When visiting Virginia Beach, it would be more than easy to simply throw on your bathing suit, grab a towel, and set up camp for the day somewhere along the city’s 35 miles of pristine coastline. But really, there’s so much more to do than sunbathe — Virginia Beach is home to a spectacular array of activities that’ll get you up, moving, and exploring nature in new ways. Here are the three best ones to check out.
1. Get your paddle on.
Located on Narrows Beach in the middle of First Landing State Park, taking a SUP Barre class is the ideal way to mix aquatic fun with a bit of fitness. With founder (and Virginia Beach local) Whitney Lee as your spirit guide, hop a stand-up paddle board with a small group of classmates and paddle together to the other side of the gorgeous inlet, where the water is calmer. There, drop your anchor (yes, each of Lee’s SUPs has its own mini-anchor) and let Lee guide you through a series of ballet and yoga-inspired moves, all while balancing on your board. But beginners needn’t worry — all of Lee’s exercises are easily modified, and the overall vibe of the class is relaxing and rejuvenating.
2. Fly up, up and away.
What better way to experience Virginia Beach’s coastal charm than from the sky? Book a plane ride in an authentic wartime aircraft (like a 1941 Boeing Stearman or a 1989 Waco YMF-5) with the Military Aviation Museum (located near Sandbridge Beach) and score a stunning birds-eye view of the city’s lush countryside, Intracoastal Waterway and pristine Back Bay Wildlife Refuge. And once you land, there’s even more to see: the Museum is home to a beautiful collection of more than 60 airplanes (including the Mustang, Corsair, Spitfire and more) from World Wars I and II, as well as the Korean War. You can even take a peek inside the planes!
3. Take to the trees.
Explore Virginia Beach Adventure Park (at the Virginia Aquarium), an aerial forest park stretching across six gorgeous acres of tree canopy, making it the largest park of its kind in the state. The park boasts over 20 zip lines — the longest runs 315 feet and crosses Owl’s Creek — and 15 aerial trails. Plus, there’s something there for true thrill-seekers and beginners alike: no prior climbing experience is required (kids as young as five can climb!), and the trails span six difficulty levels (with the most challenging ones reaching up to 55 feet above the forest floor).