Home to 35 miles of sandy beaches, Virginia Beach, Virginia, draws visitors with the promise of sun and sand. The bustling coastal city is located where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean and rewards tourgoers with a lively boardwalk, water adventures, maritime history, and oceanfront festivals and entertainment. But the lure of the city doesn’t end at the coast.
“Yes, we are home to beautiful beaches, but there is so much more to experience,” said Jim Coggin, tourism sales manager at Virginia Beach CVB. “We have a flourishing culinary and craft beer scene, rich history, a variety of arts and entertainment, and attractions that keep groups entertained year-round. There is so much to see and do that you can’t do anywhere else.”
For those seeking the quintessential beach vacation, Virginia Beach’s Oceanfront District is the place to be. It’s the hub of hotels, dining and entertainment, and home to the famous 3-mile boardwalk.
Wide, sandy beaches allow for ample sunbathing, while the ocean waves are ideal for surfers. Outdoor cafes offer ocean views, and vendors sell snacks like hot dogs and snow cones for those on the go. The majestic King Neptune statue, located at 31st Street and Atlantic Avenue, stands 26 feet tall and is popular for group photo ops.
At Rudee Inlet, groups will find fishing charters and opportunities for parasailing, kayaking and jet skiing. Rudee Tours, one of several outfitters, maintains a fleet of boats for water excursions including fishing, dolphin and whale watching, and specialty tours.
Just south of Rudee Inlet, Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center holds over 800,000 gallons of aquatic fun. The aquarium features thousands of animals representing over 300 species, displayed in state-of-the-art, educational habitats.
Groups can participate in behind-the-scenes tours of the aquarium, and dolphin and whale watching tours with marine educators.
History on display
At the Military Aviation Museum, groups discover one of the largest private collections of World War I- and World War II-era military aircraft in the world. Most of the planes on display are airworthy and showcase their grandeur during flight demonstrations and air shows. For those seeking a once-in-a-lifetime thrill, aircraft rides allow visitors to soar in the sky in a completely restored WWII airplane.
Another stop on a history-related tour, Cape Henry Lighthouse is a beacon of the past. It was the first federally funded public works project of the newly formed United States government and is situated near the “First Landing” site where English settlers first set foot on their way to settle in Jamestown. The lighthouse guided sea travelers to safety for almost 100 years before being replaced by the new Cape Henry Lighthouse nearby.
Today, the old Cape Henry Lighthouse is accessible to visitors who wish to climb the historic tower for beautiful Chesapeake Bay views.
For a deeper look at Virginia Beach’s coastal and maritime heritage, the Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum is the place to be. Located on the boardwalk, the museum building, a former U.S. Life Saving Station, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Exhibits cover topics like local surfing legends and lifeguards, superstorms that have hit Virginia Beach and shipwrecks.
Live the Life Adventures
Groups visiting Virginia Beach can participate in exclusive, curated experiences designed to make tourgoers feel like VIPs. Called Live the Life Adventures, these experi- ences provide behind-the-scenes access to attractions and venues. The adventures are separated into different categories, based on popular visitor interests.
The Mind, Body, Spirit Adventures include wellness programs offered by Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research & Enlightenment. Edgar Cayce, known as the Father of Holistic Medicine, founded the association in 1931.
“Cayce was a clairvoyant who claimed to channel from his higher self while asleep in a trance-like state,” Coggin said.
Experiences include dream and holistic healing workshops, exercises to improve immune system health and spa services.
Other Live the Life Adventure topics include arts and culture, agriculture, history and eco-adventures.
The Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau can assist tour operators with itinerary planning and logistics, meet and greets, maps, guides, motorcoach parking, and destination videos and images.
More to love
Known for its ocean-minded fare, Waterman’s Surfside Grille can host groups of 40 to 150 in its private event space, The Attic at Waterman’s. Waterman’s is the place to go for Virginia Beach’s favorite drink — The Orange Crush.
Feeling festive? Plan a group itinerary around one of Virginia Beach’s many festivals. Popular options include Boardwalk Holiday Lights (Nov. 18, 2022–Jan. 1, 2023), Rockin’ the Boardwalk (Oct. 3–6, 2023) and Virginia International Tattoo (April 20–23, 2023).
Virginia Beach CVB
Main image: Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center; credit: Virginia Beach CVB