7 Reasons Virginia Beach Should Be Your Next Summer Vacation

July 27, 2016 | By | Comments (15)

If you’re dreaming of a beach vacation this summer, Virginia Beach should be at the top of your list. From three — yes, three! — beach areas (that add up to more than 35 miles of coastline) to farm-fresh cuisine and exquisite local art, the summer scene at this historic East Coast escape is heating up, fast. And here are seven reasons why.


Resort Beach

1. It’s super easy to get there (and stay).
Just one hour from New York City by plane and a little over three hours from Washington, DC by car, Virginia Beach is the ideal weekend getaway for any East Coast-er. And from the moment you touch down in Norfolk, the vacation vibes set in — the Norfolk Airport is nestled into a gorgeous botanical garden, and Virginia Beach’s historic, three-mile boardwalk is just 20 minutes away by car. From there, if you crave being in the middle of the action, book a room at one of the many hotels along Resort Beach, like the Ocean Beach Club, where each room includes its own kitchen. For a more intimate vibe, choose the darling Barclay Cottage (also on Resort Beach), or the rustic Church Point Manor, a renovated 1860s farmhouse just minutes away from Chesapeake Bay Beach.

Beyond the Beach: 3 Creative Ways to Explore Virginia Beach’s Coastline


Stunning views of Resort Beach from the Ocean Beach Club.

2. So. Many. Beaches.
When you think of Virginia Beach, your mind likely lands on the boardwalk — but, in fact, the city boasts three gorgeous beach areas. Head 15 minutes south of Resort Beach and discover the serene Sandbridge Beach, nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Back Bay Wildlife Refuge. And, just north of Resort Beach on the other side of the peninsula, the chilled-out Chesapeake Bay Beach is close to dockside haunts like Bubba’s Seafood Restaurant and Crabhouse, the perfect place to watch the sunset while sampling fresh seafood (like the regional classic She Crab Soup).

3. It’s the perfect place to explore the great outdoors.
It’s not just about sunbathing on the beach, y’all. Strike a balance between fun and fitness by taking a SUP Barre class (invented by local Whitney Lee and located on the water in the city’s lush First Landing State Park), or kick your paddle game up a notch with Surf & Adventure Co.’s Sunset Dinner Tour, a four-mile kayak excursion through the serene Back Bay Wildlife Refuge that ends with a scrumptious seafood dinner at Blue Pete’s restaurant. And if learning about nature is more your style, discover how to pickle vegetables and make kombucha, among other cool culinary projects, at New Earth Farm Food Lab in nearby Pungo, or book an oyster-farm boat tour on the gorgeous Lynnhaven River with Pleasure House Oysters.

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The oyster farm boat tour with Pleasure House Oysters.

4. It’s a hot culinary destination and getting hotter by the day.
Over the past year, a host of uber-talented chefs have set up shop in the city’s emerging ViBe Creative District, located mere minutes inland from Resort Beach. Commune, the city’s first farmer-owned restaurant, is a destination in its own right; the bright, bustling breakfast and lunch spot could easily go toe-to-toe with farm-to-table restaurants in New York and Los Angeles. At dinnertime, the scene shifts next door to Esoteric, which sources from a garden out back that it shares with Commune to create fresh, European-influenced fare. Pay homage to the man who is credited with starting the culinary revolution in Virginia Beach—chef Rodney Einhorn—at Terrapin (near Resort Beach), his elegant restaurant that features elevated, farm-fresh dishes (see: the perfectly-produced duck with farro, pickled fennel, charred bunching onions, and an organic kale lemon-chicken demi-glace) and confidently-crafted cocktails that more than stand the test of time.

5. Coffee, coffee, buzz, buzz.
A quality coffee spot is essential to every destination, and Virginia Beach is overflowing with them. Leading the movement: Three Ships Coffee Roastery & Coffee Counter (in the ViBe District) roasts a variety of seasonal beans daily and offers a diverse array of coffee and espresso drinks (see: the unique Pungo Latte, seasonally sweetened with local ingredients like strawberries) in an industrial space decorated with nods to the area’s first settlers (like paintings of ships and a globe). Just minutes away at Roast Rider Coffee + Tea, curl up on an expansive brown leather couch and enjoy coffee brewed from small-batch beans.


The Pungo Latte at Three Ships Coffee.

6. Endless ways to drink up.
Wind down after a sun-filled day (or perk up for a fun-filled night!) with inspired, garden-infused cocktails at Esoteric. Or, get in on the city’s fast-growing craft beer scene by visiting a brewery: try the Duck Dive Pale Ale at the immensely popular Back Bay Brewing Co. (founded by a group of friends from Virginia Beach), or head over to the tasting room at local favorite Commonwealth Brewing Company, located in a charming old firehouse near Chesapeake Bay Beach.

Our Favorite Ways To Experience Virginia Beach’s Farm-Fresh Food Firsthand


Cocktails at Esoteric — The “C’Wealth” and the Whiskey Smash.

7. Your next piece of art (or furniture) is waiting for you.
Searching for a statement piece to spruce up your digs before fall rolls in? The ViBe District is the perfect place to do so. In “The Alley” (tucked right behind Three Ships Coffee), score stylized, retro (yet utterly modern) hand-painted signs at Igor’s Custom, or head next door to Benevolent Design Co. to find the perfect barstool or table crafted entirely out of reclaimed materials. And, one more door down at North End Bag Co., you’ll find exquisite handmade canvas and leather totes (plus other goods like aprons) that are works of art in their own right.


The North End Bag Co. shop in The Alley behind Three Ships.

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  1. Tammy Hindle

    Nice article about my hometown – all true !!! Best city to live in and for vacation 🙂

    July 28, 2016 at 12:24 pm
  2. A Barker

    But how pricey is it to stay for a week?

    July 28, 2016 at 8:02 pm
  3. Susan Harris

    VERY reasonable for a beach!

    August 4, 2016 at 12:27 pm
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    […] 7 Reasons Virginia Beach Should Be Your Next Summer Vacation […]

    August 9, 2016 at 11:23 am
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    August 23, 2016 at 1:15 pm
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  7. Liza Williams (@beachgiraffe)

    Have never been here. But now I know I will. Thanks for such a profound and engaging read.
    I have also started my beach vacatiob blog, you make check it at http://www.beachgiraffe.com/best-beach-chairs-reviews/. Thanks!

    September 3, 2016 at 4:41 am
  8. sally

    And if you want to experience the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel over to the Eastern Shore(toll) from VA Beach, Cape Charles’ Beach is huge…and not crowded either…and a cute little town to boot!

    September 17, 2016 at 6:27 pm
  9. Maureen E Ritter

    How pricey is it to rent a large beachfront family house for a week or two, compared with The Outer Banks and other areas?

    September 23, 2016 at 3:07 pm
  10. Frankie Williams

    I am looking forward to visiting this city.

    September 27, 2016 at 9:16 am
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    October 12, 2016 at 9:19 am
  12. Rachel

    Good morning, Avery!

    I have recently discovered your article, “7 Reasons Virginia Beach Should Be Your Next Summer Vacation” through Pinterest. Your article has probably helped many families over the years!

    My name is Rachel, and I am a fellow writer. I write stories and events for VirginiaBeach.com. I would love to be for VirginiaBeach.com to be back linked in this article.

    In exchange for a back link in your article, I would promote your article to VirginiaBeach.com’s Facebook page which has over 48,000 fans.

    I hope that this e-mail finds you well, and hope we can partner with this!

    Many thanks,

    October 14, 2016 at 10:08 am
  13. Jen

    Love Virginia Beach….we went there for years…now we have two small dogs and there are no nice pet friendly hotels…..yes there are some…but I would not stay in any of them…bed bugs…roaches…etc. Need more pet friendly hotels near the beach……

    November 13, 2016 at 9:17 am
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