With miles of beautiful coastline and meandering waterways, Virginia Beach is home to an aquatic playground of fun and adventure. With unique coastal agriculture and wildlife, a maritime history the is distinctly our own, and two shorelines with unbeatable views, here are some of our favorite boat tours to help you explore everything Virginia Beach has to offer by sea.
With our unique military history, and as the home of many of the country’s largest, most-crucial military bases today, it’s no secret that the Navy plays a big role in our maritime environment here in Virginia Beach. For an in-depth look at this unique operation, as well as a detailed explanation of our area’s military history, it doesn’t get much better than Patriotic Excursions’ Captain Jay, and his military RIBS (rigid inflatable boats), used today by the Navy SEALs.
Captain Jay provides commentary as well as patriotic music as you journey to visit the different bases in the area. These boats were made to go 30 mph+ in rough seas, handling even the choppiest of waters with ease, so don’t expect a boring ride. This journey through our military culture is a thrill seekers delight, and you will definitely not stay dry as you’ll skip and hop over the waves as you go.
We’d take this tour for the thrills and military stories alone, but Jay is also an expert at getting you up close to the dolphins of the Bay, As these boats sit closer to the water, you can’t beat the view. For an adventure around the entire coastline of Va Beach, from the Chesapeake Bay area to the Resort area at the Oceanfront, give Patriotic Excursions a call.
Lynnhaven oysters, once coveted around the world for their size and saltiness, were near extinction just 12 years ago. Thanks to habitat revitalization efforts—an effort the folks at Pleasure House Oysters helped spearhead—the river’s oyster population is thriving. You can hop aboard a tour where you’ll learn more about that success story and the important role oysters play in the river’s ecosystem and you can even taste the oysters plucked straight from the water beneath you.
The tour captain, Chris Ludford, wanted to give locals and visitors the opportunity to learn and experience what goes into growing and farming oysters, as well as teaching the importance and impact that they have on keeping the waterways clean. On his tours, you’ll learn about the history of the river that you just can’t find in history books. Since Chris’s farm is run solely by him and a few helpers, you can see the pure muscle that makes these legends come to life and land on the plates of oyster lovers from around the East Coast.
The Virginia Aquarium offers probably one of the easiest ways to enjoy the water with their Craft Brews Cruise. The aquarium has partnered up with many of our favorite local and regional breweries for an unforgettable, and decidedly local, experience. The tour, aboard the aquarium’s Atlantic Explorer is two hours in length and recurs monthly on the third Friday. Tickets can go quickly so make sure to reserve your spot in advance!
While dolphin-watching from the comfort of a swell-side beach chair is one of our favorite pastimes, the best way to experience dolphins might be to get out on the water with them. Hop aboard the Atlantic Explorer, a 90-minute excursion operated by the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, for up-close sightings of the charismatic creatures, as well as sea turtles, brown pelicans, bald eagles, and more. Tours run throughout the spring, summer, and fall and are staffed by knowledgeable marine educators who focus on research, conservation, and responsible viewing practices.
The Rudee Inlet is packed with options to get out and explore the waters of Virginia Beach. For a wide range of boat tours that everyone in the family will love, Rudee Tours is the perfect starting point. While their Rudee Mariner and Rudee Angler are great options for those looking to do some deep-sea fishing in style, they are also the home of the relaxing Rudee Flipper, the Rudee Whaler, which offers dolphin and whale watching tours, depending on the season, and the exhilarating Rudee Rocket. The Rudee Rocket, known as the greatest thrill ride on the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, is essentially a giant speedboat tour along the coast that is a must for all thrill-seekers.