With the Fourth of July holiday falling right in the middle of the week this year, we think it’s the perfect excuse to take the whole week off and head to the 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 week celebrating all things red, white and blue.
Check into your Oceanfront hotel. We’d recommend a room facing the water, where you will be able to take in the 4th of July fireworks show from your balcony. Explore the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, a 28-feet wide marvel that stretches three miles from 2nd to 40th Street and features a separate bike path, ideal for strolling, rollerblading and biking.
Chesapeake Bay District
Kick your first full day off by taking in the local vibe of the Chesapeake Bay District. Grab a Honey Cinnamon Latte and the Morning Hash at American Brew, located just steps away from the new 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 paddle boards 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.
Before visiting Cape Henry Lighthouse, be sure to read additional information on location, arrival, and rules and regulations.
Make day two your beach day. Pick out a patch of sand at the Oceanfront and spend the day basking in the sun and enjoying the warm waters and calm waves of the Atlantic Ocean. When you get hungry, you don’t even need to leave your towel. Our favorite local sandwich shop, Taste Unlimited, now delivers directly to the beach. We’d recommend the North Ender sandwich.
After a day relaxing at the beach, head to the Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium for a physical test that is as fun as it is challenging. With 15 different treetop obstacle courses, at varying degrees of difficulty, the Adventure Park is fun for the whole family.
Spend the evening getting in the patriotic spirit with the fifth president of the United States. Live! On Atlantic’s Evening with President James Monroe brings history to life with acclaimed James Monroe impersonator, Dennis Bigelow. Guests are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets to this one time only event, which is free and open to the public. Bigelow is the longtime resident Monroe interpreter at the former president’s estate, Highland, in Charlottesville, Virginia.
No beach day is complete without ice cream. While you can head out and pick up a pint to go of this delicious ice cream, you can also order Lolly’s Ice Cream to be delivered to you wherever you are, including the beach, with their Joy Bike delivery service! Listen for their bells coming down the boardwalk throughout your stay.
Fourth of July
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 Live! On Atlantic’s Stars and Stripes Explosion. 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.
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 your 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 your Friday 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 recently-revamped 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.
Begin your last day by taking in the breathtaking colors of the daybreak over the Atlantic Ocean, before making 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.
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 leather working 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.