FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Explore the Wilder Side of Virginia Beach

by Gregory D. McCluney

May 18, 2021

PHOTO: © SHERRYVSMITH | DREAMSTIME.COM,

April/May 2021

One of the East Coast’s more popular beach destinations offers many of the usual beach amenities, but also look for a wild side beyond the attractions, boardwalk bars and beach restaurants. Virginia Beach offers an array of tours, but many activities work best when self-guided.

While the weather can be unpredictable, this beach destination at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay goes beyond the ordinary selection of tours and attractions, primarily because of its unique geography. Most visitors arrive by private car, but two major regional airports — Norfolk International Airport and Newport News Williamsburg International Airport — also serve the area. Upon arrival, start by stretching your legs on the three-mile boardwalk. The water is usually calm and the setbacks to the water are wide.

There’s a lot to see along the Atlantic Avenue and Oceanside boardwalk corridors, including shops with beach gear and clothing and excellent restaurants serving local seafood. The wide boardwalk features separate lanes for bike riders. And walkers. And joggers. In summer, several stages offer live entertainment. Don’t miss the photo op at the sculpture of Neptune. At the south end of the boardwalk lies Rudee Inlet, where you can pick up a charter fishing boat, rent a bike or just enjoy the scenery and waterside dining (try Big Sam’s Inlet Café & Raw Bar).

Next, escape the beach crowds and explore the wilder, natural side of Virginia Beach. Many tours can be self-guided, such as a trip to Sandbridge Beach, where it will mostly be just you and the birds. Or visit First Landing State Park for a nature walk. Not far is the National Wildlife Refuge, a link to the Atlantic Flyway, or take a wetlands zip tour for a thrill under the canopy.

After all this nature, pause for a tasting at Tarnished Truth Distilling Co. in the newly renovated Cavalier Virginia Beach hotel and spa. Drop by the Cape Henry Lighthouse, and then wrap up your day with a sunset dolphin kayak tour. Before your departure, take a tour of the Military Aviation Museum and get back on the water for a whale tour aboard Atlantic Explorer.

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