Ah, Virginia Beach
The East Coast city by the sea, Virginia Beach, has been a family road trip staple for decades, and for good reason!
At Virginia Beach, we’re huge fans of staying at the mid-range beachfront hotels in the area that offer breakfast, including Holiday Inn, Hampton Inn, and Best Western Plus. These hotels provide a tremendous value for families! Each of these hotels (and most similar ones on the VB strip) offer excellent central locations, direct access to the beach and boardwalk, mostly (if not all) oceanfront rooms, and nice hearty breakfasts.
When we come here, it’s for a relaxing beach getaway that isn’t too far a drive from where we are in New York. We can enjoy all that the area has to offer without breaking the bank, and without leaving the 40 street strip spanned by the boardwalk. However, like any vacation area, the splurge opportunities to abound. Ignore those distractions, and actively look for things to do that are low-cost or totally free, instead!
Here are our top four favorite family budget-friendly things to do while in Virginia Beach
Enjoy the free shows along the boardwalk and on Atlantic Avenue, every night in the summer!
All along the boardwalk and down Atlantic Avenue, you’ll be able to catch performers of all types during the summer— and it’s all family friendly! Check out Beach Street USA to see what’s happening not just in summer, but all year round.
Take a leisurely family bike ride on the boardwalk
As of summer 2017, published rates for a one-hour rental was around the $25 mark, and that would get you a 6 seater (for a max of 4 adults and 2 toddlers). With a very-easy-to-acquire coupon, you’ll probably pay closer to $20. At $4 apiece, this felt like an awesome value for us, even if it wasn’t totally free. Pick up one of those coupon books from the hotel lobby to grab a coupon!
Spend time at the Grommet Island playground
Situated at the south end of the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, this awesome playground was built to be as accessible and inclusive for as many children as possible, able-bodied and disabled alike!
Relax and splash around at the beach, of course!
The city takes such wonderful care of the beach, and it shows! The sand is soft, white, and clean; and the waves are far from rough, but they’re still perfect for riding the waves on a boogie board!
What to avoid in Virginia Beach
Avoid the timeshare presentations.
Just . . . don’t bother. Your time is worth more than the hassle for a couple of comped Aquarium tickets. Unless of course, you were planning on purchasing a timeshare already.
Steer clear of most of the henna tattoo shops
If you must get a henna tattoo, find a place that employs freehand technique. Avoid places that relies on printout templates. The places that go freehand are less likely to grossly overcharge you and are more likely to employ experienced artists and safe dyes.
If your kids are under 4 years old, don’t bother with the amusement park.
There are very few rides your tot will be allowed to ride at the amusement park unless they’re on the taller side for their age group. You may end up with too many unused tickets— and these aren’t cheap!