Coastal Virginia is a beautiful area located in the southeastern region of Virginia. Made up of Hampton Roads, the Historic Triangle, and the Eastern Shore of VA, this diverse region offers countless things to do and see.
You can relax on sunny beaches, take the kids to an amusement park, sip on Virginia brews, visit a living museum, and so much more. Here are some of the our favorite things to do in Coastal Virginia!
Enjoy Time on the Water
Your water activity options are limitless on the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay. If you love the sun, sand, and the sounds of the ocean, then you’ll love visiting Virginia Beach. There’s so much space for sunbathing. Virginia Beach holds the Guinness World Record for having the longest pleasure beach! Top beaches include the Oceanfront, Sandbridge, Croatan, and Chic’s Beach.
Many of the other cities in Coastal Virginia also have beaches! Norfolk, Virginia, is home to Ocean View and East Beach, which has an amusement park! And if you like fishing, take your boat out to Huntington Beach in Newport News, Virginia, or fish from the James River Pier.
Maybe you’re near the Historic Triangle, then visit Yorktown Beach for a bit of swimming or paddleboarding. Last but certainly not least, visit the charming beach town of Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and enjoy the Chesapeake Bay.
Explore the Outdoors
If you’re looking to do something outdoors, Coastal Virginia has tons to offer. Check out First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach, which is Virginia’s Most Visited State Park, for a little hiking and birdwatching. First Landing is also located along the Chesapeake Bay and is a good place for boating and kayaking.
Visit Norfolk’s Elizabeth River Trail, enjoy biking and water views, or visit the Botanical Gardens! Go to Newport News’ Noland Trail for a peaceful 5-mile walk or jog. Or head to Chesapeake and kayak around the Great Dismal Swamp or visit the Chesapeake Arboretum for a hike. And lastly, if you’re feeling extra adventurous, head over to the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge, hike 4 miles to False Cape State Park, and go camping!
Hangout at a Brewery
Within the last few years, breweries have popped up all over the region. If you’re a brew enthusiast, then we’ve got some breweries for you to check out! Here are some of the highly rated breweries in the area.
- Virginia Beach: Commonwealth Brewing Co., New Realm Brewing, Backbay’s Farmhouse Brewing
- Norfolk: O’Connor Brewing, Smartmouth Brewing, The Bold Mariner Brewing Company
- Portsmouth: Legend Brewing Depot, MoMac Brewing Company
- Newport News: Tradition Brewing Co., Hilton Tavern Brewing
- Hampton: Bull Island Brewing Co., Capstan Bar Brewing Co., Vanguard Brewpub and Distillery
- Williamsburg: The Virginia Beer Company, Aleworks Brewing Co., Precarious Beer Project
- Eastern Shore: Cape Charles Brewing Co., Cape Charles Distillery
Visit an Art Gallery
There is no shortage of art in Coastal Virginia. Increasingly popular, cities in Coastal Virginia are dedicating districts to art and local culture. These districts are filled with museums, murals, outdoor exhibits, and more.
In Virginia Beach, you have the ViBE Creative District, where you can find murals painted on the sides of local businesses. And while in the area, you can also visit the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). In Norfolk, you’ll want to see the Neon District for outdoor exhibits and meaningful murals.
The Chrysler Museum of Art and Perry Glass Studio and Hermitage Museums and Gardens are two other highly recommended art museums in Hampton Roads.
Visit a Museum
The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Center, and the Virginia Living Museum are two interactive museums the kids will love. The Virginia Aquarium even has an adventure park that includes ziplining!
If you’re looking to learn more about the region’s vast maritime history, head over to Nauticus in Norfolk or the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News.
And if you’re a history buff visiting the area for the first time, you’ll want to check out Colonial Williamsburg. Colonial Williamsburg is the largest living museum in the world.
Take a step back into the 18th century and tour recreated buildings and learn from historical interpreters. When you’re done exploring Colonial Williamsburg, head over to the Jamestown Settlement, another living museum, and and learn all about the early settlers.
Alexandrea Sumuel is a travel writer and the founder of Wander With Alex, where she provides vacationers and travel enthusiasts with trip ideas, travel guides, news, and itineraries. She travels to experience, eat, and explore-- and, on occasion, escape! Alex’s mission is to help people travel a little easier.