Where the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay meet, Virginia Beach promises visitors a unique chance to “Live the Life.” With pristine natural wonders, freshly caught seafood, just-picked local ingredients, a vibrant downtown district and three distinct beach experiences at the Oceanfront, Sandbridge or Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Beach provides appeal for all visitors, while consistently ranking among the country’s best beach destinations.
The iconic three-mile boardwalk, perfect for jogging or biking, is only part of what makes the oceanfront resort area so irresistible. The Resort Beach is where Virginia Beach reveals its outgoing nature, with a park-like atmosphere that goes on for miles, lined with hotels, restaurants, beach playgrounds, souvenir shops, attractions and King Neptune, a 34-foot-tall cast bronze statue of the mythological sea god. The area also features a fishing pier, an active inlet and plenty of opportunities for biking, boating, kayaking, parasailing and paddle-boarding.
Chesapeake Bay Beach
For beach-goers looking for kinder, gentler waves, refuge can be found along the scenic Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Bay Beach provides ideal waters for splashing and swimming in the surf, where visitors will find paddle-boarding, kayaking, sand-castle building, volleyball and more. The area is home to a marina and multiple dockside seafood restaurants that offer incredible sunset views over the Lynnhaven Inlet. The Chesapeake Bay Beach also carries Virginia Beach history within the Cape Henry Lighthouse and First Landing State Park and is the ideal spot for savoring legendary Lynnhaven Oysters.
For a more secluded environment, Sandbridge Beach – nestled up against the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge – provides sheer serenity. In lieu of hotels, visitors can stay in breathtaking ocean-view rental homes or condominiums to truly experience an island-like environment in which to unwind. Those craving even more of the outdoors can explore trails, marshes and the open waters of False Cape State Park and the Back Bay by taking biking or kayaking excursions or surfing and paddle-boarding lessons from local outfitters.
The Great Outdoors
For those who long to lace up their running shoes, paddle through the ocean’s waves or sleep under the stars, nature’s gifts await in Virginia Beach’s great outdoors. Although the area has long beckoned sunbathers and sandcastle-builders, the resort city is also a wonderland for sports enthusiasts and those desiring more physical adventures, something that has consistently made the coastal city one of America’s fittest. From watersports and hiking to zip-lining and skydiving, Virginia Beach provides that heart-thumping rush sports enthusiasts crave.
First Landing State Park, a 2,888-acre park that fronts the Chesapeake Bay, features 1.25 miles of beachfront and more than 19 miles of interpretive trails through protected salt marsh habitat, freshwater ponds, beach, dunes, forest, tidal marsh and cypress swamp. A registered Natural Landmark, First Landing is the most visited state park in Virginia and contains one of the most endangered habitat types in the world, the maritime forest community.
Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is a 9,108-acre refuge made up of barrier islands, dunes, beach woodland, freshwater marshes, maritime forests, ponds and ocean beaches. Sharing a border is the 4,321-acre False Cape State Park, which features six miles of unspoiled beaches in an ocean-to-freshwater bay habitat, as well as dunes, woodland, farm fields, salt marsh, maritime forest and wooded swamps. Together, the parks offer numerous hiking and biking trails. The extensive list of resident wildlife includes more than 300 species of nesting and migratory songbirds, shorebirds and ducks (inclusive of a returning snow geese population of 10,000), otters, white-tailed deer, red fox, loggerhead turtles, American bald eagles, feral pigs, wild horses and a number of interesting reptiles. From April through October, visitors may travel into the heart of the parks on a tram and explore by foot from there.
Bottlenose dolphins feast in the rich waters of the estuarial Chesapeake Bay year-round and, from May through October, travelers can get up close and personal with the playful marine mammals during guided kayaking excursions. Guides will lead visitors to where the bay’s waters meet the Atlantic Ocean, the dolphins’ favorite spot for a frolic between feeding grounds, for an incredible photo opportunity and unforgettable experience.
Swimming, surfing, boogie-boarding, windsurfing, hydro-boarding, paddle-boarding, jet-skiing, parasailing, kayaking, sailing and boating are all available in the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay, as well as a variety of other waterways, including the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and the Lynnhaven River. Recreational equipment can be rented from various companies near the beaches, while several outfitters also offer surfing camps for those wanting to learn to “hang 10” in a safe environment. For a different view of the water, try your skills at stand-up paddle-boarding (SUP).
October through May is also a prime travel time for equine enthusiasts visiting Virginia Beach. During the fall and winter months, horseback riders can take to the sand and ride down the scenic shorelines through the Oceanfront resort area and beyond. Beyond the beach, experienced equestrians and first-time riders can explore nature throughout the city during guided trail rides all year long.
Partner Content provided by Visit Virginia Beach. To learn more about living the life in Virginia Beach, go to www.VisitVirginiaBeach.com.