With over 50 square miles of Atlantic shores, private bays, nature refuges, and inland waterways, Virginia Beach is way more than just your average coastal city. Nearly 20% of the city is H2O, and that means the opportunities for getting on or in the water go far, far beyond sitting on your beach chair.
You won’t have time to cross off every nook and cranny here in Virginia’s most populous city, but you can certainly try. Here’s a list to get you started on the water — to the beach, bay, and back again.
1. Testing your strength and balance with SUP Barre
Virginia Beach is home to
Sign up for an hour class (it includes board rental) and try it out — though it’s wise to give a pep talk to your core beforehand. And while you’re discovering your inner zen and burning some calories, you’ll be floating along a secret beach known to locals as “The Narrows.”
Pro tip: Once in a while there’s a “SUP with Your Pup” event, so be sure to look for dates when you can bring your furry companion with you (and you thought it was a balancing challenge before).
2. Kayaking your way through Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
To experience the maritime nature and wildlife that Virginia Beach offers — and to explore beyond the boardwalk — make your way to the 9,250-acre
You can do this on your own, but arguably the best way to witness the Back Bay is on a
3. Shredding waves at Croatan Beach
Just south of Resort Beach is Croatan Beach, an area known for lavish vacation homes and the absolute best surf spots. Whether you’re a beginner or a Kelly Slater-type, just take a second to watch the Croatan waves. If they don’t pique your interest, not sure what will.
If you’re in need of some pointers, hit up
4. Getting a bird’s-eye view of the coast via parasail
Don’t even think about settling for a drone video later — parasailing is the way to get the most memorable (and picturesque) view of Virginia Beach’s coastline. At the southern point of the oceanfront, you’ll find
As the rope loosens, raising you higher and higher into the sky, you’ll be able to see the entirety of Resort Beach, the famous
5. Experiencing an oyster farm boat tour on the Lynnhaven River
Museum tour? So many checks. Brewery tour? Check. Oyster farm tour? You probably haven’t done this one yet.
Virginia Beach likes to march to the beat of its own drum, and
And if you’re wondering what the heck a Lynnhaven oyster is, come find out for yourself what the fuss is about. Not only were they feasted on by the area’s early settlers — these bad boys are so highly coveted they’ve been served to US presidents.
6. Getting up close to dolphins and whales — in their natural habitat
Rather than just sitting on the beach and witnessing a dolphin or whale fin breach the surface from several hundred yards away (though there is a time and a place), step aboard a dolphin or whale watching tour for an up-close-and-personal view of these majestic and friendly creatures. The
Experienced boat staff will keep you entertained by doling out jokes and interesting marine facts that’ll help you realize you’re skimming the surface of an entirely different world. They’ll also offer tips on how to get the best possible photograph while on the tour — think dolphins cruising alongside you in the boat wake and whales throwing themselves into the air — so be sure to bring your camera.
7. Reeling in your own creature of the Atlantic
With offshore, nearshore, inshore, deep-, fly-, sport-, and just about every other kind of fishing charter running almost all year long,
And you don’t necessarily have to go out on a motorized craft — there’s kayak fishing tours, too.
Pro tip: Pick an early morning tour to witness the sunrise as you cast your line. And once you have your catch (between December and February, that is), take it to