More than the sand
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  Posted September 11th, 2010 by Zdenko  in Travel | 4 comments

Virginia Beach, VA

By: Zdenko Kahlina
More than the sand

Curiously, the city’s imposing 34-foot statue of the Roman deity is facing away from the water, toward the boardwalk and beyond, as if to suggest: There’s more going on here than just surf and sand. He’ll get no argument from me.

Sure, we came for the beach at six hours’ drive time all the way from Washington, DC, but discovered considerably more. Virginia Beach’s main resort strip that extends about three miles, south to north, from Second Street to 41st Street, lined with dozens of high-rise hotels.

Of course, there’s one main reason to spend an entire vacation day in the car en route to the coast. And the strand in southeast Virginia does not disappoint. It’s soft and white and wide — 300 feet deep in most spots — with plenty of space to spread out and soak up the sun.

The famous Virginia Beach boardwalk, 28 feet wide and made of concrete, runs the entire three-mile length, in between the beach and hotels, a perfect perch for walkers, joggers and people watchers. A separate, parallel trail keeps cyclists apart from pedestrians, a wise division when both paths are busy.

Permanent stages for nightly entertainment are evenly spaced along the beachfront. A giant inflatable water slide grows from the sand near the middle of the strip. And nearby, temporary bleachers are erected on the beach for a sand-volleyball tournament.

Food vendors hawk ice cream, smoothies and sausage sandwiches. A small amusement park entices passers-by with a Ferris wheel and log flume ride. And workers set up small tents on the walkway for a weekend art show.

A natural oasis of isolated beachfront Virginia Beach is not. But it’s a perfect fit for families looking for some kid-friendly fun to accompany plenty of sand and sun.

Virginia Beach: Virginia Beach Boardwalk

“The Virginia Beach Boardwalk” is a concrete walkway that is accessible to individuals with varying degrees of mobility. Ramps are available at each street to take you from the Boardwalk to the sand. In addition, wooden walkways that take you from the ramp to the water’s edge are available at 8th, 17th, 24th, and 30th Streets.

The boardwalk itself never closes because it’s just a 28-feet wide walkway running parallel with the ocean. It runs along the beach the Guinness book of World Records calls the longest recreational beach in the world.  It has lanes for walkers and another for bicycles, roller blades, and surreys.  There are grassy areas and park benches as well as nautical-themed play areas.   Besides the beach, you’ll find two amusement parks and bike rentals, as well as fishing off the pier. Two museums chronicling Virginia Beach are to be found: The Atlantic Wildfowl and Heritage Museum at 12 St. and The Old Coast Guard Station at 24th St.

At 13th is The Virginia Legends Walk, honoring Virginians who have made important national and world contributions in their lives, such as Capt. John Smith, Robert E. Lee, James Madison, Edgar Allen Poe, Ella Fitzgerald, Arthur Ashe, Douglas MacArthur, Thomas Jefferson among others.

At 15th is the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier.  For a fee you can walk out on the pier to admire the view or to fish. Also at 15th is the seasonal seaside Amusement Park.  Not enormous, not an overwhelming commitment for the family, and a vintage touch of fun.

At 25th is the Naval Aviation Monument.  This Monument pays tribute to the Navy, Marine Corp and Coast Guard aviation from the early 1900s through the present.  Bronze sculptures feature real people from the past depicting significant events in history.  Laser etched granite storyboards give you information on the sculpture, event and period as you walk through. Also at 25th is the Norwegian Lady Statue.  This lovely lady stands in commemoration of lives lost and saved during the tragic shipwreck of a sailingel from Moss, Norway in 1891.  Her sister statue stands in Moss, Norway.

At 31st is the King Neptune Statue and Neptune Park.  The bronze sculpture is 34′ tall, including his trident.  It weighs 12.5 tons replete with sea creatures…dolphins, octopus, sea turtle, lobster and fish.  Neptune Park is one of the locations of Virginia Beach festivities and events.

There are also lots of options for dining and hotels all along the way, but most of the shops are street side.

Beach Street USA hosts special events throughout the year. During the summer, they have something going on every night – bands, face painting, henna tattoos, jugglers, fire performers, puppets, magicians, something interesting for sure.   Stages are at 7th, 13th, 17th, 24th, 25th, 31st Streets and Little Island Park at Sandbridge, but you’re likely to find an act along Atlantic Ave too. The American Music Festival in early September usually marks the end of Beach Street USA. 

Neptune, the mythological god of the seas, reigns over Virginia Beach, keeping a watchful eye over the resort strip.

Near by town of Hampton

Near by city of Norfolk

 

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