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As one of the seven boroughs created after the founding of Virginia Beach, Bayside is heavily influenced by not only the naval heritage of the area but also by its proximity to the sea. What sets Bayside apart is how relatively unknown it is, despite teeming with exciting things to do and lovely places to see. The following are ten reasons not to pass it by on your outing to Virginia Beach.
The First Landing State Park is a popular attraction stretching for miles across Virginia Beach, but the star of Bayside’s share of it is the boat ramp. From here you can access the calm, sparkling water of Cape Henry without the crowds of Virginia’s beaches. There are also a handful of campgrounds you can reserve in advance, each one offering plenty of privacy and stunning views of the state park.
Address and telephone number: 2500 Shore Dr., Virginia Beach, VA 23451 +1 (757) 412-2300
Neptune’s Park is a massive outdoor concert arena that is both an adult-friendly venue at night and a family-friendly park during the day. With a breathtaking views overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the scent of saltwater seems to permeate the park and add a distinctly beachy vibe to the festivities. During the summer, Neptune’s Park hosts free concerts each night, so come along to catch national recording artists performing crowd favorite hits.
Address and telephone number: 3001 Atlantic Avenue, Virginia Beach, VA 23451 +1 757-491-3000
A convention center seems an unlikely spot to visit during a vacation, but the Virginia Beach Convention Center is quite unlike others, as they regularly host eclectic, extraordinary acts and performances for affordable prices. For example, this summer the Convention Center is treating visitors to exclusive showings of KOOZA, the newest act from the renowned Cirque du Soleil touring circus. The building itself is also aesthetically stunning, made entirely of highly reflective glass-screen walls.
Address and telephone number: 1000 19th Street, Virginia Beach, VA 23451 +1 757-385-2000
Art lovers rejoice, for the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art is an aesthetic diamond in the rough. Though small in size, MOCA manages to pack an impressive collection of artwork, photography and sculptures without feeling cramped. The white-walled museum sparkles like a gem in the sunlight thanks to ample skylights fixed atop the building. This is also a popular spot for intimate events and ceremonies – so don’t be surprised if you happen to walk past a couple reciting their wedding vows.
Address and telephone number: 2200 Parks Avenue, Virginia Beach, VA 23451 +1 757-425-0000
Nightmare Mansion is a scare-house for the young and the young-at-heart alike. The website promises to scare even the least vulnerable of visitors, and reviewers agree that Nightmare Mansion isn’t just some mild-mannered haunted house aimed at spooking children. You can buy tickets at the door, but go with a friend that you trust won’t leave you stranded halfway through the darkness. You definitely will not want to cross through the house alone… BOO!
Address and telephone number: 2008 Atlantic Avenue, Virginia Beach, VA 23451 +1 757-428-3327
Fancy a museum with an unusual twist? It’s time you checked out Bayside’s Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum. Housed in the historic deWitt Cottage, built in 1895, this unique museum traces the history of Virginia Beach through the history of wildfowling and duck hunting in the area. It’s picturesque ocean-front location means that once you’ve meandered through, you can spend the rest of the afternoon on the beach spotting birds yourself.
Address and telephone number: 1113 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451 +1 757-437-8432
The Virginia Beach Boardwalk seems a no-brainer when it comes to things to do in Bayside, so long as you plan on frequenting at least one of Virginia’s many beaches. Stretching for miles along the shoreline, the half-concrete half-wooden boardwalk blasts summery music all day and all night, and boasts a wide variety of food vendors. It even occasionally even hosts a diversity of festivals and events, such as the famous Kite Fest. There’s also a separate boardwalk for bikers, so rent a bicycle and experience a whole different vibe to the boardwalk.
Address and telephone number: Virginia Beach, VA
The Grommet Island Beach Park & Playground proudly proclaims itis for everyBODY! So whatever your age, come on down and have some fun! Located at the very end of Virginia Beach, Grommet Island Park is hard to miss with its cerulean tent covers and light teal floors. Though small, it offers spectacular views of the ocean and open access to fishing ports. You can opt to enjoy the playground with your family or take a boat tour with friends; either way, there truly is something for everyone.
History buffs in the Bayside area flock to the Virginia Legends Walk, a fascinating local attraction where you can take a leisurely stroll through the small park and learn something new about Virginian history. If you didn’t know that Edgar Allen Poe, Katie Couric and even George Washington all have Virginian roots in common, you owe it to yourself to check out the exhibit. There are currently over forty plaques commemorating and celebrating individuals from a diversity of backgrounds, from athletics to the military. It doesn’t take very long considering how short the walk is, but by the time you’re at the exit, you’ll have gleaned considerable factoids about Virginia’s greats.
The Old Coast Guard Station is a standing artifact from 1903, when it was initially called the “Life-Saving Station”. An unusual and unexpectedly interesting museum, the Old Coast Guard Station is dedicated to the preservation of Virginian maritime heritage and history. It offers visitors plenty of tour packages to choose from, but the most popular one is undoubtedly the Virginia Beach Ghostwalk, where you can learn about shipwrecks, ghost lore and unsolved maritime mysteries. With admission prices at $12 or less, it’s well worth a visit.
Address and telephone number: 24th Street & Boardwalk, Virginia Beach, VA 23451 +1 757-422-1587