Welcome to the realm of King Neptune! (You’ll find his 34-foot-tall statue on the Boardwalk at 31st Street.) According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Virginia Beach as the longest pleasure beach in the world. No seaside resort does more to entertain its visitors, or goes further to make sure they have a great beach experience. Three miles of oceanfront, where the sand is groomed nightly, is paralleled by a wide boardwalk and paved bikepath, considered one of the finest seaside promenades in the world.
From mid-May through Labor Day, Beach Street USA offers free entertainment, including music, street performers, and fireworks nearly every night on numerous stages, street corners and the beach itself. In September, the month-long Neptune Festival takes over, celebrating the region’s seafaring heritage with concerts, sand sculpting contests, and more.
Millions of visitors come to “VB” (as locals call it) each year to enjoy the quintessential seaside vacation—sun, sand, and surf—to fish, sail or jetski, eat seafood, build sandcastles, or just soak up the sun. Some come for a week or a weekend, others just for the day or evening.
In recent years, the face of the traditional resort has changed with upscale luxury properties both along the Oceanfront and inland at the newly developed Town Center. The region attracts a growing tide of eco–tourists, as well, who come to enjoy the many and varied opportunities to kayak or paddleboard the quiet local waters, and observe the rich variety of birds and wildlife that frequent the area.
Fishing is an important activity in the region year-round, with dozens of charter fishing captains making Virginia Beach their home port. The annual run of striped bass, also known as rockfish, from November through February, is the subject of numerous fishing tournaments every winter, including the popular Round-the-Clock 24-hour marathon in November on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel’s Sea Gull Pier.
Edgar Cayce, the Sleeping Prophet, established his research center in Virginia Beach in 1931, reportedly at the direction of his spirit guides. Today, his Association for Research and Development welcomes visitors to free lectures, classes and tours and operates a wellness center and day spa offering treatments based on Cayce’s insights. The presence of the center has helped create a sizeable New Age community in the area.
Now the largest city in the state, Virginia Beach is a year–round destination with sophisticated nightlife, world–class dining, and an array of attractions that appeal to every age and interest. The city continues to invest millions in improvements to its Boardwalk, public parking, concert venues, bike paths, and many other amenities, ensuring visitors a satisfying vacation in the years to come.
48 Hours in Virginia Beach … Discover the best activities and food in Virginia Beach
Prices often fluctuate dynamically depending on capacity, seasonality and deals. We donât want to lead you astray by quoting exact prices that quickly become wrong. To give you a rough idea for budgetary planning purposes, though, we have indicated general price ranges for all points of interest.
Price ranges are quoted in $US.
See & Do
N/A => Not applicable
$ => Tickets less than $10 per person
$$ => Tickets $11-25 per person
$$$ => Tickets $26 per person
$ => Rooms less than $100 for a double
$$ => Rooms $200 for a double
$$$ => Rooms $300 for a double
$ => $1-15 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
$ => $16-40 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
$$$ => $41 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
N/A => Not applicable
$ => Tickets less than $10 per person
$$ => Tickets $11-25 per person
$$ => Tickets $26 per person
In addition to the airports within the Tidewater region listed below, many visitors arrive via Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Ronald Regan Washington National Airport (DCA) in the metropolitan Washington area (www.metwashairports.com). Another option is Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI), www.bwiairport.com, with connections to Amtrak train service via free shuttles from the airport terminal to the BWI Marshall Rail Station.
More information on airports within Virginia can be found at www.flyvirginia.com and www.doav.virginia.gov.
Newport News – Williamsburg International Airport (PHF) 757-877-0221; www.nnwairport.com; 900 Bland Blvd., Newport News 23602. Conveniently located off I-64 at Exit 255-B (Jefferson Ave./VA 143), the field was formerly part of the U.S. Army’s Camp Patrick Henry, a staging area for troops shipping out to Europe during World War II. Travelers enjoy complimentary luggage carts and parking shuttle; free “No-Tips” skycap service, cell phone waiting lot, and free WiFi; regional welcome center and excellent meals at the Blue Sky Café (757-369-0925), open to both passengers and the general public in the main lobby.
Norfolk International Airport (ORF) 757-857-3351; www.norfolkairport.com; 2200 Norview Ave., Norfolk 23518. Located between Norfolk and Virginia Beach, this international airport includes a variety of shops and restaurants, including the full service Phillips Seafood Restaurant (757-858-9601; www.phillipsseafood.com) in the main lobby; currency exchange and business services; visitor information center; barber shop, shoe shine, and hair salon. WiFi available for a fee. The Airport Connection shuttle (757-963-0433, 866-823-4626; www.onetransportationsolution.com) provides service to all area cities as far north as Williamsburg.
Richmond International Airport (RIC) 804-226-3000; www.flyrichmond.com; Airport Dr., Richmond 23250. Convenient to I-64 (Exit 197A) or I-295 (Exit 31), this airport on the east side of Richmond offers flights from many discount carriers, as well as Air Canada service from Toronto. Visitor center, free WiFi and cell phone lot. The Virginia Aviation Museum (804-236-3622; www.vam.smv.org) is next door. Limousine service is available from CMC Limousine (804-360-2122; www.cmclimo.com) and Groome Transportation (804-222-7222, 800-552-7911; www.groometransportation.com).
Amtrak (800-872-7245; www.amtrak.com), the nation’s railroad service, provides access to many destinations in the Tidewater. The Northeast Regional Route runs from Boston (BOS), New York City (NYP), BWI Airport (BWI), and Washington, DC (WAS), to Newport News (NPN), with stops at Fredricksburg (FBG), Ashland (ASD), Richmond’s Staples Mill (RVR) and Main Street (RVM) stations, and Williamsburg (WBG). Bus connections are available from Newport News to Norfolk and Virginia Beach. Morning trains run hourly from Richmond’s Staples Mill station to Union Station in Washington, DC.
The Carolinian travels daily between Charlotte, NC (CLT) and New York City (NYP), with stops in Raleigh, NC (RGH), Petersburg (PTB), Richmond (RVR), Fredricksburg (FBG), Washington, DC (WAS), Baltimore (BAL), and Philadelphia (PHL).
Greyhound Bus Service (800-231-2222; www.greyhound.com) is available throughout the region, with service from Richmond (804-254-5910) to Petersburg (804-732-2905), Williamsburg (757-229-1460), Hampton (757-722-9861), Newport News (757-872-4405), Norfolk (757-625-7500), Suffolk (757-539-6937), and Virginia Beach (757-422-2998), connecting with points throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. Another route travels up the Delmarva Peninsula to Wilmington, DE and points north.
Hampton Roads Transit (757-222-6100; www.gohrt.com)
Provides service throughout the Hampton Roads region, including bus connections within and between the Southside communities of Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach; and the Peninsula communities of Newport News and Hampton. Free or low cost electric bus service is available in downtown Norfolk (Norfolk Electric Transit); downtown Portsmouth (The Loop); and the Virginia Beach oceanfront (VB Wave). Most buses have free bike racks. HRT also operates the low cost Paddlewheel Ferry between Norfolk and Portsmouth; the Max Metro Area Express, and The Tide (www.ridethetide.com), a new light rail line in Norfolk scheduled to begin service in 2010. Future expansion will extend the Tide line to Virginia Beach. Tickets for all HRT services can be purchased from conveniently located ticket vending machines. Single tickets, one day, and seven day passes, senior and student fares available.
The Wave (757-222-6100).
During the summer season, Hampton Road Transit (www.gohrt.com) operates hybrid electric shuttles on three routes making travel around the Virginia Beach area easy and inexpensive, and eliminating parking hassles, as well. Route 30 travels up and down the Oceanfront, from Rudee Inlet to 40th Street, every 15 minutes from 8 am to 2 am, May 1 to Sept. 30. Transfer at 40th St. to HRT Bus 33 for the A.R.E. campus and First Landing State Park. The Wave’s Route 31 travels south to the campgrounds and attractions along General Booth Blvd., including the Virginia Aquarium and Ocean Breeze Waterpark. Route 32 is the Shopper’s Shuttle, traveling out Laskin Rd. to the shops at Hilltop and Lynnhaven Mall, daily every hour. Fares on the Wave are $1 for adults and children over 38 inches tall, 50 cents per ride for seniors and the disabled. All day passes are a real deal offering unlimited rides aboard any HRT vehicle for $2 adults, $1 seniors. Children under 38 inches tall always ride free.
People have visited the shores of Cape Henry, today the site of Virginia Beach, since well before John Smith and his cohorts first climbed the sand dunes in 1607. Members of the Chesepioc tribe lived in the Great Neck region in the years before European contact. The name of the greatest natural harbor in North America, Chesapeake Bay, preserves their memory.