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Virginia Beach: Where to Stay and What to Do

I am a stay-at-home mom to two wonderful children who keep me very busy. I love technology, gardening, cooking, and personal finance.

Dolphin Watching In Virginia Beach

Vacation At Virginia Beach

Since I live in Northern Virginia, my family make regular trips down to Virginia Beach during the summer. We always bring the kids (4&5 years old). Sometimes we bring the dog too! But we always have to stay at a hotel since we don't live close enough for a reasonable day trip.

There is so much to see and do around Virginia Beach. They have everything from hole in the wall, mom & pop stores to fancy 5 star dining along the beach. You just have to know where to look!

To get great coupons for savings at stores, restaurants and hotels, stop at the visitors bureau along the freeway going to Virginia Beach. We stopped at one on 95 South when we got close to Virginia Beach. They had tons of information, guides, maps and coupons for free! I love free stuff!

Picture Of Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach Hotels

I have noticed that the older, cheaper hotels are on the South side of the beach close to Rudee Inlet. As you move to the North side of the beach, you will find newer, swankier hotels. If you are on a budget and want to stay on the beach, look into the south side of Virginia beach.

The south side of the beach has a nice playground on the beach, a public restroom and is right beside Rudee Inlet where you can watch people fishing and boats taking off.

The middle of the beach still has older hotels, but they are in a more prime location. There are tons of restaurants and shops. The pier is right there also. Live bands play there in the pavilion right beside Dairy Queen. Hint: there is a public restroom behind Dairy Queen (much better than porta-potties).

The north side of the beach has new restaurants and hotels that are very nice, but very expensive. There is a nice playground on the beach there too. They have live bands playing beside the Catch 21 restaurant every night.

If you want to save even more money, stay at a hotel about a mile away from the beach. It's much cheaper, sometimes $100 cheaper per night! This is what we normally do.

If you stay in Norfolk, you may have a 20 minute drive, but you will save tons of money and there are lots of restaurants. We have stayed out here before. The night-life is a bit calmer in Norfolk. There is also a great Naval museum that you could tour. The USS Wisconsin is part of the museum tour. On hot days, that ship can be super hot!

Virginia Beach, VA

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach Weather

Virginia Beach Weather can be tricky. I've generally noticed that once you get on the beach, the clouds are gone. Check sites like to get local weather reports including marine weather. will give you regular weather, ocean temperature, wave height, tide schedule and it will let you know if the ocean is rough or pretty calm that day.

I would not recommend bringing kids into the ocean on rough days. The rip tide could pull them right in to the ocean. It's very scary and not fun for the kids or parents. That would be a good day to go to the Virginia Beach Aquarium.

Generally, during the summer months, the water temperature ranges from the 70's to the 80's. The further into summer, the warmer the water will be.

Virginia Beach

There is tons to do in Virginia Beach!

Boat RidesRestaurantsWater Sports

Rudee Inlet

Fancy Restaurants to the North

Boogey Boards

Speed Boats

Cheaper Restaurants to the South



Continental Breakfast


Virginia Beach Seal

Virginia Beach Aquarium

If you make it to Virginia Beach and it is raining (which usually happens the first day we get there) you can make a trip to the Virginia Beach Aquarium. It's indoors, so you won't get wet, but you will get to see some of the local fish that live in the Virginia Beach area.

While at the Virginia Beach Aquarium, you can catch an IMAX movie, brush up on your marine facts, go through a hallway made of glass that goes through a huge aquarium or catch a dolphin show.

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The aquarium is open from 9-5 each day and admission is anywhere from $15-22 for the museum only. You could choose to do the IMAX movie for a little extra. Kids under 3 are free. Military families get a discount if you show proper Military ID. Parking is free and there are restaurants inside in case the family gets hungry.

Virginia Beach

"No Swearing" sign along Atlantic Avenue in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

No Cursing Law At Virginia Beach

There is a no cursing law in Virginia Beach. If you curse, you could be fined $250!

They do take this seriously since there are so many families with small children around. They don't want to lose visitors because of obnoxious behavior.

This law was put in place in the early 1990s and has been enforced since then. Nothing but good, clean fun is allowed at Virginia Beach.

Things To Bring To Virginia Beach

  • Beach Chairs
  • Sun Block
  • Beach Towels
  • Plenty of water and drinks
  • Snacks (watch out for the seagulls!)
  • Pictures of children
  • Camera
  • Money (hide it well)
  • Wet Wipes
  • Boogie Boards
  • Sand Toys
  • Life Jackets (for kids)

Stay Safe With The Kids At Virginia Beach

A crowded beach can be a scary place for parents with small children. My biggest tip is to sit near a lifeguard stand. Show your child the lifeguard stand, the number on the lifeguard stand and the lifeguard stand.

Tell them to look for the big orange umbrellas on top of the stands. Let them know that if they get lost, they should go to the lifeguard stand and let the lifeguard know that they are lost. Even if they end up at a different lifeguard station, the lifeguards have walkie-talkies so they can correspond with the other lifeguards.

Sometimes, I would see 2-3 kids on each lifeguard station at one time. Kids get separated from their parents all the time at the beach during the Summer. Be careful to watch your kids closely and teach them to go to the lifeguards if they are lost.

The next most important thing to do is to keep a life jacket on them. Even if they are good swimmers in the pool, they will need a life jacket to stay safer. Some tides are strong enough to wash them out to deeper areas. The life jacket will help them stay afloat in deep water.

Put plenty of sunblock on your children regularly. The sun and sand reflect light and cause skin to burn more quickly. Make sure to cover ears, noses, cheeks, tops of feet and all area where covered skin meet uncovered skin. Those are areas that people miss a lot. If bellies are exposed, cover them liberally with sunblock because those areas do not normally see sunlight and will burn quickly.

Picture Of Virginia Beach In 1965

Video Of Virginia Beach

Have Fun At Virginia Beach!

If you do decide to go to Virginia Beach for vacation, have fun and be safe! We had a great time on our trip to Virginia Beach with our children. We had a few scary moments when we lost our child, but found him again at a lifeguard stand (with his life jacket on). We had fun body surfing in the water, building sand castles in the sand and covering each other with sand.

If you get hot and crave some ice-cream and you are near the center of the beach, head over to Dairy Queen or Sweet Frog for ice cream or frozen yogurt.

If you would like to take a boat tour, go to the Rudee Inlet near the Southside of the beach. They have speed boat tours and slower dolphin-watching tours. We took a speed boat tour and we saw dolphins when we slowed down and turned around in the boat to go back.

If you have children with you at Virginia beach, there are two great playgrounds on the beach. One is on the Northside by the statue of King Triton. The other playground is on the Southside close to the Rudee Inlet.

Have fun and be safe!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Melanie Casey


Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on September 15, 2014:

My husband and I met when we both lived in Virginia Beach and worked in Norfolk, got married, and lived in VB for 10 more years before transplanting to Arkansas 23 years ago. Lots of the commercial places have changed, but no doubt the beach is still pretty much the same. Loved reading about Rudee Inlet. Our wedding dinner was held at a very popular restaurant there which was destroyed by a hurricane a few years after we moved away. Thanks for triggering many wonderful memories of a very special place in our family's life!

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