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Hampton Roads Attractions

Updated on September 27, 2011

Things To Do In Hampton Roads

This area of southeast Virginia has been my home for over twenty-five years. Twice I have moved away and twice I have come back! To me, Hampton Roads is a metropolitan area with a hometown feel.

For readers who are not familiar with the cities included in the area of Hampton Roads, they are Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Hampton, Newport News and Williamsburg. We have two public airports-Norfolk and Newport News/Williamsburg, several private airfields, medical facilities in each city and all branches of the military are represented here.

Our Universities are Old Dominion, Norfolk State, Virginia Wesleyan, Regent, Christopher Newport, Strayer, St. Leo, Atlantic University and William and Mary College. Our community colleges are Tidewater, Thomas Nelson and Paul D. Camp. Other institutes of higher learning are Everest Institute, Centura College, Embry- Riddle Aeronautical University, Medical Careers Institute and ITT Technical Institute. As you can see, you can get most any kind of education here!!

Each city in Hampton Roads has its own unique feel, some cities being more urban and others being more rural. I would like to share with you some of our special attractions. Before you know it, you will decide to book your next vacation with us!

Virginia Beach offers the ocean and a great boardwalk loaded with shops, bike rentals, restaurants, an amusement park and free music on several stages. Tourists and locals also enjoy parasailing, pirate ship tours, whale watching tours and more. A few miles from the oceanfront, you will find an awesome water park(Ocean Breeze) and in close proximity is the Virginia Aquarium with IMAX. Beyond the oceanfront area, Virginia Beach’s Mount Trashmore offers a variety of family activities, including a small carnival area. The Towne Center area is considered the city’s downtown. There you will find shopping, restaurants and The Sandler Center for the Performing Arts. Not far from Towne Center is the area’s amphitheater and Farmers Market.

Norfolk’s Fest Events, a non-profit organization offers a large number of concerts, festivals, ship visits and special events at Towne Bank Fountain Park and in the Ocean View area. Nauticus Museum, The Norfolk Zoo, American Rover Sailing Cruises, Harbor Park (minor league baseball) and The Naval Museum are a few of Norfolk’s many attractions. If you are a patron of the arts, the city offers Harrison Opera House, The Chrysler Museum of Art, Wells Theater, Attucks Theater and Chrysler Hall. Other music/performance venues are the NorVa, Ted Constant Center and the Scope.

Olde Towne in Portsmouth is full of great restaurants and wonderful historic homes. The Courthouse Galleries offers traveling art exhibits, lectures, classes and performances. Some of the city’s top-rated places to visit are The Children’s Museum, The Commodore Theater, Ntelos Wireless Pavilion and the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. The Elizabeth River Pedestrian Ferry offers a convenient mode of travel between Portsmouth and Norfolk or tours of the Hampton Roads Harbor are available on the Carrie B Riverboat.

Sleepy Hole Park in Suffolk overlooks the lovely Nansemond River. It offers picnic areas, a children’s playground, nature trails and a lake. The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Rescue, Skydive Suffolk, unique shops and tasty restaurants are a few other attractions. For golf lovers, Suffolk offers three golf courses- Sleepy Hole, Nansemond River Course and Suffolk.

For Outdoor lovers, The Aboretum in Chesapeake offers everything from youth programming to yoga and square dancing. Visitors enjoy Guided Woodland Garden Walks and Native Tree Trail Self-Guided Walks. The largest part of the Great Dismal swamp is located in Chesapeake. Its 111,000-acre wildlife refuge offers hiking, biking and bird watching. Antique lovers will enjoy “Antique Alley” and children can spend the day playing at Chesapeake Planetarium Park or the three acre fun forest in Chesapeake State Park.

Newport News, Hampton and Williamsburg are in a part of Hampton Roads known as the Peninsula.

One of my favorite places in Hampton is the Virginia Air and Space Museum with IMAX. It is educational as well as entertaining. Hampton’s downtown waterfront area also offers cobblestone streets, restaurants, pubs, galleries, a restored antique carousel and a park. The visitor center is a departure point for Miss Hampton II Harbor Tours, Venture II Cruise and Fishing Boat and HarborLink Ferry to downtown Norfolk. Fort Monroe and music venues such as Hampton Coliseum, Mill Point Park and the restored American theater are some of their featured attractions.

Newport News offers several very popular museums, The Mariners Museum,The Virginia Living Museum, and The War Museum. The Peninsula Fine Arts Museum, Kiln Creek Golf Club and Resort, Downing-Host Cultural Arts Center and Lee Hall Mansion are other points of interest. Another interesting place to visit in Newport News is the Peninsula SPCA Exotic Sanctuary and Petting Zoo. Parking is free and they have various events during the year.

Colonial Williamsburg attracts tourists from around the U.S. Other than ALL of the historical sites, like Jamestown Settlement and the Historic Ghost Walk, they also offer Williamsburg Winery, Great Wolf Lodge (way cool), Busch Gardens and Water Country USA, Prime Outlets, Williamsburg Pottery, The Village Shops at Kingsmill and so much more. You can literally spend days in Williamsburg alone.

As you can see, Hampton Roads offers a plethora of fun and interesting things to do and I only named some of them.My guess is that even if you live here, you were not aware of all these venues. Only in my research did I discover some of them! Our area is a nice place to live and an enjoyable place to visit. Hope to see you around!


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    • picklesandrufus profile image

      picklesandrufus 5 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

      thanks Dream On. This one took some time!!

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 5 years ago

      I don't know how you can get any writing done.So much to see and do I would be sightseeing every day. You certainly explained so much in your hub of such a wonderful place to visit. You should be a travel agent and I know your phone would be ringing off the hook.Have a great day.

    • picklesandrufus profile image

      picklesandrufus 6 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

      thanks so much Eiddwen. If you enjoy the ocean, VB is a great place to visit and of course there's historic Williamsburg and everything in between.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      Ah I found one that I haven't read and I love it.

      You are such a natural writer and I have to vote this gem up; plus bookmark into my 'Armchair Travelling'slot.

      Take care and enjoy your day.


    • picklesandrufus profile image

      picklesandrufus 6 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

      Glad you liked the info.!

    • profile image

      donnalynn 6 years ago

      I'm printing and keeping this handy. There are quite a few things here I didn't know about and I'm FROM here!

    • profile image

      marellen 6 years ago

      Thanks for educating us about this area. One of my girlfriends is from Virginia Beach and still has family in the area. She visits twice a year and loves it.

      It all sounds great. I love these armchair travels.