Virginia Beach Never Goes “Corporate”
A true original…The beach captured our hearts and the local eateries owned our taste buds!
Seems like every year we do one family vacation at a beach. The kids are at that age that all they want is to play in the sand and the surf and that works out great for us too…just decompress, right? Well, it turned out we had so much more in store for us! Our four day vacation to Virginia Beach captured our hearts…..the hotel was superb, the beach and vistas were amazing…and the food divine.
The smartest play I made was to contact the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau before our trip. They put together an itinerary that encompassed the best the region has to offer, built in plenty of beach time…and even took into account the age of our kids for suggested activities! It allowed us to hit the ground running and not waste a precious day or two getting organized and figurin out what to do. Use ’em! www.visitvirginiabeach.com
First, I’ve got to brag on our home away from home…the Sheraton Oceanfront. This perfect Atlantic Ave address is right on the beach and boardwalk and smack dab in the center of the action. We literally opened the patio door on our ocean front room, waked past the pool and our feet hit the sand and surf moments later. Modern and very comfortable, I would highly recommend making this home base when you plan your adventure. Beautiful indoor / outdoor pools and a very sharp restaurant keeps it all close and convenient. www.sheratonvirginiabeach.com is your gateway.
The boardwalk and beach were spectacular! Despite the early August date, we never felt crowded….and the vibe is just right…not too touristy, and (amazingly) not a McDonalds or Starbucks in sight on the main drag (before you pitch a fit… yes I love them too, but on vacation that’s a good thing) So, with local restaurants, shops and attractions taking center stage, Virginia Beach stands apart from the majority of “vacation destinations” we have visited in this regard…VB is very unique and truly, a class act. We loved “King Neptune” presiding over the boardwalk and oceanfront… Impressive!
Of course, we had to drag the kids off the beach for a few area attractions and activities, and boy that battle was worth it! We took a family eco-kayak trip through the Back Bay waterway with the Surf and Adventure Company. Our guide was John Streit, a great guy and very knowledgeable about the route and all things Virginia Beach. We had a beautiful mid morning with him and truly consider it a trip highlight. The photos speak for themselves and it felt like we were making great family memories in the process. I really enjoyed slowing things down and pointing out all the wildlife and plants to my little passenger. Not a bad workout, I’ll add! You must reach out to Surf and Adventure Company when you visit Virginia Beach….. They are a great group of people with good gear and the Back Bay waterway is a treasure. It’s clear they take a lot of pride in what they do. Check them out at surfandadventure.com
We also went to the Circus! Not the tigers and bears type…but a trip back in time to a 1930’s European-style “Cirquesa” where super human feats are the star attraction! “Cirquesa Dreamquest” is a 3 ring tent circus right in the heart of Virginia Beach and the show they put on was simply spellbinding! Again, the photos I took do a better job than I ever could to describe what a magical evening we had. There were times we couldn’t believe what we were seeing! We talked about that show for days and days…. Check out their website at www.cirquesavb.com
Now if you are like my family, dinner is a big deal on vacation….it’s entertainment in its own right and Virginia Beach is certainly blessed in this department. No need to lean on your typical corporate haunts, VB has decades old seafood legends and hot, trendy new spots to bring you back year after year. Again the Visitors Bureau’s recommendations were spot on….do yourself a favor and just copy them down now…..Waterman’s, Rockfellers, Bubba’s and Catch 31. Each and every night, only the best seafood we ever had! Period. Don’t ask me to pick just one…each restaurant has a personality and flavor all its own. Check out their websites and plan your attack in advance! If you are crab cake fans like us, you are in for a treat. Each eatery has its own distinctive recepie and you can plan your attack now. www.watermans.com www.rockafellers.com www.bubbasseafoodrestaurant.com www.catch31.com
We visited a historic lighthouse, scored some shopping time, ice cream breaks and a lot of smiles in between. We even went out on a dolphin-watching boat trip through Rudee Tours….we were a little worried that the kids might get seasick, but they had a blast and we were treated to a very comfortable ride. We had at least a dozen dolphin sightings in the hour and a half voyage up and down the coast! www.rudeetours.com for run times.
Ok, full disclosure…..being a Navy Reservist, I’m very partial to this Navy town. I knew the kids would enjoy seeing the big ships ….especially knowing that I wasnt going to leave on one, this time! Between the Navy Base, the City of Norfolk, and Virginia Beach….this region has so much to offer. Not too far away is Jamestown Plantation / Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens……that’s next trip!
Hope our little adventure helps chart a steady course for your visit to Virginia Beach! I know you will come home as refreshed, relaxed and fufilled as we did!
(Just a few more images from an amazing vacation! Enjoy)