Taking a family vacation is definitely an investment—one which I personally think is invaluable because you can’t put a price tag on creating memories with your kids, right? While theoretically, money is no object when it comes to my family, the reality of the situation is that we do have to live within a budget. So, with that in mind, I always like to look for places to go and things to do that can provide a lot of fun and entertainment for the boys, while taking it easy on our bank account…
If you are looking for a fun, frugal, and family-friendly vacation, then you will love Virginia Beach! Of course, there are several other things to do on a Virginia Beach vacation, but these seven things won’t cost you a dime!
Okay, obviously, this is the main attraction—the beach itself! Whether you like to just lay out and soak up the sun, build a sandcastle, search for seashells, or play in the ocean, the beach will keep you and your kids busy all day. These nice, wide beaches have plenty of room to lay out by the ocean, or spread out under your own little umbrella or tent. Besides that, at certain spots along the beach, there are actually playgrounds that your kids can play on, still on the sand, but close to the boardwalk. Bring a volleyball or Frisbee for the bigger kids (or the parents!) because there is plenty of room for that too!
You can pay to take a boat ride for dolphin watching, but you really don’t need to… because the dolphins actually swim close enough to shore that you can see them right from your spot on the beach. While the dolphin excursion boat rides would definitely get you up-close, you can still enjoy seeing the dolphins right from shore—and that’s free!
Stroll along the Boardwalk
Virginia Beach has a beautiful boardwalk that stretches for 3 miles of the Virginia Beach coastline—so you can literally walk up and down Virginia Beach oceanfront! We absolutely loved strolling the boardwalk to find new restaurants or just to see what else was around… and never had to take our eyes off of the ocean. The boardwalk also had a couple of “lanes” devoted to bicycles, multi-person carts and skateboarders. So bring your bicycle… or you can choose to rent one if you want…
While you are at Virginia Beach, you have to at least stop by and see the colossal statue of Neptune, the Roman god of the sea.
Cape Henry Lighthouses/Fort Story
You will definitely want to check out the lighthouses at Cape Henry. However, once we got there, we realized that there was so much more to Cape Henry than just the lighthouses. There were great history lessons to be learned there. Did you know that the original lighthouse was the very first federal building authorized by the United States government in 1789? Did you know that construction of the lighthouse actually started in 1772, but was interrupted by the American Revolution? Did you know that the sandstone used to build the original lighthouse came from the same Aquia Virginia Quarries that provided stone for Mount Vernon, The U.S. Capitol, and the White House?
Besides the lighthouses, there were also other statues: a memorial cross, Battle of the Capes, and Francois Joseph Paul De Grasse. The memorial cross erected in 1935, which serves as a reminder of the original oak cross built by the colonists when they arrived in 1607 and named Cape Henry for Henry, Prince of Wales, the oldest son of King James I. The Battle of the Capes in September 1781 was a major turning point in America’s struggle for independence, and you can learn all about it here… And a statue of De Grasse commemorates his role in the Battle of the Capes that lead to the victory of American Independence from Britain.
Who says a fun beach vacation can’t be educational too?!
Every evening, visitors to Virginia Beach are entertained by music from individuals and small group musicians, to painters, jugglers, and so much more… all FREE! There are signs posted that let visitors know that no tips are necessary because these live performances are actually paid for by the city of Virginia Beach.
My son, Chase, actually got to be a part of one of the shows—Up, Down, Go! He was pretty excited!
The street performances are great, but in addition to the single or small group musicians that you can enjoy as you stroll, there are also actual concerts—everything from orchestra music at the small amphitheater at Neptune’s Park, to concerts at various stages along Atlantic Avenue between the street and the boardwalk. No tickets necessary, just find a seat and enjoy!