15 Things To Do on a Family Vacation at Virginia Beach
Why Virginia 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.
Virginia Beach at the Shore Level
Which is your favorite east coast beach?
Beach Street U.S.A.
Location: Along Atlantic Ave.
Mainly the 24th St. Stage 2400 Atlantic Ave
June-Labor Day Weekend
Beach Street U.S.A. is free, nightly entertainment along the beach. They have everything from singers to jazz musicians, jugglers and magicians.
The 24th Street Stage
31 Ocean 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.
Boat tours give you a chance to see a different side of the landscape and catch glimpses of sea life, especially the swarms of dolphins that reside at Virginia Beach. 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.
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. Look for the giant gorilla statue at the entrance.
Go Carts at Motor World
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. So, you can keep coming back throughout the day. Check out their website for hours and prices
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 walking the beach or hanging out on their beachfront balconies. Check out their websites for this summer's schedule.
Fireworks on the Boardwalk
Beach Garden Park
Location: 2854 Kilbourne Court
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 playground where the kids can run around. You can bring food and picnic in the park.
The Trail Leading to Beach Garden Park
Atlantic Fun Park
Location: 233 15th St, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
You can see the Ferris wheel of Atlantic Fun Park from the other end of the beach. So, it's easy to find. This park has several rides, games and other basic amusement park features right next to the ocean.
Rides at Atlantic Fun Park
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.
Skee Ball at Flipper McCoys
The Movies - Cinema Cafe
Location: 758 Independence Blvd.
When it rains, it’s nice 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. Cinema Cafe allows you to order a dinner to eat as you're watching the latest blockbuster.
Virginia Beach's Movie Theater
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.
Bowling at Pinboys
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.
Shots of Nightmare Mansion
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, Oh! Fudge, and Beach Bargains. 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.
A few of Virginia Beach's Many Souvenir Shops
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, my family eats a lot of fast food to keep within a reasonable food budget. The following are the two places that we go that are not national chain restaurants.
Location: 2006 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.
Location: Several locations.
Every time we go to the beach, our dinner that first night is always Zeros. With the closest location several blocks from Atlantic Avenue, 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.
The Exterior of Giovanni's
Zero's Subs Logo
Where are your favorite places to visit at Virginia Beach? Leave your answers in the comments below!