Soak up the sun and have tons of fun when you’re visiting Virginia Beach with kids. It’s an eclectic beach town that offers a never-ending amount of activities for families to enjoy. It’s not your typical quiet beach city and even the locals embrace everything there is to do. The beautiful Atlantic Ocean beach awaits those who want to chill, but these 21 Family-Friendly Virginia Beach attractions will keep the kids entertained and your vacation itinerary full.
Did you know that Virginia Beach is divided into 7 districts? Each area is unique unto itself and it proves that Virginia Beach has tons more to offer than shoreline. You can explore an entirely different eco-system in the Sandbridge marches or discover a deeper appreciation for art in the ViBe Creative District. You can plan your beach vacation itinerary in just one area of Virginia Beach or use the districts as way to see even more.
I recommend deciding on several Virginia Beach attractions that interest your family. You can easily add 1 per day, in addition to relaxing on the beach. Some of the attractions are even in walking distance from the oceanfront hotels. There’s something for everyone, including kids of all ages, and you definitely can do more than the beach!
21 Virginia Beach Attractions For Families With Kids
Don’t let your family vacation break you – the At Last Pass is an amazing way to score deals on Virginia Beach attractions and the nearby Norfolk area. By purchasing the pass, it offers exclusive deals on things to do, dining and experiences. The best part? The pass is absolutely free to you! Just sign up with your email and phone number, so you can easily access your pass while traveling.
Another pass option to save some money is the Get Outdoors Pass. It’s a curated collection of discounts to outdoor tour operators, rentals and attractions. Just sign up for free and access your texted pass on your smart phone. It’s a great way to save on the exciting outdoor Virginia Beach attractions.
Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
Step into a world of wonder and enchantment when you visit the Virginia Aquarium. It’s home to hundreds of species and you’ll learn something new with every visit. Kids can get up close and personal with animals, and animal educators, to learn more about the underwater worlds. Check out the Guest Quests at the Virginia Aquarium which are little interactive games that allow kids to explore everything the aquarium has to offer – like an educational scavenger hunt!
Virginia Beach Whale Tours
There’s nothing more magnificent than seeing the beauty of a whale with your own two eyes. Take the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a whale by booking a Whale Watching Tour. Join a marine educator to learn about humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins, seabirds and waterfowl. You’re not guaranteed a whale sighting (even though there’s a good chance), but I promise that it’s boatloads of fun for kids. The Whale Tours run from mid December through March.
The Adventure Park at Virginia Beach Aquarium
Yet another great offering from the Virginia Aquarium, The Adventure Park offers aerial excitement for kids. It’s the best Virginia Beach attraction for kids who want a birds-eye view on the ropes course and tree-to-tree zip lining. They offer a low ropes and high ropes course so kids of all ages can participate without fear. It’s actually located at the aquarium, so you can double up on things to do with one trip!
Cape Henry Lighthouse (Iconic Virginia Beach Attraction
Enjoy 360 coastal views from atop the Cape Henry Lighthouse. There are actually two lighthouses – the original (dating back to 1792) and a newer one built in 1881. They’re just 350 feet apart from each other. The original lighthouse is open to the public, if you’re up for a little workout for the climb to the top. It’s a great educational spot for kids and there’s so many great photo opportunities at the top.
Virginia Beach Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
Admire exquisite and unique pieces of art at the Virginia Beach Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum cross-polinates art with education, culture and community under one house. MOCA offers several hands-on opportunities for kids to explore art and they’re one of the only art museums in the U.S. that sponsors an outdoor art show: Virginia MOCA’s Boardwalk Art Show (which happens annually in October). Additionally, the museum calendar is filled with ever-changing family programs that are centered around different art themes.
Virginia Beach Boardwalk (Best Free Attraction)
You didn’t vacation in Virginia Beach without taking a photo with King Neptune! Aside from the beautiful beach, he’s the main attraction on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. Even in the winter, there’s plenty of tourists snapping photos with him. The twelve-ton statue stands at twenty-four feet tall and he’s an Instagram-worthy photo opportunity. During the summer there’s also nightly entertainment to enjoy while you stroll.
Once you’ve walked the Boardwalk, grab a refreshing bite to eat at Waterman’s Surfside Grille. It’s a family-friendly restaurant where you can enjoy the local seafood and parent can sip on the famous Waterman’s Original Orange Crush cocktail.
Virginia Beach Surf and Rescue Museum
It might be small in size, but the Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum is full of interesting (and quirky) history about the area. They keep the maritime roots alive and honor the water-related history of the local communities. The building itself is on the National Register of Historic Places and kids can a glimpse of the past and how Virginia Beach became what it is today!
Take A Family Hike
If you’re looking for an adventure on foot, check out the Virginia Beach hiking trails. The area has several wildlife refuges and state parks to explore. First Landing State Park and False Cape State Park offer designated areas for hiking and miles of scenic sandy beaches to explore.
The kids can be rewarded for visiting Virginia state parks, by participating in the Trail Quest program. Log into the State Park Adventures app and record your visit. The app keeps track of the parks you visit.
You’ll earn five unique and attractive pins. Get one for your first park visit and others after visiting 5, 10, 20 and all parks. The whole family can participate. Each family member can sign up for Trail Quest and start earning pins now. (Children without an email account may use a parent’s.)
Military Aviation Museum
If your kids are obsessed with transportation, like mine are, then they’re going to love the Military Aviation Museum. It’s 100+ acres of hangers and exhibits. The museum is home to one of the largest flying collections of World War I and World War II era military aircraft in the world. You can really see the planes up close and even hear the roar of a few engines. Even if your kids can’t understand or appreciate the history of WWI and WWII, they’ve love seeing the craftsmanship of these beautiful aircrafts.
Jerrassic Park at The Military Aviation Museum
As if you even needed another reason to visit the Aviation Museum – the Jerrassic Park (yes – that’s how they spell it to differ themselves from the film copyrights) is the coolest bonus to your visit. It’s a unique collection of dinosaur sculptures at the entrance to the Virginia Beach Airport and museum property. It’s a great place to bring your kids if they’re dinosaur obsessed. You can walk right beside the sculpture and take the coolest photos!
Watch The East Coast Surf Championship
Every August, the East Coast Surf Championship becomes the must-watch Virginia Beach attraction that brings thousands of visitors to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s an action-packed week of sun, surf and sportsmanship that kids will love to watch. If your kids have never seen live surfers – this is their chance to see the best!
Go Fishing With The Kids
There are so many fishing charters that leave out of Rudee Inlet, which is part of the Oceanfront district. There are seasonal and year-round fishing charters that take guests out on guided fishing tours. Reserve your spot on a family-friendly fishing charter and catch a big one! Tuna or marlin are well known catches in the VA Beach area.
There are full day trips and half day trips available, then prices depend on which type of charter you pick. Let your captain know what your fishing experience is and what type of fish you can catch depending on the time of year.
After your fishing charter, check out Murphey’s Irish Pub and they’ll cook your catch! All you have to do is bring your fish to the restaurant after your fishing trip. Leave the fish and your name with the hostess, then they keep it on ice until you order. Order it fried, grilled or blackened and it’s served with coleslaw, french fries, & hush puppies.
Go Parasailing Over Virginia Beach
There’s no better way to get a thrilling rush and see the best views than to go parasailing. You can parasail over Virginia Beach and float 1,000 feet above the water. Parasailing is one of my favorite Virginia Beach attractions for teens to enjoy – they’ll love that rush of adrenaline as the wind takes you high above the ocean. Book with Pirate Parasail or Air America Parasail at Rudee Inlet.
Indoor Skydiving In Virginia Beach
Have you ever wanted to experience the awe of skydiving without jumping out of a plane? That’s how iFLY Virginia Beach gives you the thrill of skydiving but indoors. They have a massive wind tunnel that gives the exact same excitement of skydiving. There’s also great STEM learning opportunities for kids at iFLY. Flyers must be at least 40” tall to participate.
Enjoy Family-Friendly Live Theater
Whether it’s a musical or comedy, there’s always something to enjoy at Tidewater Stage – which is the home theater for Regent University program. Stories are brought to life by passionate young artists, presenting audiences of all ages with dedicated theatrical performances. Check the theater’s seasonal calendar for show descriptions and to purchase tickets online.
Virginia Sports Hall of Fame
Check out the athletic achievements displayed through memorabilia and family-friendly exhibits at the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. Families can “Walk The Hall” which is a free pedestrian tour that showcases the great coaches and athletic administrators from the Commonwealth. If your kids are into sports and aspire to go far in their own sports, visiting the Hall of Fame is the perfect inspiration.
Chesapeake Bay Brock Environmental Center
Kids love the hands-on learning that the Chesapeake Bay Brock Environmental Center has. Learn how to save the bay and the simple conservation efforts we can all do, which start at home. Visual representations of the local ecosystems will fascinate children and they’ll leave with a little more knowledge of how we can all respect the environment.
Hunt Club Farm
A locally owned family-farm, Hunt Club Farm is a great way for kids to experience the agritourism that Virginia Beach has to offer. They have a petting farm where kids can feed the goats, sheep, pigs, llamas and donkeys. Pony rides are also available for kids of all sizes. Plus, depending on the time of year you visit, you can enjoy the local produce that the farm harvests.
Explore Virginia Beach Attractions By Bike
The local state parks, wildlife refuges and miles of beaches are perfect for exploring, as a family, on bike. Virginia Beach has over 200 miles of bikeways and trails on top of the park areas. Local rentals companies offer bike rentals depending on the area you’ll be in. You can share a Surrey Bike with the kids and take a leisurely ride on the Boardwalk or rent a Fat Tire Bike and ride directly on the compact sands. Let the local experts be your guide and help you decide what bike is best for your family adventure.
I always associate miniature golfing with beach destinations. Get a little competitive with the kids and enjoy one of many miniature golfing Virginia Beach attraction in the area. The Oceanfront district is home to Shipwreck Golf, Pirates Paradise Mini Golf and Jungle Golf. Whoever wins treats the family to ice cream.
Family Camping At Virginia Beach
Both First Landing State Park and False Cape State Park offer family-friendly campsites. Whether you want to pop a tent, bring the RV or rent a cabin, you’ll find the camping experience you want at VA Beach. Some of the campgrounds in the area even offer access to boat ramps.
No matter how you explore these amazing Virginia Beach attractions, you’re sure to keep boredom at bay. There’s so many great things for kids to do and the area is fantastic for families that want an exciting beach vacation. You can’t go wrong, any time of the year, when you visit the beautiful Virginia Beach area.