Virginia Beach. Also known as The Resort City or Neptune City.
Virginia Beach is the largest city — both by area and population — in Virginia and one of the largest cities in the United States. Known for its beautiful beaches, delicious food, arts and entertainment, maritime history, and family-friendly attractions, the city attracts nearly 20 million tourists every year.
If you plan to visit the city or are already there and thinking about exploring it, here are some of the best places to visit in Virginia Beach.
Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center — which is Both an aquarium and a marine science museum — is located on the shores of Owls Creek in Virginia Beach.
The Center has two main buildings — the Bay & Ocean Pavilion and the Marsh Pavilion — which house more than 12,000 animals from around 700 species. The Aquarium contains 800,000 US gallons of fresh and saltwater displays.
The animals include sharks, stingrays, turtles, rare crocodiles, seals, and Komodo dragons.
Among their many interactive exhibits the two touch pools with horseshoe crabs and stingrays.
The Center also has its own 3D IMAX Theater showcasing various films ranging from educational pictures to major Hollywood releases.
Other highlights include a walk through the Red Sea Tunnel, a ziplining obstacle course in the Adventure Park, and a unique dinosaur display featuring moving dinos. One can also enjoy a boat trip to view dolphins and whales playing in the waves.
First Landing State Park
This iconic park is located close to the site where British explorers landed in 1607. It’s a great place for nature enthusiasts or those looking for some outdoors fun while also enjoying a glimpse of history.
Spanning more than 2700 acres, the park offers boating, swimming, nature and history programs, picnicking, a boat launch, and cabins. Then, it has around twenty miles of trails for those interested in hiking and biking. The park also provides easy access to the beach along the Chesapeake Bay.
No wonder it’s a popular retreat for residents and visitors alike.
Military Aviation Museum
If you are in Virginia Beach and have the slightest interest in aviation history, you cannot miss the Military Aviation Museum.
This amazing museum recounts the history of military aircraft through its collection of over 70 vintage aircraft from around the world and covering both World Wars.
What makes the museum especially great is, almost all of its planes are in flying condition. The museum has preserved and restored them so that visitors can enjoy air shows conducted twice a year or take a short ride in some of these historic planes that come from as far UK, Russia, Italy, and Germany.
The museum also contains an extensive reference library, materials, and objects giving visitors the background story behind the aircraft in its collection.
Norfolk Botanical Garden
Both a botanical garden and an arboretum, this lush green space in Norfolk is only about 18 miles away from Virginia Beach.
Spread over almost 160 acres, the Garden consists of more than 60 smaller gardens focusing on specific themes. Some of the most-visited gardens are the Japanese Garden, Colonial Herb Garden, Bicentennial Rose Garden, and Bristow Butterfly Garden.
A highlight is the 3-acre interactive World of Wonders Children’s Adventure Garden that teaches and entertains kids simultaneously.
Visitors can take a tram tour (which runs every 30 minutes) to explore the Garden. The park also offers Sunset Kayaking on Lake Whitehurst.
You can also view a wide selection of artworks, some created way back in the nineteenth century, while others dating from the 1950s.
So these were some of the places you must visit if you’re in Virginia Beach. I must add that due to the pandemic, some sections might not be open, or there could be certain restrictions. So make sure you do the necessary research before visiting.
Also, please follow the guideline. Have fun but stay safe.