If you want a specific location along the beach in Virginia Beach to visit, head to the fishing pier. This pier measures 1,000 feet long and is along the boardwalk on 15th street. This attraction is right in the middle of the resort area, making it a popular attraction. You don't need a license to fish and there is a bait-and-tackle shop right there, complete with rental equipment. You can also get a meal or snack at the bar and restaurant.
The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center proves that there is more to this city than just the beach. The aquarium holds more than 800,000 gallons of water as well as live animal habitats. There are marshlands, a nature trail, an outdoor aviary, and numerous hands-on exhibits. You will find 300 different species in the aquarium with thousands of animals in total. Other highlights include the Indonesian Volcanic Island, Chesapeake Bay Touch Pond, and Red Sea Habitat. The center also hosts a 3D IMAX theater for the chance to watch breathtaking films about the natural world in a comfortable atmosphere.
The family-friendly Ocean Breeze Waterpark is a great escape when you want to get in the water, but aren't in the mood for the sandy beach. There are 16 different water slides as well as the Buccaneer Bay Water Playground and Runaway Bay wave pool, the last of which has one million gallons of water. Float lazily along the Adventure River or get a souvenir at the gift shop or snack from the candy store or numerous food shops.
While in Virginia Beach, be sure to stop by Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. This 8500 acre area was created in 1938 with the goal of creating a protected spot where migrating or wintering waterfowl could stay. Today, nature lovers get the chance to see more than 300 species of birds, including endangered and threatened species. This top attraction also has multiple walking trails of varying lengths, perfect for jogging strollers. This particular attraction is ideal for when you want to truly interact with nature without man-made distractions.
Children in particular enjoy Captain Jack's Pirate Ship Adventures, which is a family-friendly short cruise on a pirate ship, the Lost Pearl. A period Spanish galleon served as the inspiration for the ship and children get to participate in the pirate show while enjoying a snack of pirate booty. You can also hunt for treasure or participate in a sword fight. The whole tour lasts about 1.5 hours.
First Landing State Park is one of the top attractions in Virginia Beach for all ages. The park is the most visited of all state parks in Virginia and was first created during the 1930s. There are 2,800 acres of land, making it possible to bike, hike, boat, and more. Extend your stay in the park by spending a night in a cabin or tent. This state park also has a long history; this is where the very first pilgrims who settled Jamestown left their ships. For the best experience, visit early to avoid the heat and get the chance to see animals like snakes and foxes.
History buffs should remember to visit the Old Coast Guard Station by the boardwalk and 24th street. This station is historic enough to be a Virginia Historic Landmark and to be part of the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to the old building, you will also find a large museum collection containing 1,800 museum pieces and 1,000 photos showing Virginia Beach's oceanic past. This museum helps get your children interested and can lead to some great conversations.
Rudee Rocket is a 70 foot long boat that gives visitors the chance to experience Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean in a new, exciting way. The ride is fast, but comfortable so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the adventure while keeping your eyes out for aquatic life like bottlenose dolphins. Rudee Rocket also passes by Cape Henry Lighthouse, a historic site, and goes close to the ocean front. There is even a guarantee that you'll see a dolphin while on the boat.
You don't need a lot of time to check out the King Neptune Statue along the boardwalk, but it is still worth adding to your checklist. This bronze statue is 34 feet high and seems to rise right out of the Atlantic Ocean from the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and 31st Street, where it overlooks Neptune Park. This statue honors the Neptune Festival held in September and volunteers from this festival raised the money to hire Paul DiPasquale to design and create this famous statue.
Although the building is named Adam Thoroughgood House, historians think that the man it was named for might not have ever lived in the building. Instead, they think that a grandson of his built the home during the late 1600s or early 1700s. No matter its origin, this historic building is among the oldest houses within Virginia and is a cozy brick building with a high-pitched roof and white-washed walls. There are 4.5 acres worth of gardens outside as well. You can even request a guided tour to learn more during your visit.