The highlight of my life as a child (and still today!) was planning (and going!) on our annual family vacation. Hubby is still rather amused at the fervor I put into planning out his vacation time in detail (and months in advance). At least… I’m hoping that is amusement I see on his face! ha!

Our favorite and most frequent vacation spot was spending family time on the beaches of Virginia. We’d go about every 2-3 years or so, and I highly recommend Virginia Beach and the area as a great family-friendly vacation spot.

I’ve traveled to Virginia at just about every time of year except dead of winter… one year we went in April, which for us New Englanders was a great time to get away to warmer weather!

As my summer vacation excitement has been getting into full swing (little else to do these winter months!), I’ve been fondly recalling how we’d spend our time… the next time we travel to Virginia Beach!

family activities at Virginia beach

Here’s 10 Family Activities at Virginia Beach!

*FREE* Watch the sunrise…

we’d stumble out of bed, pile into the van, go through the McDonald’s drive through for McMuffins and race through the gray dawn towards the skyline slowly appearing beyond the pounding surf. In the dim light, chairs were arranged, the few brave children crouched in the cool sand patting together gritty piles, and the rest of us waited… waited under enormous beach towels until… at last! A lip of sun quivered into sight! HURRAY! We’d shout, jump, take a million pictures and forget our cold toes for a good half hour watching the golden globe emerge!

*FREE* Watch for dolphins…

this is best done right after watching for the sun… although they’re far away, it’s exciting to see those gray curving shapes soar and dip playfully in the waves. Or, take a sunset Dolphin Cruise with Dockside to get closer to these happy, friendly creatures.

*FREE* Build a sandcastle…

now that the sun is up, time for a family sandcastle endeavor. Or have a contest between the kids. I’d love to check out the Neptune Festival’s big Sandsculpting Championship – it’s at the end of September which can be tricky with kids in school, but I know from experience that September can be a great month to visit Virginia! Did you know on some beaches, areas are marked off specifically for sandcastle building so your creations won’t get knocked over by beach volleyball and dog walkers? Can’t vouch for the incoming tide though.

Explore a wildlife refuge…

Virginia Beach is home to thousands of acres of wildlife refuge areas. I remember taking a Junior ranger course one year as a kid and we had so much fun learning about sand dunes, marshlands, piping plovers, and using nets to catch small fish and other creatures in a small inlet bay. Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge has educational plans, activities, and workshops for educators.

Drive through a really long tunnel…

so it might not seem so exciting, but when we traveled south, we’d usually have to go through the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. Soaring and then dipping gracefully in and out of the Atlantic, the Bridge-Tunnel connects Virginia’s Eastern Shore with the mainland at Virginia Beach… worth a drive if you’re looking to have a low-key day with the kids (also great for when it rains because it’ll probably take up a couple hours of time… make the kids turn in their electronic devices so they can really appreciate the ride!). I recall fishing piers with those big huge quarter-run binoculars, too. Kids love those things!

Take a family bike trip…

a summer never went by without the crazy adventure of renting the entire family some bicycles and heading out for the beach or nature trails. We’d always manage to talk our dad into getting either a “bicycle built for two,” to terrify my mother. Or we’d beg until we got those huge four-seater bikes with the canopy top (I think they’re called a surrey?). so. much. fun. The Virginia Beach Boardwalk Bike Path would be a perfect place for taking it all in because it has a separate bike path. In fact, this Boardwalk is rated among the Top 10 Boardwalks in America by National Geographic!

Eat some ice cream…

it wouldn’t be a beach vacation without that cold, creamy, drippy stuff. Our family favorite was called Mr. Whippy, and Virginia Beach has many frozen yogurt places to enjoy!

So, that’s just a sampling of how our family has enjoyed vacationing on the beaches of Virgina….but Virginia Beach has a lot of places left for us to explore.

family activities at Virginia Beach

Here’s a few spots on my wish list:

  • Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
  • Kids Cove Playground
  • Planet Pizza Space Grill @ Virginia Beach
  • Forbes Candies
  • Pirates Paradise Mini Golf
  • The Virginia Zoo

Our family loves to disconnect and just enjoy life at a slow pace when we vacation (which is why you’ll often find us camping, yes, at the beach!)… Virginia Beach offers so many outdoor family (and toddler) friendly activities, no wonder we’ve returned to the area many times over the years.

What are your vacation plans this year?

Tell us why you love Virginia Beach!

Share your Virginia Beach vacation story!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Virginia Beach via Burst Media. The opinions and text are all mine.