Travel

Outdoor adventure awaits Canadians in Virginia Beach

Sun, surf and fun: Our roundup of the best beach, outdoor and foodie experiences in Virginia Beach

  • Jun 29, 2022
  • 871 words
  • 4 minutes
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Just a day’s drive from Quebec — and less than 12 hours from Toronto — Virginia Beach is the next logical stop for Canadians looking to explore.

Virginia Beach’s new “Loonie Savers” pass for Canadians gathers the best attractions, tours, tickets, and experiences in the city; all you have to do is download their mobile passport to tap into discounts and deals at attractions, retailers, restaurants in the Virginia Beach area.

So what to do with all these great deals? Here’s our roundup of the best beach, outdoor and foodie experiences in Virginia Beach.

Beaches

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“Beach” may be in the name, but Virginia Beach isn’t just one beachfront — it’s multiple, each with their own vibe and personality.

If you’re hoping to surf, stop by Croatan Beach, where there are lifeguards on duty to ensure your safety. If you’d rather swim, Chesapeake Bay Beach offers more than three kilometres of sandy beachfront ideal for splashing around.

Plus, at Chesapeake Bay, find the historic Cape Henry Lighthouse, the first lighthouse authorized by the U.S. government. That’s at Fort Story, which is also home to its own small stretch of beach perfect for spotting frolicking dolphins. It is an active military base, so you’ll have to register when you arrive.

Virginia Beach is also home to a number of state parks, like First Landing State Park. Its two-kilometre beachfront is home to The Narrows, a constricted waterway that connects Broad Bay and the landlocked Linkhorn Bay.

Another neat habitat you won’t want to miss is False Cape State Park, with ocean-to-freshwater waterways adding up to almost 10 kilometres of unspoiled beaches. It’s one of the last remaining undeveloped areas on the Atlantic Coast and is only accessible by foot, boat or tram.

Outdoor adventure

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The sand and sun are great, but there’s also almost 195 kilometres of navigable waterways to explore in Virginia Beach. Plus, over 52,000 hectares have been left to naturalize across both fresh and saltwater habitats, so you’re bound to come across some wildlife on the city’s impressive network of trails, too.

The Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is a 3,200-hectare freshwater refuge bordering the Atlantic Ocean. The network of barrier islands was established as a refuge area in 1938 and is home to hundreds of species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and fish.

Are you a risk-taker or thrill-seeker? The Adventure Park’s ropes courses and ziplines are located just a few minutes’ drive from the lively Virginia Beach Boardwalk, and suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. With 17 treetop trails, more than 258 treetop platforms and 31 ziplines, there’s truly something for everyone to explore on the choose-your-own-adventure-style experience.

Want the best view possible of Virginia Beach? Try parasailing, letting your legs kick in the open air as you soar above the coastline. Pirate Parasail offers the highest (up to 1,000 feet!) and longest (10-12 minutes) excursions in the area, and you can fly up to three people at the same time.

Food

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Crazy about food? In Virginia Beach you can really go coastal!

Dine like a local with fresh oysters, blue crab and to-die-for fish tacos from places like Big Sam’s Raw Bar (we recommend the hot blue crab dip) and The Back Deck, where fish tacos are just $2 on Tuesdays.

For a more elevated dining experience, check out The Tin Cup Kitchen + Oyster Bar, which features both an elegant dining room and a bayside deck. If you think you can’t possibly eat seafood for every meal, think again: local fried oysters feature on their breakfast menu as part of their Chesapeake Benedict — the perfect kickoff to a day of fun by the water.

Want to wine and dine? Check out the rotating wine list at Love Song, which specializes in biodynamic wines. Similar to organic farming, biodynamic farming views the vineyard as an entire ecosystem, and also takes into account things such as astrological influences and lunar cycles in the cultivation of grapes.

Whether you’re a beach bum, an outdoor thrill seeker or a foodie, round off your Virginia Beach trip with a stroll down the Boardwalk. Stretching nearly five kilometres along the oceanfront, there are separate paths for biking, blading and walking. In the summer, you’ll find live entertainment dotting the boardwalk, as well as at the four oceanfront stages — plus a plethora of outdoor oceanfront dining and bike rental places. Don’t miss the King Neptune statue, a seven-metre bronze statue that will make for an iconic photo opportunity.

Where to stay

There’s no shortage of waterfront, sunrise-view rooms to choose from in Virginia Beach, and you can’t go wrong with many lodging choices on the oceanfront. If you’d rather camp, there’s options for that too. And, if you want to get away from it all, check out the Sandbridge neighbourhood for cozy vacation home rentals on a secluded beach hideaway.

This article is sponsored by Virginia Beach. Start planning your adventure.

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