Discover the best family vacation areas in Virginia Beach

Traveling to Virginia Beach with the whole family can pave the way for absolutely unforgettable experiences thanks to the sheer number of things to do that kids and adults alike can enjoy. While the beach itself is always packed full of fun activities, you'll also find fun farther inland. A Virginia Beach itinerary that offers fun, sun, sand, surf, and hidden gems can provide endless enjoyment that the whole family can enjoy.

Find Virginia Beach family vacation activities among sand and surf at the beach

No trip to Virginia Beach would be complete without a stop at the beach itself. You'll find 7 beaches in the area that you can explore whether you're looking to simply relax on the soft sands or get more active with coastal water sports. Take a look at some of the best things to do at the beach that the whole family can enjoy.

Find fun in the Oceanfront neighborhood

When you visit the Oceanfront neighborhood of Virginia Beach, you'll find yourself in the center of the action. Restaurants, entertainment, and beachfront fun are available in excess here with frequent street performers, live music, and a thrilling strip. While you'll find plenty of bars in this area, Oceanfront is fairly family-friendly during the day, so as long as you take your kids here when the sun's out, you won't run into anything that might be inappropriate.

Explore the hidden Sandbridge Beach

If you're looking for beachfront fun away from the crowds, Sandbridge Beach is one of the best-kept secrets in Virginia Beach. Not only do the sands here offer much more space to yourself, but the waves are notably calmer compared with the beach near the boardwalk. Kids and adults alike can venture out into the water and relax without having to worry about rip currents and big waves.

Relax at Chic's Beach

At Chic's Beach, you'll find a relaxing beachfront area among the Chesapeake Bay brush. It's notably quiet with calm waters and soft sands. Visiting this beach is like enjoying your own private paradise. It is a bit of a trek to reach it, however, as the path to the beach is quite long and off the beaten path. If your family is willing to undertake the journey, you can enjoy peace and tranquility you'll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in town. Just note that there aren't any lifeguards or vendors at this isolated beach.

Find endless fun at The Boardwalk

Stretching 3 miles, the Virginia Beach Boardwalk is the center for coastal fun with plenty for the whole family to enjoy. Strolling the boardwalk can be exciting in its own right, but you'll also find a separate path lined with aquatic-themed sculptures for people traveling on bikes or roller skates. You can even find bike rentals nearby, so you don't have to worry about bringing your own. Plus, you'll find restaurants, arcades, and playgrounds that kids can enjoy right along the boardwalk.

Explore inland activities in Virginia Beach on your family vacation

Virginia Beach may be known for its beachfront fun, but you'll find plenty to do farther inland as well. From theme parks to smaller establishments, endless entertainment is easy to come by in this town no matter what your family is interested in. Take a look at some of the best inland activities in Virginia Beach that don't involve its sandy shores.

See underwater creatures at the Virginia Aquarium

The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center showcases the fascinating underwater world off the coast of Virginia Beach and beyond. Kids will especially enjoy a trip to this aquarium as it offers more than 300 exhibits with hands-on interaction like touch tanks. You'll even find a mock submarine and an IMAX theater that shows educational yet entertaining films about the local marine life.

Play a round at Pirates Paradise Mini Golf

Mini golf is a popular pastime for families across the country, and Virginia Beach has numerous options available. One of the top spots is Pirates Paradise Mini Golf. This iconic mini-golf course features intricate props and designs that make kids feel as if they're a part of a pirate adventure with a mock pirate ship and numerous statues of buccaneers. You'll find 18 holes, and the entire course is wheelchair and stroller accessible.

Trek through the trails at First Landing State Park

You don't have to go to the beach to enjoy impressive nature. First Landing State Park offers outdoor fun that the whole family can enjoy among a nature preserve. You'll find 19 miles of trails within this park, with the system taking visitors through a wide variety of habitats including maritime forest, wetlands, dunes, and cypress swamps. Both hiking and biking are available, and rentable bikes nearby make it easy to take to the trails on wheels. Just keep in mind that biking is only allowed on Cape Henry Trail.

See impressive animals at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge

If your kids are interested in seeing wild animals, the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is one of the best destinations in Virginia Beach to visit. You'll find a wide variety of species among the 4,589 acres here including ducks, swans, and sea turtles. On the trails throughout the forest, you'll also see wildlife like deer, owls, bobcats, and hawks.

Explore the history of flight at the Military Aviation Museum

The Military Aviation Museum is a fascinating destination where you and your family can see historical planes, with some of them flown to show off their prowess. You can even embark on biplane rides and take to the skies yourself. Interestingly, this museum also features a collection of dinosaur sculptures known as Jerrassic Park. When visiting, your kids can even win a prize if they're able to identify all the dinosaurs correctly.

Taste delicious local fare at family restaurants in Virginia Beach

No matter what kind of vacation you're looking to enjoy, you and your family will have to eat at some point. Fortunately, this destination is packed with restaurants that are satisfying to adults and kids alike. Take a look through the best family restaurants in Virginia Beach, and discover the variety of options available in town.

Try the BBQ at Beach Bully

If you're interested in classic North Carolina barbecue, Beach Bully is one of the best restaurants in town. You'll find a wide variety of meats available like beef, brisket, ribs, chicken, and tangy pork. The sides are equally as appealing, with options like potato salad and hush puppies. Kids are sure to love it as well, as they'll have their own menu to choose from. You'll be especially satisfied if you're on a budget, as every item on the kids' menu is no more than $5.

Enjoy breakfast at Citrus

When you're starting your day in Virginia Beach, nothing helps quite like a satisfying breakfast. That's exactly what you'll find at Citrus. Here you'll find a variety of sweet treats like pancakes, sweet potato biscuits, and sugary treats. Of course, breakfast classics like fresh eggs are available as well. Citrus is notably accommodating, which is particularly helpful if your family is vegan or needs gluten-free options. Citrus is open for lunch as well.

Discover seafood splendor at Bubba's

Bubba's is one of the best family restaurants in Virginia Beach if you're a fan of seafood. Considered one of the best seafood shacks in the country, this restaurant is situated right on the dock that offers scenic views of the water and passing boats as you enjoy top-quality seafood. On the menu, you'll find shrimp, oysters, crab cakes, and more. The kids' menu has items your little ones will love, like popcorn shrimp and classic chicken tenders.

Discover indoor family fun in Virginia Beach

Fun in the sun is one of the staples of Virginia Beach, but being outdoors is not always an option. You don't have to let a little bad weather get in the way of your vacation, however, as you'll find plenty to do in town even when it's raining. These indoor activities offer thrills and excitement that the whole family can enjoy. You may want to check them out at some point even if it's sunny out.

Take flight at iFLY indoor skydiving

If you're feeling a bit adventurous, you may want to check out the iFLY indoor skydiving facility. Here you can mimic the feeling of jumping out of a plane without actually having to take to the skies. Completely indoors, this activity can be enjoyed rain or shine as an instructor takes you through a wind tunnel to get you flying. Kids can enjoy this activity as well, as the well-trained instructors can keep them focused on fun and help them with some adrenaline-pumping maneuvers.

See impressive expression at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art

A museum may not be your first choice when visiting a beach town, but the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art is worth a visit rain or shine. You'll find a wide variety of items on display including special temporary exhibitions focused on stunning artists. The works on display express the current culture, with most of the featured artists still being alive. When you and the kids visit this museum, you can explore new perspectives on ideas and concepts that everyone in the modern era has to deal with.

Go bowling at Pinboy's At The Beach

When you visit Pinboy's At The Beach, you can enjoy a thrilling bowling adventure. You'll find numerous package options available here allowing you to customize your visit. For example, you can opt for a package that includes food options and servers who will come to your lane to take your order. Additionally, your lane is booked by time rather than by game, so you're welcome to fit as much bowling as you want into your time slot.

Make a feline friend at the Catnip Cat Cafe

About a half-hour drive to the west, you'll find the Catnip Cat Cafe. This destination is one of the best places for your family to start their day in the Virginia Beach area. As the name suggests, this cafe is packed full of friendly felines. The cats roam freely and are loveable to everyone who comes inside to enjoy a quick breakfast or lunch. Kids are welcome, of course, but no one under the age of 3 is allowed. Parents are expected to ensure that their little ones are treating cats properly and aren't making excessive noise, as cats have sensitive ears.