Summer vacation is at its end here in the U.S. but that doesn’t mean beach trips have to be put on hold. Virginia Beach has activities to keep you entertained even after school starts, not to mention a bit of heat and humidity to make northerners forget that snow is on its way even in October and November.
Pack your bags and plan your own weekend trip this fall, or next summer, to this vibrant beach town that knows how to entertain young kids, keep teens happy, and give parents a break from the norm all at once.
Sample 2-day Itinerary
- Arrive in Virginia Beach
- Rent bikes to cruise along the beach and get the lay of the land
- Discover the many sea creatures surrounding the King Neptune Statue at 31st Street
- Take a dip in the ocean
- Dinner at PI-ZZERIA
- Grab an early breakfast at your hotel or local restaurant
- Head to the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
- Lunch back in town
- Swim a few laps in your hotel’s pool and unwind
- Enjoy a Dolphin Watching Boat Trip with the Virginia Aquarium on the Rudee Flipper
- Devour a basket of ribs at Beach Bully BBQ
- Check out the local entertainment along Atlantic Avenue
- Top off the evening with frozen custard
Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, 717 General Booth Blvd. A must on a sunny or rainy day at the beach. Get there first thing in the morning when the aquarium opens to avoid the crowds. Drag your kids kicking and screaming (yeah right!) to the shark tank and mini sub where they can flip switches and move the underwater video camera all by themselves. Touch a ray or watch the seals do a few tricks as the turtles swim lazily through their tank. If you have a budding oceanographer in your group, check out the behind the scenes tours.
Dolphin Watching Boat Trip on the Rudee Flipper, Virginia Beach Fishing Center, 200 Winston Salem Avenue. Hop on board this steady moving boat as it heads out onto the open seas in search of dolphins. Babies on up to grandma are welcome on board and will find plenty to gaze at as you cruise past the Virginia Beach pier and see the city from a different perspective as you leave the crowds behind. The dolphins may or may not put on a good show, but you are guaranteed to see a little fin.
King Neptune statue, 31st street and the boardwalk. This iconic statue is the perfect backdrop for that family photo you’ve been trying to get all year. Even if the kids can’t sit still, have them poke around the statue (no climbing please!) to see what sea creatures they can find and how many baby octopuses are hanging around.
Beach Street USA, throughout the city along Atlantic Avenue. Atlantic Avenue comes alive as the sun begins to set. Street performers, not out for your spare change, set up shop to show off their skills. Park yourself in front of break dancers, a jazz quartet or head to one of the many concert venues where if you are lucky, you will see bands like Toad the Wet Sprocket, or a great cover band to dance along with all night. Check dates and times to confirm concert schedule.
Cherie’s Bike Rentals, several locations along the beach. You can’t miss the surreys and bikes zipping down the boardwalk of Virginia Beach. Parents are warned: it is not easy to pedal a surrey with kids, especially if you are the only adult. Give it a test before you commit.
Khor Brother’s Frozen Yogurt, four locations along Atlantic Avenue. This long time favorite of visitors has locations just far enough apart that you have to walk maybe a block once you get a craving. This cool frozen treat is very much like soft serve ice cream, but instead of just chocolate and vanilla, they have peanut butter, mint, strawberry and more. Try one, or two swirled together. Or just plan multiple trips so you can taste them all. Just don’t forget to ask for chocolate jimmies on top! Favorite bite: Mint custard
Pi-ZZERIA, 3316 Atlantic Avenue. The look of this bustling restaurant on Atlantic Avenue is deceiving. You see the sign on a window, but where do you walk in? Well have no fear, Pi-ZZERIA is actually one of three Italian restaurants all rolled into one spot (and menu for that matter.) The food is tasty and kid friendly. Favorite bites: Widow Maker Pizza and Mozzarella & Pancetta Fritters Favorite Drink: White Sangria
Waterman’s Beachwood Grill, 5th Street and Atlantic Avenue. The beach views are the main draw of this spot. Most of the menu is so-so along with the service, but the flounder tacos are worth the trip. Finish off with a slice of key lime pie and you will be good to go. Favorite bite: Flounder tacos
Beach Bully, 610 19th Street. Saunter up to this counter joint to order up some decent BBQ with a side of vinegary coleslaw. High chairs and outdoor seating are available, or you can cool off inside when the sun heats up the town. Favorite bite: Pork ribs and brisket with a side of coleslaw
Comfort Inn & Suites Oceanfront, 2015 Atlantic Avenue. Service with a smile doesn’t even begin to show how well this staff treats its guests. As I pulled up with a car full of bags and two small children, the staff asked how they could help. The two women at the desk fought over who got to hold the baby and carrying him up to our room as I navigated bags. There are no bellhops at Comfort Inns, so the extra set of arms was a welcome relief.
Our one-bedroom suite was spacious and clean. I was able to put the boys to bed on time and then collapse in the living room or on my ocean view balcony to unwind after a fun (and crazy) day. The rooms were quiet throughout the night without any loud beach parties to disturb us.
The indoor pool was great for getting the kids out of the sun without too much whining because they still got to play in water. Wall-to-ceiling windows let in the natural light to make you feel like you are almost outside.
Comfort Inn and Suites is located smack dab in the middle of the action. The main road into town basically dumped you into their parking lot. There were plenty of restaurants, frozen custard spots, and shops to keep us entertained if we got tired of the beach. We could have even walked to the nearby amusement park that lit up at night. Instead we chose to crash in our cozy room and dream about our time on the beach.
Don’t miss: The complimentary breakfast buffet is a must, especially if you have kids. There is a decent cereal selection, Belgian waffle makers, hot entrees like eggs and bacon, coffee, juice, fruit, pastries and yogurt.