Each year my family likes to do a beach getaway, whether it’s for a weekend or a five-day trip. We like to stay overnight and check out things to do and places to go. Of course, each visit always includes time relaxing and playing on the beach, and strolling the boardwalk, but we’re always interested in trying a new activity that the family can enjoy. One of our favorite destinations is Virginia Beach. There is a lot of things my family loves about it. It all starts with our journey there. We already like long car trips, as it is, but traveling to Virginia Beach includes going through the 23-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, which makes our car trip more pleasurable. The views of the bridge and surrounding environment are breathtaking. The sun glistening on the Chesapeake Bay, the breeze blowing in your face, and the technology of the bridge-tunnel itself, is a beautiful experience…a bit scary, but we’re always glad to brave it. This is definitely one of those times to put all tech devices down and enjoy the unique experience.
Virginia Beach is very clean and nice-looking with their scenic waterways and miles of sand-covered beaches to fill your escape with peace and calm. I find the beach to be intriguing, and it invites you to soak it all up! The only beach areas that we stayed on was what’s called the “Resort Strip Beaches.” This is the area visitors refer to when talking about the beach. It’s a strip lined with resorts that extend from 1st to 38th Street, right along the Atlantic Ocean. It’s where you will find a lot of the action happening. One block over, on Pacific Avenue, is the boardwalk bustling with life! Not only did my family have fun on the beach and boardwalk, but at so many places here. I’ve put together a list of the five places my family’s been able to enjoy on our visits to Virginia Beach, just in case you are considering a beach destination for a getaway or family vacation.
There’s plenty of activities to do on the beach. My kids enjoy swimming in the water, jumping the waves, digging a hole in the sand and filling it with water to create a well, making sand castles, burying each other under the sand, collecting seashells, looking for hermit crabs or any other living sea creatures in the ocean, playing soccer or football, flying a kite, and watching boats sail by. Of course, Larry and I will join in on some of the fun, but we prefer to relax and watch them play, walk the shoreline, talk, listen to music, read a magazine, take turns napping, and snap pictures (well, that’s mostly me). What my family really adores about Virginia Beach is that, at any given moment, we may see dolphins bobbing in-and-out of the water. We’ll have a front row seat on the beach, as we enjoy our personal dolphin show. It’s amazing and spectacular, all at the same time!
The boardwalk is full of exciting activities to do. We never had to worry about our kids saying they’re bored. How can anyone be bored when the boardwalk is lined with mini golf attractions, haunted houses, arcades, fun houses, mirror mazes, skating, and live entertainment? One of our favorite places to hang out at on the boardwalk is the Flipper McCoys Family Entertainment Center, the largest arcade on the beach! Here you will find over 150 games for your family to enjoy and win cool prizes and toys. It was just the right place for my family when we got caught in the rain after dining at one of the restaurants on the boardwalk.
And speaking of dining, when we were hungry, there were so many delicious options to choose from. Whatever we had a taste for, whether it was seafood, a nice juicy burger, or maybe a Philly cheesesteak, we were able to find it in one of the boardwalk restaurants. My family is always on the look-out for the different samples of fudge being passed out while we are strolling the boardwalk. We can’t call it a day unless we’ve had a boardwalk treat such as funnel cake, fried Oreos, ice cream, frozen yogurt, milkshakes, or cotton candy. Yum!!!
As for gift shops, the boardwalk has plenty to browse. There’s a big gift shop called Sunsations, and they have everything we need for fun on the beach, as well as nice souvenirs to take back home. We received a free souvenir because we spent more than 10 bucks, so that was an added bonus. There are other freebies that they offer based on how much money you spend. We will definitely return to that shop the next time we go. And for the sports fans in my family, Sports Alley was the place to go. All of a sudden, the males in my family loved shopping! There you will find a huge selection of sports merchandise, and the store carries over 200 pro teams! So cool!
Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
Whenever my family goes on a beach getaway, I always try to find a way to incorporate something educational into our trip, something that relates to the place we’re visiting. Here we discovered the wonders of Virginia’s marine environment. The Aquarium is made up of two buildings with live animal habitats, touch tanks, 300 hands-on exhibits, an outdoor aviary with more than 50 local birds, ten acres of marsh habitat, and a beautiful half-mile nature trail. We saw sharks, stingrays, and other large ocean animals. In addition, this marine science center has temporary exhibits, a National Geographic 3D Theater, an adventure park, and they offer dolphin and whale watch boat trips. There were many ways for my family to learn and play. I would love for us to check out the adventure park one day because it sounds like a lot of fun!
Rudee Tours Dolphin Cruise
As I mentioned earlier, you can see dolphins frolicking in the Atlantic Ocean anytime you are on the beach. And these beauties love to get up close and personal with their admirers by showing off their talents while being near the shoreline. I remember one morning stepping out onto our hotel room’s balcony to admire the sunrise, and what did I see? Dolphins. Yes, beautiful dolphins! My family was excited when they learned that I booked us a dolphin cruise through Rudee Tours. Our relaxing cruise on the Rudee Flipper was a 90-minute tour. It was such a memorable experience to watch the dolphins play, all while learning a lot about them from the cruise narrator. Rudee Tours guarantees that you will see dolphins and, if not, you will have an opportunity to ride again for free. It’s also nice that snacks and drinks are available during the dolphin cruise tour.
Atlantic Fun Park
After a day of relaxing and enjoying the beach, my kids were ready for an evening of fun, excitement, and thrills. At this amusement park, you can eat dinner, enjoy a boardwalk treat, play games, climb the rock wall, ride the Ferris wheel, or enjoy other fun rides — all in one place. There was something fun for every member of my family, no matter what their ages or interests were. It’s not a huge amusement park, but it was just the right size with enough activities to keep us busy for an evening. The park doesn’t include water rides, but Virginia Beach has a water park nearby as well.
These are just some of the ways your family can enjoy Virginia Beach. There is so much more to do. My family is looking forward to returning because we’d like to try some new adventures. Maybe the next time we visit, we can check out another one of the Rudee’s Tours, cool off at the Ocean Breeze Waterpark, enjoy a hike at First Landing State Park, admire one of the Cape Henry Lighthouses, or ride the fast go-karts at Motor World. Whatever we decide to do, it’s sure to be both a relaxing and fun time with my family.