There are so many fun things to do in Virginia Beach, and I know this because I just took a little January jaunt there for the weekend.
Now before you gasp, “January at the beach? How could you? Why would you?”, you need to know that I love being near the ocean, but not necessarily lying on the sand in front of it.
A sunbather, I am not, so it doesn’t matter what time of year I go.
Even in the dead of summer, I’d still be looking for Virginia Beach attractions beyond the beach. Besides, there are always rainy days, right?
So if it’s not the perfect beach day weather and you can’t sunbathe (or you’re like me, and you just don’t want to), I’ve got you covered with these Virginia Beach activities.
Stroll the boardwalk
It’s right next to the beach, so you can walk for 3 miles and gaze lovingly at the ocean as you walk.
If you simply can’t resist the surf, there are lots of entry points along the walkway. There are also plenty of surfers out on the water, and they’re always fun to watch.
Go on a public art scavenger hunt
There are at least a dozen art installations along the boardwalk, and more scattered throughout the city.
The most colossal of these is the bronze statue of King Neptune, towering 34 feet above Neptune Park.
Visit Dewitt Cottage/Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum
While strolling the boardwalk, take a few minutes and stop at DeWitt Cottage, which is the oldest historical structure left on the Virginia Beach oceanfront.
It was built in 1895 by Bernard Holland as a beach house wedding gift for his bride, but she didn’t like the sound of the waves (whaaaaat?)
He sold it several years later to Cornelius DeWitt, who later sold it to the city of Virginia Beach as a historic landmark.
The museum contents celebrate the rich history of wildfowl and duck hunting that took place in Back Bay, Currituck Sound and Virginia Beach in the late 1800s-early 1900s.
The main floor has a fantastic exhibit of wildfowl carvings and decoys; on certain days, a working carver is also on site.
The upper floor has exhibits on the history of Virginia Beach and one of the local hunt clubs.
Before leaving, be sure to walk around the front to the courtyard, see “The Mallards” statue, and peek into the window of the first stand-alone library in Virginia Beach.
Website Open daily, except holidays. 1113 Atlantic Avenue Virginia Beach
Visit Cape Henry Lighthouse
You get a two-fer when you visit Cape Henry Lighthouse because there are two lighthouses!
Visitors can climb and take a tour of the old lighthouse, but the new active lighthouse is right across the street, so be sure to snap a photo of that after seeing the old one up close.
Since the lighthouse is located at Fort Story, an active military base, vehicles are inspected, and visitors must present a photo ID at the main gate. You may also be asked for copies of your vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
(Website) Open daily 10am-4pm. Admission Fee. 583 Atlantic Avenue Virginia Beach
Go indoor skydiving at iFly Virginia Beach
The most surprising thing to me about indoor skydiving is that there’s no falling sensation.
It feels more like you’re balancing above a giant blowing fan, and it’s fun!
Flights in the wind tunnel are only a minute at a time for beginners, so there’s literally nothing to fear. It’s exhilarating!
(Website) Open daily. Admission Fee. 2412 Pacific Avenue Virginia Beach
Do some sipping at Chesapeake Bay Distillery
Visit the vodka tasting room where you can pick four vodka sips for $7.
The distillery crafts and bottles Blue Ridge Vodka, Chick’s Beach Rum and Ghost Pepper Flavored Vodka from locally sourced ingredients, and the results are top quality.
(Website) 437 Virginia Beach Boulevard Virginia Beach
Visit the Old Coast Guard Station Museum
Once an active life saving station, this oceanfront museum features the rescue equipment used by surfmen as they searched for shipwrecks off the coast and attempted to save the crews.
Admission includes a fascinating tour of the main gallery, and tours continually circle the exhibit so just join in when you arrive. It’s well worth a visit.
(Website) Open Tues-Sun. Admission Fee. 2401 Atlantic Ave. Virginia Beach
Spend an afternoon at the Virginia Aquarium
An excellent Virginia Beach attraction for families as there are a lot of hands on exhibits for kids, including a touch tank.
Visitors will explore a variety of animals, such as jelly fish, sharks, river otters, Komodo dragons, loggerhead turtles and a rare Tomistoma freshwater crocodile.
There’s also a wonderful nature trail overlooking the marshlands outside.
(Website) Open daily. Admission Fee. 717 General Booth Blvd Virginia Beach
Take the Whales & Wildlife Sea Adventure boat trip
I definitely recommend it because there are aquarium experts on board who provide running commentary about the wildlife you see throughout the 2-2 1/2 hour trip.
They make no guarantees that you’ll see any whales, of course, but they do their best to find them.
It was extremely foggy on the day we went out, and conditions were awful for spotting anything.
However, we did catch sight of an adult humpback whale’s spout and fluke! We also saw some wonderful sea birds and a couple of bald eagles who nest near the aquarium.
There is plenty of seating along the outside of the boat and you can stand if you hang onto the rails. If it’s windy and chilly, the interior is heated and has restrooms and a snack bar.
(Website) Tours Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun. Admission Fee. 717 General Booth Blvd Virginia Beach
This is by no means an exhaustive list of things to do in Virginia Beach, but these are the things I actually did myself and highly recommend!
If you have any other Virginia Beach attractions you’d suggest, let me know. I’m definitely going to visit again!
Check out visitvirginiabeach.com for more destination information, and check out my post with some amazing eats in Virginia Beach and more great restaurants in Norfolk VA (just 20 minutes away).
Comments & Reviews
robin masshole mommy says
I just realized it’s been like 15 years since I Have been to Virginia Beach. Sounds like a lot has changed, so I better plan a return trip.
Rebecca Bryant says
I so want to indoor sky dive. It looks so fun. Totally trying it this summer.
robin masshole mommy says
My oldest son keeps asking to do this. Me – I am a scaredy cat, so I will watch from the sidelines.
Tracy Iseminger says
So many places I’d like to visit on the East Coast. Wish I lived closer, this looks like a fun trip to make!
We’ve been to the iFly in Chicago and had a blast! I recommend everyone try it once!
I hate to admit that I don’t live too far from Virginia Beach yet have never been. You have mentioned some things that I know my family would love. Perhaps I need to schedule a weekend trip.
It’s dreary here in the DC area too. I would love to be at the beach right now, dreary or not!
Catherine Sargent says
These all sound like fun activities and I have always wanted to try the indoor skydiving. I would love to check out the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum and the skydiving if I am ever in the area.
WOW there’s a lot to check out there! I like the idea of the scavenger hunt. It would be fun to do and you would learn a lot. I may have to try that out with my family.
Amy Desrosiers says
Ok, so that sky flying thing is so awesome! I would be a little scared to do it but I would try it!!
Lory Robinson says
I have never been to Virginia Beach but this list really makes me want to go. It is so fun that you shared a list of things to do even when the weather isn’t great. I think the lighthouse is awesome!
Heather @ Kraus House Mom says
The best thing about going to the beach in the winter is no crowds. I go to the restaurants by the beach in RI in the off season because there are no tourists, just locals.
Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle says
This is such a great post! Most guides like this focus on things to do when weather is sunny. No one ever talks about what to do when the weather is gray.
valmg @ Mom Knows It All says
I’ve always wanted to visit Virginia Beach. Visiting the museums would be perfect for a yucky day.
Indoor skydiving sounds fun and scary. I would like to visit the Virginia Beach aquarium!
Reesa Lewandowski says
My husband used to be stationed in Williamsburg with the Navy, so when we used to visit him, we’d sometimes go to Virginia Beach too. I miss the area, so much to do!
Great suggestions!!! I happened to visit Virginia Beach during a rainy week once and I was actually shocked there were decent things to do when it was raining!
Neely (@Neelykins) says
I love Virgina Beach its been forever but I really liked it. Glad to know theres so much to do!
Jeni Hawkins says
Ohhhh! I would TOTALLY hit up that lighthouse if I ever travel to Virginia Beach! That looks so peaceful and amazing!
Marcie W. says
There are so many great things to do! Being from Las Vegas, a lighthouse might as well be a unicorn, so that would be a must see.
Kelly Hutchisnon says
I had NO idea Virginia Beach had so much to offer. I love to spend a rainy day exploring in a museum.
We love Virginia Beach! We were just there this past Summer. I haven’t tried the indoor skydiving though- next time!
Nancy at Whispered Inspirations says
I was in Virginia not too long ago, I never made it to the beach. I will have to go again and do this.
Toni | Boulder Locavore says
I love all these suggestions! Thank you so much for sharing these tips! 😀
Star Traci says
Gosh, I need to visit there! I love the shore in the winter and the public art scavenger hunt and lighthouse look wonderful. I love aquariums, too!
BTW, I did iFly in Austin a couple of years ago and had so much fun.
I live by the beach and not every day is sunny. Some of the most fun can be found away from the sans
Lisa Bristol says
I loved Virginia Beach. The boardwalk is a must see. I am hoping to get back there again this year with the kids.
Claudia Krusch says
We are going to Virginia Beach next Winter. The scavenger hunt sounds like a bunch of fun. There are so many great things to do there.
I would love to try indoor skydiving. It would be so fun to do with the kids. Virginia Beach looks like a great place to spend time with the family.
I’ve never ventured that way but would love to see Virginia beach myself. Looks like there is no shortage of things to do, which is great!
Looks like there are many great things to do there. I have always wanted to go to Virginia beach. I had a friend that went and she loved it.
Hey Sharonoox says
It looks like a great place to visit. So many things to do and see there. I wish to visit the heritage museum. Added this to my travel list.
I would love to go to Virginia Beach! I’ve never been there but it looks like a place my whole family would love. That indoor skydiving looks amazing.
Adriana Lopez (@MrsALOMartin) says
Never been to Virginia Beach but this review and yoru recommendations are inspiring me to put it on my list. The photos look really nice.
I hate when the weather is “meh!” Especially if I feel like going out and exploring the city and doing things outdoors. Great list for Virginia Beach–saving for our next trip out there!
When you book a vacation in advance, you can’t really count on the weather. Glad there’s so much fun to be had even when it’s not a sun shiny great day.
Jocelyn Cañasa Brown says
Those look like some pretty good suggestions for going to Virginia Beach! I want to take my family there next summer!
Divya @ Eat. Teach. Blog. says
Virginia Beach is not too far of a drive from where I am! I hope we can visit there for a long weekend. My friend who moved here spent 3 years there and she always raves about how fun it was!
Dawn Gibson-Thigpen says
i heard that virginia beach is really nice and fun and by your pics that is true. I would love to go indoor skydiving.
Toni | Boulder Locavore says
These sounds so fun! I wish we can visit Virginia beach as a family. My kids will surely enjoy!
Olivia Douglass says
Virginia Beach is one of our all time favorite places to visit. The beach is awesome and so is the boardwalk!
This all sounds amazing. I would love to try the indoor skydiving and visit the aquarium.
There is so much to see and do. Visiting the historical landmarks would definitely be on my to do list.
Indoor skydiving, a public art scavenger hunt and a stroll on the boardwalk–I definitely need to book a trip with my kids! Thnaks for sharing!
I love Virginia Beach. The last time the hubby and I were there it was February (many moons ago though) but we walked along the beach and saw whales of all things! It was a very mild weather year but still it was awesome to see them
Janell Poulette says
I am so glad you posted this because my husband might be getting transferred to VA for work and i was wondering of all things to do there if we have to move. I will keep this bookmarked because these look like some fun things to do!
Oh I love Virginia Beach! I grew up about 4 hours away from there. Their aquarium and boardwalk are a MUST see.
I love when you visit local places near me, because I always feel a glow of pride, as if it’s all mine, ha ha! I live about an hour from the beach, and we love to go there. The actual city of Virginia Beach is pretty big, and you are right, there’s a whole lot to do there. We always have a great time when we go and never have trouble finding something to do. Thank you for visiting “my” beach and having such nice things to say about it!
Lisa Rios says
The Virginia Beach sounds like an amazing place to visit with kids. The Heritage Museum looks great and I would really love one such fun activity with that indoor skydiving as well. The Whales & Wildlife Sea Adventure boat trip could be a great treat for kids to have some fun too!
You found some great things to do in murky weather. You didnt let it make a damper in your trip (pun intended). I love the indoor diving looks fun #bucketlist
Agness of Fit Travelling says
Virginia Beach seems like a very beautiful place to visit. I would definenitelly visit Virginia Aquarium, it looks awesome.
Virginia Beach says
I’ve been wanting to try out ifly, but have been too nervous. You make it look so fun! These are all great ideas for indoors in Virginia Beach.