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Virginia Beach on a budget........

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New York
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Virginia Beach on a budget........

We are camping for 9 days in July at First Landing State Park. Our fun is usually free as we like to go to the beach, bike ride, kayak, explore, stroll the boardwalk, etc. We eat all our dinners out and try to stay at about $50/night for our family of 4 (2A, 2T). We usually do a mixture of mostly budget/few splurges and LOVE spots that the locals frequent!

We'd love to hear your money-saving tips: best early-bird specials, restaurants that have 2-for-1 nights, places with HH food deals (.25c wings/shrimp), etc.

Thanks!!

Altoona...
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1. Re: Virginia Beach on a budget........

The Sunny Day Guide has a lot of coupons, some are lunch, some are early birds other are dinner. Buy one get one half off seems to be popular, but there were a couple buy one get one free or combo -4 courses for $xx.xx - type of ads. sunnydayguide.com/virginia-beach/dining

Virginia
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2. Re: Virginia Beach on a budget........

As Bud Y says, that Sunny Day Guide being on line is really great. You can see all the ads for all the stuff going on and make your plans accordingly. I haven't checked it recently. Just note dates in case some coupons are still from last summer. If so, a new one will be out shortly.

Did you check all the many festivals and events at Beachstreetusa.com and Visitvirginiabeach.com? You can search by your dates. Click "visitor" and then "events" or "entertainment" on the visitvirginia site. On the beachstreet site, lots of options as far as events on the boardwalk and nightly entertainment including fireworks certain dates. They have an option for those dates too at the bottom of their page.

For your toddlers there is a great playground at 2nd by the Boardwalk, Grommet Park. You can google it.

Another smaller jungle gym sort of set up is in the sand at about 10th. And the same a little larger at about 30th/31st.

Check out the Top Questions on the right here and click on the one about the boardwalk. There's a list of the many things to do just walking along the boardwalk...many free or low cost.

Virginia
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3. Re: Virginia Beach on a budget........

I was going to tell you about some other things and realized they are in a nutshell with photos here. Why reinvent a perfectly good wheel:

visitvirginiabeach.com/visitors/…

Virginia
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4. Re: Virginia Beach on a budget........

Quick before the sun goes down much further check out this Hampton Inn webcam. Ahhh, relaxing. People on bicycles, walking. That's the slighter larger but not largest play area and the Netune statue.

Click on this, click on the webcam picture, click on the icon in the lower left hand corner to make it full screen. On a day like today it deserves full screen to draw you in even more.

hamptoninnvirginiabeachoceanfront.com/live-b…

Edited: 20 March 2013, 21:25
New York
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5. Re: Virginia Beach on a budget........

Thanks, Bud Y.......I've been all over the Sunny Day Guide today (not getting too much work done).

Explorer3..............loved the links to the website & webcam. Thank you for that!! We're really looking forward to checking out VB :)

Altoona...
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6. Re: Virginia Beach on a budget........

Glad you're looking forward to it. Let us know what you think when you get home!

Richmond, Virginia
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7. Re: Virginia Beach on a budget........

We've really enjoyed camping at First Landing. There are some some great trails for exploring, biking, etc. We've never camped that late in the summer before, so I'm not sure how you'll find the heat. I was actually walking the beach there last week & was surprised at how relatively empty the campground was. I guess it will be filling up soon.

You might want to keep an eye out on the usual suspects (Groupon, LivingSocial, etc.) to see what comes available coupon-wise. If you have a smartphone, it's easy to download the coupon apps which will find you some nice deals. In the past, we've used the Entertainment books, but with their recent bankruptcy, I'm not sure whether those coupons will continue to be honored.

Right there on Shore Drive, just a bit down from the park, is Plaza Azteca, part of a local chain of Mexican restaurants. Very inexpensive, and pretty good too. More along the splurge lines, but also very good, is Hot Tuna (http://www.hottunavb.com/). They have killer She Crab Soup, although not sure you'll be wanting soup in July....

Citrus is a popular breakfast & lunch only place. It was featured in Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. (http://citrusvb.com/)

Seafood in the area is always delicious, but can get a bit pricey, if you're trying to watch your budget.

If you have any questions about the campground itself, let me know!

New York
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8. Re: Virginia Beach on a budget........

Bud Y........Thanks! I always post a trip report when we get back. It's my way of saying thanks & maybe giving some tips to others :)

wheres_my_calgon...........Glad you had a good time at First Landing, from what we've read - it seems great!! I heard there were a number of thefts from cars at the campground last season (confirmed by the park rangers), did you have any problem when you were there?

Any sites we should try to get? How was the beach for swimming? How about the bath/showers? Thanks for the inside info, I'll be checking out the restaurants you suggested :) PS - If you're ever looking for another campground, Assateague Island State Park near Ocean City, MD and Nickerson State Park in Cape Cod, MA are 2 of our favorites!!

Richmond, Virginia
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9. Re: Virginia Beach on a budget........

(Warning: wordy response ahead!)

First Landing is indeed great, just keep in mind that it is in a more urban area than most campgrounds and plan accordingly. Lock vehicles, don't leave valuables lying around, etc. and you should be fine. First Landing is referred to as the VA state park with the highest crime level, but it's also the busiest park in the system as well, so take those comments with a grain of salt. The only "visitor" we had in our site was a raccoon. One good thing is that VA state parks prohibit all alcohol. While we've certainly never minded having a glass of wine with our dinner, we don't flaunt it, and we've seen park rangers enforce the alcohol rules, so it certainly maintains a family atmosphere.

The electric / water sites are nicer and more spacious. A few dollars more, but worth it IMO. You could easily rinse off the toddlers there at the site with a water spigot. The sites can vary widely as far as size, topography, undercover, etc. I'm guessing at that time of year the entire park will be open (they close some loops at certain times, depending on seasons). The sites are divided by loops, but there are multiple types of sites within each loop, so you have to find one with the corresponding color of what you reserved. Then you go back to the office & tell them the site you've chosen. This will be a situation where you'll definitely want to scope something out earlier on your day of arrival, or plan to arrive on a Sunday or Monday, to get the best pick of sites.

One thing I will say about the sites -- some of the ones that are very close to Shore Drive not only suffer from the loud 55mph vehicles going by all night, but I would not choose to stay in that area, imagining someone losing control & coming through the fence. They're THAT close.

Since we live locally, before we camped there, I drove by & scoped out a bunch of sites to see which I liked best. This was last year, but I might be able to find them on my old phone. If I can, I'm happy to share.

The sites right along the water, of course, will go first. I believe they may be restricted from tent camping, but not positive. You can hear the water from many of those, although you can't cross the dunes. There are crossovers every so often so you can get to the water.

As far as the beach, one thing that often takes people aback is the line of freighters waiting out at sea & visible from the shore. I've heard several reasons -- they're waiting for their load to arrive in port, but don't want to pay to dock; they're waiting for their load to arrive in port, but since the nationals aren't allowed to disembark, that's where they stay; and they're waiting for prices to go up before delivering their goods. Whatever the reason (and I have no idea), some people are squeamish due to possible pollution from the ships. For me, I'll wade, but I don't really go far out, so it's not an issue.

The water there is still part of the Chesapeake Bay, although it's very close to where the Atlantic begins. This will be much easier for you with toddlers, as it's protected from the larger waves, and the water is typically a bit warmer.

The showers are standard & unisex, each in its own small closet-sized room with a door that locks. There is a small dressing area with a bench and hooks, then the shower itself, which is divided by a ledge and a shower curtain. I certainly recommend shower shoes, but they're not overly nasty, at least they weren't when we were there, although it was at Easter so not as crowded.

One other thing, the park was formerly known as Seashore State Park until the 90s, so some of the old timers might refer to it as such. Same place, different name.

I hope that helps! I will see if I can find my old notes on the better campsites, and even share those photos if I can locate them.

New York
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10. Re: Virginia Beach on a budget........

Thank you for the detailed reply!! After reading your post, 2 concerns remain: safety/theft and swimming. We camp A LOT and never considered not leaving "valuables" around. We are also away from our campsite A LOT. What are we supposed to do with our bikes, kayaks, battery packs, 4 man floats, roof racks, etc?? It would really put a damper on our vacation if any of thoses things went missing. Also, we have teens not toddlers......is personal safety an issue as well? Do they suggest not being on the trails, etc. How about while sleeping? As you may know - there is no way to lock a pop-up!

Swimming - We are all "water people", we are in the water either swimming, kayaking or floating for HOURS each day. We obviously don't want to do that if water quality is a concern. Do you know if they test the water? Are the results posted? Has it ever been closed to swimming for high levels of bacteria, etc?

It took some convincing for the family to agree to try VB instead of our annual Assateague vacation - I'm considering switching back :/

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