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50 Things to Love About Viriginia Beach

On Jan. 1, 1963, the Virginia Beach Resort and Princess Anne County merged to become the City of Virginia Beach. In this 50th anniversary year, and in no particular order, the AAA Tidewater Virginia staff share some of what they love most about their city by the sea.

neptune

 

1. The boardwalk
Along the beach, families pedal surreys, couples bicycle, kids skateboard, and people stroll. Nothing beats listening to a band play in Neptune Park while nibbling a funnel cake on a summer evening.

2. Paddle Boarding
Whether you own your own board or rent one, stand-up paddle boarding on the bay at sunset is magical.

3. king neptune statue
Richmond sculptor Paul DiPasquale created this 34-foot-tall bronze figure of the Roman god of the ocean, who welcomes visitors to his watery realm where the sand meets the sea at 31st Street. Visitors and residents alike pose for photos at the statue’s rock base, beneath Neptune’s loggerhead turtle.

The newly-landscaped Virginia Beach resort area features live music, street performers, diverse festivals, and more. Welcome to the beach!
Virginia Beach CVB photo

4. Virginia aquarium & Marine Science Center
The aquarium displays sharks, sea turtles, and crocodiles. On the wooden boardwalk out over the marsh, the smell of pines mixes with the soil’s pungent aroma. Mussel shells in the mud and bullfrogs, dragonflies, and minnows in the freshwater pond evoke the essence of the Tidewater landscape.

5. MUNDEN POINT PARK

6. DOLPHIN WATCHING

7. LYNNHAVEN HOUSE

8. SUNRISE OVER THE OCEAN

9. LITTLE ISLAND PARK

10. OCEAN BREEZE PARK

11. FRANCIS LAND HOUSE


LET’S EAT! [12–25]

Catch 31 Fish House A wonderful outdoor area at the Hilton, with fire pits and good food. A great location to gather with friends and listen to good music on fall nights.

Todd Jurich’s 21st Century BurgerBar The sweet potato fries are tempura-crisp outside, sweet and creamy inside.

Surf Rider restaurants

Margie & Ray’s Seafood Restaurant Crab House & Raw Bar She-crab soup is rich, intense, and scrumptious.

Steinhilber’s Since 1939, Steiney’s has been serving some of the best shrimp in town with a great view and a friendly staff.

The Farmers Market

Malbon Brothers Barbeque Folks drive for miles to get a taste of their sauce.

Beach Bully BBQ This is good barbecue, especially after an afternoon of beach volleyball.

Croakers Meet up with friends for fresh seafood.

Waterman’s Surfside Grille Famous for its Orange Crush drinks.

Gilly’s Creamery Fresh peach ice cream is so refreshing.

Doc Taylor’s The Ray Ray sandwich is a breakfast treat.

Citrus Busy at breakfast and lunch.

Forbes Candies Old-fashioned sweets and taffy since 1930.


26. VIRGINIA BEACH FISHING PIER

27. HUNT CLUB FARM

28. OWL’S CREEK GOLF COURSE

29. FALSE CAPE STATE PARK

30. Old Coast Guard Station
Vintage photographs, old rescue boats, and remnants of local shipwrecks tell the story of the U.S. Coast Guard in this region.

31. Military Bases
Naval Station Norfolk, the world’s largest naval installation, supports submarines, surface ships, and aircraft carriers. Naval Air Station Oceana, the Navy’s East Coast master jet base, supports several jet squadrons. Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek–Fort Story is the East Coast home of the Navy SEALs and provides Army and Navy logistics training support for the ship-to-shore transfer of military cargo.

32. Military Aviation Museum
Set among pastures and strawberry fields, five large hangars house meticulously restored World War I and World War II fighters, bombers, and trainers, including such gems as a 1941 P-40E Kittyhawk and a PBY-5A Catalina. Many of the aircraft can still fly. Docents, most of whom are retired military personnel, add colorful commentary.

33. Association for Research and Enlightenment
American psychic Edgar Cayce founded ARE in 1931. An outdoor stone labyrinth and a bookstore in the visitors center with crystals, incense, and literature are also great places to wander through.

34. Grommet Island Beach Park and Playground
The oceanfront park is 100 percent handicapped-accessible.

35. Town Center
Enjoy 17 blocks of shops, restaurants, and gathering places.

36. Norwegian Lady Statue
The Norwegian sailing ship Dictator wrecked off the coast on March 27, 1891. Eight of the ship’s crew survived, but the captain’s wife and son were lost in the storm. The ship’s figurehead was found on the beach and displayed on the Boardwalk in commemoration until 1962, when the Norwegian Lady statue replaced it. An identical statue exists in Moss, Norway, the Dictator’s home port.

37. Cape Henry LightHouses
Located on the Fort Story military base, the 90-foot-tall Old Cape Henry Lighthouse was built in 1792. Its beacon could be seen 15 miles away. A 191-step climb to the top offers a view of Chesapeake Bay and the lighthouse’s newer black-and-white counterpart, constructed in 1881 amid concerns about the original’s stability.

To visit the lighthouse, you must pass through the security gates of Fort Story. Please have a government-issued form of identification for all persons over the age of 18.

The First Landing site, the place where the Jamestown settlers first stepped ashore in the New World in 1607, is now under water. But a replica of the First Landing Cross, which the settlers were said to have erected before moving on, is across the road.

38. BACK BAY NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

39. ADAM THOROUGHGOOD HOUSE

40. REFUGE FERRY PLANTATION HOUSE

41. MOUNT TRASHMORE PARK

42. First Landing State Park
The park is the site of the first landing of the Jamestown colonists in 1607. The park has 20 miles of trails and 1.5 miles of sandy Chesapeake Bay beach frontage.

43. Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum de Witt Cottage
Exhibit galleries, the cottage, a boathouse, a garden, and Virginia Beach’s first library give visitors a flavor for area history.


EVENTS TO ENJOY! [44-50]

VSOcean: Symphony by the Sea
JULY 11 and 25; AUG. 7
Evening beachfront pops concerts presented by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

East Coast Surfing Championship
JULY 11 and 25; AUG. 19–25
Amateur and pro surfers gather each summer for the East Coast’s best small-wave action.

Verizon Wireless American Music Festival
AUG. 30–SEPT. 1
Summer ends on a high note with 30 bands playing on a 60-by-60-foot stage on the beach (see photo at left). From R&B to rock, the largest music festival on the East Coast happens over Labor Day weekend.

Artisans in the Park
SEPT. 7 AND 8
See wonderful works by 80 artists at this outdoor art fair–now in its 38th year–held in Great Neck Park.

Neptune Festival
SEPT. 27–29
The Virginia Beach Neptune Festival, held each September, features a regatta, a volleyball tournament, and 5K and 8K runs. Its Boardwalk Weekend is Virginia Beach’s most famous party, with outdoor concerts, Saturday night fireworks, and a Grand Parade of floats, military units, and marching bands.

J&A Racing Events
Jerry and Amy Frostick put on local running events, including the Blue Moon Wicked 10K and Old Point National Bank Monster Mile in October. Come back for the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon in March. Folks dress up for the fun races.

Holiday Lights at the Beach
Mid-November through Jan. 1
Virginia Beach’s waterfront becomes a kaleidoscope of festive displays. The Boardwalk is open to cars at this time of year.

Jul/Aug 2013 Issue

BEFORE YOU GO

For more information about visiting Virginia Beach, contact the convention and visitors bureau at (800) 822-3224 or www.visitvirginiabeach.com.

To visit Virginia Beach, first stop by your nearest AAA service office for maps and reservations.

 


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