Steeped in history and bursting with natural beauty as well as national travel deals, Virginia Beach is the most popular beach resort on the East Coast and also Virginia's largest city. It is also a navy town, with over a quarter of the U.S. Navy's ships docked here. The oceanfront is rather commercialized and over-developed but the beach is still a lovely spot for swimming and sunbathing, while the city's conservative bent translates into a laid-back peaceful spot without the massive spring break crowds.
If arriving by air, Norfolk International Airport, west of the city, serves Virginia Beach. A number of options are available for national travel deals and transport into the city, including a shuttle service to the main resort strip or cabs. Amtrak serves an extensive rail connection network as well as a bus connection into the city from the closest rail stop at Newport. Greyhound services a similarly extensive, but cheaper, network of nationwide bus routes.
The East Coast is well known for touring by car, and Virginia Beach is easily accessible by car rental from all directions. Follow I-64 to I-264 East, which ends near the heart of the oceanfront resort area. Also from the west, U.S. 60 becomes the scenic Shore Drive, which dead-ends at Atlantic Avenue on the northern end of the beach; a right turn takes you along this main north-south drag through the resort area. From the north or south, U.S. 13 and 17 will take you to I-64.
Key attractions Virginia Beach features a 59-block-long boardwalk, built in 1888, boasting immaculate landscaping, wooden benches, small parks, a bike-skating path and attractive white colonial-style street lamps. This is where you'll find the best dining and night time entertainment. Nearby Ocean Breeze Fun Park features a nine-acre water park with slides and pools, a motor park, a bungee tower, and a 36-hole miniature golf course.
The most popular museum in the state is the Virginia Marine Science Museum. Recently renovated, it is packed with various marine habitats as well as a river otter habitat, an outdoor aviary, extensive boardwalks and nature trails, and a boat service for whale or dolphin watching tours. The museum is now numbered among the top marine science facilities in the U.S.
South of Virginia Beach is the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, featuring protected beach and marshlands that attract migrating birds. It is an excellent place for hiking, bird watching, and nature photography. The colonial town of Williamsburg is about an hourеs drive away by rental car to Virginia Beach, and itеs a fascinating town which has preserved life as it was during colonial times. Close by is the famous Busch Gardens amusement park and zoo. Portsmouth is situated to the west of the city with rental car in Virginia Beach and its strategic location has made it militarily important since the Revolution.
First Landing State Park is named in honor of the first English who landed at this very spot in 1607 and is the most visited state park in Virginia. It features extensive sand dunes, forests, swamps, and lakes in the midst of the city, and offers a wide range of activities including swimming, fishing, boating, camping and hiking. Nearby by car rental is the Battle off the Capes monument commemorating a decisive battle in the War of Independence.
Police constantly patrol the boardwalk and many other parts of this popular tourist destination, but Virginia Beach is generally safer than many other American cities of its size. Locking vehicle doors, avoiding unfamiliar territory after dark, and checking for surf conditions before swimming are the main precautions visitors should take as well as getting travel insurance.