Steeped in history and full of natural beauty, Virginia Beach is the most popular beach resort on the East Coast and also Virginia’s largest city. It is also a navy town, with over a quarter of the U.S. Navy’s ships docked here. The oceanfront is rather commercialized and over-developed, but the beach is still a lovely spot for swimming and sunbathing, while the city’s conservative bent translates into a laid-back peaceful spot without the massive spring break crowds.
Virginia Beach features a 59-block-long Boardwalk, built in 1888, boasting immaculate landscaping, wooden benches, small parks, a bike-skating path and attractive white colonial-style street lamps. This is where you’ll find the best dining and night time entertainment. Nearby Ocean Breeze Fun Park features a nine-acre water park with slides and pools, a six-acre motor park, a 130-foot bungee tower, and a 36-hole miniature golf course.
The most popular museum in the state is located right here: the Virginia Marine Science Museum. Recently renovated, it is packed with various marine habitats as well as a river otter habitat, an outdoor aviary, extensive boardwalks and nature trails, and a boat service for whale or dolphin watching tours. The museum is now numbered among the top marine science facilities in the U.S.
First Landing State Park is named in honor of the first English who landed at this very spot in 1607 and is the most visited state park in Virginia. It features extensive sand dunes, forests, swamps, and lakes in the midst of the city, and offers a wide range of activities including swimming, fishing, boating, camping and hiking. You will find the Battle off the Capes monument commemorating a decisive battle in the War of Independence close by.
Other notable historic landmarks include Adam Thoroughgood House (c.1680), Old Donation Church (1736), Lynnhaven House (c.1725), and Old Cape Henry Lighthouse (1791) – the first lighthouse authorized by the U.S. Congress.