As you know, our family loves to travel. It is high up on the priority list for us of things we want to do with our life. So much so, that I recently decided to make a travel section on the blog. With recent trips to Ireland, London, and NY – it seemed only fitting. Being married to a traveling man has its perks after all.
That being said, we absolutely LOVE where we live. And with the start of a new travel section, I want to celebrate our home. Virginia Beach kind of ROCKS after all. We absolutely LOVE where we live, and feel so blessed to be able to call VA Beach home. Rated as one of the top 5 cities in America to raise a family, Virginia Beach has a number of protected state parks, military bases that provide safe environments, and tons of museums. And of course….our BEACHES. The Virginia Beach boardwalk is rated one of the top 7 board walks in America.
I feel like there is never a day that goes by when I am ‘bored’. That is, unless I am simply not trying. So when Hyundai and Drive Shop USA offered a new Hyundai Santa Fe Sport for me to drive around in for the week, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to showcase Virginia Beach activities for families.
Family friendly activities in Virginia Beach.
*Please note – Hyundai and Drive Shop USA provided the car for me to drive around town in, in return for a post featuring their car. They in no way added information or activities for this list. All opinions are 100% my own.
Top things to do with kids in Virginia Beach
1. Go to the Beach
With the plethora of beaches available to us here in Virginia Beach, this is a natural number 1 pick. The best beaches are:
For tourist activities – the main Boardwalk. Here you can rent a surrey, rent bikes, go parasailing, go fishing, charter a boat, or just have some good old fashioned fun in the sand. The boardwalk is rather large though – so if you have young children, I recommend going to either 31st street -OR- 1st street. Both have playgrounds directly on the beach for more family friendly entertainment. On a side note, the Boardwalk in the Summer is great for date night! My husband and I will take our bikes and bike down the path, stopping at all of the beach concerts along the way to dance and eat. For a list of Summer boardwalk activities and concerts, click HERE.
For surfing – sandbridge beach. On the other end of town, the perfect pristine beach setting that gets the best waves (in my humble opinion). Sandbridge sees less tourist activity simply because it does not have any hotel on this stretch of beach, but there are still hundreds of homes for families to rent all year long. Great for family reunions!
For locals – North end. Good luck finding parking at this beach, but it is the least crowded beach you will find in town. Also, no tourists = cleanest beach.
For no waves…at all – Chick’s beach. A local favorite for those with young kids. You can feel safe watching your kids play in the bay, where no waves will carry them out to sea.
ALSO – depending on the time of year you visit, our beaches are known for the variety of activities they have to offer! From monster truck shows, to the ultimate sand castle competition, to art festivals, to live music and fireworks all Summer long, to christmas lights on the beach. We quite simply – got it going on.
2. Virginia Beach Aquarium
The Virginia Beach Aquarium is a local favorite, with its affordable prices and accessibility. With 2 buildings teaming with ocean life, separated by a nature walk, and an outstanding aviary – this aquarium is truly a treasure. Furthermore, it often has fun exhibits for kids – such as Mr. Potato Head, and currently Dinosaurs – an IMAX theatre, story time for kids, and more. If you happen to live in the VA Beach area, an annual membership is recommended.
3. Cinema Cafe
FINALLY! A movie theater where you can actually bring little kids! Relax at a dining table in comfortable chairs, order a pizza, and watch the latest movies. With 4 locations throughout the Virginia Beach area, Cinema Cafe is awesome for rainy days.
4. Adventure Park
Have slightly older kids? If they range anywhere from 6+ in age, they will LOVE Adventure Park! An aerial forest park, where kids can climb, zip, and swing through the trees all day long.
5. Ocean Breeze
Another family favorite of ours, Ocean Breeze is the local waterpark. With its own wave pool, water slides for all ages, an awesome kiddy area for the little ones, and a lazy river – Ocean Breeze is a fun filled day when you need a change of pace. Word to the wise though, if you have kids of various age groups – make sure you go with more than one parent!
6. Recreation Centers
With over 7 rec centers across Virginia Beach, there is bound to be one close to you. Our rec centers are great YEAR ROUND, with some boasting indoor water parks. Whether you want to play some racquetball, basketball, go to the gym, go swimming or more – the recreation centers in Virginia Beach offer them all. They are clean, friendly, and offer an extremely budget-friendly price. Furthermore, once you are a member you can partake in many of their family friendly evenings – like movie night! But you do not need to be a member to get in on the fun, with cheap daily rates open to the public!!! Did I mention these are open year round? Yeah, they are all sorts of awesome. (PS – Williams Farm Rec Center has the awesome water park)
7. Mt. Trashmore
Even if you think it has a funny name (it does), Mount Trashmore has been delighting residents for years. What was once an abandoned landfill, Mt. Trashmore encompasses 165 acres and is comprised of two mountains, two lakes, two playgrounds, a skate park and vert ramp, and exercise paths. You can find various festivals occurring here, as well as free movie nights in the Summer.
8. Aviation Museum
The kids will love seeing all of the old biplanes and other military jets on display at the Military Aviation Museum! Especially if you happen to catch their annual air show in October, it is truly amazing. Watch the airplanes fly in formation, do loops, and see military dressed up in vintage uniform as they were in WWI. It is truly a family treat! Your youngest kids, if not entertained by airplanes, will love the fake (free) dinosaur exhibit in the front of the museum.
9. See jets up close
Want to amaze the kids? Park on Oceana and watch the jets take off and land just over your head. Bring a pair of binoculars and some popcorn, and cuddle up as you tailgate for a LOUD amazing evening! (noise reducing headphone are recommended for younger ones).
10. Norfolk Zoo
Head to the Zoo in Norfolk, of course zoos are always family friendly. But the Norfolk zoo is especially perfect as it offers a huge WATER fountain area upon entering. So bring your swimming suit, and go see some animals.
11. Children’s Museum of Virginia
I know, another museum. But the Children’s Museum of Virginia is REALLY cool, I promise. With an indoor bubble room, bus that the kids can ‘drive’, kids bank, vet and dentist office, grocery store, and more…your kids will be running around this museum and laughing the whole time. It is a bit of a drive in Portsmouth, but well worth it.
12. Local malls
Kids don’t generally love going to the mall, but when they have indoor playgrounds like ours do – it is a breeze bringing the kids! The Lynnhaven mall here in Virginia Beach has a rubber playground for the little ones – as well as fake animals on wheels that you can rent to ride around the mall for fun. As for stores – there is a Build-a-Bear, Disney store, Apple store (kids can play on iPads while your device gets serviced), and for major gaming fun a DAVE AND BUSTERS.
If you don’t mind driving an extra 10 minutes, you can visit the MacArthur Mall. The MacArthur Mall has an indoor Loony Tunes playground, movie theater, and awesome stores for parents.
13. Bounce House / Laser Tag
Technically these are two separate locations, but they happen to be located right next to each other in the same building – so putting them under one item. Bounceez is HUGE, and truly has some phenomenal bounce houses – and is pretty clean as far as indoor bounce houses go. For the older kids, Laser Quest is literally right next door. And who doesn’t love indoor laser tag?!!
14. Busch Gardens / Water Country USA
An hour away you will find Busch Gardens / Water Country USA. 2 amazing theme parks, totally within driving distance. We love Busch Gardens for the Sesame Street section, which is perfect for the kiddos. They can splash around in Elmo’s Castle, or ride all of the kiddy coasters. The older kids can go on the bigger coasters, and the whole family can watch the shows. It is a total win / win for this roller coaster loving mama.
15. Virginia Beach Field House
Looking for indoor sports? The Virginia Beach Field House has you covered. From indoor rock wall climbing, to soccer, to basketball, baseball, volleyball, and more…this place has it all! For younger kids, they will love climbing through the indoor playground tunnels.
16. Catch an Outdoor concert at Farm Bureau Live
There are only a few places I would actually consider bringing kids to a music concert, but Virginia Beach’s Farm Bureau Live IS one of those places (depending on the concert of course). With an open venue and outdoor lawn seating, this concert location is truly family friendly! And it attracts some pretty awesome names in the music industry as well, especially if you love country. We saw Billy Joel this Summer, and it was one of the best concerts I have e-v-e-r been to.
Quite frankly, there is so much more that Virginia Beach has to offer, it is hard to mention it all here.
Here are a few more ideas that might not merit their own list number for various reasons, but should still receive mention:
- Go fishing
- Rent a Stand up Paddle board (SUP Board)
- Paint pottery
- Kids cooking classes
- Bowling (with bumpers)
- Great Wolf Lodge (in Williamsburg)
- Visit Colonial Williamsburg (just 1 hour away)
- Visit the Outer Banks
- Take the FREE Currituck Sound ferry from Virginia Beach to Knotts Island
- Go camping
Everything on this list is something we do with our kids on a regular basis. (Yes, including stand up paddle boarding – one of my all time favorite pastimes. Just let the kids sit in front, and you can paddle around for hours!)
We live in a pretty amazing town, and if you couldn’t tell by the post – I kind of LOVE it.
So get in your car, *Hyundai preferred, pop on your favorite tunes and take a Road trip! We’ll be happy to see you on our shores, no matter the Season. There is always something to do with the kids here in Virginia Beach. There is a reason we were rated one of the top 5 cities in America to raise a family.
Thanks so much for stopping by, and until next time…