The 10 Best Tourist Destinations in Virginia Beach
As one of the top tourist spots on the Atlantic coast, Virginia Beach offers a unique experience. Expect not just beaches but also stunning nature, history, and more.
Located in southeastern Virginia, the coastal city of Virginia Beach is one of the state’s most popular destinations. It’s ideal for a summer vacation due to its golden sand beaches. With the city’s vibrant charm, however, you can find tourists exploring Virginia Beach all year long.
If you’d like to visit this beautiful place, here are the tourist attractions in Virginia Beach you can’t afford to miss.
1. First Landing State Park
This park is an important historical site for the whole state. That’s because in 1607, Christopher Newport’s ship landed here. And it’s where he founded the first English settlement, which he named Jamestown.
In this gorgeous park, you can enjoy outdoor activities such as biking or hiking. In fact, there’s an impressive 20-mile-long hiking trail through the woodlands of Virginia.
For those interested in water sports, there are kayak rentals and tours and canoeing. You can also try fishing or camping if you’re a nature lover.
2. Military Aviation Museum
Are you a history lover? A visit to the Military Aviation Museum can be an excellent way to spend an afternoon in this beautiful city. The planes on display are from both World Wars and are beyond fascinating!
This museum is such a popular tourist location in Virginia Beach that even locals visit it. And the staff is dedicated to aircraft restoration, that’s why many of the planes are in working condition and form a regular part of airshows.
If you pay a fee, you can even take a ride in one of the airplanes!
3. The Virginia Beach Boardwalk
The most popular paved walkway along the ocean is the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. It runs parallel to Atlantic Avenue, the city’s busiest street filled with hotels and shopping and dining areas.
The Boardwalk runs along the Oceanfront for three miles and has many pleasant restaurants, cafés, shops, and beach stores. It’s also the favorite running and biking spot of both locals and tourists.
Those who hang out on the park benches contribute to the relaxed atmosphere of this walkway.
4. Sandbridge Beach
If you visit Virginia Beach during the peak season, you may find the Oceanfront a bit crowded. So if you prefer the paths less traveled, make sure you stop by Sandbridge Beach. It’s just a quick drive away from the Boardwalk.
This beach is ideal for recharging your batteries and enjoying the silence away from the city’s hustle and bustle. And if you still want to stay active, you can try hiking, kayaking, fishing tours, and visiting the nearby wildlife refuges and parks.
5. Great Dismal Swamp
Are you ready for some chills? The Great Dismal Swamp is one of the best places to see in Virginia Beach, if you want to experience something different. Note that it’s an hour away from Virginia Beach, but it’s undoubtedly worth your while.
This foggy swamp looks mysterious and has great historical significance for the state of Virginia. That’s because escaped slaves of the time used the swamp as a refuge. Today, it’s become a National Wildlife Refuge.
6. Virginia Aquarium
The Virginia Aquarium is a delight for those who find the underwater world fascinating. The colossal aquarium was once a museum dedicated to marine life. It’s now home to more than 300 species of not just fishes but also otters, turtles, and seals.
The aquarium staff also organizes many themed exhibits where you can learn about the natural habitats of these animals. You’ll get to know more about the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and a volcanic island in Indonesia, for instance.
7. ViBe Creative District
Virginia Beach’s creative neighborhood is near the epicenter of the city. A few minutes away from the Oceanfront, you have a chance to soak in the artistic side of Virginia by visiting the ViBe Creative District.
It’s a colorful community where you can observe local artists immersed in their work or visit the Old Beach Farmers Market. When you’ve had enough, you can enjoy a cup of coffee in one of their cozy cafés. Don’t forget to buy handmade souvenirs, like handbags or wood pieces.
8. Captain Jack’s Pirate Ship
One of the most thrilling things to do in Virginia Beach is to board a pirate ship. How? By visiting the city’s unique tourist attraction Captain Jack’s Lost Pearl.
Although the shipbuilders tried to make a replica of a Spanish Galleon, they still needed to follow the US Coast Guard’s guidelines. So, it’s perfectly safe to board the ship.
You can go for a cruise or even celebrate your birthday on board. Sailing on the Lost Pearl is a fun activity both for children and adults.
9. Old Cape Henry Lighthouse
It’s time to visit a significant cultural landmark in Virginia Beach. The original Cape Henry Lighthouse has a long history that goes back to 1792 and George Washington personally authorized it. Today, there’s a new lighthouse built a few blocks away.
As the area is part of the Fort Story US Army base, you need to pass a security check before approaching the lighthouse. The Old Cape Henry is open for visitors and you’re allowed to climb all the way to the top. From there, you can enjoy sensational views and beautiful sunsets.
10. Harrison Opera House
Here’s another sight that’s worth your while.
While you’ll need to take a short car ride to get to the Harrison Opera House, you won’t regret it. Not only does it feature splendid architecture, but the inside of the building is just as impressive.
The elegant venue has a capacity of more than 1,600 guests. The staircases and chandeliers are even certified masterpieces.
The Classy, Charming Beach City
It’s easy to fall in love with Virginia Beach. Whatever you have in mind, it can deliver.
Wildlife resorts, historical sites, gorgeous beaches, and fantastic views amaze tourists every year. There are also beautiful places in plain sight and more discrete hideaways when you’re longing for peace and quiet.
Above all, the unique tourist attractions in Virginia Beach will make you want to come back for more.