Virginia Beach is a stunning destination that attracts many visitors every year. Whether you want to relax on the sandy shores, swim in the sea, or visit one of the local nature reserves, there is something for everyone in this coastal city. But there are areas near Virginia Beach that are definitely worth a visit if you’re in the city. The three areas below are within easy travelling distance of Virginia Beach and have lots to offer.
This waterfront port city near Virginia Beach is home to the world’s largest naval base. Norfolk has lots to offer visitors, from art and culture to nature. The Riverside Virginia Zoo is a good day out for the family, with a selection of birds and mammals; whilst the Chrysler Museum of Art has a vast collection of paintings, sculptures, and glassware. Take a tour of the Norfolk Naval Base, where you can visit the Nauticus National Maritime Center. The center features interactive exhibits and a wide selection of education programs. You can also marvel at the fleet, which includes the last battleship to be built in the United States, USS Wisconsin.
If you head downtown, you should visit the MacArthur Memorial, which is housed within the courthouse and city hall. Containing the tombs of General Douglas MacArthur and his wife, the memorial features a museum dedicated to the military leader including many of his personal belongings. For those more interested in art, head to the NEON District. This colourful area is decorated with striking, large-scale murals and interactive installations.
Near the mouth of Chesapeake Bay on the Eastern Shore, Cape Charles has a beautiful sandy beach that attracts visitors for swimming, relaxing, and various leisure activities and sports. Access to the beachfront is via two wooden walkovers near Randolph Avenue and Tazewell Avenue, as well as via the walkover on the Fun Pier.
Dine out while taking in the sea views at some of the area’s waterfront bars and restaurants or learn about the town’s interesting history at the local museum. While in the town, it’s worth taking a stroll along to the Cape Charles Natural Area Preserve, an area owned by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Providing a habitat for numerous native species, the preserve includes a pine forest and stunning views overlooking the bay. As well as beautiful nature, Cape Charles has fantastic shopping. There’s also a fun array of sporting activities, such as golf, horseback trail rides, and many others. Make sure you have good insurance cover beforehand though. Holiday insurance is advisable for any trip, even more so if you’re planning on taking part in sporting activities, where accidents can happen. Look for a policy, such as the one from Staysure, which can cover you for up to 80 different sports and activities.
Hampton is around a 40 minute-drive from Virginia Beach and is a vibrant city with a thriving arts community. With attractions ranging from the Fort Monroe National Monument, Hampton Coliseum, Hampton History Museum, Virginia Air and Space Museum, and many more, Hampton has something for all tastes. The Fort Monroe Beaches stretches for miles and offer some of the most spectacular views in Chesapeake Bay. Among the stunning expanse of beaches is Outlook Beach, which is ideal for swimming or just relaxing in the sun.
For those with young families, Buckroe Beach and Park offers a nautical-themed playground, a stage pavilion with entertainments, and restroom facilities. On the north-eastern corner of the city is Grandview Nature Preserve and Factory Point. Covering an area of 475 acres, the preserve consists of a beach front, salt marshes, and tidal creeks, and is the perfect location for spotting migratory birds and other native species.
If you find yourself in Virginia Beach and are looking to venture slightly further afield, then these three areas are not to be missed.