Situated on the Atlantic at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Beach boasts more inhabitants than any other city in the state of Virginia. Primarily a resort city, there’s a plethora of options for travelers from all walks of life to be found in the area. However, parents may be surprised to learn how many kid-friendly attractions there are in Virginia Beach, a respectable selection of which are relatively free from the more commercial trappings in comparable resort cities across the country. If you’re considering Virginia Beach as a possibility for your next family vacation destination, here are ten of the attractions that your kids are sure to love.
- Back Bay Restoration Foundation Tram Tours (Virginia Beach, VA 23451) – About an hour after boarding the tram at Little Island City Park, you’ll alight in False Cape. Along the way, you’ll pass through a refuge that’s home to a wide variety of animals and wildlife, including great blue herons, ospreys, foxes and turtles. Visitors are alloted two hours in which to hike, enjoy a picnic and explore the area before heading back. Don’t miss the rangers and volunteers on site, who will gladly point out sites of interest and nearby animals.
- Beach Eco Tours (Virginia Beach, VA 23451) – Even if no one in your family has experience with stand-up paddleboarding, Beach Eco Tours assures that you’ll all be able to navigate well enough to enjoy the scenery while honing your skills. There’s even the possibility of dolphin-spotting, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled.
- Boardwalk (Virginia Beach, VA 23451) – Beaches along the East Coast are dotted with boardwalks, but the three-mile stretch of cafes, stores, entertainment options and even live performances offered along Virginia Beach is among the best. Renovations have been completed, offering an updated version of this timeless classic.
- Capt. Jack’s Pirate Ship Adventures (Virginia Beach, VA 23451) – Few things are as universally adored by children as pirates, which is why this themed adventure in Virginia Beach is sure to please. Water cannons, Spanish galleons and Blackbeard are all part of the fun, with free admission and plenty of excitement on hand.
- Carolanne Farms Park (Virginia Beach, VA 23451) – Whether your brood is made up of naturally outdoorsy types or you’re determined to instill a love of nature in them, the kayaking facility at Carolanne Farms Park is a great launch site. Keep in mind, however, that there is no outfitter on premises, so you will need to secure your own equipment and any necessary instruction.
- American Indoor Go-Karting (Virginia Beach, VA 23452) – Satisfy that need for speed that so many kids seem to have at American Indoor Go-Karting, which offers a discounted rate for customers that pre-purchase their tickets by calling ahead. If you have a particularly large family in tow, they also offer private event accommodations.
- Chesapean Outdoors (Virginia Beach, VA 23451) – The chance to surf or kayak with the dolphins doesn’t come very often in a lifetime, but it’s all part of the fun at Chesapean Outdoors. Instructors provide visitors with plenty of direction and “learner” boards designed for beginners. Confirmed land-lubbers can also get in on the fun, with guided bicycle tour of the oceanfront and surrounding historical wilderness. You and your family can also hike along the same paths once taken by the first explorers!
- First Landing State Park (Virginia Beach, VA 23451) – Rare plants, graceful cypress trees and lagoons are just a few of the examples of breathtaking natural beauty that you’ll find at First Landing State Park, which boasts more than nineteen miles of hiking trails, guided tours and even camping in climate-controlled cabins.
- Hunt Club Farm – Petting Farm (Virginia Beach, VA 23456) – City-dwelling kids may not get the opportunity to personally interact with farm animals very often, but there are plenty of domestic creatures at Hunt Club Farm. Feed the goats, meet the donkeys and watch pot-bellied pigs cavorting before embarking on a pony ride, a sure-fire way to help your kids learn more about farm animals in a controlled environment.
- Mount Trashmore Park (Virginia Beach, VA 23462) – More than one-hundred and sixty-five acres of man-made mountains, lakes, playgrounds and skate parks sprawl across Mount Trashmore Park, a former land fill that was reclaimed using largely eco-friendly practices. If you have the proper license, you can even fish in the lakes!
While there are so many exciting entertainment options in Virginia Beach, it’s a good idea to remember the distinction for which it’s named, which has been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest pleasure beach in the world. Slather on some sunscreen and hit the beach for a bit of lighthearted fun!