THE MOST INSTAGRAMMABLE cities on the planet tend to have names like Istanbul, Chefchaouen, or Santorini. We’re here to tell you: They also have names like Virginia Beach.

What other cities of half a million people have dozens of miles of pristine beach and protected shoreline? What other cities have mazes of both inland waterways and treetop trails? Fresh seafood galore, a local coffee scene, and a sustainable movement making headlines? Not many. When it comes to photo-worthy cities, Virginia Beach is certainly making a name for itself. So put down the passport, pick up the camera phone, and get your hashtag-typing fingers ready (that’d be #visitvabeach).

1

Chesapeake Bay Pier

With nearly 40 miles of shoreline, it's easy to find your own spot to snap a classic, silhouetted beach scene — without having to climb between sunbathers or wait for the beach to empty. Here, it can be just you and the sound of the waves.
Photo: Visit Virginia Beach

2

Commune

Housed in the ViBe Creative District, Commune is quickly becoming an anchor of the city's foodie scene. Their sustainable, local focus makes sense when you realize it's run by farmers-turned-restauranteurs — experts at using their local connections to keep everything fresh and healthy. The food isn't crafted to be photo-worthy — that's just an extra bonus.
Photo: Visit Virginia Beach

3

Military Aviation Museum

At the Military Aviation Museum, you can don your goggles and fly in a WWII plane — you'll cruise over Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and across the practically infinite shoreline. Pro tip: Ask for the 1941 Boeing Stearman. It's an open-cockpit flight, and your Insta will thank you later.
Photo: Visit Virginia Beach

4

Resort Beach Boardwalk

This is how life should be. Three miles of beach access, oceanfront stages, cool drinks, happy people, and incredible views. Actually, along the Virginia Beach boardwalk, this isn't how life should be — this is just how life is.
Photo: Visit Virginia Beach

5

Pickin' in Pungo

Virginia Beach isn't all beach — in 15 minutes you can be in the countryside, picking your own berries at one of the 16 you-pick farms in Pungo. There's always something fresh year-round, from kale to blueberries to wildflowers, and sometimes the best treasures are found at simple roadside stands.
Photo: Visit Virginia Beach

6

Town Center Evening

When locals get their fill of the sun, they head to Town Center. After all, Virginia Beach is a city, too, home to nearly half a million people. This is the city's downtown district, and it's where you'll find wine bars, comedy clubs, and the occasional fountain posing for you.
Photo: Craig McClure, courtesy of Visit Virginia Beach

7

Pleasure House Oysters

If picking your own berries isn't enough of a challenge, how about collecting your own oysters? On a Pleasure House Oysters farm tour, that's the name of the game. Afterward, you'll be sampling the world-famous Lynnhaver Oyster, once served to kings and queens. Bring your favorite bottle of Virginia red to match!
Photo: Visit Virginia Beach

8

Sandbridge Beach sunrise

Not all Virginia Beach's shores are home to hopping nightlife, renowned restaurants, and endless boutiques and shops. Sandbridge Beach is 15 miles south of the resort area, and it's here that beachgoers come to wind down. Picture grabbing a cup of coffee, smelling the sea breeze, and waking up to this view.
Photo: Visit Virginia Beach

9

Esoteric

Food is art. Drinks are art. Conversation is art. At Esoteric, even the walls are art — the restaurant sits in a 1920s-era building that's on VB's historical registry. As for the menu, think craft beer, ever-fresh seafood, and innovation — octopus taco, anyone?
Photo: Visit Virginia Beach

10

Surfing Resort Beach

The Boardwalk may be one of the best boardwalks in the country, but sometimes the water beckons.
Photo: Visit Virginia Beach

11

Cape Henry Lighthouses

This isn't just any ol' brick lighthouse — this is the lighthouse. Cape Henry Lighthouse was the first ever built in the country with federal funds, way back in 1792. In 1881, another was constructed next to it (the one in black and white), doubling the appeal. Fast forward to the 21st century, and now visitors take tours all the way up to the top, usually for epic IG shots...or to sing songs from Hamilton.
Photo: Visit Virginia Beach

12

Kayaking to Blue Pete's

How many times have you gone out for dinner where "gone out" means hopping in the kayak to dock at a locally famous steak and seafood joint? Probably not many. That's the deal with Surf & Adventure Co.'s kayak dinner tours — you'll paddle through Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and then hang your 'yak at Blue Pete's for some of the freshest seafood you've ever tasted.
Photo: Visit Virginia Beach

13

Boardwalk Art Show

On Father's Day weekend, the Boardwalk comes alive with displays from over 300 artists, food, shopping, and live music—some call the Boardwalk Art Show and Festival one of the best art shows in the country. Beach Club members also get lunch service and an open bar, but everyone gets these wide open ocean views.
Photo: Visit Virginia Beach

14

Three Ships Coffee

Three Ships Coffee is a small, family-run operation, but it's a family of coffee experts. All the roasting is done on the premises, and it's done "Nordic style." That is, it'll be a bit lighter than you're used to, which tends to bring out more flavor. If your tongue is surprised by the first sip, don't shy away from taking a second — this is some of the best coffee on the East Coast.
Photo: Visit Virginia Beach

15

Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium

It's even more fun than the picture looks. The Adventure Park is basically parkour through the trees — you'll skip, jump, fly, and walk through 13 treetop trails, platform to platform. There are different difficulty levels, and kids (and adults!) of almost all ages can participate in the fun. Hint: For even better photos, come when the sun is setting — the park is routinely open till 9pm.
Photo: Visit Virginia Beach

16

New Earth Farm

One of the 16 you-pick farms in Pungo is New Earth Farm, but this one is so much more than you-pick. In addition to sourcing produce for multiple area restaurants, it's Commune's own farm. They also offers classes (make your own cheese!), tours, and talks on sustainability and living green. And get this: They're even dipping a toe into carbon sequestration. Hello, clean air future.
Photo: Visit Virginia Beach

17

Kayaking with dolphins

With over 150 miles of some kind of water — be it inland waterways, rivers, or ocean bays — it almost makes more sense to explore the city in a kayak or canoe. And with nothing around to distract you, Mother Nature will be that much louder...especially when she comes in the form of a playful pod of dolphins.
Photo: Visit Virginia Beach

18

Pirate Cruisin' the bay

Your pirate dreams will come true here, too. Come aboard one of Captain Jack's Pirate Cruises (peg leg recommended but not required), volunteer to man the water cannon, and get ready to find some treasure — all in a day's work in Virginia Beach.
Photo: Visit Virginia Beach

This post is proudly produced in partnership with Visit Virginia Beach.