3PM HITS, and all of a sudden you’re craving your next beach trip. Miami? Cancun? Somewhere less obvious like New Orleans, San Diego? Nothing feels right. Too crowded, too expensive, too cliché, too everything.
And then, there’s Virginia Beach: smaller crowds, smaller price tags, more nature, more culture. Here, the city meets the beach meets good food meets adventure. Nine of them, to be precise.
1. Escaping to The Narrows
Hiding on the outskirts of
Paddleboards and kayaks can be rented at
The Narrows is also the original location for stand-up paddleboarding barre, which combines SUPing, yoga, and barre — sign up for a class at
2. Pedaling through False Cape State Park
There are two options for your tour: You can either cycle the inland trails, or hop on a fat-tire bike and tour the sandy shoreline. Extra-adventurous folks can sign up for the “Go Deeper” option and pedal to the historic Wash Woods community, which was, as legend has it, first developed by a group of shipwrecked settlers.
3. Camp, camp, and camping some more
Fun fact: Virginia Beach has five campgrounds that together include over
With an uncrowded coast, easily accessible boat ramps, playgrounds, and environmental education opportunities onsite or nearby, slow moments only happen when you want them to. Oh, and that’s not even mentioning the scenery — many sites have ocean views and beach access.
4. Zipping through the trees at the Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium
You might feel like you have an inner Tarzan, but letting your hair down and swinging from tree to tree is still a pretty foreign concept. It’s totally possible here, because the
Pro tip: Be sure to hit up twilight ziplining to watch as the sun sets behind the treeline.
5. Fishing, splashing, and eating fresh at Rudee Inlet
Wedged next to Croatan Beach,
And after you’re sufficiently prune-y or fished out, slip into a table at
6. Paddling through the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Just hitting the ground and exploring the land on foot can be a super rewarding way to go, but there’s something about getting in the water. Kayaking on the Sunset Dinner Tour with Surf & Adventure Co. takes you through the bay and back, conveniently ending at Blue Pete’s, a fresh seafood restaurant and staple of the area — with outdoor seating, to boot.
7. Getting your groove on during Ynot Wednesdays
Even though there’s beaches, farms, and campsites all around, Virginia Beach itself is still very much a city. And
And the final perk: All the proceeds benefit the Sandler Center Foundation, a driving force behind local art and artists.
8. Breaking out the peg leg on a pirate-themed cruise
Brush up on your pirate lingo and hop aboard the Lost Pearl, a 65-foot replica of a Spanish galleon pirate ship, with
9. Harvesting your own Lynnhaven oysters
On the tour with Captain Chris Ludford, you’ll learn about the ecology of the Lynnhaven River and what makes it so great for oysters, and then you’ll step into the water (in the provided gear) to collect and sort your own. Afterwards, you’ll float on the river and taste for yourself the same Lynnhaven oyster flavors that have been relished by presidents and royalty. Pop open that bottle of wine and enjoy your harvest — that’s a solid wrap on another day, Virginia Beach style.