17 Cool Things to Do in Virginia Beach On Your East Coast Seaside Getaway

Planning a trip to Virginia? Well, you’re going to want to save time in your itinerary to delve into all the best things to do in Virginia Beach. It’s not just all about beautiful beaches at this East Coast gem—although they are stunning!

If you’re into dazzling coastlines, wide open spaces, museums, historic sites, and great restaurants, you’re going to love Virginia Beach. With some of the town’s top tourist attractions taking full advantage of the great outdoors, the Northeast USA coastal city is a nature lover’s paradise.

Not sure what to do on your vacation? Plan your seaside getaway with this complete guide to the coolest places to visit in Virginia Beach, VA!

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Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center

Love all things aquatic and looking to learn some more? Get your fill of marine life, education, and inspiration at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center.

Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center

With community-centric events, including Sharks after Dark, Creek Clean-ups, and a conservation-specific speaker series, Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is more than just your average aquarium.

Located in the South of Virginia Beach in the Rudee Inlet, the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is home to over 12,000 animals spread between over 300 interactive exhibits.

Add the neighboring Adventure Park to your Virginia Beach itinerary for a non-stop day of thrills, inspiration, and all-around family fun!

False Cape State Park

Wanting to breathe in some of that delicious Atlantic Ocean air? Check out False Cape State Park for a pristine day out in nature.

Located on the Currituck Banks Peninsula, this 4,321-acre state park is peppered with biking trails and hiking trails for you to enjoy and work up a sweat. Is water more your thing? False Cape State Park is also popular among kayakers, so why not hire a boat and hit the water!

As False Cape State Park was once home to local Native Americans, there’s a focus on those who made a living from the ocean and giving back to the natural world all around us. Dreamy, right?

First Landing State Park

Looking to hit the trails in a particularly historic park? First Landing State Park is just the place for you to visit on your next trip to Virginia Beach.

First Landing State Park

As the site of the first English settlers in 1607, First Landing State Park is, unsurprisingly, on the National Register of Historic Places. While you’re here, you can enjoy hiking or running the 20 miles of trails or choose to kick back and relax on the 1.5 miles of glorious, soft sands.

For a whole new level of beauty and serenity, head to the park at dusk for a breathtaking sunset over the Chesapeake Bay. Words can’t describe how beautiful it is!

Neptune Park

Want to get your fix of Roman mythology? Maybe you’re just a fan of giant statues? Or perhaps you just love basking in a beautiful city park? Whatever the reason, you’ve got to check out Neptune Park while you’re in Virginia Beach.

Neptune Park

Located at the end of Atlantic Avenue at 31st Street, Neptune Park is easy to spot as it’s dominated by a giant statue of Neptune, the Roman god of the seas. It makes sense considering how reliant Virginia Beach is on the ocean! The majestic Neptune statue offers a perfect photo opportunity with the beautiful beachfront scenery in the background.

One of the most popular places to go in Virginia Beach, Neptune Festival Park also hosts great events all year round, including live music and entertainment set to panoramic views of the gorgeous beach. Visiting the park is the perfect way to end a fun-filled day in Virginia Beach!

Virginia Beach Boardwalk

Looking to embody that classic summertime beach holiday vibe? Then it’s time that you hit up Virginia Beach Boardwalk and recapture the iconic beach vacation feeling that you’ve seen in the movies.

Virginia Beach Boardwalk

There are boardwalks—and then there’s the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. At 28 feet wide, it’s huge and spans all the way from 2nd Street to 40th Street along the Atlantic Ocean.

Whether you love to cycle, rollerblade, skateboard, or just take a leisurely stroll along the beach without getting sandy, it’s all possible at this top-rated Virginia Beach attraction. You’ll also find a slew of great shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues along the promenade.

If you’re looking to catch something tasty for your dinner, you can also check out the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier, just off the boardwalk. You can hire everything you need, and it only costs $10 a day for adults and $5 for kids.

Sandbridge Beach

Need a secluded and relaxing spot for your next beach vacation? Well, head south of Virginia Beach to the beautiful Sandbridge Beach, where you can switch off and enjoy the calm.

Sandbridge Beach

Home to spectacular sand dunes, gorgeous waters, and well-maintained beaches—without the hordes of tourists—Sandbridge Beach is a great place to base yourself or visit for the day if you’re in the Virginia Beach area.

Sandbridge Beach also offers a laid-back atmosphere where you can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, biking, kayaking, or fishing. If you’re looking for a more active beach vacation, a visit to this stretch of sand could be just what the doctor ordered. You can thank us later!

Harrison Opera House

All this relaxing got you craving some culture? Don’t worry, there’s always something wonderful on tap at the Harrison Opera House.

The home of the Virginia Opera, Harrison Opera House is a beautiful, historic building that was opened in 1943. It’s even played host to World War II USO shows!

Nowadays, you can enjoy all manners of concerts—from orchestras to international pop concerts to local drama performances to comedy and more—at this popular attraction.

The striking, glamorous three-story building was refurbished in 1993; even if you can’t catch a show, it’s well worth trying to sneak a peek inside!

Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Consider yourself a wildlife expert or just want to learn more about the natural world around you? Pack your camera, head to Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and get curious!

Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge

You’ll find a whole host of habitats, including beach, freshwater marsh, shrub-scrub, and upland forest. Bring your binoculars and see if you can spot the migrating waterfowl and the countless amphibians, mammals, and birds that call the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge home.

If wildlife spotting isn’t your thing, meander along one of the many hiking trails that snake their way through this beautiful and expansive wildlife refuge.

Grommet Island Park

Looking for a day out that’s fun for the entire family? Pack up a beach bag, gather the troops and head out to Grommet Island Park, one of the top points of interest in Virginia Beach for nature lovers.

Grommet Island Park

Grommet Island Park is filled with different zones with plenty of fun activities for a multi-sensory experience. Your little ones can choose from green spaces, a fun-filled playground, and well-maintained sand tables. If you’re looking to engage your kiddos, check out the sensory boards.

The best part about Grommet Island Park is that it’s completely accessible and designed for everyone to have a good time. Located at the south end of the Boardwalk, it’s well worth a visit if you’re traveling with young kids in tow.

Chesapeake Bay Beach

Need a tranquil, calm, and serene beach escape during your visit to Virginia Beach? It’s time you checked out Chesapeake Bay Beach.

Chesapeake Bay Beach

Known locally as Chick’s Beach, this beautiful, pristine stretch of soft sand is a wonderland for anyone who just wants to kick back and relax. As the waters of the bay are calmer than other areas local to Virginia Beach, Chesapeake Bay is a pleasant and safe place to have a beach day.

Pack up your towels, slap on the sunblock, grab that book you’ve been meaning to read for years and head to the gorgeous and relaxing Chesapeake Bay Beach.

Cape Henry Lighthouse

Consider yourself a bit of a US history buff? You’re just going to love a visit to Cape Henry Lighthouse, one of Virginia Beach’s top tourist attractions.

Cape Henry Lighthouse

What makes it so historic, I hear you ask? Cape Henry Lighthouse was commissioned by George Washington and overseen by Alexander Hamilton, making it not only beautiful and striking but also historically important to the nation’s maritime heritage. It’s even considered the oldest lighthouse in the entire United States!

Strap on your sneakers and climb the 191 steps to the top of Cape Henry Lighthouse for panoramic views of the ocean. Just imagine the beams of light shining out of the top, guiding the tired and hungry sailors home to shore!

Hunt Club Farm

Want a wholesome day out that has something to entertain and enthrall the entire family? Add Hunt Club Farm to the top of your Virginia Beach itinerary.

Home to vibrant farmers’ markets, a bird aviary, and even a petting farm, Hunt Club Farm is a family favorite for a reason. If you’ve got kiddos with you, allowing them to interact with the funny and friendly animals of Hunt Club Farm makes for a great holiday memory.

With seasonal events, including haunted hay rides at Halloween and full-on summer camps at the farm, there’s always something new and interesting to discover at Hunt Club Farm.

Naval Aviation Monument Park

Consider yourself a fan of naval history? Well, you’ve got the perfect attraction right here in Virginia Beach: the Naval Aviation Monument Park!

Naval Aviation Monument Park

As well as paying homage to the Marine Corps and Coast Guard, this monument to the area’s local naval history also doubles as an outdoor art park! Whether you’re into military history, love sculptures, or a bit of both, the Naval Aviation Monument Park is well worth a visit.

Among the park’s nine striking statues, one of the most iconic is the giant Norwegian Lady Statue. The statue was gifted by the Norwegian town of Moss after the wreck of the Norwegian ship, Dictator, which washed ashore in 1861. Remember to bring your camera!

Ocean Breeze Waterpark

What’s a summer break to the seaside without a fun-filled day at the local waterpark? Don’t worry: Virginia Beach has you covered with the beloved Ocean Breeze Waterpark.

Let loose at the family-friendly Ocean Breeze and take your pick of over 30 thrilling flumes, tubes, and rides that cover this amazing waterpark. If the wave pool is more your speed, you’ll be glad to hear that they’ve added a giant screen so that you can float and watch events and shows at the same time! It’s great fun for everyone in your travel party.

If you travel after 4 pm and want to take advantage of those long summer days, you can get a reduced Twilight rate and spend your entire evening at Ocean Breeze Waterpark!

Atlantic Fun Park

You can’t have an American beachside vacation without a visit to an oceanfront amusement park. When in Virginia Beach, checking out Atlantic Fun Park is a must!

Located just off the boardwalk by the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier, this family favorite will even have the adults unleashing the big kid within. With a wide variety of fun attractions like carnival-style games and huge, thrilling fairground rides, there’s something to keep everyone happy, entertained, and screaming from the top of their lungs at Atlantic Fun Park.

Don’t forget to chow down on some delicious fairground junk food. It’s probably best to eat after you’ve been on the rides, though!

Mount Trashmore Park

We all love a Cinderella-style makeover story, don’t we? That’s why we love Mount Trashmore Park in Virginia Beach. Yep, you read that right: Trashmore.

Mount Trashmore Park

As you might have guessed, the site of Mount Trashmore Park used to be a landfill site. Although the name was a local nickname at first, it soon stuck and was officially adopted. Now, any traces of its former life are long gone.

In its place, you’ll find two lakes, two man-made mountains, and even a skate park. So, bring a day bag, and fill it with snacks to keep you going as you explore this beautifully transformed park.

Ferry Plantation House

Want to check out a historic site that has its roots in the 17th century? Head to the Ferry Plantation House and learn more about the impact the waterways had on early US development. 

Listed on the US National Register of Historic Places, this brick house is one of three Princess Anne structures, including multiple courthouses. Since there was a fire in the 19th century, much of the Ferry Plantation House has been rebuilt, but it’s still a historical icon.

If you’re an architecture fan, the Ferry Plantation House is a stunning example of the Federal architecture style and a must-see while you’re in Virginia Beach.


Ryan O'Rourke is a seasoned traveler and the founder & editor of Treksplorer, a fiercely independent guide to mid-range luxury travel for busy people. With over 20 years of extensive travel experience, Ryan has journeyed through over 50 countries, uncovering hidden gems and sharing firsthand, unsponsored insights on what to see & do and where to eat, drink & stay. Backed by his travel experience and in-depth research, Ryan’s travel advice and writing has been featured in publications like the Huffington Post and Matador Network. You can connect with Ryan on Twitter/X at @rtorourke.

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