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10 Best Attractions for Family Vacations in Virginia Beach

Last Updated: Thursday, June 13, 2024 by Virginia Beach
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Virginia Beach is the ultimate vacation spot for families with kids of all ages. From sun and sand to surf and endless entertainment, there’s something here for everyone. Whether you’re building sandcastles or exploring hidden gems, we can help tailor your Virginia Beach getaway to create unforgettable family memories.

Top Family-Friendly Attractions in Virginia Beach

Boardwalk Adventures

Enjoy the sights and sounds of the seaside on a leisurely bike ride down the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. Designed with both bicyclists and pedestrians in mind, this boardwalk offers distinct paths for each, so you can ride your beach cruiser without dodging pedestrians or cars. For a classic Virginia Beach adventure, rent a four-wheeled Surrey bike and pedal full-steam ahead as a family. With rental stations all along the boardwalk, you can hop on and off as you please.

Town Center Evenings

Spend your evening in style at Virginia Beach’s Town Center. Enjoy a night of shopping, entertainment, and delicious food. While the kids enjoy their treats, mom and dad can unwind with a handcrafted cocktail.

Zoo Strolls

Just a short drive from the boardwalk, the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk is a delightful way to spend an afternoon. With animals ranging from bison to kangaroos and giraffes, along with stunning gardens, it’s a captivating destination. For little feet that get tired, there’s a train ride, playground, and petting farm. Keep an eye out for the upcoming reptile exhibit set to debut soon.

Mount Trashmore Park

Mount Trashmore Park is an incredible transformation story, turning a 165-acre landfill into a vibrant, eco-friendly park. This dynamic space features two artificial mountains, playgrounds, a skate park, and trails for walking and biking. It’s the perfect spot for kids to play ball, fly kites, or enjoy a picnic under the blue sky. With two beautiful lakes, you can fish for largemouth bass, white perch, and sunfish with a valid license or launch your kayak into Lake Windsor. Nearby, you might find cottages and cabin rentals for a perfect staycation.

Cape Henry Lighthouse Climb

For breathtaking views where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, climb the historic Cape Henry Lighthouse. Built in 1792, this lighthouse offers stunning vistas of naval vessels and merchant ships. Note that it’s located within a military base, so access requires passing through security checkpoints. Don’t forget to bring a government-issued photo ID for those aged 16 and above, and note that firearms are prohibited.

Naval History Exploration

In downtown Norfolk, visit the Nauticus maritime museum and the battleship USS Wisconsin. One ticket grants access to both, including a museum exploration and a self-guided tour aboard the ship. Nauticus is an interactive science and technology hub, while the USS Wisconsin offers a glimpse into naval history. Visitors can explore officers’ quarters, mess halls, and more. For an extra fee, guided tours of the engine room or command centers are available, and during the summer, families can even book overnight stays aboard the battleship.

Stumpy Lake Natural Area

Spanning 1,422 acres, the Stumpy Lake Natural Area features a 278-acre lake with bald cypress trees emerging from the water. It’s a serene retreat for kayakers and nature lovers, offering tranquil waters, stunning vistas, and wildlife like herons and otters. On land, enjoy a picturesque, dog-friendly walk along the 1.5-mile loop trail. The fishing platform off Elbow Road is perfect for those with a freshwater license, but swimming and motorized boats are not allowed.

iFly Indoor Skydiving

For an adrenaline rush, head to iFLY Virginia Beach for indoor skydiving. Experience the thrill of skydiving without jumping from an airplane! Led by certified instructors, iFLY provides authentic free-fall conditions in a safe environment, making it ideal for both kids and adults, no prior experience needed.

Pleasure House Point Natural Area

Situated next to Pleasure House Creek and Crab Creek, the Pleasure House Point Natural Area is a local favorite for hikers and dog walkers. Picture a scenic stretch of salt marshes, maritime forests, and tidal creeks, perfect for a peaceful stroll or an adventurous outing with your furry friend. You can explore this beautiful spot on two main trails, the Beach Trail and the Meadow Trail, which join to form a delightful two-mile loop around Pleasure House Point.

On the park’s north end, there’s a charming little sandy beach where kids and dogs love to splash around and cool off. And if you have little ones, they’ll be thrilled by the playground at nearby Loch Haven Park, right next to this 118-acre natural oasis.

While there’s no official parking lot for Pleasure House Point Natural Area, you’ll find plenty of parallel parking spaces on Marlin Bay Drive. Once you step away from the nearby single-family homes and into the park, surrounded by towering loblolly pines and marsh grasses, the suburban hustle and bustle will feel like a distant memory.

Sand Ridge Trail

Start your adventure at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, where you can hop on a tram for a four-hour, ranger-led tour of False Cape State Park. This tour makes stops at the Sand Ridge Trail and Wash Woods Trail. Along the way, you’ll discover a historic site complete with a church steeple and cemetery. Pro tip: Book your tram seats ahead of time! Tickets are just $8 per adult, and the tram runs on select days, depending on the season. This tour is perfect for elementary to high-school kids, though younger ones might find the four-hour trip a bit too long.

After the tour, let the kids take the lead with a hike on the Sand Ridge Trail. It’s an easy path that follows the spine of False Cape State Park. There are plenty of side trails that branch off, leading to breathtaking views of the ocean and the bay, as well as enchanting maritime forests, marshes, and wooded swamps.

Make sure to stop by the visitor center for some frozen treats and souvenirs. Don’t forget to snap a photo with the “Southernmost Virginia State Park” buoy – it’s totally Instagram-worthy!

Where to Stay in Virginia Beach

Hilton Vacation Club Oceanaire

This 189-room hotel offers a variety of spacious accommodations, from cozy studios to luxurious three-bedroom suites. Families can enjoy one of the four pools, have fun in the game room, and use the on-site laundry facilities.

Marriott Virginia Beach Oceanfront and Embassy Suites by Hilton

These upscale hotels feature generously sized rooms, delectable dining options, and dedicated beach space with comfortable sun loungers.

Hyatt House Virginia Beach Oceanfront

Ideal for families who prefer to prepare their own meals, this hotel offers oceanfront studios and one-bedroom kitchen suites.

Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront

Families will enjoy the hotel’s indoor and outdoor pools, including a stunning rooftop infinity pool overlooking the ocean.

Moxy Virginia Beach Oceanfront

For a quirky stay, book a room at the Moxy. Enjoy the outdoor pool, play shuffleboard or foosball, relax on the outdoor terrace, or take the two-story slide to the lobby.

Sandbridge Retreats

Escape the hustle and bustle by retreating to Sandbridge, just 15 miles south of Virginia Beach. With companies like Sandbridge Blue and Siebert Realty, families can rent vacation houses with full kitchens, multiple bedrooms, spacious living areas, and private pools in a tranquil and secluded community.

Virginia Beach offers a perfect blend of adventure, relaxation, and family-friendly fun. Pack your bags and get ready to make some unforgettable memories!



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