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DescriptionAlthough there have been a few additions to the Virginia Beach coastline since the first English settlers stepped ashore here on April 26, 1607, exquisite natural vistas continue to entice explorers to this windswept patch at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. The vast assortment of must-sees and must-dos involve the great outdoors—after all, this is a beach town! You’ll encounter bicyclists and inline skaters whizzing along the attractive, resort-strewn oceanfront, creative sand castle builders inspired by speckled shores, and laid-back surfers awaiting a wicked swell.
After relaxing by the seaside, kayak through First Landing State Park , at Cape Henry on US 60, or practice your swing at such challenging links as The Signature at West Neck, 3100 Arnold Palmer Dr.; Red Wing Lake Golf Course, 1144 Prosperity Rd.; and Hell’s Point Golf Club, 2700 Atwoodtown Rd.
In addition, pier fishing for Atlantic mackerel, bluefish and sea bass is a popular pastime (local experts proffer more than a few tips at Lynnhaven Pier off Starfish Road), though some prefer stalking larger species, including blue marlin and yellowfin tuna, just offshore. Fishing charters can be arranged at several neighborhood marinas, including Virginia Beach Fishing Center, 200 Winston Salem Ave., and Long Bay Pointe Marina, 2109 W. Great Neck Rd. Anglers summering in the area also will enjoy the 4-day Virginia Beach Billfish Tournament in August.
If worms and hooks aren’t your idea of fun, cruise out to see bottlenose dolphins and humpback whales at play in their natural habitat. Seasonal excursions depart from the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. Landlubbers also will discover a boundless array of wildlife viewing opportunities in Virginia Beach—from exploring the Seashore to Cypress Birding Trail, frequented by migrant shorebirds, songbirds and raptors, to hiking through Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
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Visitor InfoVirginia Beach Visitor Information Center 2100 Parks Ave. VIRGINIA BEACH, VA 23451. Phone:(757)385-7873 or (800)822-3224
ShoppingWhile most visitors to Virginia Beach come for the sparkling sand and water and assorted beach activities, there's a shopper in every group, and Virginia Beach doesn’t disappoint.
There's an unwritten law that says you have to bring back kitschy souvenirs from your beach vacation, and Virginia Beach has plenty to offer. Find that perfect T-shirt, beach towel, seashell necklace, picture frame, pair of flip-flops—you get the idea. And you won't have to venture far from the beach. Atlantic Avenue, just one block removed from the water, has blocks upon blocks of souvenir shops. Saltwater taffy, anyone?
Also on Atlantic Avenue is The Shoppes at 31 Ocean , a decidedly more chic shopping venue. The 31 Ocean part of the name refers to the center's location at Atlantic Avenue and 31st Street. In-vogue fashions, beach-related items, gift shops and several restaurants are the focus here.
Just a few minutes’ drive inland from the oceanfront is The Shops at Hilltop at First Colonial and Laskin roads, a large open-air shopping center that is divided into three sections: Hilltop North, East and West. With more than 120 stores, including 27 restaurants, you can shop for hours among the clothing boutiques and gift, jewelry and home accessories shops and then have a nice meal.
Town Center of Virginia Beach , a mixed-use shopping complex with a performing arts center, hotels and residences, covers a 17-block area at Independence and Virginia Beach boulevards and Constitution Drive. Upscale shops and restaurants include Ann Taylor Loft, Brooks Brothers, Cheesecake Factory and Ruth's Chris Steak House.
Visitors also can check out Lynnhaven Mall (701 Lynnhaven Pkwy.), one of the largest malls on the East Coast. The retail giant features a movie theater, three department stores (Dillard's, JCPenney and Macy's), and more than 180 specialty stores and eateries.
Things to SeeAtlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum