Longing to get away from the city and hit the surf? Consider a four-hour drive to Virginia Beach, Virginia, where you’ll find not one but three separate beaches. The town is located right where the Chesapeake Bay empties into the Atlantic Ocean, so you can play along the most developed stretch of ocean coast, swim in the calmer waters on the bay side, or head south to a quiet barrier peninsula on the edge of town called Sandbridge Beach, where there are no hotels, only vacation cottages.
Apart from the beaches, in the central resort area you’ll find a three-mile boardwalk ranked among the best in the country by the Discovery Channel, with a dedicated bike lane and four oceanfront stages offering live music every night of the summer. Elsewhere in town you can race go-carts; ride your skateboard on a reclaimed landfill dubbed Mt. Trashmore; get a peek under the water’s surface at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center; watch dance, music, or theater at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts; eat at one of nearly 300 restaurants; or birdwatch in Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge or the vast cypress wetland of Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. Whale watching voyages and a great farmer’s market round out the area’s diverse offerings.
For a complete guide to all of Virginia Beach’s attractions, visit www.vbfun.com.
Parking: Parking at one of the garages in town will run you between $5 and $7 a day.
Driving directions: Take Interstate 95 south to Richmond, then take I-295 south to I-64 east. At Newport News exit onto I-264 east and follow that out to Virginia Beach.