With nearly 40 miles of shoreline, a three-mile boardwalk and dozens of things to do and places to go, Virginia Beach is the place to vacation this summer. Escape with the family, friends or that special someone; this place promises something for every taste. From pirate ships to some of the best concerts in the state, noting beats a little playtime at Virginia Beach.
Make your way out of the city and head toward I-395 south. Once you’re out of the city, keep south until you reach I-95 south. Merge and cruise for about 84 miles until you reach I-295 south, then hop onto I-64 east toward Norfolk/Virginia Beach. After about 15 miles, take the exit for I-264 East towards Virginia Beach, where you will cruise another 84 miles to the beach. Depending on traffic and the time of day, the total trip time should take no more than four hours.
If you have time to kill while you make your way to the beach, take a detour to Richmond (the state capital), Kings Dominion (an awesome theme park) or Williamsburg (where life goes on in the 18th century).
Virginia Beach Boardwalk and Resort Area
Between 2nd and 40th Streets
Price: $2 entry/$8 fishing
The three-mile long boardwalk provides easy access to the beach and to shops, restaurants, museums and other tourist attractions. Learn about Virginia’s most famous citizens, including Edgar Allen Poe and Thomas Jefferson, as you wander along the Virginia Legends Walk. The boardwalk also provides easy access to a fishing pier. Open 24 hours from now until October, the pier features a gift shop, viewing binoculars and gorgeous views of the coastline.
Virginia Beach Amphitheater
3550 Cellar Door Way
Virginia Beach, VA 23456
You don’t need to live in D.C. to see the hottest stars perform in the area. Many popular singers, bands and other artists, including Maroon 5, Slipknot and the Dave Matthews Band, have performed at the Virginia Beach Amphitheater. The outdoor concert venue offers both covered and lawn seats and plenty of food and drink vendors. Stars slated to stop by this summer include Lady Antebellum, the Beach Boys, Stevie Nicks, KISS, Motley Crue, Toby Keith and Kelly Clarkson.
Chesapeake Bay Beach
Between 83rd Street and Shore Drive
Skip the sounds of screaming children for the calming rush of the ocean on Chesapeake Bay Beach. Head north on Atlantic Avenue and make your way toward calm waters and calmer shorelines. Chesapeake Bay Beach is the perfect spot to relax, meditate or get lost in a good book. While the beach lacks a boardwalk and a strip of major hotel chains, it does offer marina fishing, dolphin watching, fishing piers and a national wildlife refuge. Don’t forget to explore the First Landing State Park and the Cape Henry Lighthouse.
Captain Jack’s Pirate Ship Adventures
308 Mediterranean Ave.
Virginia Beach, VA 23451
Price: $26 adults/$22 children age 3 to 15/$18 Club 21+ Cruise/$16 active military
For an adventure that’s fun for the whole family, head over to the Inlet Station Marina where you will find the Lost Pearl, a pirate ship on a mission to find lost booty. Learn pirate songs, catch the captivating pirate show or help Captain Jack fight the evil Blackbeard by manning the water cannons. The excursion also includes snacks and drinks for the kids, adult beverages for the grown-ups and an on-board gift shop. Captain Jack’s also provides an adults-only cruise for the 21 and older crowd. Enjoy music, dancing, drinks and a 1.5-hour voyage around the high seas of Virginia Beach.
Captain George’s Seafood Buffet
1956 Laskin Rd.
Virginia Beach, VA 23454
Price: $31 adults/$15.50 children age 5 to 12/$27 early bird special Sundays noon to 4 p.m.
No trip to the coast is complete without a seafood feast. The seafood buffet at Captain George’s features more than 70 delicious types of seafood including crab legs, shrimp, salmon, clams, mussels and crawfish. Captain George’s also provides an a la carte and children’s menu as well as soups, salads, prime rib, chicken, manicotti and more than half a dozen desserts. Don’t forget to swing by the gift shop to pick up a gift card, T-shirt, sweatshirt or pint glasses featuring the Just George’s Sports Bar logo.
Where to Stay
La Quinta Inn and Suites Virginia Beach
2800 Pacific Ave.
Virginia Beach, VA 23451
Price: from $169 a night
Reserve a room at La Quinta Inn and Suites and you’re just a hop, skip and a jump — aka one block — away from the beach. Enjoy an outdoor heated pool, spacious guest rooms with a mini kitchen, a flat screen television and free high-speed internet during your stay. La Quinta Inn and Suites also provides a free breakfast bar with all-you-can-drink coffee, milk and juices plus waffles, hot and cold cereals, fresh fruit, muffins, pastries and other tasty treats.
Hilton Garden Inn Virginia Beach Town Center
252 Town Center Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23462
Price: from $143 a night
Located in downtown Virginia Beach, the Hilton Garden Inn is within walking distance of the area’s best shops, restaurants and nightclubs. Each room features the Garden Sleep System, a fully adjustable bed that lets you choose how much support and comfort is right for you, as well as a microwave, mini fridge, sitting room and Neutrogena bath products. The hotel features an indoor pool, fitness facility and complimentary tea, coffee and fruit-infused water in the lobby.
Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.