I would like to thank Mohamad Al Karbi for the opportunity to participate in his “Around the World” series. I have truly enjoyed reading about different places and cultures all over the globe.
I’d like to share an insider’s view of my city, Virginia Beach, Virginia. I’ve lived close to “The Beach” my entire life. I went to college in this lively city, and now I’m raising my family here.
When it comes to dream beach vacations, Virginia Beach gets the short end of the stick. There are no half-naked girls walking down the street, and tourists don’t party until the sun comes up (well, for the most part).
Virginia Beach is a family-friendly city. The tourist area is decked out with putt-putt golf, indoor skydiving, beach playgrounds, and a boardwalk that stretches for miles. The city also has expansive bike trails, beautiful parks, and it hosts an assortment of festivals, tournaments, and marathons.
With all that Virginia Beach has to offer, there’s no way you can fit it all into one vacation. But there are a few “key items” you should definitely put on your to-do list.
Sunset on the Bay
I live in Chix Beach… or is it Chic’s Beach? Nobody really knows. But whatever you call it, you have to visit! It’s only a couple miles from the tourist section of the oceanfront, but it feels like worlds apart. There are no waves, no rip currents, no crowds. There’s only peaceful relaxation. Instead of surfing, you can paddleboard and kayak. You can sit back, sip on a drink, and not worry about the dangers of the surf. This is the only beach I go to with my youngest children.
If you time your visit around low tide, you can enjoy sandbars and the wading pools they create. Nothing makes me happier than when I see sandbars in the water. The kids love them, too. They can venture out over a hundred feet and the water is still only to their knees.
And did I mention the sunset? Just magical! Every evening seems to shine a different color than the last. The tranquility of this beach soothes my soul.
The Local Restaurants
No Applebee’s or Golden Corrals for you, my hungry travelers! The Beach is overflowing with succulent dishes from locally-owned restaurants. Fresh seafood, Caribbean, Mexican, Japanese, Italian… I could go on! Of course I have my favorites, but I wouldn’t want to leave any out. Make sure you ask around for some good suggestions. But don’t limit yourself to diners within walking distance of the ocean front; you would be doing yourself a huge disservice. (clears throat… Chix Beach has some of the best…)
The Aquarium and Adventure Park
Let’s face it. Some of Virginia’s hottest days are just unbearable, even with the ocean breeze. When that happens, beat the heat with a trip to the Virginia Aquarium. I actually go several times a month with my two youngest children, sprinkled with occasional appearances from my oldest.
The exhibits are truly enchanting with giant sea turtles, sharks, seals, stingrays, an alligator, and so much more. You can even walk through a tunnel surrounded with coral, rays, and colorful fish. My big boys love the touch tanks, but my little ones just love to splash. If you’re feeling adventurous, book a boat trip to watch dolphins, whales, and other local marine animals.
After a fun day at the aquarium, zip through the trees at The Virginia Aquarium’s Adventure Park. This is one of my favorite places to visit! The obstacles are super fun (and kinda funny when you’re my age trying to get through). Whether you want a relaxed experience, or you seek a thrill, this park has a course for you. I love to visit at night when it’s all lit up. Every season, they have different themes.
I could go on all day about Virginia Beach. Whether you’re a parent, an athlete, or a group of friends, there’s fun and food for everyone. Now that I’m starting to sound like a cheesy commercial, I think I’ll end this blog and head to the beach!