Virginia Beach Family Vacation

Families need a destination with variety, and Virginia Beach is an east coast escape for the entire family. With enough activity and options to please everyone, this lively beach town will give you plenty to do and plenty of relaxation, too.

A favorite east coast beach town that draws a big crowd of enthusiastic seashore-loving visitors, Virginia Beach is a family-friendly destination that has much to offer all year long. Situated on a glorious stretch of golden sand along the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, this town has a lot of activity in addition to the tranquil protected beaches. As the largest city in Virginia, it is home to several great state parks, two universities, three military bases, as well as a number of compelling and important historical sites.

For those who seek action and events along with their beach vacation, Virginia Beach is an ideal destination, and not exactly considered a sleepy town. Quite the opposite. The city hosts a number of events that are real crowd-pleasers, such as culinary and food festivals and sand-castle contests, plus ongoing beach volleyball tournaments, marathons and races, the East Coast Surfing Championships and the North American Sand Soccer Championship.

Relax on the beach

Virginia Beach's beach, itself, is a relaxing and serene vacation spot that's great for kids, with miles of soft sand and a great shore break for (usually) gentle waves. A welcoming and unpretentious spot, these beaches offer lifeguards, easy access to restaurants, snack shops and restroom facilities along the boardwalk. Enjoying this special destination also means that surfing, kayaking, boating, parasailing; water skiing and other sporting activities in (and out) of the water are readily available.

Embrace the boardwalk

A bustling three-mile hub of entertainment, music and fun that attracts revelers of all ages, the famed Virginia Beach boardwalk offers many family friendly options. Play all day with amusement park rides, miniature golf, arcade games and cool carnival attractions. In addition to the lovely seascape, the boardwalk is a great place to shop, stroll and people-watch. With a large number of food stands, casual restaurants and cafes offering regional specialties - including pizza, crabs and seafood located right on the boardwalk - this is the local place to be in Virginia Beach.

Virginia Beach family vacation

Hike and play at Mount Trashmore Park

Virginia Beach has also proven that trash can truly be transformed into treasure. A tourist attraction with a socially-minded purpose, Mount Trashmore Park is an expansive, 165-acre area that was created on the site of a former landfill. Appropriately named, this park opened in 1974 and features a playground, basketball courts, picnic tables and walking trails.

With over a million visitors each year, the park is the most popular in Virginia Beach and attracts avid hikers and walkers daily. It features several trails, including the Perimeter trail, which is about two miles; the Lake trail (approximately 1.5 miles) and the Mountain trail (over two miles in length). Also, fishing is permitted on two lakes within the park as well. For skateboarders, Mount Trashmore is also home to the coolest skate park around, located in the northeast corner. Rebuilt completely in 2007, this world-famous park has a challenging street course and a wide array of ramps and other obstacles for novice and pro boarders alike…and it’s not unusual to see a professional skateboarder or two making a surprise appearance.

Virginia Beach family vacation

A feast for foodies: Dining in Virginia Beach

Hungry? There’s good news for food lovers and families here, too. Virginia Beach boasts a vast assortment of restaurants serving up all types of cuisine – at many styles and price points. From casual seafood shacks featuring fresh caught crabs, to delectable upscale bistros, this town is a haven for those who enjoy sampling local foods while on vacation.

Visitors and locals adore the dining scene here, as it is extensive, and includes everything from Mexican and Japanese options to sandwiches and burgers to fine gourmet establishments. A family favorite is Waterman’s Surfside Grill, which features enough variety to suit everyone and serves lunch, brunch and dinner on their outdoor patio by the beach.  For a more upscale vibe, the area’s new, cutting edge gastropub is called Tapped. It features a selection of local and imported beer, along with a simple yet delectable pub menu.

Cultural exhibits and educational activities

  • Sea Life - In addition to the ocean, this town offers other sites worth seeing, including interesting museums and monuments. The recently renovated Virginia Aquarium is a popular destination for families, as it’s the largest in the state and the most modern. Comprised of two separate buildings with a multitude of sea life exhibits, this aquarium features an array of interactive activities for kids to participate in, including an outdoor adventure park, a friendly cownose ray touch pool, a video library and a cutting-edge National Geographic 3D theater. The aquarium is known for its massive 70,000-gallon sea turtle habitat and is also devoted to exhibits that focus on conservationism as well.
  • Vintage Warplanes - Meanwhile, history buffs flock to the Military Aviation Museum to see the largest collection of restored World War I and World War II aircraft in the world. In fact, most of the planes here are in such excellent condition that they are featured in a number of eagerly anticipated air shows held several times throughout the year. Whether you are an aviation fan or just a casual visitor, tourists can spend hours (or even days) checking out these fascinating exhibits, including massive separate Army and Navy aircraft hangars.
  • Colonial History - If historical sights are your thing, get a taste of eastern seaboard colonial life and early American history. See nearby Cape Henry, the site where the early English colonists first landed. These settlers eventually established Jamestown on April 26, 1607.

With its vast assortment of beach activities, diverse culinary options and cultural opportunities, Virginia Beach offers a perfect spot for a great vacation.

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