Monday, August 10, 2015

Tips For Going To Virginia Beach With The Family

Howdy Readers! Just returned from Virginia Beach with the family and while there, I took notes to help YOU if you plan to go to this vacation spot. Ready?  

 Here we go!

The view from our hotel in Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is a lovely beach town that isn't as commercial or "honkeytonk" as either parts of the Jersey Shore or Ocean City, Maryland, Having said that, the north side tends to be less active than the south side, so take that into account when planning your hotel. We stayed at the Holiday Inn North Beach - it looks out over the ocean and boasts two lazy rivers, slides, and an outdoor pool plus a movie theatre and kids club – I HIGHLY recommend this place!

Virginia Beach is also not the quietest spot on the planet. The Oceana Naval Air Station is close by and the F-18s drill over the town throughout the day and night. Now, I didn't mind it since it reminded me of how fortunate we are to have such a vigilant military, but if you've got small kids, keep in mind that these jets fly low and are LOUD.

The Law Enforcement Memorial sculpture in Virginia Beach

Our hotel was within walking distance to many attractions and the boardwalk is concrete with a little section of rides toward the south side. You can catch the the Virginia Beach Wave trolley which goes to many sites and is only $1 a ride for adults, but we didn't. The 9 and 15 year olds were perfectly capable of walking.

Must dos:

  • Rent a bike - You can rent bikes and surreys.  The boardwalk is flat and about 3 miles long.  It's a great way to get some exercise and see the beach.
  • Busch Gardens in Williamsburg - Go! The park is hilly but not as big as, say, Disney and Hershey. My tips for Busch Gardens will be posted in a day or two.
  • Ocean Breeze Waterpark – This waterpark, located in Virginia Beach itself, is just small enough to find the kids but big enough to keep even my two happy. There's lots to do, they offer free sunscreen, and some shade. There is NO WiFi, however, and I'd bring watershoes since there was no evidence of any cleaning of the floors in the bathroom. Oh, and bring bottled water. One of the things I liked about this park was the fact that you can actually get healthy food here, not just the usual fried crap that other parks offer.
  • Grommet Island Park, Virginia Beach
    Miniature Golf – It's hokey, but the kids love it.
  • The Rudee Rocket – If you've got kids who love speed, go on this speedboat! The captain plays a soundtrack that starts with the theme from Jaws and you'll see lots of dolphins. This was a big hit with my son.
  • Grommet Island Park - A big hit with my kids, this is a handicapped accessible park, which means you'll have no trouble with strollers. It's on the beach and we all had a blast here. 


  • To save money on breakfast, we hit the 7-11 in town for bagels, milk, etc. There are small markets in town, but if you can, head over to one of the grocery stores so that you're not buying food constantly. 
  • Many hotels, ours included, had beach toys you could borrow. Check with yours before you schlep shovels, etc.
  • Stock up on bottled water.  Why spend $3 per bottle, when you can get a case for the same price?
  • We packed a small cooler for the trip and used it constantly when sightseeing. It kept our bottled waters cold and even allowed us to bring a few yogurts along for healthy snacking
  • Pack more than two or so pair of footwear for the kids.  You do NOT want to be tending to painful blisters on a trip.

One aspect of Virginia Beach that I found particularly charming was the pace. Even though it was August, the streets were pretty quiet on the North end of town. I love how the police and lifeguards are extremely vigilant and low-key. 

Would I go back? In a heartbeat!  Virginia Beach is AMAZING!  

The lifeguard platform at 5th Street in Virginia Beach

Thank you for reading and, again, check back for my tips on Busch Gardens Williamsburg!

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