Visiting Virginia Beach
A Seaside Vacation Destination
By: Sandy Katz - Mar 04, 2016
Virginia Beach is a resort town and the largest city in Virginia, with three million people visiting each year to enjoy more than 35 miles of ocean and bay beaches. It bosats of the world’s longest pleasure beach wider than a football field; most visited nature park in Virginia, a cosmopolitan downtown and an award-winning, 3-mile boardwalk.
You would like to make the boardwalk your daily destination because of oceanfront dining opportunities, family fun and plenty of live music.
For golf enthusiasts there are championship courses. For the adventurous there is swimming with the friendly bottlenose dolphins. Visitors can kayak through pristine coastal marshes or learn about the first colonist to land on its shore.
I enjoyed lunch at Chesapeake Grill located on Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. This is a unique destination in middle of Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. This span is a 17.6 miles attraction and travel convenience. The Chesapeake Grill restaurant offers spectacular views of the Virginia Beach Coastline and Chesapeake Bay. Local seafood of the highest quality is provided in the indoor-outdoor areas. I had the most delicious flounder sandwich.
Then I took a windshield tour of Virginia Beach by car as an orientation of what to see later. The tour included: The Old Coast Guard Station; oceanfront boardwalk; Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum; Rudie Inlet & The Virginia Beach Fishing Center; Virginia Legends Walk; Marine Science Center; Virginia Aquarium; Ocean Breeze Water-park; The Historic Cavalier Hotel; First Landing State Park; The Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.); Cape Henry Lighthouse & Chick’s Beach.
Waterman’s Surfside Grille has been a family owned and operated restaurant since 1981. We feasted on a sustainable seafood round table meal where the chef cooks all sustainable seafood, then talks about the program diners.
Next day our destinations were the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park established in 1938 . This 8,000-acre fresh water refuge borders the Atlantic Ocean on east and Back Bay on the west. The barrier islands feature large sand dunes, fresh water marshes, maritime forests, ocean beach, ponds and large impoundments for wintering wildfowl marsh trails, a boardwalk overlook, beach and bikes make easy access to this tranquil habitat. Back Bay is located 18 miles south of resort area.
Adjoining Back Bay National Refuge is False Cape State Park, a one-mile-wide barrier split between Back Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
Ranked among the top 10 marine facilities in the U.S. the Virginia Aquarium offers 800,000 gallons of aquarium facilities including sharks,a giant sea turtle aquarium as well as a loggerhead turtle hatching lab. There are over 300 hands-on exhibits.
The Virginia Aquarium is the only place in U.S. where you can get in the water to interact with harbor seals. You can also get behind the scenes to see turtles from a walkway above the water as staff members conduct a feeding & behavioral training session. Reservations are required at Guest Services.
Having not gotten my fill of seafood fortunately Mahi Mah’s Restaurant right on the Virginia Beach oceanfront provided seafood with a panoramic view of oceanfront. This restaurant sports a locals' favorite Sushi bar where you can enjoy your meal at a newly renovated outdoor patio and catch some entertainment.
The dolphin-watching boat tour departed from Virginia Beach Fishing Center. On the tour, I observed bottlenose dolphins in their natural habitat. The 65-foot Rudie Flipper dolphin-watching boat was comfortable with an opportunity to learn about latest research studies and dolphin’s social behavior.
Tautog’s Restaurant is located in a 1920s beach cottage which is quaint and cozy. While dining on some more local seafood, I was privy to a glimpse of the area’s maritime past.
Breakfast at Citrus was a culinary experience and a local favorites for breakfast including banana pancakes, Eastern Shore sweet potato biscuits, and crab Benedict.
Touring Association for Research & Enlightenment (A.R.E.) gave educational insight into its documental psychic founder’s Edgar Cayce, Father of Holistic Medicine. The 30 minute movie provided orientation. Each year global headquarters attracts ten of thousands of individuals from around the world. In his giant library there are no less than 14,000 “readings” which mainly focus of health & wellness. Cayce gave lots of predictions that have proven true and his recommendations are now considered super-foods.
Virginia Beach Farmers Market sponsors “Taste of Market” tours to acquaint you with locally grown goods. I also attended a mini-course in Organics 101 where I learned the benefits of keeping it natural.
The best way to see Virginia Beach is to stroll along the Boardwalk leisurely so as not to miss anything and to enjoy the oceanfront views. Along the way you will see statues, monuments and other photo ops while enjoying the sandy shore and exploring many shops.
The King Neptune statue is one of the most prominent tourist attractions of Virginia Beach oceanfront and a must see for visitors. Built in 2005 in celebration of the annual Neptune Festival, the 34 foot statue makes for a great photo op. King Neptune majestically rules the boardwalk with trident in hand surrounded by dolphins, fish and turtles. The bronze statue stands at the gateway to Neptune Park.
What better way to remember your trip than a photo with The King of the Sea. Drizzly days prevented my photo op but opportunity knocked when I was able to photograph its smaller cloned replica near Sonoma Wine Bar & Bistro where I stopped for lunch.
IF YOU GO
Tourism Information: Virginia Beach CVB Tel: 1-800-VA-BEACH 757-437-4919
Virginia Tourist Corporation 804-545-5500
Accommodations: Courtyard by Marriott Virginia Beach Oceanfront T: 757-437-0098
Attractions: Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge & False Cape State Park 757-721-2412
Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center 757-385-7777
Association for Research & Enlightenment (A.R.E.) 757-428-3588
Virginia Beach Farmers Market 757-427-0378
Restaurants: Chesapeake Grill 757-318-4818
Waterman’s Surfside Grille 757-428-3644
Mahi Mah Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Saloon 757-437-8030
Tautog’s Restaurant 757-422-0081
Sonoma Wine Bar & Bistro 757-490-9463