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Flights to Virginia Beach

About Destination

Known for its outstanding beaches, Virginia Beach is a haven for summer vacationers, particularly families, who come to swim in the ocean and bask in the sunshine. The casual atmosphere and relaxed pace make it a great getaway or holiday destination. Off the beach, you can find a variety of outdoor adventures and interesting things to do. If you want to get active, head to the parks and natural areas for hiking or kayaking. Get the adrenaline pumping on the aerial walks at the Adventure Park. On rainy days or for a break from the sun and sand, check out the zoo or some of the local museums.


1. Virginia Beach Boardwalk & the Oceanfront

During the summer, most vacationers come to Virginia Beach to enjoy the glorious beaches. The city's most popular stretch of beach runs north of the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier, in front of a long line of hotels. This is also where you'll find the famous Neptune Statue.

This wide section of soft, golden sand is where most of the beach action lies, and it can be absolutely packed with people during the summer. Nonetheless, there always seems to be enough room to accommodate everyone.

Backing the beach is the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, a wide paved walkway running along the oceanfront for three miles. The boardwalk is perfect for walking, running, biking, skateboarding, hanging out with friends, or enjoying some quiet time on a park bench looking out at the ocean.

2. Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center

For a fun day off the beach, it's hard to beat the Virginia Aquarium. Located along the shores of Owls Creek, the aquarium is beautifully positioned, with scenic outdoor areas and decks overlooking the water.

This tourist attraction is home to many of the big names in the marine world, with sharks, seals, sea turtles, otters, rays, and a whole host of other sea life. It also holds some unexpected sights, including Komodo Dragons.

The large complex, divided between two buildings, is well laid out with displays showcasing what Virginia might have looked like thousands of years ago and the type of life the area may have supported throughout the ages. It's also a great place to get acquainted with the marine life that currently inhabits the lakes, streams, and coastal areas.

3. First Landing State Park

History and nature combine at this lovely park. First Landing State Park is where English colonists first reached the shores of America more than 400 years ago.

Today, the park is a recreational haven for locals and visitors. You can opt to lie on the beach, hike in the forest, paddle the waters, learn about the early history of the first colonists, camp along the oceanfront, or even rent a cabin in the woods.

The wide beach stretches for 1.5 miles along Chesapeake Bay, and behind here, set in the scrubby vegetation that lines the waterfront, are ocean-facing campsites.

The park is divided by Shore Drive, which separates the beach side of the park from the forest side. On the inland portion of Shore Drive are camping cabins and an extensive network of trails that run through huge pine trees, cypress trees, sand dunes, and along the waterfront of Broad Bay. Each of the trails offers a unique sight.

4. Sandbridge Beach

To the south of the main beach and boardwalk is the quieter Sandbridge Beach. This is technically all the same oceanfront beach, but out here, away from the hotels and condos, the atmosphere is more peaceful and relaxed.

This is the perfect place to visit if you want to get away from the energetic vibe of the resort area, go for a walk, have a picnic on the beach, and enjoy some quiet time.

The beach here is wide, with soft sand, and the houses that line the beach are set far enough back from the water that you almost feel like they are not in a city at all.

5. Back Bay Wildlife Refuge

Behind Sandbridge Beach is the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, with more than 9,000 acres of beach, freshwater marshes, dunes, and forested areas. The refuge protects important habitat for migratory birds, but is also a pleasant place for a wander along nature trails or paddleboarding in the still waters.

From the visitor center, the view extends out across the waters and islands of Back Bay. Walking paths provide access to some great wildlife viewing opportunities, and spotting scopes are located throughout the refuge. All kinds of birds, along with deer, bobcats, otters, muskrats, and other critters can be seen in Back Bay. It's also possible to access False Cape State Park from here.

6. The Adventure Park

For a little adrenaline boost, the Adventure Park is the perfect outing. Set on the grounds of the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, the Adventure Park is a large forested area with ropes and platforms dangling from the trees. Swinging stairs and challenging aerial walks, all high up in the trees, test your skills while you're securely roped into this ziplining obstacle course.

Staff offer instructions on how to use the equipment and then set you free to explore on your own, with spotters on hand to help out when needed. This is the perfect activity for families with older children.

7. Military Aviation Museum

As the name suggests, this museum is dedicated to military aircraft, with planes from around the world. On display are approximately 60 aircraft from WWI and WWII, and almost all of them are flight worthy.

The goal of the museum is not only to display these aircraft but to restore them to working order. The planes are typically flown during airshows, but it's also possible to take a short ride in some of these aircraft for an additional fee.

8. Chesapeake Bay Beach

North of the main beach, Chesapeake Bay Beach is another popular area. The character here is more subdued and quieter than the boardwalk area to the south. The waters here are typically shallow and calm, making it a pleasant area for children and families.

First Landing State Park lies along this beach, with showers and restrooms for day use visitors, but there are also numerous access points off Shore Drive. At the end of the day, good dining options are within easy reach.

9. False Cape State Park

This beautiful park to the south of Virginia Beach protects six miles of undeveloped beach, along with dunes, marshes, and woodlands, similar to its neighbor, the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Hiking and biking trails run through the park, and primitive camping is an option year-round.

Access to the park is by trails, either on foot or a bike, or by boat. Due to the distance, many people prefer to bike in if they are coming for a day visit.

This lack of road access has left the park with a remote feel, despite its close proximity to the city. You can come here and find your own patch of beach, often with no one else around, and discover a whole new level of solitude.

10. Boat Tours and Water Adventures

Virginia Beach's position along the coast makes it the perfect place to enjoy water-based activities, from whale watching tours and charter fishing trips to kayaking and paddleboarding.

A number of different operators and facilities offer ocean boat trips. Dolphin and whale watching trips are even available through the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center.

If you're looking for an organized kayaking tour, the Sunset Dolphin Kayaking Tour combines a beautiful two-hour paddle at sunset with a chance to see bottlenose dolphins.

Whale watching season runs from early to mid-January through to late February. Jet Skis and non-motorized watercraft can be rented from a number of places, including a company that operates within First Land State Park.