When you’re looking online for the best things to do in Virginia Beach, you do in fact want to see things that you can do in Virginia Beach.
Believe me, I adore Busch Gardens Williamsburg and the Nauticus is neat and all, but neither of those are in Virginia Beach. Nearby? Sure. But they’re nearly an hour from Virginia Beach.
So, here’s a list of 40 best things to do in Virginia Beach that are actually within the city and recommended by a lifelong local.
The following attractions are wide in variety–free things to do, relatively cheap family activities to kick off your Virginia Beach vacation, unique tours and experiences like dolphin spotting and indoor skydiving… Everything on this list are either popular attractions or local hidden gems.
I’ve lived here in Virginia Beach for 20+ years and am well versed in what the most fun things to get into are. So, without any further ado, here are the forty fun and best things to do in Virginia Beach.
(Note: Attractions and activities are listed in no particular order.)
Related Reading: 25 Ways To Celebrate Turning 25 In Virginia
- Best Things To Do In Virginia Beach
- #1: Oceanfront (Virginia Beach Boardwalk)
- #2: Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
- #3: Atlantic Fun Park
- #4: Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
- #5: Adventureworks Wetland Ziplines
- #6: Ocean Breeze Waterpark
- #7: Old Cape Henry Lighthouse
- #8: First Landing State Park
- #9: Motor World
- #10: Hunt Club Farm
- #11: Jungle Golf
- #12: Atlantic Avenue Nightmare House
- #13: Chesapean Outdoors Dolphin Kayak Tour
- #14: Virginia Beach Fishing Pier
- #15: Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art
- #16: Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum
- #17: Atlantic Military Aviation Museum
- #18: False Cape State Park
- #19: Beach Eco Tours
- #20: Rudee Flipper Dolphin Tours
- #21: The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Dinner Show
- #22: Breakout Games
- #23: Nature Bus Riding Rapids
- #24: Nature Bus Painting in Nature
- #25: Pirate Parasail
- #26: IFLY Indoor Skydiving
- #27: Funny Bone Comedy Club
- #28: Ferry Plantation House
- #29: Cinema Cafe
- #30: Top Golf
- #31: Vibe Creative District
- #32: Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum
- #33: Sandbridge Beach
- #34: Mount Trashmore Park
- #35: Neptune Festival
- #36: Wetland Zip Tour
- #37: Ghosts of the Coast Walking Tour
- #38: Blue Pete's Restaurant
- #39: Oishii Burger
- #40: Chix On The Beach
Best Things To Do In Virginia Beach
#1: Oceanfront (Virginia Beach Boardwalk)
Virginia Beach is rarely in a sentence without the Oceanfront. The Oceanfront is the main attraction with an abundance of more attractions within itself. It features the bustling 3-mile long Virginia Beach boardwalk and a beach. Along the boardwalk itself are biking trails, sculptures (like King Neptune Statue), popular restaurants, ocean view hotels, festival grounds, and nightlife entertainments.
The beach itself is free, but be forewarned that parking costs vary up to $10. Click here for more information.
#2: Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
The Aquarium is another fun, indoor (for those super hot days) staple in Virginia Beach with a convenient location near the Oceanfront. It boasts over 12,000 aquatic animals from seals to sharks within their exhibits of 800,000 gallons of water. A treat with this is that there is an outdoor exhibit at its entrance that’s free. So, if you don’t have the time for a full aquarium excursion, you can still check out some seals.
#3: Atlantic Fun Park
So, this amusement park is more akin to a permanent carnival nestled on the Oceanfront. But, it’s a great evening activity for the family to enjoy before retreating to your hotel down the street. It has a myriad of flat rides, one being a Ferris wheel so you’ll be getting the best views of the beach. And to boot, it features a number of attractions for folks who aren’t looking to ride.
A nice perk to Atlantic Fun Park is that it isn’t as expensive as Virginia’s other amusement parks. Admission is free and ride tickets are $1-$2 for one or $25-$40 for all rides. You can learn more about the park here.
#4: Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Now, Back Bay is a hidden gem. As such, it’s something that quite a few locals miss out on because it is so tucked away. But, I promise it’s worth the ride to the opposite end of Virginia Beach! There are beaches, numerous hiking trails, kayak opportunities, and stunning views of the marshes.
All sorts of little critters roam around including crabs, birds, and small snakes. It’s a really serene area that takes you from the modern world and puts you in the middle of natural beauty.
This is another free thing to do in Virginia Beach though there are certain times of year that parking is $5 for the day. For more information, get your fill.
#5: Adventureworks Wetland Ziplines
Located in the wetlands near the ocean, the Adventureworks adventure park is an hour and a half zip tour through the forest canopy. A total of 9 zip lines make up this tour with the highest point being 60 feet high and the longest line being 1000 feet. A bonus tour is available for booking, featuring another 9 zip tours with the max height at 85 feet and 650-foot length. This tour is 90 minutes as well but includes a bonfire and s’mores at its conclusion.
Prices for the regular and bonus tour are can be found on their website and all the details about the adventure park can be found in their FAQ section.
#6: Ocean Breeze Waterpark
Trust me when I say you won’t miss Ocean Breeze even if you tried. Just look for the massive gorilla statue, you’ll know where to go. Ocean Breeze is a lovely local waterpark. In more recent years, they’ve dumped a lot of money into refining the park. I can’t recommend Ocean Breeze enough. It’s a unique, charming little spot and one of my favorite things to do in Virginia Beach. And I must say, Jungle Falls is a classic so please ride it for me when you’re there.
As if it’s charm and family friendliness weren’t enough, it’s also a fairly affordable, fun thing to do in Virginia Beach. Ticket prices vary under $50. Sounds too good to be true right? If you don’t believe me, here’s their site for more information.
#7: Old Cape Henry Lighthouse
The Old Cape Henry Lighthouse is a neat one for history fanatics. Technically there are two Lighthouses by the same name, one “old” and one “new.” The first one was built in 1792 and is the one open for tours and climbs. And, the “newer” one was built in 1881,
so it’s still old, and is currently closed to the public.
The latter of the two is the more recognizable for its black and white striped color scheme. However, the former has a more notable background as it was the first federally funded public works project of the brand new United States government.
The admission to the original tower is $10, because yay there’s another cheap thing to do! The details can be found included on the same page as the admission rates.
#8: First Landing State Park
Another historic spot, First Landing State Park was where the first elective government in America was established before the colonists made off for what would become Jamestowne. As such, in 1933 the moves were made to make the area an official park. A cottage from that year still stands as a historical relic.
But more recently, the site is home to cabins for renting, campsites for camping, 19 miles of hiking trails for- well, you get it. Boating, kayaking, picnicking, swimming, biking, and tours are a few other activities available at this park.
#9: Motor World
If you’ve found Ocean Breeze, then you’ve found Motor World as well as both parks sit side by side. As the name implies, Motor World includes 11 different go-kart tracks, 250 karts, and 16 kart styles.
And, if you’re looking for another fun thing to do in Virginia Beach specifically for kids, you’ll find a Kiddie City of amusement rides for the little ones. Adrenaline junkies aren’t exempt, the ever towering Skycoaster is a fun ride or at the very least, a fun watch. Topping Motor World off is a bumper boat attraction and a 36 hole mini-golf course.
Each go-kart race is $11 a pop and the mini-golf is $14. An unlimited 3 hour go at the karts, rides, and golf courses is $70 per person. All of which and the information for such can be found here.
#10: Hunt Club Farm
Hunt Club Farm showcases the lesser thought of aspect to Virginia Beach. There was a time where there was pretty much nothing but fields for farming and beaches. But, a piece of that lives on through this 35 acre family owned farm land.
It offers all sorts of activities including a petting farm, pony rides, hay rides, treewalk family playground and numerous festivals. They also have a farmer’s market for florals, crops, decor, and various outdoorsy trinkets.
#11: Jungle Golf
This Virginia Beach attraction is an Oceanfront mini-golf course and a classic staple in the roster for things to do for a fun evening with the whole family. As evident in name, Jungle Golf is jungle themed with foliage, waterfalls, wooden bridges, and big animal statues decorating the 18 holes. In addition, they have a new indoor arcade and a food bar for cooling off after your putt.
A map of their course and menu of their food bar is available through this link.
#12: Atlantic Avenue Nightmare House
Now this one is for the children of the night who spend everyday counting down to Halloween. The Nightmare House is an indoor haunted house located conspicuously on Atlantic Avenue. On the building’s exterior you’ll find a skeleton leering at passersby from its perch on the decrepit, gothic looking facade. It’s themed to a manor in which the owner and his family disappeared unexpectedly.
Admission to the Nightmare House is $15 and here is the full backstory for this haunt.
#13: Chesapean Outdoors Dolphin Kayak Tour
As you’d imagine, this is another Virginia Beach popular attraction. Through this tour, you can see some bottle-nosed dolphins up close from your sit-on-board kayak. The route you’ll travel will be a 2 hour guided excursion along the North End Shoreline. The Dolphin Kayak Tour runs only through May to October.
Booking for this tour is $63 per person.
Related Reading: Swimming With Dolphins In Virginia
#14: Virginia Beach Fishing Pier
The Virginia Beach Fishing Pier is a hot spot for its activities. There is the fishing and crabbing, with rentals for both available, but the pier is also open to spectators, shoppers, and diners. Additionally, multiple reviews online vouch for the prime catch of both fish and crabs, as well as the food from Ocean Eddie’s. Bike rentals and a gift shop are also located on the pier.
Admission can run roughly a couple dollars to $10 depending on whether you’re spectating or fishing. And believe it or not, the pier does have its own website.
#15: Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art
MOCA, the Museum of Contemporary Art, joins the roster of free things to do in Virginia Beach with a convenient location by the Oceanfront. The museum is ran by a non-profit institution who showcases renowned national and regional artists in an ever changing gallery. The museum has four components to it; the gallery exhibitions, studio art classes, educational outreach programs, and outdoor art shows.
You do have to reserve your date through their website, but the tickets are free. You can thank Sentara Healthcare for that. The entirety of MOCA can essentially be found digitally in case you’d like a preliminary look.
#16: Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum
Virginia Beach’s coastal and maritime heritage is honored by this museum just off the Boardwalk. It’s the type of attraction where if you’re strolling down the boardwalk and want to get out of the elements, there’s a neat spot to pop into.
Another unique bonus is that it can be explored virtually, so you can fit it in from home or the hotel. Topping it off, ghost walk tours are offered to acquaint you with the coastal residents of yesteryears.
Admission for this museum is solely donation based.
#17: Atlantic Military Aviation Museum
As you’d imagine, this is a cool one for aviation nuts. It’s got one of the largest collections of WWI & WWII aircraft in the world, all of which have been restored using as many of the original parts as possible. The main hub is naturally the hangars of military aircraft to explore. This is accompanied by museum airshows and aircraft rides. So, if you’re looking to ride a 1941 military trainer aircraft around Virginia Beach, then this is your go to spot.
Admissions vary depending on the visitor’s age while the plane rides are typically a couple hundred dollars.
#18: False Cape State Park
False Cape is another place with a nice touch of history to it. Moreover, it’s one of the last remaining areas along the coast that has not been developed. Native Americans, the Wash Wood community, and Little Island Coast Guard Station resided here previously before the site became a state park nearby Back Bay. The only way you can get to the park is by walking, biking, or taking a boat or tram.
Guided kayak trips, primitive camping, interpretive programs, hiking and biking trails, and 6 miles of beach can all be enjoyed there.
For more information on the grounds and its amenities, the state has a page dedicated to it.
#19: Beach Eco Tours
Given the fact that this is Virginia Beach, there are a lot of water-based tour activities. But each of the ones mentioned here bring something unique to the table. The Beach Eco Tours is the area’s top dog for stand up paddle boarding.
On this tour, you are hosted by a skilled guide who’ll have people of all ages and experiences paddle boarding like a pro. From there, you get to sight see and explore the wildlife who inhabit the First Landing Narrows. They also do wave riding lessons and tours along the Oceanfront.
A surplus of reviews are available on TripAdvisor and booking can be done through their site.
#20: Rudee Flipper Dolphin Tours
If you’re looking for something that can be enjoyed by the wee little ones or one doesn’t pose the risk of falling in the water, the Rudee Flipper Dolphin Tours is your go to.
The Rudee Flipper is a South Sea Catamaran cruise with two levels, restrooms, climate control, snack bar, adult beverages, and is handicap accessible. The boat tours are a 90-minute tour led by marine experts who know the best spots along the coast to find dolphins.
Booking and more information can be found here.
#21: The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Dinner Show
The name is a mouthful, I know. But it’s fitting since the show is the largest interactive comedy murder mystery dinner in the country. The kick with this one is that the actors are incognito amongst the crowd, so you don’t know who’s the audience and who’s part of the show. A four course dinner will be served throughout the show.
You’ll find this is one of two attractions on this list where you can enjoy both dinner and a show simultaneously. It’s definitely a unique experience if you’re looking for one in Virginia Beach.
The theater gives a glimpse of what you can expect, dinner menus, and the possibility to frame one of your friends in the show.
#22: Breakout Games
If solving mysteries is your thing, Breakout Games is another fun attraction. It’s an escape room where you and your group have to solve various riddles, puzzles, codes, and so forth in one hour in order to breakout. And there are all sorts of different story lines to get into such as Mystery Mansion or Operation: Casino. They even have an online game with a series of mysteries to solve too.
You can make your reservation through their list of story lines.
#23: Nature Bus Riding Rapids
The Nature Bus has quite a few entertainments, this just being one of them. Now being fully honest, Virginia is not typically the first place you think of to go rafting. But with this experience, you get a full day of rafting with an expert tour guide. You pick what class of rapids you want to brave, ranging from easy to difficult.
The price for the expedition is $85 per person for the full 9 hours.
#24: Nature Bus Painting in Nature
Another of Nature Bus’ offerings is the Painting in Nature experience. With this, you spend 4 hours in the great outdoors with a local artist who will guide you on taking the scene before you and bringing it to life on canvas. Any experience level is welcomed, including those like me who couldn’t paint to save anyone.
This experience costs $30 per person, all the materials needed included.
#25: Pirate Parasail
If you’re looking to enjoy Virginia Beach’s aquatics from a unique perspective, look up… or look down. Look up to where you’ll be looking down from a parasail. Pirate Parasail takes you 1000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean right by the Oceanfront and the Boardwalk. The activity won’t eat too much of your day up either at just an hour long, so it’s a great way to kick off the morning before lunch.
The cost for Pirate Parasail is $80 per person, but you can take 10% off using the discount code parasail. Additional details are also available using the link above.
#26: IFLY Indoor Skydiving
You won’t catch me jumping out of a plane. Yes, I’ll live on the tallest coaster in the world but I’m not free falling through thin air. Fortunately, if you can relate to me in that sense, there’s an alternative. Yet another activity on the Oceanfront is indoor skydiving for children of all ages 3 and up.
There’s a number of packages for booking flights, but one thing is for certain–you’ll be flying more than once. If you really don’t want to, you can still spectate and watch your friends flail around.
#27: Funny Bone Comedy Club
Funny Bone is a mention for the 21+ crowd. It’s a club where the bar opens a half hour prior to show start, seating is a first come first serve basis, and the comedian will roast you if you go in looking… bold, should I say? You know the gist. The comedy club features a surplus of comedians, notable ones including Tim Allen, Gabriel Iglesias, Dave Chappelle, and more.
#28: Ferry Plantation House
The Ferry House carries the history of the Lynnhaven area in Virginia Beach. The current building that stands today was built in 1830 after the previous one burned down. Today, the house has been turned into a museum for history tours and ghost tours. The earliest reports of known paranormal occurrences at the site began in the 20th century and carried on through the rest of that period to today.
Admission to the Ferry House is donation based. You can read more about its history and its paranormal here.
#29: Cinema Cafe
Cinema Cafe is a movie theater that doubles as a restaurant. They’ve recently replaced their theater tables with rows of recliners with built in tabletops that can be tucked away so you can properly sprawl out with space for days. Whenever I go to Cinema Cafe, it’s more often for the food and recliners rather than whatever movie’s showing.
Menus, showtimes, and events are available.
#30: Top Golf
Top Golf takes golf to the next level. Okay I had to add this in because I didn’t catch it initially, that pun was not intended but it’s welcomed. It’s a multi-level complex consisting of over a hundred bays, personal TVs in each bay, a sports bar, a restaurant, pool tables, and tabletop fire pits in their outdoor seating areas. It’s a versatile spot adept for occasions from kids’ birthday parties to corporate events.
Depending on which day and time of the week you go, prices vary from $27 to $50. Prices, information, and FAQ can be found here.
#31: Vibe Creative District
The Vibe Creative District is an arts and cultural hub in Virginia Beach near the Oceanfront. And you’ll know when you’ve found it, because you’ll find the streets, sidewalks, parks, and local businesses decked out in artwork and sculptures by local artists. Craft stores, coffee shops, barbecue restaurants, spas, distilleries, live music, performing arts, farmers markets, and more can be found throughout the Vibe Creative District.
#32: Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum
Residing in the historic 1895 Queen Anne style home, the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum is a museum covering Virginia Beach history and wildfowl heritage. Located on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, this attraction perfect for history buffs doubles as a free thing to do in Virginia Beach though donations are welcome if you’re so inclined. It also has live carving demonstrations and a beach shop inside.
#33: Sandbridge Beach
If you’re looking for a more lowkey Virginia Beach beach experience without the touristy hustle and bustle of the Oceanfront, Sandbridge Beach is a secluded beach of sand dunes and nature trails. Seafood restaurants, ice cream shops, beach house rentals, state parks, and Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge reside in Sandbridge Beach.
#34: Mount Trashmore Park
I know, Trashmore, what a name… nonetheless, Mount Trashmore is a former landfill repurposed as a public park with trails, a skate park, playground, volleyball areas, and picnic pavilions. It’s 165 acres and its longest trails runs just a skim shy of 2 miles long. During the summer months, the Delleger carnival sets up onsite with a myriad of fair rides including a Ferris wheel. On the 4th of July, the park hosts a firework show.
It is a great park to visit despite its name and former purpose and the fact that the old wooden playground was ten times better than the current one and that riding cardboard boxes down the 60 foot man-made mountains is no longer allowed… I promise.
#35: Neptune Festival
The Neptune Festival is also a bit deceptive in name, but for totally different reasons than the last attraction’s. The Neptune Festival is not one particular festival that happens during a particular season in Virginia Beach, it is over 40 special events held in Virginia Beach throughout the year.
Golf tournaments, craft shows, sand sculpting competitions, volleyball tournaments, parades, art shows, beer festivals, concert series, and more are just a few of the events held throughout the year as part of the Neptune Festival.
#36: Wetland Zip Tour
This 90-minute tour will take you through the unique forest ecosystem of Virginia Beach in a thrilling, heart-pumping way.
The Wetland Zip Tour is a series of ziplines and challenges that can reach a height of 80 feet in the air. You’ll zoom down lines of up to 1200 feet long while taking in stunning views of the forest below. The tour is led by experienced guides who take safety very seriously, so you can focus on exhilaration and not have to worry about safety.
Booking your Wetland Zip Tour here comes with a lowest price guarantee and an opportunity to reserve now and pay anytime up to 2 days before your trip. And make sure you book your tour in advance! It’s one of the most popular ones and is recommended by 96% of travelers to Virginia Beach.
#37: Ghosts of the Coast Walking Tour
This haunted tour takes you along the Virginia Beach Oceanfront boardwalk and highlights some of the area’s most paranormal hotspots. From the Norwegian Lady Statue, a memorial to an 1891 shipwreck, to the Virginia Beach Surf and Rescue Museum, you’ll hear ghostly maritime histories as you discover a darker side to the Atlantic coast.
If this paranormal perspective of Virginia Beach suits your fancy, you can schedule your tour now with a lowest price guarantee. You can pay for it anytime up to 2 days in advance and cancel it for a full refund up to 24 hours in advance.
#38: Blue Pete’s Restaurant
Nestled in the Pungo countryside, Blue Pete’s Restaurant is a hidden gem housed in a beautifully decorated historic building dating back to the early 1900s, with a rustic and cozy ambiance. It’s renowned for its fresh seafood dishes including crab cakes and shrimp and grits. Additionally, they offer a range of land-based options like steaks and gourmet burgers.
#39: Oishii Burger
Located in the heart of Virginia Beach, Oishii Burger is a one-of-a-kind fusion of Japanese and American flavors. The restaurant has a diverse range of burger creations, such as the Tokyo Teriyaki Burger (topped with teriyaki-glazed beef, caramelized onions, & Japanese mayo sauce) and the popular Shiitake Zen Burger (with marinated shiitake mushrooms & umami-infused toppings).
#40: Chix On The Beach
Chix On The Beach is a family-friendly restaurant on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk that’s great for soaking up the sunshine and enjoying fresh seafood. Their menu features a wide selection of dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, including grilled fish, shrimp cocktail, and classic beachside fare like fish tacos and lobster rolls. Depending on the night, you can also enjoy live entertainment at Chix.
this list is ending, there’s more fun things to do in Virginia Beach & free things to do in Virginia Beach. There are so many free things to do in Virginia Beach and fun things to do in Virginia Beach.
And with that, we’ve reached the end of our quest of what to do in Virginia Beach.
Hopefully a few of these fit your fancy! Virginia Beach is not Orlando or LA by any means, but it’s still a great place that has got a lot to offer with its own distinct flair to it.
The Oceanfront and Boardwalk area alone have so many things to do, as in I keep finding new, interesting places still and I’ve lived here for 20+ years. Not to mention, it’s also a hot spot for free things to do and enjoy. Not all popular attractions need to break the bank!
There’s a surplus to do in the coastal city of Virginia Beach, so get to doing!
What’s your favorite thing to do in Virginia Beach?
For more Virginia Beach trip ideas, you can also check out:
- 10 Things To Do at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront
- The Best Tours In Virginia Beach
- Ultimate Virginia Beach Restaurants Guide
- Best Brunch In Virginia Beach
Thanks for reading!