15 Must See Virginia Beach Attractions and Places to Visit

The little piece of paradise where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean has it all.

virginia beach and boardwalk
Aerial panoramic view of Virginia Beach with the Boardwalk in foreground

One of the Virginia Beach tag lines used to entice visitors is, “You Deserve a Virginia Beach Vacation”. The fact is, truer words were never spoken. The little piece of paradise where Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean has it all – a rich history, beautiful beaches, a variety of arts and entertainment, a robust foodie scene, and LOTS of unique attractions for the entire family.

Founded in 1887, Virginia Beach started to become a popular resort destination following the construction of a hotel and a railroad linking it with Norfolk. Virginia Beach and the former Princess Anne County merged into what is now known as the City of Virginia Beach in 1963.

Today, Virginia Beach is one of the top tourist destinations along the Atlantic coast and the number one vacation destination in Virginia.

Most visitors already know about two of its biggest attractions – the Virginia Beach Boardwalk and the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. The 3-mile long and 28-foot wide stretch of oceanfront boardwalk is the gateway to the popular Atlantic beach community. You can brush up on your people-watching skills, get a selfie with King Neptune, or hop on a bike to take in all the excitement along the 3-mile path.

virginia beach attractions
The King Neptune statue along the 3-mile long Virginia Beach oceanfront boardwalk

The Virginia Beach Aquarium is loaded with just about every species of marine life, plus hands-on exhibits, a boat tour, and an adventure park (which we’ll talk more about). ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​It’s your opportunity to go on an 800,000+ gallon adventure at one of the top aquariums and animal habitats in the United States.

Be sure to visit both signature attractions and make time to experience all the amazing sights and sounds of the area. We’ve done all the homework and came up with 15 highly recommended attractions and things to do in Virginia Beach during your stay.

First Landing State Park

There’s a reason First Landing State Park is the most visited state park in Virginia. It’s an outdoor lovers paradise with 2,888-acres, 1.5 miles of Chesapeake Bay beaches, and 20 miles of hiking trails that weave through protected salt marsh habitat, freshwater ponds, beach, dunes, forest, and cypress swamp.

There is certainly no shortage of fun activities for the entire family including fishing, boating, camping and cabin accommodations, nature and history programs, hiking trails, and picnic facilities.

2500 Shore Drive
Virginia Beach, VA
(757) 412-2300

💻 Website  |  📍 Directions 

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Cape Henry Lighthouse

Cape Henry Lighthouse is one of Preservation Virginia’s six historic sites. The non-profit is dedicated to preserving historic places and raising awareness of Virginia’s rich cultural heritage. To say this 18th-century lighthouse is rich in American history would be an understatement.

Read More: A Visit to Virginia’s Historic Cape Henry Lighthouse

Originally authorized by George Washington and overseen by Alexander Hamilton, the Cape Henry Lighthouse guards the entryway into the Chesapeake Bay, and it’s one of the oldest surviving lighthouses in the United States.

Visitor Tip: Parking is limited, especially during peak travel season (April through November). The best days and times to visit are mid-week before 11 am and after 3 pm daily.

583 Atlantic Avenue
Fort Story, VA
(757) 422-9421

💻 Website  |  📍 Directions 

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Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum

The Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum (often referred to as the Old Coast Guard Station) honors and preserves Virginia’s extensive Atlantic Coast maritime heritage, United States Lifesaving Service, and the United States Coast Guard.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the museum building is one of Virginia Beach’s most recognized landmarks with fun exhibits, a scavenger hunt, ghost tours, and a gift shop filled with unique gifts and souvenirs.

2401 Atlantic Avenue
Virginia Beach, VA
(757) 422-1587

💻 Website  |  📍 Directions 

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The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium

If you’re looking for things to do in Virginia Beach with kids, The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium should be at the top of your list. Located a few minutes from the Boardwalk, the ropes courses and ziplines are among the best in the area.

The tree climbing and ziplining adventures include 17 treetop trails, over 258 treetop platforms, and 30 ziplines. Perfect for a fun family outing or team building if you visit with a group. If you really want to make the kids happy, check out “Glow in the Park,” where you zip and climb to an array of lights and music.

Visitor Tip: Save time and avoid long lines by going online to book times and completing the electronic waiver before your visit. This will guarantee your preferred climb date and time.

801 General Booth Blvd.
Virginia Beach, VA
(757) 385-4947

💻 Website  |  📍 Directions 

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Military Aviation Museum

The Military Aviation Museum is home to one of the world’s largest private collections of World War I and World War II military aircraft, including fighters, bombers, trainers, and seaplanes.

The planes have been restored to their prior military condition, using original parts when possible. Most are operational and continue to fly at the museum during flight demonstrations and air shows throughout the year.

The MAM Museum has tons of fun activities – aircraft rides, a dinosaur scavenger hunt at Jerrassic Park, summer camps, and lots of exhibits to help you learn all about WWI & WWII aviation history.

1341 Princess Anne Road
Virginia Beach, VA
(757) 721-7767

💻 Website  |  📍 Directions 

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False Cape State Park

Experience nature in a unique, primitive setting at False Cape State Park. The 4,321-acre park, located between Back Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, is one of the last remaining undeveloped areas along the Atlantic coast.

Read More: Visit False Cape State Park

False Cape activities include guided kayak trips, primitive camping, interpretive programs, hiking and biking trails, and 6 miles of Atlantic Ocean beach. Currently, the park is accessible only by foot, bicycle, tram or boat. The Blue Goose Tram service departs from the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge (4005 S. Sandpiper Road) and transports visitors through the wildlife refuge.

Visitor Tip: Parking at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge fills quickly in the summer. Additional parking and overnight parking is available at Little Island City Park. Reservations for primitive campsites can be made by calling 1-800-933-PARK.

4001 Sandpiper Road
Virginia Beach, VA
(757) 426-7128

💻 Website  |  📍 Directions 

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Stumpy Lake Natural Area 

There’s so much natural beauty in the state of Virginia, and the 1,422-acre Stumpy Lake Natural Area is one of the best. The property consists of a 278-acre lake, 174-acre golf course, 970 plus acres of undeveloped, forested land surrounding the lake, and 1.65 miles of trails.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Enjoy hiking, fishing, bird watching, nature observation, and photography in a beautiful, picturesque setting. One of the more popular activities is canoeing and kayaking. A launch is located just after the causeway from Indian River Road near the Stumpy Lake Golf Course entrance. Bring your own kayak or rent one to explore all the amazing natural wonders and wildlife. Hours vary, so check days/times and book in advance online.

4797 Indian River Road
Virginia Beach, VA
(757) 385-1100

💻 Website  |  📍 Directions 

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Hunt Club Farm

Besides beautiful beaches and parks, the Virginia Beach area also includes miles and miles of majestic farmland. Hunt Club Farm has a rich history, dating all the way back to the 1760s when the original home was built for Captain Jonathan Moore. Fast forward to the 1960s, Mary and John C. Vogel fell in love with the property and purchased it along with several family members.

Hunt Club Farm is another perfect thing to do in Virginia Beach with kids and offers visitors a full days worth of fun; including a petting farm, pony rides, BirdWalk Aviary, spring/summer market, TreeWalk Adventure, and many seasonal farm festivals and special events.

2388 London Bridge Road
Virginia Beach, VA
(757) 427-9520

💻 Website  |  📍 Directions 

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Helicopter Tours – Hampton Roads Helicopters 

What better way to see all the beauty of the Virginia Beach area than from a couple thousand feet in the air? HRH is one of the top providers of aerial tours and flight-seeing experiences in the Hampton Roads area. All passengers have clear, unobstructed views from any seat in the helicopter.

HRH offers several popular tours of the Hampton Roads area:

  • Virginia Beach Tour
  • James River & Peninsula Tour
  • Norfolk & Dismal Swamp Tour
  • Colors of Fall Tour
  • Holiday Lights Tour

5196 W Military Hwy
Chesapeake, VA
(757) 488-9044

💻 Website  |  📍 Directions 

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Sandbridge Beach

If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, the secluded 5 miles of Sandbridge Beach is the perfect “get away from it all” location to spend all or part of your stay. Located 15 miles south of the core resort area of Virginia Beach, Sandbridge offers a peaceful, relaxing seaside community with natural dunes and beautiful sea oats.

When you’re not relaxing on the beach, you can explore the marshes and open waters of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and there’s plenty of kayaking, hiking, and fishing at False Cape State Park.

Sandfiddler Road
Virginia Beach, VA
(800) 822-3224

💻 Website  |  📍 Directions 

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Make History at the Virginia Beach History Museums

Some of the oldest surviving brick houses in America are located in the state of Virginia. One of the oldest colonial homes and a National Historic Landmark is the Thoroughgood House. The landmark was originally built in 1719 by Argall Thorowgood, great-grandson of Adam Thorowgood. Adam Thorowgood helped establish Princess Anne County, which would later become the City of Virginia Beach.

The home is furnished to reflect the period that John Thorowgood (Argall’s son) and his family occupied the home and offers a glimpse into the daily lifestyle of wealthy Virginia colonists.

Please Note: Thoroughgood House is currently open on a limited basis. The Francis Land House and Lynnhaven House are temporarily closed for restoration. Be sure to check their website and social media for the latest updates.

1636 Parish Road
Virginia Beach, VA
(757) 385-5100

💻 Website  |  📍 Directions 

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The Vibe District

Need a little inspiration in your life? Plan a visit to the ViBe Creative District, a partnership with Virginia Beach Arts and Virginia Beach City Government. Located near the Oceanfront, ViBe is the arts and cultural hub in Hampton Roads – packed with innovative professionals and colorful street art.

Come out and be a part of the creative ViBe community or stroll down the sidewalks to see all the amazing things happening in the area. Weekly and monthly events like the Old Beach Farmer’s Market and Second Saturdays/First Friday Walking Mural Tours will give you a small taste of the district.

One of the biggest events is the annual Mural Festival, featuring 10 new murals painted by 10 different national and local artists at private properties throughout the arts district over a 10 day period.

611 18th Street
Virginia Beach, VA
(757) 202-9533

💻 Website  |  📍 Directions 

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New Realm Brewing

While out perusing all the amazing sights and sounds of the Virginia Beach area, you’re probably ready to cool off and grab some chow. New Realm Brewing just happens to be the perfect place to do both. Dine-in or soak up some rays in the two-acre outdoor patio/beer garden. After the sun goes down, kick back by the fire pit and enjoy some of the best local and regional live music in the area.

There are over 20 thirst-quenching craft brews and hard seltzer selections to suit any palette. The full menu features everything from small bites to sandwiches, salads, main event dinners, and desserts.

Check out an article and video segment from earlier this year about New Realm Brewing.

1209 Craft Lane
Virginia Beach, VA
(757) 302-8550

💻 Website | 📍 Directions | 🥧 Menu

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Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater

What better way to enjoy some of the best live music and top touring acts in the country than under the stars at the Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater. If you visit during the warmer months, there’s a good chance there will be a concert or two during your visit.

Read More: Live Music is Back at the Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater

Known by many locals as the Virginia Beach Amphitheater, the venue located close to the beaches has a seating capacity of 20,000. Whether you want to escape the elements or dance the night away, the amphitheater offers a covered canopy closer to the main stage and general admission seating on the back lawn area.

3550 Cellar Door Way
Virginia Beach, VA
(757) 368-3000

💻 Upcoming Events  |  📍 Directions 

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Virginia Beach Visitor Information Center

If you want the latest travel information or help planning your trip, look no further than the Virginia Beach Visitor Information Center.

The first thing to do is browse the robust website full of great places to stay, eat and visit. When you get into town, we highly recommend that you stop by and visit them in person. You’ll find friendly faces who can provide more than enough fun things to do in Virginia Beach to keep your family as busy as they want to be. You’ll also get a locals perspective about places to visit and events going on that you may never have heard about.

The visitor’s information center is currently open Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm ET.

2100 Parks Avenue
Virginia Beach, VA
(757) 385-7873

💻 Website  |  📍 Directions 

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Additional Travel Information

Thanks for stopping by and checking out the top 15 Virginia Beach attractions and places to visit. During your stay or while you’re traveling through the state, be sure to check out any of these top restaurants in the area.