How to Spend 24 Hours in Virginia Beach, VA

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Leigh Hayhurst

British colonists first landed in the Virginia Beach region in 1607, thus giving the area an illustrious, albeit stormy history. Legend has it that Blackbeard, the infamous English pirate, was very fond of the region and regularly cruised the waterways, using coves and creeks as hideaways. Today, this part of Virginia is a beach lover’s haven by the sea, teeming with tasty eateries, fun activities, and historic attractions. Here’s what to pack into your 24-hour itinerary in order to see and do it all!

Day 1

Morning

Start your day by grabbing a cup of joe at Three Ships Coffee Bar on 19th Street. Influenced by Scandinavian brews, Three Ships’ coffee beans are ethically sourced and locally roasted. For breakfast, head over to Citrus on Great Neck Road. This diner makes all menu items from scratch using locally sourced foods. Order the local’s favorite, “The Shore Drive,” or the “Cape Henry” or “Lynnhaven,” and wash it down with a freshly squeezed juice, mimosa, bloody Mary or the famous Orange Crush, a Virginia Beach original!

After breakfast, explore First Landing State Park. First Landing is the most visited park in the Commonwealth of Virginia and boasts 20 miles of trails and 1.5 miles of sandy Chesapeake Bay beach frontage. There are endless recreational activities including hiking, biking, swimming, and camping.

First Landing State Park

Afternoon

With an extensive selection of sandwiches, sides, and desserts, Taste on Shore Drive is a perfect stop for a satisfying lunch. The menu changes each season, but look for specialties such as “Peter’s Pick,” “Princess Anne,” and “Virginian.” A local tip: Order a classic or signature boxed lunch to go and have a picnic at nearby Chic’s Beach. Afterward, check out what’s happening at Chic’s Oyster Bar. Gear up for an afternoon experience in the treetops at the Adventure Park. The “aerial forest park” is a zipline adventure for people of all ages. The first of its kind in Virginia, the park comprises bridges, ropes, and ladders that form “aerial trails” throughout the forest. No experience necessary!

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Evening

For dinner, try some of the best seafood around at Waterman’s Surfside Grill, which is known for their fresh Chesapeake Bay lump crab cakes, jumbo sea scallops, and Atlantic salmon. And for the environmentally conscious, note that the restaurant currently partners with the Virginia Aquarium in participating in the Sensible Seafood Program. After dinner, grab drinks at Pacifica, located at the corner of 40th Street and Pacific Avenue. Pacifica has a relaxing, cozy atmosphere, complete with a wood-burning fireplace.

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Day 2

Morning

A Virginia Beach institution, Doc Taylor’s Restaurant and Seaside Market Lounge has a rich history beginning with Doctor Taylor himself. Taylor set up practice in the picturesque, Colonial-style home nearly a century ago, but today, the only prescriptions offered are delicious Southern-style food, bloody Marys, and music. Try “Dr. White’s Virginia Omelet,” “Grandma Ellen’s Creamed Chipped Beef,” or “The Beach Bum A.K.A. The Riley Gomez Breakfast.”

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Afternoon

Your Virginia Beach experience wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the boardwalk. Stroll along the 28-foot-wide (8.5 meters), three-mile-long (4.8 kilometers) boardwalk and soak up the warm sun while breathing in fresh, salty air from the Atlantic. The boardwalk features a separate bike path for skating, rollerblading, and biking. Stay a little longer and go for a swim, take a surf or paddleboard lesson, or just work on your tan!

Virginia Beach Boardwalk

On your way out of town, grab a beer at the award-winning Green Flash Brewing Company. Green Flash is a San Diego-based craft brewery known around the world for their West Coast IPA. Their second location opened in Virginia Beach last year. Or if beer isn’t your thing, check out some art at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art where you’ll find exhibits, interactive areas, hands-on activities and more.

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