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15 Attractions to Visit On a Family Vacation to Virginia Beach
Which is your favorite east coast beach?
Virginia Beach has been my family’s go-to vacation spot for the last 30 years. Just like at home, we have seen businesses come and go, the landscape change and the culture evolve with the times. Below are some favorite locations and activities that we love to hit that are family friendly and cost effective.
- Flipper McCoys
Location: 2212 Atlantic Avenue
Flipper McCoys is a Chuck E. Cheese-style arcade with ticket games for the kids and pinball machines and pool tables for the adults. We used to save up our tickets and cash them in at the end of the week for the biggest prize we could get. It’s a nice place to go for a half hour or so in the evenings after dinner.
2. The Movies - Beach Movie Bistro
Location: 758 Independence Blvd.
When it rains, it’s fun to kill a few hours at the movie theater. Virginia Beach has many movie theaters, but more places are popping up that double as a movie theater and restaurant. Beach Movie Bistro used to be a regular movie theater. Now, they will serve you dinner as you watch the movie.
3. Bowling - Pinboys
Location: 1577 Laskin Rd.
Bowling is another good activity for a rainy day when you can’t go to the beach. Pinboys bowling is off the main drag and is your typical bowling alley. Check out their website for rates.
4. Nightmare Mansion
Location: 2008 Atlantic Ave
This haunted attraction is located on Atlantic Avenue. It’s hard to miss with its giant skull looming over the corner of the building. Several souvenir shops sit directly under it, and it’s fun to walk past the main entrance and listen to the theme from Halloween playing on the speakers between two ghoulish guys guarding the front door.
5. Souvenir Shops
Location: Atlantic Avenue
Speaking of souvenirs, there’s plenty of places to find t-shirts, shot glasses and postcards at the beach. Atlantic Avenue has the best shops, including Sunsations, Edwards and Ocean Waves. No vacation is complete without the endless search for the perfect souvenir. Grab a Sunny Days book before you shop, and see if you can score some deals on your saltwater taffy.
6. Beach Street U.S.A.
Location: Along Atlantic Ave. Mainly the 24th St. Stage 2400 Atlantic Ave 7:30-11pm June-Labor Day Weekend
Beach Street U.S.A. is free, nightly entertainment along the beach. They have everything from singers, jazz musicians, jugglers and magicians.
7. 31Ocean Stage
Location: 31st Street Stage in Neptune Park
You can find more entertainment at the 31st Street Stage outside of 31Ocean near the Hilton Hotel. They have nightly musical acts. Also, Neptune Park is nearby on the beach where the kids can play on the jungle gyms. Tourists can also take pictures by the King Neptune statue located along the boardwalk.
8. Rudee Tours
Location: 200 Winston Salem Ave, Virginia Beach, VA
Boat tours give you a chance to see a different side of the landscape and catch sight of sea life. The Rudee Tours are a popular tour at the beach. Their routes usually pass by the shore where many tourists spend their sunny days. I also suggest the Chesapeake Bay tours. It’s more out of the way but offers a good chance to see some dolphins.
9. Motor World
700 S Birdneck Rd
Motor World has your average Go-Kart tracks, mini-golf, paintball and other outdoor activities. They have 11 tracks featuring mini Go-Karts for younger kids and regular sized cars for older kids and adults.
10. Pirates Paradise Mini Golf
Location: 2109 Pacific Ave
There are mini-golf courses all over, but Pirates Paradise is just a few blocks from the beach and has play all day rates centered around a pirate-themed course. Check out their website for hours and rates.
11. Fireworks Nights
Location: Atlantic Ocean Boardwalk
Fireworks are regularly shot from a barge on the ocean at night. They can been seen just about anywhere on the boardwalk and are a nice, free activity for travelers out late. Check out their websites for this summer's schedule.
12. Beach Garden Park
Location: Beach Garden Park
Virginia Beach, VA
This is just your average playground and picnic area a few blocks from the beach. It’s a quiet place to go when you want to get away from the crowds on the boardwalk. They have a park where the kids can run around and you can bring dinner and eat in peace.
13. 15th Street Amusement Park
Location: 233 15th St, Virginia Beach, VA 23451.
You can see the Ferris wheel of the 15th Street Amusement Park from the other end of the beach. This park has several rides, games and other basic amusement park features right next to the ocean.
Don't let my short list fool you. There are a lot of places to eat in Virginia Beach. They have breakfast places, seafood places, Beatles-themed restaurants and bars. However, we eat a lot of fast food when we go on vacation. So, the following are the two places that we go to that we can't get at home.
14. Zeros Subs
Location: 17th Street.
Every time we go to the beach, our dinner that first night is always Zeros. This sub shop has several locations in Virginia Beach. The newest and closest location is on 17th Street. The subs are made to order and take a bit longer than Subway to put together, but it’s worth the wait. Check out the link to their menu, and be sure to try their Italian Grinder.
15. Giovanni’s Italian Restaurant
Location2006 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA
Giovanni’s is the only sit down restaurant that we go to at the beach. It’s an Italian restaurant located on Atlantic Avenue. Their portions are large, and you get seated right away. I recommend their baked ziti, but check out the menu to see if they make your favorite pasta.