Get off the beach to discover these 10 great Virginia Beach experiences

Virginia Beach is more than just its stunning coastline. Explore these hidden gems for a unique and offbeat adventure when you’ve had enough sun and sand.

Discover the untouched beauty of First Landing State Park

First Landing State Park, nestled along the Chesapeake Bay, offers an idyllic escape from the bustling city. Wander through lush forests, where sunlight filters through the leaves and listen to the gentle rustle of wildlife. Explore serene beaches, their sands untouched by the crowds. The park’s name was changed in 1997 from Seashore State Park to First Landing State Park to reflect its heritage as the first place where members of the Virginia Company landed. They went on to settle Jamestown.

Step back in time at the Military Aviation Museum

The Military Aviation Museum whisks you away to an era of propellers and daring pilots. Marvel at over 50 vintage aircraft from World War I and World War II, including some of the most iconic planes of all time, which have been meticulously restored to their former glory. Learn about aviation history through interactive exhibits and passionate guides. As you walk among these flying relics, you’ll gain a newfound appreciation for the pioneers who soared through the skies.

Birdwatchers’ paradise: Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge beckons birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike. Wander along winding trails that lead to hidden observation points. Binoculars in hand, spot migratory birds as they rest in the marshes. Listen to their melodic calls and witness their graceful flight. This refuge is a sanctuary where the natural world unfolds its secrets.

Uncover Virginia Beach’s maritime history at the Old Coast Guard Station

The Old Coast Guard Station is a treasure trove of maritime heritage. Step inside this historic building to discover tales of shipwrecks, daring rescues, and the brave men and women who patrolled the coast. Explore exhibits showcasing lifesaving equipment, vintage uniforms and captivating photographs. As you immerse yourself in the past, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the ocean’s power and the guardians who stood watch.

Dive into local culture at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)

The Virginia MOCA is a hidden gem for art aficionados. Explore thought-provoking contemporary exhibits that challenge conventions and ignite conversations. From avant-garde installations to boundary-pushing sculptures, this museum celebrates creativity in all its forms. Engage with local artists during workshops and gallery talks. Whether you’re an art connoisseur or a curious traveller, MOCA promises an enriching experience.

Unearth the mysteries of the Cape Henry Lighthouse

The Cape Henry Lighthouse stands as a sentinel at the entrance to Chesapeake Bay. Climb its spiraling staircase to the top, where panoramic views await. Gaze across the water, imagining the ships that once navigated these treacherous shores. Learn about its storied past—the keepers who tended its flame, the storms it weathered, and the role it played in maritime history. As the salty breeze tousles your hair, you’ll feel a connection to the mariners who guided ships to safety.

Savour coastal flavours at the Virginia Beach Farmers Market

Committed to preserving and celebrating the city’s rural heritage, the Virginia Beach Farmers Market is more than just a place to shop—it’s a sensory delight. Wander through stalls laden with fresh produce, artisanal cheeses and fragrant flowers. Sample local honey, sip on freshly pressed apple cider and chat with friendly vendors. Don’t miss the seafood market, where briny oysters and succulent crabs beckon. Whether you’re a foodie or simply seeking a taste of Virginia’s coastal bounty, this market is a must-visit.

Explore the historic Cape Henry Memorial Cross

The Cape Henry Memorial Cross stands atop a grassy hill, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Visit this historic site to honour the first English settlers who landed here in 1607. As you ascend the steps, imagine their awe as they glimpsed the vast expanse of the New World. The cross symbolizes resilience, hope and the enduring spirit of exploration. Take in the breathtaking views, and reflect on the shared human journey across time and tides.

Discover hidden art at the ViBe Creative District murals

The ViBe Creative District isn’t just about galleries; it’s a canvas that spills onto the streets. Explore vibrant murals that adorn walls, transforming mundane surfaces into works of art. Each mural tells a story—of resilience, diversity, and the human experience. From abstract patterns to thought-provoking messages, these outdoor masterpieces invite you to pause, reflect and appreciate the power of creativity.

Unearth treasures at the Lynnhaven Dive Center

The Lynnhaven Dive Center is a diver’s paradise. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a curious beginner, this center offers underwater adventures. Explore shipwrecks, encounter colourful marine life, and feel the weightlessness of the deep. Dive into the mysteries of the ocean, guided by experienced instructors. As you descend, you’ll discover a world hidden beneath the waves—a world waiting to reveal its secrets.

ENS Editors

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