Virginia Beach Travel Guide, Virginia

Love the Moment” in Virginia Beach all year – especially in the summer when the sun shines warm on your skin. For those who long to strap on their running shoes and get outdoors after a cold winter, pedal some trails or sleep under the stars, nature’s gifts await in Virginia Beach. Grab a surfboard, swim through the mighty waves, kayak with dolphins or embark on a sport fishing adventure. After all the activity, it’s time to spend lazy days relaxing on the sun-drenched beaches. Virginia Beach’s 3-mile boardwalk, which boasts a separate bike path, is perfect for strolling, rollerblading, biking or just people watching. What a life! Although Virginia Beach beckons to sunbathers and sandcastle-builders, the resort city is a wonderland for more physical adventures. More than 18,600 acres of state parks and a wildlife refuge, over 121 navigable miles of waterways and 35 miles of ocean and bay beaches give visitors a variety of landscapes for exploring the great outdoors.

First Landing State Park is a 2,888-acre park fronting the Chesapeake Bay, which features 1.25 miles of beachfront and more than 19 miles of interpretive hiking trails through protected salt marsh habitat, freshwater ponds, beach, dunes, forest, tidal marsh and cypress swamp. A registered National Landmark, First Landing is the most visited state park in Virginia and contains one of the most endangered habitat types in the world, the maritime forest community. The park offers interactive programs and outdoor adventures such as crabbing, junior rangers, beach walks, nature hikes and structured environmental education programs that are perfect for kids and parents.

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Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park offer a combined 13,400 acres of numerous hiking and biking trails and are home to over 300 species of nesting and migratory songbirds, American bald eagles, shorebirds and ducks, as well as otters, white-tailed deer, red fox, loggerhead turtles, feral pigs and reptiles. From April through October, visitors may travel into the heart of the two parks on a tram and explore by foot from there. For a more challenging aquatic adventure, go kayaking to observe bottlenose dolphins as they feed, tail slap and jump among the ocean’s waves. Experience a False Cape Escape offered by Surf & Adventure Company. The four-hour retreat begins at 8:30 a.m. with a tram ride on the Blue Goose Express that takes you through Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park to the beach where stations of stand-up paddleboards and surfboards, a yoga instructors and a massage therapist await – all with the beautiful backdrop of False Cape’s undeveloped beach. New to Virginia Beach this summer is Cirquesa Dreamquest, a two-hour extravaganza which features a childhood magical journey told through high-level aerial acts, acrobatics and breathtaking displays of theatrics. The show is held in three large Italian-style tents on Atlantic Avenue and 3rd Street near Rudee Inlet. Performances this summer will run through September 2, 2013 on Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. A matinee will be held at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays and a 2 p.m. show will be offered on Thursdays and Sundays.

lady in bikin walking into the ocean with a surfboard

For a thrilling ocean adventure, hop on a surfboard and ride the curl. Rent a board and try it on your own or learn from the pros. A variety of surf lessons and camps are offered by professional surfers, who teach water safety and surfing fundamentals. Then, embark on an ocean kayaking excursion to observe bottlenose dolphins as they feed, tail slap and jump among the ocean’s waves. An indoor option to discovering Virginia Beach’s fascinating marine life is the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. Featuring over 800,000 gallons of aquatic exhibits including the newest, Restless Planet, you will see loggerhead turtles, sharks, harbor seals, komodo dragons, an aviary, and more! Coastal cuisine is our forte – a rich culinary style with fresh seafood from the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay mixed with organic produce straight from local Virginia Beach Farms. Which means the city’s nearly 300 restaurants, many locally-owned and operated, serve fresh ingredients that are indigenous to our region. Some of the region’s specialties and local favorites include crab cakes, grilled mahi-mahi, yellowfin tuna, she-crab soup and striped bass (better known as “Rock Fish”). In fact, due to the abundance of striped bass, Virginia Beach is known as the “Striped Bass Capital of the World.” Virginia Beach also is famous for its Lynnhaven oysters. Holding historical significance, Lynnhaven oysters fed America’s earliest settlers and once were coveted around the world, served to presidents and royalty for their size, saltiness and gentle zing.

Oysters

oday, striped bass and Lynnhaven oysters are considered to be a local delicacy and are served in some of Virginia Beach’s best dining establishments by some of the resort city’s finest chefs. Virginia Beach’s coastal atmosphere inspires a natural commitment to preserving and enjoying Mother Nature. Families can explore a number of eco-friendly activities and attractions. Enjoy strawberry picking in the farming community of Pungo, or stop by one of many farmers’ road-side stands for fresh, locally-grown produce. Spend an evening out at The Town Center of Virginia Beach and canvass 17 city blocks of dining, shopping and entertainment or slurp the saltiness of your first oyster at one of the many local restaurants overlooking Virginia Beach’s waters. Visitors also can explore Virginia Beach’s culinary prowess through a three-hour neighborhood-style food tour – the Virginia Beach Boardwalk and Beyond Tour. This tour takes you from the famous strip that has beckoned vacationers for decades to the serene Rudee Inlet, boasting some of the best off-the-beaten-path restaurants in the city. Or, check out one of the many cultural celebrations, live musical performances, action-packed events and diverse festivals that take place throughout the year in Virginia Beach, bringing the sights, sounds and flavors of the world to the oceanfront.

During the summer months, the resort area comes alive with free nightly entertainment courtesy of Beach Street USA. Beach Street USA is comprised of a diverse array of street performers along the sidewalks of Atlantic Avenue from 17th to 25th Streets. From Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend, between 8 – 11:30 p.m. nightly (midnight on weekends!), visitors can enjoy puppets, bands, jugglers, magicians and more! Additionally, nightly entertainment on five oceanfront stages covers a variety of musical genres by local, regional and national bands, so it’s always easy to find a spot to move and groove. After all the activity, it’s time to relax and grab some zzz’s. Virginia Beach is an accommodating destination, with more than 12,000 hotel rooms, 1,800+ campsites and several hundred vacation homes for rent – most with ocean or bay-front views. Getaway and vacation packages are offered in Virginia Beach throughout the year that not only please your soul, but your wallet as well. Centrally located on the East Coast, Virginia Beach is situated in the southeastern corner of Virginia. With daily flights into the Norfolk International and Newport News/Williamsburg International Airports and a day’s drive from 2/3 the U.S. population, Virginia Beach creates the perfect vacation getaway for any family.

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