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19 of the Best Things To Do in Virginia Beach, VA

There are so many fun things to do in Virginia Beach VA! Set where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, Virginia Beach is a lively town with plenty of outdoor activities, water sports, and cultural attractions. It’s a perfect place for a family vacation or a couple’s getaway.

Things to do in Virginia Beach VA.

The East Coast of the United States is home to some of our favorite vacation destinations. North Carolina’s Outer Banks is loved by our entire family, but Virginia Beach holds a special place in our hearts.

My family knows Virginia Beach well, as we spent several years exploring while my husband worked in the area. We didn’t technically live there but we did have ample time to discover lots of Virginia Beach attractions!

First Landing State Park

2500 Shore Dr., Virginia Beach, VA

One of the best places to start your exploration of Virginia Beach is at First Landing State Park. This is one of the most popular state parks in Virginia, thanks to several miles of nature trails, 1.5 miles of Chesapeake Bay Beach, and a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

As the name implies, this spot marks the first landing of English settlers in 1607. After exploring some of the trails and beautiful beaches, head indoors to the Chesapeake Bay Center, which includes historical and educational exhibits. 

Trees in First Landing State Park.

Grommet Island Park

Boardwalk &, 2nd St, Virginia Beach, VA

This is a really special spot as it’s the first 100% handicap-accessible park in the nation! The park encompasses 15,000 square feet of beachfront space and offers tons of cool features that everyone can enjoy.

Raised sand tables bring sand-castle building to an accessible height, and they even have free beach wheelchairs available for use. The park isn’t just for the mobility-challenged; there are sensory boards, too, for autistic and visually impaired visitors. 

Mount Trashmore Park

310 Edwin Dr, Virginia Beach, VA

For one of hte more unique things to do in Virginia Beach, check out Mount Trashmore. It’s 165 acres of a former landfill that is now a beautiful park – the nation’s first landfill park!

Mount Trashmore Park features two manmade mountains, two lakes, a skate park, and two playgrounds. It’s really a cool park, and you have to see it to believe that it’s not just an old trash heap!

Virginia Beach Boardwalk

33rd Street to 2nd Street, Virginia Beach, VA

Of all the popular VA Beach attractions, the Virginia Beach Boardwalk is a must-see. The three-mile boardwalk stretches along the Atlantic Coast. In the summer months, the boardwalk is packed with locals and tourists as it’s a great way to experience this coastal city. You’ll also find live music, street performers, and a souvenir shop every ten feet!

There are separate lanes for bicycles and rollerblades, and you can even rent a surrey for a family ride down the boardwalk. Of all the Virginia Beach attractions for families, this is one of the best, especially in the warmer months!

Virginia Beach Fishing Pier

1413 Atlantic Avenue, Virginia Beach, VA

When you visit the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, make sure you also take a few minutes to check out the Virginia Beach fishing pier. The 880-foot pier is located just off the 15th Street Beach, and it is a great place for fishing or just watching the fisherman.

Believe it or not, one of Virginia Beach’s most popular tourist attractions is still family-owned! To maintain the pier, the families do charge a small fee. It costs $2 to walk the pier, and if you plan to fish from the pier, it’s $10. Don’t miss the gift shop on your way out!

Water under the pier.

Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum

2401 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA

Also known as the Old Coast Guard Station Museum, this is a fun (seasonal) museum dedicated to the coastal communities and maritime history of Virginia. While the museum is open in the warmer months, you can schedule a tour in the winter months as well. 

Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center

717 General Booth Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA

The Virginia Aquarium is so much more than an aquarium, with plenty of things to keep the whole family occupied for a full day. Aquarium exhibits include hundreds of fish species from all over the world, reptiles like komodo dragons, amphibians, and mammals.

Special events include sensory-friendly mornings and nighttime programs like sharks after dark. A few of the unique experiences offered include behind-the-scenes tours, opportunities to meet the animals, and boat tours where you might spot whales or dolphins. Don’t miss the Adventure Park, with fun things like ziplining and a ropes course. 

Boat Tours

If you’re visiting an ocean destination, you really should get out on the water at least once! It’s a great way to spot wildlife, soak up some sun and salt air, and get a unique perspective of the city you’re visiting.

You’ll have several boat trip options in Virginia Beach, from fishing charters to whale watching excursions. Rudee Tours at Rudee Inlet is one of the most popular boat tour operators in Virginia Beach, with dolphin-watching tours, whale-watching excursions, and fishing trips! You can also rent kayaks along the beach for your own self-guided tour on the water. 

Boats in a marina.

Military Aviation Museum

1341 Princess Anne Rd, Virginia Beach, VA

One of the best Virginia Beach activities for history or military enthusiasts, this indoor/outdoor museum holds one of the largest collections of World War I and World War II military aircraft still in flying condition. In fact, many of them take to the air for special events like flight demonstrations and air shows throughout the year.

Besides aircraft, you’ll find many relics from the two World Wars, including land vehicles and military uniforms. This unique museum also offers aircraft rides and a fun dinosaur park. Best of all, museum entry is free for all veterans of WWII and the Korean War.

Adam Thoroughgood House

1636 Parish Rd, Virginia Beach, VA

Adam Thoroughgood was one of the first English colonists to settle the Virginia Beach area. He arrived as an indentured servant and later became a community leader. His brick house was built in 1719 and is now a National Historic Landmark, not to mention one of the oldest surviving homes in the area.

Free tours are offered to the public throughout the year. If you are studying the history of the States or homeschooling your kids, this is a great, educational stop on your Virginia Beach tour. 

Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum

113 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA

Another historic home turned museum is this 19th-century beachfront cottage. This Queen Anne home has a wraparound porch and beautiful gardens that are a local favorite for weddings and events.

Now operated by the Back Bay Wildfowl Guide, the home has been repurposed into a museum dedicated to educating the public and preserving and protecting the natural resources of Coastal Virginia, including the local waterfowl. While a waterfowl museum may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s actually quite interesting, and they have volunteer woodcarvers on-site every day to share their passion for local wood fowl. The gift shop is a nice spot to find unique souvenirs.  

Old Cape Henry Lighthouse

583 Atlantic Ave, Fort Story, VA

It’s hard to believe that the fourth-oldest lighthouse in the United States is still standing! Although it has since been replaced by the “new” Cape Henry Lighthouse, it is still a great attraction to see when visiting Virginia Beach.

Built in 1792, this was an extremely important feature to the commerce of the Chesapeake Bay, as Cape Henry is the entry point to many ports, including Norfolk, Baltimore, Washington DC, and Newport News. It also happened to be the first federally funded project of the “new” United States government, approved by George Washington and Alexander Hamilton. Today, the lighthouse and gift shop are open daily to visitors. 

Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art

2200 Parks Ave, Virginia Beach, VA

While a majority of the best attractions in Virginia Beach are outdoors or historic sights, there are also great cultural attractions as well. The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art is a great opportunity to spend some time indoors soaking up the latest artwork from local artists, as well as national and global artists.

Exhibits rotate a couple of times per year, so you can keep coming back without seeing the same art twice. Best of all, this museum is free for all guests, and it’s small enough that even the youngest family member can tolerate a quick trip through!

Atlantic Fun Park

233 15th St, Virginia Beach, VA

You can’t have a family travel destination without an amusement park, can you? When you’re looking for fun things to do in Virginia Beach Va, look no further than Atlantic Fun Park.

This good old-fashioned amusement park has a vintage feel. You won’t find steep admission prices or crazy thrill rides. Instead, you only pay for the rides, either with single-ride tickets or a wristband giving you unlimited rides. Between the midway games, tasty fair food, and the largest Ferris wheel in Virginia Beach, you’ll have the best time at Atlantic Fun Park!  

Ocean Breeze Waterpark

849 General Booth Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA

With so many educational attractions in Virginia Beach, you might want one day to let the kids run wild and burn off some energy. Ocean Breeze Waterpark is the perfect spot for that. With over 30 rides and slides, kids of all ages will have a blast!

This island-themed oasis has everything you want in a water park: a lazy river, zero-depth wave pool, little slides, big slides, and a pirate ship! Of course, there are lots of concessions and snacks, plus cabana rentals for that extra special experience. 

Sandbridge Beach

Sandfiddler Road, Virginia Beach, VA

Sandbridge is located a short drive south of the busy Oceanfront area and is my favorite spot in Virginia Beach to watch the sunrise. If you want to experience Virginia Beach without the resort feel, Sandbridge is your go-to destination.

Don’t get me wrong, you’ll find plenty of vacation rentals but Sandbridge still manages to retain an “off the beaten path” feel due to its proximity to the False Cape State Park and Back Bay Wildlife Refuge. Catching the sunrise here is one of the more romantic things to do in Virginia Beach.

Sunrise at the beach.

Back Bay Wildlife Refuge

4005 Sandpiper Road, Virginia Beach, VA

The refuge consists of over 9,000 acres and is a sanctuary for migrating birds during the winter months. Unfortunately, the visitor center is currently closed and there are no activities offered at this time but you are welcome to visit and spend the day hiking or photographing the wildlife. This is a popular spot for birding as well. 

False Cape State Park

4001 Sandpiper Rd, Virginia Beach, VA

If you like to explore undeveloped areas, this state park is the best spot in the surrounding area. The over 4000-acre park features six miles of beautiful beaches, sand dunes, biking trails, primitive camping, and more.

The park is not open to vehicular traffic so you must hike, bike or boat in the park. You can also take a tram in from Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge (not offered at this time due to Covid-19), a neighboring refuge of nearly 10,000 acres.

The State Park is also home to Wash Woods, a community created after a 17th-century shipwreck. The environmental center is housed in the former hunt club farmhouse. 

Virginia Beach Public Art

Sometimes, the best way to explore a new destination is to just walk around, people watch, and soak up the local culture. We love seeking out public art at home and on our travels. From murals to bronze statues and gardens, there are some cool things to see (for free!) in Virginia Beach. 

  • The King Neptune Statue at the Virginia Beach Boardwalk stands nearly 30 feet tall, so you can’t miss him if you visit the boardwalk! The statue was created in 2003 for the Neptune Festival and has been a popular Virginia Beach attraction ever since!
  • The Norwegian Lady Statue has a twin in the Virginia Beach sister city of Østfold, Norway. Located on the boardwalk at 25th Street, the statue was a gift to the city to commemorate local help offered to a Norwegian vessel that ran aground in 1891.
  • The ViBe Creative District is another great spot for public art and performing arts. There’s always something fun happening here, including outdoor art shows, First Fridays, and Second Saturdays. There’s even a one-mile self-guided walking tour to dozens of murals. 

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