Last updated: 08:00 PM ET, Sun July 14 2019
View of Virginia Beach and hotels from the ocean (photo via eurobanks / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Virginia Beach

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Sunrise with the Virginia Beach fishing pier in silhouette and the beach in the foreground.
Sunrise with the Virginia Beach fishing pier in silhouette and the beach in the foreground.

Virginia Beach, Virginia, is a resort city with miles of beaches and hundreds of hotels, motels, and restaurants along its oceanfront. It’s also home to several state parks and numerous historic sites. You can play on award-winning golf courses or spend a day battling a marlin; kayak with dolphins or hike through the beauty of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge; spend long, lazy days on sun-drenched beaches; spoil yourself at the spas, and lose yourself to imagination at the new Sandler Center for Performing Arts. The day is only complete after indulging in the area’s renowned Coastal Cuisine.

There are 10 distinct areas in Virginia Beach: Resort Area, Sandbridge/Pungo, Chesapeake Bay Area, Town’s Center, Great Neck, Little Neck, Hilltop, Lynnhaven, Centerville/Kempsville and Bayside. A tourist’s favorite, the three-mile boardwalk is only part of what makes the Resort Area so irresistible. From Croatan Beach to the south up to the North End beaches, this is where Virginia Beach reveals its outgoing nature, local restaurants, unique shops and all-around beach vibe, all wrapped up in a park-like atmosphere that goes on for miles.

The sun goes down on the new Cape Henry Lighthouse. (photo via tmersh / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
The sun goes down on the new Cape Henry Lighthouse. (photo via tmersh / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Located 15 miles south of the Resort Area, Sandbridge offers a quieter atmosphere. A secluded beach hideaway, this is a relaxing and peaceful community, home to the marshes and open waters of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park. The area is perfect for kayaking, hiking and fishing. For beachgoers seeking refuge from the surf of the Atlantic, they can find tranquility along the calm waters of the Chesapeake Bay, just off Shore Drive. Home to an eclectic mix of dining, shopping and entertainment, Town Center is quickly becoming the central hot spot in Virginia Beach; from local live music in Town Center’s many nightspots to world-renowned entertainment at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts.

Great Neck is a fisherman’s paradise; it’s connected to the Chesapeake Bay and is a quick ride to Virginia Beach’s richest fishing grounds. Little Neck, next to the Lynnhaven River, is perfect for kayaking excursions and other aquatic activities; it’s also home to the Lynnhaven House, built in 1725. Close to Oceana Naval Air Station, Lynnhaven is a favorite destination for Virginia Beach families, with a great mix of shopping and restaurants at Lynnhaven Mall and the kid-friendly Hunt Club Farm. Home to the Regent University Theatre, Kempsville is the place where the locals go to catch dinner and a performance. In Bayside, you can walk in the footsteps of history with a visit to the Adam Thoroughgood house, built in 1680, or play golf at the Cypress Point Golf Club.

Back Bay Wildlife Preserve is one of Virginia's most beautiful and secluded beaches (photo via lovingav / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Back Bay Wildlife Preserve is one of Virginia's most beautiful and secluded beaches (photo via lovingav / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Virginia Beach’s location ensures the freshest seafood around; tuna, rockfish, flounder, crab, you name it. And, with agriculture as one of the top three industries in Virginia Beach, its restaurants use the finest produce in their recipes as well. Most feature a casual atmosphere and moderate pricing.

Norfolk International Airport is 20 minutes from the oceanfront and is served by most major U.S. carriers. If you’re traveling by car, when approaching from the west, the easiest routes are Interstate 64, U.S. 460 or U.S. 58. From the north and south, convenient routes are Interstates 85 or 95, U.S. 17 and U.S. 13 (crossing the world-famous Chesapeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel, a 17-mile span connecting Virginia's Eastern Shore with Virginia Beach). These routes intersect with Interstate 64, which connects with the Virginia Beach-Norfolk Expressway, Interstate 264, and leads directly to the Virginia Beach oceanfront. Once at your hotel, you can avoid traffic and parking hassles by using the Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) Beach Trolley. From the North End of the beach to South Rudee Inlet, and everywhere in between, HRT’s Beach Trolley is a convenient way to get from place to place.

The climate of Virginia Beach is humid subtropical, due to the moderating effect of the ocean. Winters are very mild, and snowfall is rare. Summers are hot and humid with warm evenings.