On April 26, 1607, after a long journey across the treacherous Atlantic Ocean, the famous pioneer John Smith and his crew stepped ashore the sands of Virginia Beach and spent several days scouting the area before heading north to colonize Jamestown. Their landing site – where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic – was claimed for England, named Cape Henry in honor of the Prince of Wales and marked with what is now known as the First Landing Cross. (source: VBGov.com)
Are you coming into town for a Virginia Beach wedding? Or is your wedding here and need a short list of weekend things to send to your out of town guests? Look no further! This was created by locals to share their Virginia Beach favorites, and it was no easy task as Virginia Beach totes most of the population here in Hampton Roads-- it's big and way more than just a beach! :)
* First Landing State Park - Known to long-time locals as Seashore State park, this beautiful little spot has beaches, forests, and trails. It's just diverse and beautiful for photos and doubles as a thing to do in Virginia Beach!
* Sandler Center for Performing Arts - Virginia Beach isn't exactly known for their performing arts, but in recent years, the need to develop this has grown… and largely thanks to the Sandler Center! With musical, dance, and other theatrical performances, there's a bit of variety for anyone who wants to see life on stage. Be sure to check their calendar to see what's happening during your visit!
* Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art - With ever-changing exhibits and classes, you'll always see something new in the modern art world at the MOCA. While it's a popular wedding venue, it serves as a local mecca for art appreciation and education. It's also home to one of renowned artist Dale Chihuly's glass sculptures!
* Rudee Inlet - Down on the most southern part of the Oceanfront, there's a little tucked away area of Virginia Beach called the Rudee Inlet. There are water-related activities for kids and grownups like parasailing, pirate ship adventures, paddle boarding, and jet skiing… you name it, they probably have it amongst the collection of businesses there!
FROM A LOCAL...
"When the weather is nice, you'll find Mt. Trashmore is the place to be! Whether you want to take a leisurely walk around the lake, sprint up the 72 steps of the "mountain," or just enjoy a picnic dinner, this former land fill is a great place to enjoy a warm evening."
- Caitlin of Caitlin Gerres Photography
* Golfing - Virginia Beach has over 198 holes of golf, so you know there are some great courses! On good authority, some local favorites are Bayville Golf Club (which is a private course so you can only play with a member) and the Signature at West Neck (which is open to the public).
* Virginia Beach Farmers Market - Open all year round, the Farmers Market features local agriculture at its best. From a butcher shop to ice cream parlor to veggie stands, this open-air market does local right and shows what this community has to offer locals and visitors alike. Depending on the time of year, they also host some fun music-related events!
* YNot Pizza - A local favorite and a company that does a lot for the local community, this Italian eatery has a slew of different yummy menu options. The best part is that they also offer gluten-free pizza, gluten-free ravioli, and other food allergy-friendly foods for people who have dietary restrictions.
FROM A LOCAL...
Lynnhaven Fish House
"I love ordering dinner at Lynnhaven Fish House. You can take a seat by the window and watch the sunset over the Chesapeake Bay as you enjoy your meal and a glass of wine."
- Rebekah of Premier Designs 757
* Taste Unlimited - Locally owned with multiple locations around Hampton Roads, Taste Unlimited is one of the best places for lunch. Many yummy sandwich and other lunch food options are available to order (including gluten-free!). Think of it as a bistro, deli, and market mashup. Our favorite location is the Bayville one-- it's beautiful and with an eating area loft!
* Church Point Manor - An 1860's restored farmhouse turned bed-and-breakfast, this hidden gem of a property has a variety of lovely rooms with its own individual character. For you history buffs out there, Church Point Manor was actually built on the original tract of land bequeathed by King Charles I of England to colonist Adam Thoroughgood!
* The Old Cavalier Hotel - Listed on the Historic Hotels of America registry, this hotel claims the title of "the hotel that made Virginia Beach famous." In its 1920's heyday, it had its fair share of famous celebrities, writers, U.S. presidents, and more to visit and enjoy a little beach elegance. The Old Cavalier is still very much a local favorite.
* Founders Inn and Spa - If you're looking for a more relaxing time away from the beach area, the Founders Inn is a neat getaway because of its on-site spa!
Photo by Caitlin Gerres Photography.