July 4, 2021
With the Fourth of July holiday falling on a weekend this year, we think it’s the perfect excuse to head to the beach for a weekend discovering the best of Virginia Beach. From the lively Oceanfront district to the calming waters of the Chesapeake Bay, and everywhere in between, Virginia Beach is the perfect place to spend the summer holiday celebrating all things red, white and blue.
Kick your Independence Day off with brunch at Doc Taylor’s, a one-time doctor's home that now serves up delicious comfort breakfast and lunch food, bloody Marys and mimosas.
Let your food settle with a walk along the beach before heading to iFly to experience the feeling of free fall with indoor skydiving. Spend the afternoon at one of our newest oceanfront hotspots, Beachside Social, who offers 10,000 square feet of ocean liner-inspired indoor Shuffleboard, Bocce ball, and other games, as well as expertly crafted cocktails, craft beer, and fast-casual cuisine. It's the perfect setting to get social with both your friends and total strangers, rain or shine. Shuffleboard and Bocce courts are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
No Fourth of July celebration would be complete without a fireworks show. Close your night out with Beach Events' Stars and Stripes Celebration. This annual Oceanfront Independence Day celebration is a star-spangled salute to the USA. With live music on each of the area’s stages along the boardwalk, with every kind of music from patriotic and classical, to rocking tribute bands. And don’t forget the fireworks show over the water. Pick your spot on the sand, or head back to your hotel balcony, and enjoy the show.
Take in the local vibes of the Chesapeake Bay District. Grab a Honey Cinnamon Latte and the Morning Hash at American Brew, located just steps away from the breathtaking Lesner Bridge. Explore First Landing State Park with a morning hike through preserved marshland dotted with towering Bald Cypress Trees adorned with Spanish moss. Head across the street to Fort Story Military Base to climb the steps of the historic Cape Henry Lighthouse - the first Federal Construction project approved by the new government following the Revolutionary War. The climb to the top can be a doozy, but the 360° views of the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean are well worth it.
Next, stop by Tula Adventure Sports to rent kayaks or stand-up paddleboards for an afternoon spent exploring the creeks and waterways of Broad Bay, including First Landing State Park which is only a half-mile from where you’ll launch.
Close the day out with a walk along the Chesapeake Bay, at the beach affectionately known by locals as “Chicks Beach,” after an old Bay District hot dog stand. While the sun rises over the Atlantic Ocean, the angle of the Chesapeake Bay Beach sets you up perfectly to enjoy the sun setting over the water, making it our favorite way to end a day.
Sandbridge and Pungo
Fuel up for a day in Pungo with a filling southern-inspired breakfast at The Bee & the Biscuit, before heading out for a morning of picking fresh Pungo berries. Blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are in season in the summer months and, with many you-pick options to choose from, there’s no shortage of ways to fill your bucket.
After you’ve had your fill, make your way to the Military Aviation Museum for an intimate look at the planes of WWI and WWII and the inspiring stories of the pilots who flew them. There are no ropes or glass here. You can walk right up to each aircraft and look inside. With each plane having miraculously been restored to flying condition, this is a historic experience you can’t get anywhere else.
Spend an afternoon at Little Island Pier, in Sandbridge. Explore the pier, walk along the ocean’s edge on this relaxing beach, and rent fat-tire bikes from nearby Surf and Adventure Company, for a ride on the sand. Finish your day with dinner and a BajaRita at Baja Restaurant on the south side of Sandbridge.
Spend a day in style at Virginia Beach’s downtown district, Town Center. Start your day off with a cup of delicious coffee from Town Center Cold Pressed for the perfect fuel for an action-packed day.
Get in some shopping with stores like Anthropologie, Paper Source, lululemon athletica, and Free People, among many others, or head across the Boulevard to the Pembroke Mall. The first mall in Hampton Roads, Pembroke has become a shopper’s paradise with the additions of Nordstrom Rack, DSW, REI and much more.
Located just down the road from Town Center is where you will also find Mount Trashmore Park, which hosts our other can't-miss July Fourth Celebration. The world-renowned Mount Trashmore Park encompasses 165 acres and is comprised of two man-made mountains, two lakes, two playgrounds, a skatepark and vert ramp, and multi-use paths. The main mountain, Mount Trashmore, now 60 feet in height and 800 feet long, was created by compacting layers of solid waste and clean soil, hence its name. Today, this man-made mountain is the perfect vantage point watching the skies come to life with color and sound in celebration of our freedom. The fireworks start at 9:30 pm and admission is free.
After taking in the breathtaking colors of the daybreak over the Atlantic Ocean, make your way to the ViBe Creative District for a freshly-roasted, delicious cup of coffee at Three Ships Coffee Roasters – owned by a local husband and wife team who expertly craft each cup they serve, including roasting their own beans. For food options, try out Three Ships' neighbor, the Pink Dinghy - a new favorite in the local scene, serving up an inspired menu of Latin American cuisine, and some of the best empanadas you will ever try.
From there, peruse the artistic creations of the ViBe, Virginia Beach’s cultural arts enclave, which is a hub for artisans of all disciplines ranging from culinary, music and traditional art to leatherworking and woodworking. While you can find all manners of artwork within the quaint shops and coffeehouses that comprise the area, the district is a work of art in and of itself.
Look no further than the murals of the Mural Walking Tour, most of which were done by local artists, that fill the ViBe with wonder and color and you’ll see exactly what we mean. To see all of these murals by foot makes for an easy, one-mile walking tour, that is a must for all who are visiting. Those who would prefer to view the murals from home are in luck, too, as the murals can all be seen virtually, as well.