Lifestyle | Family Short Break to Virginia Beach, VA

Hey, lovelies! If you are caught up on what's been happening lately then you already know we relocated from Raleigh-Durham, NC to Richmond, VA (RVA) earlier this year. This weekend, we drove up to Virginia Beach, VA for one last hurrah to Summer. What an awesome little getaway. The drive isn't bad either. It takes just under two hours to get the opportunity to dig my feet in the sand. There are many fun things to do here. Virginia Beach, a coastal city in Virginia, and it lies where the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean meet.

So what can a family do here? By looking at the city’s name, you already know one major draw for visitors…

The Beach and Boardwalk

We stayed in the Ocean Key Resort (read: timeshare) for the weekend with additional family. There are tons lodging options one street over from the boardwalk and oceanfront, so walking to the beach is super easy. The beach stretches for three miles and is pretty clean. Humans gonna’ human though. We, Homosapiens tend to leave generally are trash so don’t be surprised if you find the occasional cigarette butt mixed in with your seashells. Parking isn’t free but again, if you choose to lodge near the beach, get those flip-flops to moving, it’s really a short walk to the sand. Overall a great place to soak up some Vitamin D, fly a kite or build a sand castle...all of which #TeamFife accomplished.

Now, about this boardwalk. I’m going to say boardwalk while doing air quotes around the word “board” because it isn’t really a traditional wooden boardwalk. It is a concrete path that people run/walk, bike and takes pictures on. There 5th Annual Summer Sizzler 5K was happening while we were visiting. Plenty of people jogging along with race bibs attached to their shirts. The concrete path has a separate lane for bikers which struck me as a really thoughtful way to segregate the bike traffic from pedestrians. There are tons of places to rent bikes and I noticed electric scooters parked all over the place as well.

Speaking of pictures, I couldn’t come to this beach without snapping a picture of King Neptune. This 34-foot tall statue saluting the Roman God of the Sea is hard to ignore.

Near King Neptune, there is a playground in the sand. What an unexpected little addition to the beach.

If you get tired of the sand, you can venture away from the beach to relax or find a variety of entertainment. It can be hard to choose so I’m not going to list everything available to do. I’ll just cover what we were able to get to over the weekend. All you need is good weather and you’ll be able to find a good time.

Now, this is where our weekend hit a snag. Did I forget to mention that we haphazardly decided to go to the beach during hurricane season? Hurricane Florence was about a week away but it’s coming effects were quite evident in the coastal city. Choppy waters and periods of extremely heavy rain seemed unending. It worked out though because there are tons of fun things to do that don’t require sun.

The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center

717 General Booth Blvd Virginia Beach, VA 23451 | Open 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Daily

It’s located just one mile south of the oceanfront. It’s a really quick drive, maybe less than 5 minutes away. You can watch the sea lions playing before heading inside to pay for admittance into the aquarium. There is a stingray station where you can reach down and touch the slimy aquatic creatures. Some of our favorites were the overhead tunnel that gave you (I'm guessing) a 270° view of life “under the sea”.

Pumpkin was really excited to see the blowfish, the turtles, the jellyfish, and the sharks. Thanks, Splash and Bubbles (PBS)!

Does your kiddo have a birthday coming up? You can always host at the aquarium, we noticed a party had just ended as we arrived. It appeared the kids were able to get up close to touch some reptilian creatures. Neat!

The aquarium staff are friendly, knowledgeable and eager to assist visitors. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the price. It cost about $70 for the three of us. This activity carries a hefty price tag but an aquarium membership costs roughly the same as going twice a year. If you live nearby and can imagine visiting multiple times a year, spring for the membership.

In addition to the exhibits, there are educational stations that have interactive displays. They cover geology with tons of fossils and rock samples. Additionally, there is a cafe, a large gift shop, and a full IMAX theater with a snack bar. Outdoors, you can also check their boat rides or the Nature Trail, a 20-minute round-trip marshy habitat.

Throughout the aquarium, the displays were clean, engaging, and educational fun for all ages. This was a great opportunity to make the best of a dreary day. Loved that we had to opportunity to teach Pumpkin how to always jump for joy despite the circumstances.

Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art

2200 Parks Ave Virginia Beach, VA 23451 | Open 10:00 am - 5:00 pm Closed Mondays

They have rotating exhibits throughout the year and we arrived during an updating time so we were able to see much. We did see their Prisms exhibit that contained art created by children from the 2018 summer camp called "Art Campers".

There are also outdoor sculptures. Roam around the property and find them all. One of my favorites is right out front called Knowledge by Michael Manjarris.

Photo courtesy of Virginia Moca
Although much of the small museum was closed for new installments, we did stumble upon a magnificent work. A permanently installed 14-foot glass chandelier called Mille Colori. It’s vibrant and quirky in a way that feels electric. It hangs above you in the beautiful glass-walled Rodriguez Pavilion. The artist is Dale Chihuly and is known for his elaborate glasswork. The Rodriguez Pavilion is also a great place to pretend to be a model or just get away for some quiet quality time.

So, did we get to everything? No, not at all. We wanted to do mini golf, motor carts, and the amusement rides but between the weather and time constraints, some things just were cut out. Although we didn’t get to everything on my itinerary, we did get to have a great family short break away from home.


Where are some of your favorite locations for a quick family getaway?


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