waterfowl in the coastal areas. The de Witt Cottage itself transports you to the past, where you can learn about the people who made and used these decoys. The Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum celebrates Virginia Beach’s hunting history, encouraging visitors to see the importance and beauty of this aspect of coastal culture.

Lynnhaven House

The Lynnhaven House, built in 1725, is a brick plantation home that offers a peek into the lives of early settlers in Virginia Beach. Visitors can explore the house and see how people lived in the 18th century. It feels like stepping back in time, with every room telling stories about the daily life, struggles, and achievements of the people who lived there.

Lynnhaven House

The Lynnhaven House acts as a gateway to understanding Virginia Beach’s colonial past, highlighting the enduring spirit and creativity of its early residents. This historical landmark not only connects visitors to the city’s roots but also honors the lasting impact of its ancestors on the community.

Virginia Beach Fishing Pier

The Virginia Beach Fishing Pier is a peaceful escape into the vast, calm Atlantic Ocean. Here, people of all ages try their luck fishing, while others enjoy a slow walk, taking in the vast ocean views that stretch to the horizon. The sound of the waves and the ocean air help melt away stress, creating a perfect environment for deep thought or a close connection with nature.

Virginia Beach Fishing Pier

As evening arrives and the sky turns gold and pink, the pier becomes even more beautiful, offering a great setting for taking photos or enjoying quiet moments. Whether you’re an experienced fisher hoping for a big catch or just someone looking for a calm place to appreciate the beauty of Virginia Beach, the fishing pier provides a simple pleasure that captures the true spirit of being by the sea.

ViBe Creative District

When you visit the ViBe Creative District, you step into an area where art and creativity flourish on every corner. The neighborhood is alive with color, covered in murals and street art that share stories of hope, challenge, and victory. It’s a place where art brings people together, offering a deeper look into Virginia Beach’s community spirit away from the beach.

ViBe Creative District

But the ViBe District offers more than just something to look at; it’s a place to experience with all your senses. You can hear music from local artists, smell fresh paint, and hear the sounds of people enjoying the area. Whether you love art or just want to see something vibrant and full of life, the ViBe Creative District has a mix of experiences that will fill you with inspiration and joy.

Local Cuisine

Virginia Beach’s food scene is an exciting adventure full of local flavors and fresh ingredients. Start at the Old Beach Farmer’s Market, where you’ll find the freshest seafood and produce around. It’s a place where the food you eat directly connects you to the local farmers and fishermen who prioritize quality and care for the environment, offering you a genuine taste of what Virginia Beach has to offer.

Local Cuisine

Next, take your taste buds to Terrapins for a meal that creatively combines new ideas with traditional flavors. This top-notch restaurant turns dining into an art, celebrating the area’s culinary traditions with every dish. Here, you’ll enjoy meals made with the finest local produce, prepared by chefs with exceptional skill. Eating out in Virginia Beach becomes a memorable journey that delights both the spirit and the palate.

Harrison Opera House

The Harrison Opera House in Virginia Beach is a hub of artistic activity, offering visitors a chance to experience the grand world of opera in a luxurious setting. This place brings stories to life with beautiful music, incredible singing, and engaging stories, all within a space adorned with elegant staircases and sparkling chandeliers. It’s a place where performance leaves a lasting impression, blending beauty, drama, and music into unforgettable evenings.

Harrison Opera House

Going to the Harrison Opera House means more than just watching a show; it’s about sharing a powerful experience with others. The stunning environment and emotional performances draw the audience together, making each opera a special event. Whether you’re an opera enthusiast or someone looking to try something new, a night here is guaranteed to be a highlight, offering a glimpse into the vibrant cultural scene of Virginia Beach.

Virginia Beach Sportsplex

Virginia Beach’s Sportsplex is the heart of local sports, buzzing with energy from both athletes and fans. It’s known for its excellent facilities where you can watch exciting field hockey games or see runners pushing their limits on the track. This place is all about celebrating hard work, talent, and the pure enjoyment of sports.

Virginia Beach Sportsplex

Events like fun runs fill the place with fun and friendship, attracting people from all around. Whether you’re there to compete or just to watch and enjoy the atmosphere, the Sportsplex is a big part of what makes Virginia Beach so lively. It’s a place where every visit is full of energy, from the sound of cheering to the sight of people giving their all.

Ferry Plantation House

Visiting the Ferry Plantation House is like stepping back into Virginia Beach’s rich history. This historic house, surrounded by the remains of tobacco fields, gives a glimpse into life during colonial times. Every room and artifact has a story to tell, drawing visitors into the everyday life and challenges of the past. It’s an opportunity to walk through history and discover the secrets and stories that make up Virginia’s heritage.

Ferry Plantation House

The house is also home to the legend of the Witch of Pungo, adding a touch of mystery to its history. The story of Grace Sherwood, who was tried for witchcraft, brings a fascinating layer to the house’s past. The Ferry Plantation House doesn’t just tell historical facts; it brings them to life, allowing visitors to experience the richness of the past.

Colonial Williamsburg

Just a short trip from the beach life, you’ll find Colonial Williamsburg, a unique outdoor museum that brings the past to life. Here, history isn’t just a list of dates and names; it’s a living, breathing world. Dressed in clothing from the 1700s, actors walk the streets, demonstrating old-time crafts and daily activities, while the sounds of carriages and muskets fill the air.

Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg isn’t just for history buffs; it’s a place that tells the stories of the people who built America, from the grandeur of the Governor’s Palace to the simplicity of a colonial-era shop. Every corner of this historic town has a tale that connects the past to our present, teaching visitors in a way that’s both engaging and enlightening.

Biking on the Boardwalk

The Virginia Beach Boardwalk is a great place for biking, where the fresh ocean air and the sound of waves make for a relaxing ride. You can easily rent a bike and explore the area, enjoying the lively boardwalk scene. With shops, places to eat, and entertainers along the way, the ride is never dull.

Biking on the Boardwalk

While riding, you’ll see families enjoying their day, people jogging, and the Ferris wheel moving slowly. The boardwalk is perfect for anyone wanting to cycle, whether you’re in the mood for a slow, scenic trip or a faster ride to enjoy the breeze. It’s a wonderful way to experience the heart of Virginia Beach’s beach culture.

Beach Yoga Session

Dive into a peaceful yoga session on the sands of Virginia Beach, where the early morning or late evening sun sets the sky ablaze with color, and the ocean’s rhythm guides you through each pose. Instructors welcome everyone, from beginners to experienced yogis, to join in this unique blend of physical exercise and mental relaxation, right by the water’s edge.

Beach Yoga Session

Beach yoga offers a perfect escape from the fast pace of everyday life, inviting you to find tranquility and wellness amidst the natural beauty of Virginia Beach. Here, with the waves as your soundtrack, you can let go of stress and find inner peace. This experience not only rejuvenates your body but also refreshes your mind, leaving you with a lasting sense of calm and clarity.

Sandbridge Beach

Sandbridge Beach is a quiet spot away from the busy Virginia Beach boardwalk, offering a peaceful place to relax. The beach stretches out with beautiful golden sands and is gently touched by the ocean’s waves. It’s a great choice for those looking for a calm place by the sea, away from the crowds.

Sandbridge Beach

Walking along Sandbridge Beach, you’ll feel your worries fade away. It’s a wonderful place for family picnics, surfing in gentle waves, or just walking with someone special. Everyone can find a bit of peace here, making it more than just a beach but a peaceful escape to enjoy nature and the simple pleasure of a day spent by the water.

Ghost Crabbing on the Beach

When the sun sets and night falls, Virginia Beach becomes the perfect place for a fun and unusual activity: ghost crabbing. With flashlights in hand, people head out to the beach to look for ghost crabs. This exciting hunt takes place under the moonlight, making for a lively and enjoyable experience that mixes the thrill of exploration with the serene beauty of a starlit beach.

Ghost Crabbing on the Beach

Ghost crabbing is more than just a nighttime adventure; it’s a chance to see a different side of nature. At night, the beach changes, showing off new aspects of its environment and the creatures that live there. Whether you’re with family, friends, or on your own, searching for ghost crabs by flashlight is a simple yet joyful way to spend an evening.

Sandcastle Competition

Every year, Virginia Beach becomes a hotspot for creativity during its sandcastle competition, attracting both spectators and talented sand sculptors from everywhere. Participants work magic with sand and water, creating everything from detailed castles to fantastical beasts that seem almost alive. This event turns the beach into a temporary museum of stunning sand art.

Sandcastle Competition

As families wander the beach, admiring the intricate details of each piece, artists exchange stories and tips, creating a warm, communal atmosphere. It’s not just about winning; it’s about the happiness that comes from making something beautiful, even if it’s only for a short while. When the tide comes in and erases the sculptures, everyone is reminded that some things are beautiful because they are temporary.

Oceanfront Ice Cream Stroll

Wandering along Virginia Beach’s oceanfront becomes a delightful journey with each ice cream shop presenting a unique blend of flavors, from classic favorites to unexpected new tastes. These shops, each with its special offerings, are more than just places to get a sweet treat; they’re an integral part of the beach experience, capturing the carefree spirit of summer days by the sea.

Oceanfront Ice Cream Stroll

As the refreshing sea breeze mingles with the inviting aromas of waffle cones and ice cream, you’re led on a flavorful adventure from one shop to the next. Be it a tangy sorbet that seems to bring the sea’s zest to your taste buds or a luxurious, chocolate-coated ice cream that slowly melts away, this stroll along the beach becomes a cherished activity.

Hunt Club Farm

Hunt Club Farm, located just outside Virginia Beach, offers a peaceful escape to a world where the simple pleasures of country life shine. With its petting zoos and pony rides, the farm is a place of discovery and joy for all ages, where interacting with animals sparks wonder and exploration. The laughter of children and the serene setting blend to create an atmosphere filled with magical moments and genuine connections.

Hunt Club Farm

Throughout the year, the farm transforms with the seasons, showcasing Virginia Beach’s rich agricultural traditions through various events. From the warm colors of fall to the bright lights of the holiday season, Hunt Club Farm provides a backdrop for family fun and communal festivities. Amidst Virginia’s natural beauty, the farm serves as a tranquil retreat from city life, reminding visitors of the enduring charm of the countryside.

The Adventure Park

Right next to the peaceful Virginia Aquarium, The Adventure Park offers a thrilling experience high up in the trees. This park has various obstacle courses for every level of adventurer, from easy paths that gently sway to challenging leaps that will get your heart racing. It’s a place where victory feels sweet at every turn, and zip lines offer a thrilling sense of freedom as you fly through the air.

The Adventure Park

Amidst the forest, under a sun-dappled canopy, the park transforms into a magical place where the everyday world seems far away. The excitement here comes not just from navigating the courses, but also from the joy of overcoming fears and the strong connections built among friends and family. Near the aquarium’s marine wonders, the adventure becomes about the journey itself, filled with laughter and celebrated achievements at every step.

Scavenger Hunt Adventure

Virginia Beach is a treasure trove of sights, from well-known landmarks to hidden spots, all waiting to be discovered through the excitement of a scavenger hunt. Participants, equipped with clues, embark on a thrilling journey across the city, seeking out both prominent attractions and hidden nooks. This engaging activity transforms the cityscape into an interactive playground, inviting teams to solve puzzles and uncover secrets at every turn.

Scavenger Hunt Adventure

The scavenger hunt offers an immersive adventure that requires sharp thinking, teamwork, and an observant eye. Together, families and friends navigate through the challenges, piecing the diverse cultural and historical fabric of Virginia Beach. Amidst shared laughter and celebratory high-fives, they forge lasting memories and bring the stories of Virginia Beach to life, making the scavenger hunt an unforgettable part of their visit.

Virginia Beach is not just a destination; it’s an experience, offering an unparalleled blend of natural beauty, history, and adventure. Whether you’re surfing the waves, exploring historical landmarks, or simply soaking in the vibrant local culture, Virginia Beach promises memories that will last a lifetime. Pack your bags, and let the journey begin!