For many Virginia Beach is fun family getaway with an estimated 3 million visitors each year, most are returning visitors. The board walk stretches for three miles along the Atlantic Ocean with a wide variety of shops, activities, and plenty of swimming.
King Neptune commands attention as the center attraction along the three mile walkway. Standing at 24 ft tall he is an impressive landmark for the beach. A small stage across from King Neptune holds concerts at night during the summer. I must confess I didn’t get a chance to check it out. After spending the morning and afternoons exploring the boardwalk and swimming, late afternoons were devoted to resting in the hotel room before going out to check out the night life.
Restaurants and hotels run along the boardwalk with occasional ice cream shops and bike rentals. Walk a block up from the boardwalk and you can find all of the customary souvenir shops and the 7-eleven shops on every corner to keep you from getting thirsty. The bike rentals were a big hit for our family, you can rent them by the hour or for the day, and there is a dedicated bike trail that runs along side the boardwalk. We rented a pedal car that seats four adults and two small children. It was a workout but a great way to get a quick look at all of the sculptures and hotels along the way. Along the boardwalk are real flower gardens and AstroTurf that I enjoyed.
The beaches are relatively clean, the waves are non-existent, and due to the proximity of the Navel Air Station Oceana, there is a steady stream of planes flying overhead, from sunrise to sunset. Near the base is a Military Aviation Museum with a large collection of WWI and WWII era planes, during the summer the museum also offers bus tours to the NAS Oceana. In regards to swimming the public restrooms/ changing rooms and outdoor shower stations are at a minimum, and none that we used were working correctly. It was well worth the extra money to be able to stay right on the beach and have access to a restroom to remove the sand and wet clothing.
The night life in Virginia Beach doesn’t exist as far as I can tell. Restaurants and bars close early. The Atlantic Fun Park offers carnival rides for a price if your willing to spend time waiting in lines with overly tired young children. The beach has no curfew and is beautiful in the moonlight, but don’t expect it to be completely empty late at night or early morning. There were always a few people hanging out on the sand.
Next week is Sunrise on the Atlantic.