The sun was shining and traffic hadn’t been too bad as we headed out of Washington, D.C. towards Virginia Beach one Friday morning.
We pulled the kids out of school (you’re never too young to learn how to play hooky) so we could get a jump on the weekend beach traffic. Even though it was spring, the temperatures were rising on the east coast. Warm weather means everyone on the Mid-Atlantic heads to the beach, and Virginia Beach with kids was the place to be this weekend.
Now, I’ve been to Virginia Beach with kids several times. We’ve ridden scooters down the boardwalk, built sand castles and enjoyed our fill of Kohr Brothers Frozen Custard. For this trip, I wanted something a bit more unconventional. The weather, although predicted to start out nice, was supposed to take a turn by Saturday night. Yes, we had to jump into the ocean, despite the fact that I still found the water temperature too cold. The hotel pool would also get its fair share of our time. But what else did this wildly popular beach destination have to offer us?
Virginia Beach Vacation Ideas
It’s not easy to get my kids off the beach. We are a fair skin, lobster looking family when we’ve spent too much time in the sun. Baking for eight hours a day is not an option, even on a cloudy day. It’s not hard to find things to do in Virginia Beach that don’t include the sand and surf, however. You just have to know where to look.
Berry Picking at Cullipher Farms
Yes, you can pick berries at the beach. Well, OK, not on the beach, but about 20 minutes from the boardwalk is Cullipher Farms, where you can pick strawberries in the spring and blueberries in the summer. Grab a wagon at the entrance and a few buckets. Pack your camera, because you don’t want to miss pictures of your kids covered in those juicy red berries. Don’t panic when there ends up being more red on their faces and white shirts than in your basket. We’re making memories, folks.
Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center
It always seemed odd to me that a beach would have an aquarium. I mean, the beach IS the truest form of an aquarium after all. And yet, it works. North Carolina has their string of aquariums up and down the coast, and Virginia would not be left out. The best part about these seashore aquariums is they provide a look at the local sea life you’re swimming with as well as how you can help protect the environment.
Military Aviation Museum
World War I and World War II history lesson at the beach? Why not! This museum is a gem that not enough people know about. If you have kids like mine who will only go to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum back home in Washington, D.C., then the Military Aviation Museum is a blessed relief.
The docents are all military veterans who have a passion for planes and military history like no other museum curators I’ve ever met. They will sit for hours talking to you about each plane, and love it when kids ask questions. And oh boy, did my kids come up with some entertaining questions… and comments about those planes.
ViBe Creative District
When the sun goes down and you aren’t sure what to do in Virginia Beach, especially during the off season, ViBE Creative District is the place to be. You will find local artists’ galleries, and cute shops like North End Bag Co., where you can pick up handmade canvas bags that are coveted by every fashionista in the area and for good reason. The colors and durability of these bags can’t be beat. And yes, I bought one.
For good libations, Chesapeake Bay Distillery and Three Ships Coffee (best coffee I’ve found in the state so far) will hit the spot. When you need a bite to eat, head to The Stockpot or Commune for brunch (the wait can be brutal. You have been warned.) and Esoteric for dinner and cocktails.
This post is part of a paid campaign with Travel Mindset and Visit Virginia Beach. All opinions are my own. When they aren’t you will be the first to know.