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There is so much for families to do in Virginia Beach. The area is truly family oriented...there are even "no profanity" signs up!
First, remember lots of high spf sunscreen. Also remember how hot the sand and boardwalk are and don't let the little ones just make a run for it barefoot. Remember the camera, too, for those holiday photos you might send out in December. And bring good kites for early evenings on the sand.
Little ones are content with less than adults sometimes think...and tire from much less than the older ones. Chasing waves, sitting in the waves, sand castle building, shell searching for the tiny shells that are just their size and it's nap time. There are two wonderful playscapes right on the sandy beach: one at 10th Street and the other at 31st Street. One has a castle theme and the other is like a pirate ship.
There are several water sources for cleaning off around the hotels...many lower taps for foot washing and some up high for getting sand out of hair, etc. This is handy if you are not staying near the beach. Wash off and go on to the next big thing.
Virginia Beach's actual beach is quite wide. The concrete boardwalk along the sand is ideal for walking with baby carriages, for bike riding on the bike paths, for the family buggy rides, tandem bikes, for wheelchairs, for inline skating. There are nightly concerts at intervals along the boardwalk at the stages set up around 7th St., 17th St. and 24th St. Then there are the street performers from around 17th St. to 24th St. Additional professional concerts are at stages along the beach as well. There are volleyball championships and the East Coast Surfing Championship, lifeguard competitions, etc. You can check out ilovevirginiabeach.com, vbfun.com, beacheventsfun.com, or virginiabeachlive.com for dates and times and places.
Virginia Beach separates the activity of the boardwalk from the activity one block up on Atlantic Avenue, which is the small eateries and t-shirt shops, etc. that the kids love. When you've had enough of one you can go to the other and enjoy both.
Virginia Beach is also a city, so you have all the city cutlure, cuisine, history, educational exhibits as well, very handy for bad weather days.
Some things kids might enjoy:
The Old Coast Guard Station (oldcoastguardstation.com) with its interactive Tower Cam they can manipulate, the shipwrecks exhibit, etc.
Baseball fans might like a game played by the Tidewater Tides, a AAA International Team, highest level of minor league, just below major league and field team for the Orioles. That's nearby in Norfolk.
Some children - of all ages - enjoy watching the powerful jets take off and land from Oceana Naval Air Station. There is an observation deck or an actual summer tour of the Station. The 11:30 tour offers lunch at the Officers' Club. The F14 Tomcats and the FA18 Hornet and lots of other aircraft are amazing. Look them up at nasoceana.navy.mil/Visitors.htm
Under 'simple pleasures': At night sometimes the city moves the sand from the inlet basin at the southern end of VB back into the ocean a few blocks up so that the sand doesn't build up in the inlet and hamper the boats from coming in. The wet dark sand is pumped back into the ocean at around 6th Street some nights and seems to fascinate the kids. It's just a large, maybe 2' wide, hose shooting the sand into the ocean but they stand around in watching.
There are opportunities at VB for kayaking, canoeing, fishing, boating, sailing, jet skiing, scuba diving, sand soccer, golf, miniature golf, parasailing, snorkeling, and more.
Nature lovers might enjoy First Landing State Park with its hiking trails and kayaking ecological tours. It is Virginia's most visited state park, although it never seems to be crowded, and is also famous as the site of the landing of the first permanent English settlers in 1607 before they went on to Jamestown. It offers 19 miles of hiking trails and a bike trail and picnic areas.
There's a national wildlife refuge, Backbay; the Virginia Marine Museum offers excursions to explore the salt marsh ecosystem...or just to plain have fun.
More things to do: The Mariners' Museum, Ocean Breeze Fun Park.