A mere two hour drive from Richmond, Virginia Beach is a popular destination for RVA locals. Of course the beach itself is a huge draw, but there is much more to Virginia Beach than the sand and water. A variety of indoor options can keep families having fun even if Mother Nature wrecks your perfectly planned beach day. Here are some Virginia Beach options to keep your family busy and having fun, no matter what Mother Nature decides to do.
Richmond on the Cheap sent writer Lindsay Garrison on a road trip to Virginia Beach to report on what it’s like to visit attractions beyond the beach at this time. Is it safe to visit a museum? What are the cleaning protocols? Will my kids like it? These are the burning questions swirling around in these unique times.
Discover attractions around Virginia Beach
1. Military Aviation Museum: (1341 Princess Anne Rd., Virginia Beach, VA, 23457) has a huge collection of World War I and World War II airplanes. The tour guides are knowledgeable and kind. From history to aviation, they answered every question my seven year old posed. There are multiple hangars to see a variety of war birds, even the “Snoopy plane” is there. Dinosaur enthusiasts will enjoy “Jerassic Park” in front of the museum. A scavenger hunt can be found on the museum’s website to help you find a spinosaurus, plesiosaurus and more. Walking to and from the hangars and Jerassic Park, taking in each airplane and dinosaur kept us busy at the Military Aviation Museum for over two hours.
2. The Bee & Biscuit: (1785 Princess Anne Rd., Virginia Beach, VA, 23456) is minutes from the Military Aviation Museum. A perfect brunch spot after visiting The Military Aviation Museum, The Bee & Biscuit serves delicious breakfast foods all day in their 1919 converted cottage. Outdoor seating is available in the garden.
3. Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center: (717 General Booth Blvd., Virginia Beach, VA, 23451) is a paradise for curious, sea creature loving kids. As soon as you step out of your vehicle, check out the harbor seals. This outdoor exhibit sets the tone for an exciting adventure. Inside, there is a variety of animals: reptiles including komodo dragons; underwater animals: sharks, sea turtles and crocodiles. The Light Tower Aquarium with sea turtles is an incredible experience, transporting visitors to a relaxing state while watching turtles and fish swim in circles around them. The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is massive. Although tickets must be reserved for specific times in advance, once patrons are inside, there is no time limit for your visit. Recommend allotting two hours for your visit.
4. Museum of Contemporary Art: (2200 Parks Ave., Virginia Beach, VA, 23451) is a free admission, newly renovated art museum close to I-64, making it a perfect ending to your day before heading home to Richmond. Permanent exhibits include work by Dale Chihuly, whose work Richmonders will recognize from the VMFA garden. A current exhibit, Nourish, debuts works by 12 different artists inspired by local food experts including: farmers, chefs, antihunger experts and more.
Mark your calendar for the Virginia Beach Neptune Festival, a celebration of beach life, takes place this year takes place around the last week of September 2022. The event includes FREE daily concerts at festival stages feature local, regional, and national acts. Over 250 artists will set up shop on the boardwalk, along with tasty food options. From crab cakes to Italian ice, stained glass to pottery, there is sure to be something to delight young and old festival goers alike. You can take a walk through the International Sandsculpting Championship tent, where you will find 22 incredible works of art created by 32 of the world’s most talented sculptors.
Other events taking place during the weekend include: Neptune’s 8k Race, beach yoga + fitness experience (FREE), family fun zone (FREE), Neptune’s Volleyball Tournament, Neptune’s Atlantic Regatta, Grand Parade (FREE), Youth Art Show, Hometown Heroes Breakfast, and more!
More than 35 local, regional, and national acts will perform during the weekend. All concerts are free and open to the public. For all event information, visit www.neptunefestival.com
Richmond locals are fortunate to have a beautiful vacation venue within two hours. Rest assured, with the plentiful indoor options, Virginia Beach is not only a place to visit for the beach. Regardless of season or weather, families can enjoy the attractions of Virginia Beach, making it a top choice for Richmond family travels all year round.
Richmond on the Cheap contributor Lindsay Garrison is a Richmond, Virginia based mom to two young children. A graduate of Chesterfield Schools and Randolph-Macon College, Lindsay is proud to call Richmond home. In the years prior to planning activities and outings with her own children, she was a French teacher. During her tenure she earned accolades for her creative teaching style and ability to connect with her students. Lindsay now applies the skills she learned when she was planning student trips to France, to her own family adventures. She can’t wait to take her own children to France one day! You can follow her adventures at: @thegarrisonsrva
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