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Outside the boundaries of its popular Oceanfront enclave, Virginia Beach looks like many other American towns filled with strip malls and tidy subdivisions. But the tourists aren't coming for the suburban experience – they're looking to escape, and the Boardwalk and its many distractions bring that much-needed relief.
With wall-to-wall beachfront hotels, amazing seafood restaurants, casual beach bars and less-populated beaches like Chicks Beach and Sandbridge, Virginia Beach beckons out-of-towners to savor the laid-back lifestyle. As one of the oldest resort towns in the country, it lives up to its reputation for family fun, whether you're combing for seashells or snaking down water slides. The best part: It's only a few hours from several of the nation's colonial treasures. Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Charlottesville are only a few hours away.
Virginia Beach is a classic summer town. Hotel rates are typically higher from Memorial Day to Labor Day, as folks take advantage of the warm weather and beach access. From older seaside motels to higher-end hotels bearing mainstream brands and added amenities like convention space and well-designed pools, the Oceanfront hotels are the main draws. The city also hosts a marquee surfing event at the end of the summer: The East Coast Surfing Championships.
High temperatures often linger into fall, the perfect time to catch the annual Neptune Festival, a fitting tribute to the god of the sea and the city's love affair with the ocean.
You could stroll the Boardwalk for a hotel restaurant overlooking the crowded oceanfront, or you could book at table just in time for sunset at this local favorite. Regulars dig the panoramic views of Chesapeake Bay, and the plump "Deviled" crab stuffed flounder.
Fall doesn't leave the Oceanfront a Ghost Town. In fact, the marquee event of the year – The Neptune Festival – is a reason to hit the beach, when thousands descend upon the shores to ooh at sand sculptures (think castles and mermaids the size of small SUVs), live bands, art and triathletes.
For piled-high Jewish deli sandwiches, lox and bagels and great live bands -- like John Oates, Elliott Yamin -- check out The Jewish Mother in the Hilltop area. The 9,000-square-foot venue replaced the crayon-scribbled original Mother's that used to call the beach home.
Cities have some playful and bizarre names for street signs. This one -- Witchduck Road -- ties to local lore. Back in 1706, Grace Sherwood was ducked in the Lynnhaven River to 'test' if she was a witch. She survived the trial and lived to be 80. Her legend is echoed around these parts, from a bronze statue at Sentara Bayside Hospital to Witch Duck Point.
You aren't a surfer or skater – you just want to dress like one. Hit 17th Street Surf Shop – a Virginia Beach institution – for classic t-shirts, hoodies, flip-flops and all the gear you could ever need to rip through your first wave.
Welcome to the Marjac Suites We are proud to announce that we provide a smoke free environment! Centrally located in the Virginia Beach resort area, the Marjac Suites has something to offer everyone. Activities for young and old alike abound to make the most of any... More
The Wyndham Virginia Beach Oceanfront provides a peaceful, serene setting. The hotel is close to major Virginia Beach attractions, such as the boardwalk and Virginia Beach Convention Center. There are 244 rooms. The property appeals to vacationing families, couples and... More
Welcome to the newly renovated, smoke-free Howard Johnson Virginia Beach Near the Beach hotel near Virginia Beach boardwalk, replete with restaurants, nightlife and ocean views. Located just steps from the Atlantic Ocean and the sandy shores of Virginia Beach, Virginia,... More
Located just across the street from the beach on Atlantic avenue the Royal Clipper provides you with the experience of all that the beach has to offer and so much more. Our clean rooms are fully air-conditioned and furnished. Were also conveniently located minutes from... More
The Newcastle Hotel is the perfect destination for both families on vacation and the business traveler. All rooms feature private oceanfront balconies, along with wireless internet, microwave and fridge. The hotel also has an indoor heated pool The hotel itself is... More
The Comfort Suites is located directly on the Atlantic Ocean waterfront. Walking distance to shops and various beach attractions. Just minutes away from the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, The Virginia Beach Convention Center, Ocean Breeze Water Park, The... More
Experience luxury at Ocean Beach Club, a Caribbean-inspired resort offering upscale studios, one- and two-bedroom suites as well as an array of resort amenities just steps from the sand. Enjoy the convenience of fully-equipped kitchens or kitchenettes and suites with... More
The Grand Ocean boasts spacious oceanfront rooms directly on the Virginia Beach boardwalk. Relax at our outdoor pool or grab a drink at our onsite restaurant. More
The serene Virginia Beach oceanfront serves as a backdrop for this renovated hotel at the southern end of the boardwalk. Contemporary style is one display with the sleek espresso-colored furniture and geometric textiles. The hotel raises its profile with the upscale... More
Oceans 2700 guests will enjoy comfortable and luxurious accommodations while within walking distance to all Virginia Beach has to offer; shops, restaurants, entertainment, and night life. All rooms are equipped with mini-fridge and microwave. Check-In time is 4:00pm and... More
Book a qualifying 4-night flight + hotel vacation package between August 13, 2015 12:00AM CT and September 30, 2015 11:59PM CT, for $1750 or more for travel between August 13, 2015 and December 31, 2015 via Orbitz and instantly receive $150 off the hotel portion of your booking through the use of the promotion code. Limit one discount per hotel room and one promotion code per booking. Discounts are not redeemable for cash for any reason. Promotion codes cannot be resold. Any attempt at fraud will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Void where prohibited, taxed or restricted. Orbitz reserves the right to change or limit the promotion in its sole discretion. Promo code not valid for Las Vegas, NV bookings.
Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, Virginia's most-visited state park is meant for a lazy (or active) getaway. The grounds boast 20 miles of trails on 2,888 acres, picnic spots, cabins for overnight stays and camping areas complete with water and electric hookups. Round up the crew for fishing or crabbing, or rent a canoe or kayak for a leisurely ride by the Chesapeake Bay. Breathe in the salty air, and be on watch for turtles and finches.
If you're going to be stuck indoors on a rainy day, it might as well be inside this funporium devoted to all things nautical. With an IMAX theater and tons of cuddly (and not so cuddly) critters such as otters, owls and Komodo dragons, the space will mesmerize the tykes. And just watch their faces light up when you upgrade to a premium experience – observing an actual training session with Harbor Seals.
So this is what a real landscape looks like. That's what you'll be saying after an afternoon at this 9,250-acre refuge, a habitat for endangered species the likes of loggerhead sea turtles and bald eagles. Come December, thousands of snow geese and ducks migrate to these wetlands, dunes, beach and marsh. Plenty of scenic trails capture the serenity, while designated areas allow hunters to engage in their sport.
It is precisely what it sounds like: a mountain constructed of compacted layers of solid waste and clean soil. How is that a Virginia Beach attraction? For one, it's an ecological feat. Locals know it – and use it – as a picnic area (with plenty of shelters available), playground and volleyball venue. Seasoned skaters also perform aerial feats in the 7-foot-deep bowl and 13.5-foot vertical ramp. Stop by before rolling down the side of the hill.
Colonial Virginia -- on a smaller scale -- lives on at Adam Thoroughgood House, which sits on land granted to an indentured servant and member of the House of Burgesses in the late 1600s. The brick property, designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1960, brims with period touches, from extensive wainscoting to a turned staircase. Historians credit Adam's great grandson as the likely builder and resident.
It's all about the numbers: 16 water slides, a million-gallon wave pool and the throngs of families who can't wait to barrel down pipes and falls. For the tots not yet tall enough to zip down shoots, the safer version is Buccaneer Bay, a pirate ship designed for little ones under 48 inches.
Before The Town Center, Virginia Beach had no official downtown. This 17-block retail, office and entertainment complex fueled a new spirit into the Pembroke area with live musicians, upscale boutiques and salons, plus restaurants and bars for the after-work crowd.
Nothing says vacation like a fishing trip. You don't have to charter a boat for fresh catches. Simply drop a line at the pier between 14th and 15th streets, and pray for a bucket full of Spanish mackerel, bluefish and trout. The pier is open from April to October.
The lighthouse towers over the gateway to Chesapeake Bay, a quiet reminder of its role in colonial commerce for Virginia and Maryland. The historical landmark, a beauty in bronze and copper, is closed during winter and peeks out to its 1881 replacement, which is still used to navigate ships safely into the harbor.
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