My first beach experience occurred in Virginia Beach. We booked a long weekend in a beautiful hotel with a view of the beach. As a fearless 4-year-old coming off my first season of swim lessons, I wiggled out of my father’s lap and sprinted toward the surf. I got chest-deep before learning a valuable lesson. Jellyfish are not a toddler’s friend. The only thing that made me feel better was the boardwalk. Safe from the sand and surf, the boardwalk became the best part of my beach vacation.
During the summer months, the boardwalk is a mecca for entertainment, with four separate oceanfront stages along the three-mile boardwalk. One night a magician dazzles you with his hand tricks. The next evening, you can catch an Ella Fitzgerald tribute performance. The boardwalk features jazz singers, rock bands, and soulful crooners from the United States and Canada.
If you’re looking for your big break, book a set on a Virginia Beach Boardwalk stage. You’ll find new and up-and-coming local artists, too.
Image via Trover.com by Rodney K
My father is an avid leisure fisherman, so one of my earliest memories of the boardwalk is of fishing off the pier. I hooked a whopper on my first visit but almost got pulled off the side. I was a legend on that 1,000-foot pier that day. It’s a popular spot, and if you don’t have your own equipment, you can rent it from the tackle shop.
Image via Trover.com by Vicki Samborski
Restaurants pepper the boardwalk, from quick eats to fine dining. As you might guess, the most popular options slant toward seafood, but the cuisines are as diverse as the patrons. You can find Italian, Greek, and Irish food and even a traditional steakhouse here. All offer outdoor dining with amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean. Boardwalk dining offers fantastic people-watching opportunities, too.
There’s nothing like a festival to highlight the best of a place. Because the Virginia Beach Boardwalk has a lot of highlights, you can find festivals and celebrations scheduled all year long. Virginia Beach Restaurant Week allows you to sample the area’s many culinary offerings. On the Fourth of July, you’ll see one of the best fireworks shows in the United States. In winter, the Holiday Lights event offers breathtaking Christmas displays that you’ll have to see to believe.
Image via Trover.com by Pravin Mistry
The 24-foot, 12-ton bronze statue of Neptune towers over the entrance to the Neptune Festival Park. The city commissioned artist Paul DiPasquale to create this unique and powerful structure of the Roman god of the sea with a triton in his hand. It’s a popular photo op on the boardwalk, so be prepared for a big crowd.
In 2010, Travel & Leisure named the Virginia Beach Boardwalk one of America’s best boardwalks. In 2016, USA Today bestowed honors on the oceanfront in its best-of list. If it weren’t for the boardwalk, I might have never returned to the beach. Can you blame me?
If you want a beach vacation but aren’t a fan of the beach itself, check out the interesting sights on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. You won’t even miss the water!