Family Vacations: Virginia Beach

A 70,000-gallon sea turtle habitat is among the attractions at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach.

Virginia Beach is a timeless beach town, full of classic summer fun and miles of smooth, white sandy beaches. Its 2.5-mile-long boardwalk is perfect for inline skating, bike riding, or ambling with a stroller. If you cover its entire length, you'll come across a variety of diversions that include an amusement park, the world's busiest Dairy Queen, a Beatles Museum, taffy shops, and a 1903 Coast Guard Station with a rooftop "tower cam" that kids can use to zoom in on passing ships dotting the horizon.

Even the most die-hard beach lovers need a break from the sand and sun. Touring the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is a wonderful way to spend the day. This contemporary science museum offers visitors the chance to explore the plant and animal life found near the Virginia coast. Its river otters habitat is a family favorite, as is its shark exhibit, which is housed in a 300,000-gallon tank. The aquarium also boasts a 70,000-gallon sea turtle habitat and an IMAX theater. Whale-watching tours are available during the winter months, and dolphin watching is a favorite activity in the summer.


In addition to the usual beach activities, Virginia Beach's Back Bay Refuge and Seashore State Park provide opportunities to view acres of beach, marshland, and woods from footpaths and bicycle trails.

Virginia Beach Information

Address: Boardwalk at Atlantic Ave., and US Rte. 58, Virginia, VA

Phone: 800/VA-BEACH


Hours of Operation: hours vary

Admission: parking fees vary


Learn more about family vacations:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.



Laura Sutherland is a widely acknowledged authority on family travel and has published several books on the topic, including Best Family Ski Vacations In North America and Tropical Family Vacations.