All of these attractions are within 20 minutes or so of the Virginia Beach oceanfront. But if you're willing to travel further afield, there's even more. Click here for Virginia Beach Attractions beyond the Beach area.
And if you're on a budget, check out our Cheap or Free Family Vacation Ideas page.
Free Summer Sidewalk Entertainment!
|We love Virginia Beach!|
How about this family fun idea? Pick up a Monster Coupon Book or Virginia Passport Book (free at most corners along Atlantic Avenue). Look through the books and find a coupon for yummy Dough Boy's California Pizza ($2 off a large pizza, $9.99 all you can eat buffet, etc.) Get free Aloha Leis and use the coupon for a free Frisbee (with kid's slice). Then, play some family frisbee while you wait for the sidewalk entertainment to begin.
Cost? Little. The experience? Priceless!
|Take a tour of the Virginia Beach Boardwalk.|
Adventure Parasail is your chance to soar up to 1,200 feet for a bird's eye view of the beach under a colorful parachute. Don't worry--they have a perfect safety record. They also offer jet ski, kayak, and boat rentals, plus inshore and offshore fishing excursions. Check out their website for a slideshow of what they offer.
Hours: They open at 9 am daily.
Adventure Parasail address: 300 Winston Salem Avenue,Virginia Beach. Adventure Parasail phone number: 757-422-UFLY (8359). Adventure Parasail website: http://www.beachparasail.com. Google Adventure Parasail map
Just off Atlantic Avenue and 22nd Street, this African animal-themed miniature golf attraction has an air-conditioned game room and snack bar, free parking (access it from 23rd street). Here's a twist: you don't play by the game, but rather by unlimited golf during the day, or unlimited golf in the evening. Look in the local visitors guides for coupons or click here for online coupons.
| Take a ride on the Rudee Rocket! |
Jungle Golf address: 22nd Street and Pacific Avenue, Virginia Beach VA. Jungle Golf phone number: 757-425-7240.
What has over 300 hands-on exhibits, 700,000+ gallons of aquarium tanks, and the only place in the nation where you can directly interact with seals? Yep. The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center. This world-class aquarium has a wonderful IMAX, lots of interesting programs, and is easily accessible from the oceanfront via the VB Wave Trolley. For more on the Virginia Aquarium, plus how to get discount admission, click here.
Laser Quest is live action laser hide and seek-- like paint ball but without the mess! Play with friends or by yourself. Laser Quest games last up to 15 minutes.
Hours: Mondays by appointment for private group events; Tues-Thurs, 4-9 pm; Fri, 4 pm to midnight; Sat, 10 am to midnight; Sun, 10 am to 8 pm. Admission: $8 per game.
Laser Quest address: 2682 Dean Drive, Virginia Beach VA. Laser Quest phone number: 757-463-6300. Google Laser Quest map
Motor World of Virginia Beach
Eleven race tracks, 250 go karts in 16 different styles, plus a new Kiddie City center for the little ones. They also have the VB Splat Zone for paintball and Shipwreck Golf, with two different 18-hole miniature golf courses, a snack bar, parking, and birthday party amenities. They're right next door to Ocean Breeze Water Park, so why not combine both attractions?
Spring Break Update! We visited Shipwreck Golf and I have to say I was disappointed doing 9 holes there. We had fun, but for $18 for the three of us (and that was using a buy-one-get-one-free coupon from my Entertainment book!)
I thought that was a bit steep for only a 45 minute activity on a uninspiring course. My advice? Skip Shipwreck Golf and go to Jungle Golf near the beachfront.
Motor World hours: Open year-round daily, weather permitting: 10 am to 10 pm; end of May to Memorial Day: 10 a.m. to midnight. Admission: Free admission into park, $4-$6 per ride per person. Look for coupons in the local visitors guides.
Motor World address: 700 S. Birdneck Road, Virginia Beach VA.Motor World phone number: 757-422-6419. Motor World website: www.vbmotorworld.com. Google Motor World map
| Get wet and wild at Ocean Breeze Water Park. |
Ocean Breeze Water Park
Virginia Beach's only water park, complete with 16 slides, a huge wave pool, and a Buccaneer Bay playground for the kids. For details, photos, and how to get a discount on admission to Ocean Breeze Water Park, click here.
Pieces of Eight Pirate Cruises
Cruise the oceanfront with your scurvy mateys! Friendly pirates will entertain you with pirate stories, face painting, dance parties, secret maps and treasure, a full service bar, and free soft drinks...perfect for birthday parties. They offer free round-trip shuttle service to the ship from their lot next to the Schooner Inn.
Hours: Cruises are offered in season at 10 am, 1 pm, 4 pm, and 7 pm daily.
Pirates of Eight address: 2nd Street and Atlantic Avenue, Virginia Beach VA. Pirates of Eight phone number: 757-417-7272.Pirates of Eight website: www.piecesofeight.com.
NEW! Virgina Beach Food on Foot Tours and Nightly Club Tours
The food tours are eat-on-the-go tours that let you sample food from local restaurants while sharing local info and entertainment, kind of a walking/eating tour all in one. Cost is $20 per person, and tours take place 11 am-2 pm and 3 pm-6 pm.
They also have a Night Club Tour (sounds similar to a Pub Crawl, and yes, you have to be 21 or older) where the price includes all club charges. Their website is a little sketchy on the price ($20?) and the time (either 8 pm or 9 pm to 10:30 pm).
Details: 757-647-3743 or www.virginiabeachfoodnfoottours.com
Virginia Beach Amusement Park
It's small and a bit cheesy, but Virginia Beach Amusement Park is those traveling carnivals you remember from your childhood. Their Skyscraper ride takes you 165 feet at 65 mph, and they have a family log flume ride plus several kiddie rides and a variety of carnival type games. And it's on Atlantic Avenue and 15th, just a hop and skip from the beach.
Hours: March-August, 1 pm-1 am daily. September weekday evenings and weekends; October-November weekends only. Admission: Free entraince; ride tickets are .70 cents to $1 each, and most rides require 4-6 tickets. Unlimited ride wristbands are $19.95 (1 pm to 6 pm) and $29.95 (1 pm to 1 am)
Wednesday deals: June 22-Aug 31, ride from 1 pm-6 pm for only $14.95. Discounted day passes are available at the Harris Teeter grocery store on 28th and Arctic Avenue, and at Holiday Stores on 12th, 20th, 29th and Atlantic Ave.
|Don't miss the Virginia Beach Aquarium!|
Hunt Club Farm
This 23-acre, family-owned petting farm featuring goats, sheep, llamas, bunnies, pigs, donkeys, and a miniature cow, as well as turkeys, chickens, and peacocks. It's open 7 days a week, April through December. They charge $3 per person for the petting farm, ages 3 and up. For details, go to www.huntclubfarm.com.
Adam Thoroughgood House
The Adam Thoroughgood House (circa 1680) is one of the oldest brick homes America. This Virginia Beach VA house got its name from an indentured servant (indentured servant were freemen who paid off their debts by agreeing to work as a servant for 7 years) who became wealthy through raising tobacco. His success story made him a symbol for the power of hard work in achieving upward mobility in the new nation. Affiliated with the Chrysler Museum, the house offers tours inside and in the gardens.
Hours: Tues-Sat 10 am-5 pm; Sun 1 pm-5 pm. Admission: $4 for adults, $3 for seniors, $2 for student/kids 6 and up. Free for kids under 6. They offer group discounts and free parking.
Adam Thoroughgood House address: 1636 Parish RoadVirginia Beach VA. Adam Thoroughgood House phone number: 757-4000. Google Adam Thoroughgood House map
This museum is for the birds...literally. Devoted to wildfowl (seagulls, herons, geese, cardinals, and any other type of bird imaginable) the museum features artwork and wooden carvings of—you guessed it—birds.
I'm not a bird aficionado, but we enjoyed it for a quick visit...especially watching artisans carving the birds. The museum has nice ocean views and is housed in a 19th century cottage built by Virginia Beach’s first mayor.
(His wife hated living at the beach, so she eventually bugged him until he built her a separate house away from the beach...like one block away. Go figure.)
And hey, you can’t beat the price (it’s free, with donations requested), and it's close to the Boardwalk area, so check it out.
Hours: Tues-Sat from 10 to 5, and Sun Noon to 5. Admission: Free!
Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum address: 113 Atlantic Avenue, Virginia Beach VA. Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum phone number: 757-437-8432. For a Google Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum map, click here.
Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel
It's more than just a bridge and tunnel...it's considered one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern Engineering World. Take it to visit Chincoteague Island--home of the Wild Pony Run in July--and the northern shore, or just go to the southern end to eat at the restaurant, take pictures of the bay, and learn how this marvel was built. For details on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, click here.
It's one of the hidden gems in Virginia Beach VA. This army base at the north end of the strip boasts two lighthouses, First Landing Cross (site of where the Jamestown colonists first set foot on the New World), and lovely, deserted beaches. Here's what our kids love to chase at Fort Story.
NEW! The Historic Villages at Cape Henry
History is alive at the new Historic Villages at Cape Henry, a recreated American Indian village located at Fort Story. The attraction features docents giving you a history tour through the village and a 17th century colonial outpost. Learn about the real birthplace of American history, tribal practices like canoe-building, and more.
They also have a live outdoor play, "1607: First Landing" performed on an outdoor stage at the beach; it takes place Thursday and Saturday evenings during July and August.
The Historic Villages at Cape Henry are open the end of May through the beginning of September. Prices are $8 for adults, $5 for youth, and free 5 and under. Plays are $15 for adults, $10 for youth, and free for 5 and under. Seniors and military get a 20% discount.
For details, go to www.firstlandingfoundation.org.
This historic house is built on what used to be a 250-acre plantation. Built by Francis Thelaball III in 1725, this all-brick home has costumed guides who lead you through rooms full of period furniture and discuss life in the 18th century. It's an excellent way to get an idea of what life was like for middle-class Virginians during the the 1700's.
Hours: Tues-Sat 10 am-4 pm; Sun 12 pm - 4 pm. Admission: $4 for adults, $3 for seniors, $2 for student/kids 6 and up. Free for kids under 6.
Lynnhaven House address: 4405 Wishart Road, Virginia Beach VA Lynnhaven House phone number: 757-460-1688. Google Lynnhaven House map
The Contemporary Art Center of VirginiaLove art? Looking for a bi-monthly free family event? The Contemporary Art Center of Virginia doesn't have free admission, BUT, they host a free Family Fest on a Saturday every other month, featuring hands-on activities, refreshments, and a gallery scavenger hunt. For details, go to www.cacv.org.
| Beautiful Back Bay Wildlife Refuge. |
Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
This hiker's and bird-watcher's paradise is an amazing wildlife preserve for migrating and wintering birds. Definitely a place to get away from it all enjoy nature for a day or for a camping adventure. For our full description of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, click here.
False Cape State Park
This is Virginia as Pocahontas and John Smith might have seen it. Virginia's most remote park, it's one of the last undisturbed coastal environments on the East Coast. Hike, camp, and see wildlife, including wild horses. For our full description of False Cape, click here.
Virginia Beach VA's most popular park is built on a pile of trash. Yes. But not just any pile of trash. It's now the highest point in the city and full of innovative playground sets. For more details on Mount Trashmore, click here.
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