As I've mentioned before, I'm a Yankee northerner. When we first moved to Virginia in 2005, I'd only been here twice (aside from driving through on our way to Georgia once). The first was the summer of 1980. How do I remember that? Because we had just gotten a 1980 Chevy Blazer and it was the first brand new car that my parents had ever owned. We'd all piled in (grandma in tow) and driven the 12 hours to visit my uncle and aunt, who lived in Virginia Beach.
I have several memories of that trip - I was only 7 at the time - but among those that stand out most was the beach at Virginia Beach. I loved the sand... the ocean... it being the first beach that I ever recollect visiting and the first time I'd ever seen the ocean.
Why do I want to go back? Here's the top 10 reasons why I want to go to Virginia Beach...
10. I want to take my kids to the beach I went to as a child. I think it is important to share your childhood experiences with your children as much as possible. I would tell them about the time my parents brought me to the beach on our first ever family vacation and how my poor brother got stung by a jelly fish. Sharing family stories connects the generations.
9. Navy ships can usually be spotted in the area and there's a naval base. I have friends from high school that are career military who are stationed in that area. I wouldn't mind stopping by to say hi! I would love to see the ships too, as that is something else I remember from that trip long ago.
8. Busch Gardens is nearby! I can grab some sun and then have some fun. I was last to Busch Gardens in high school, and I'd love to go back and spend some time exploring the park's fine eateries (praying and hoping for gluten free goodies). It had an Epcot feel, having "countries" that you could visit.
7. I'd want to stop by the Aquarium also. We have been to the Baltimore Aquarium twice now and it would be awesome to see a different Aquarium. The kids love seeing the odd fish, sharks, and other sea creatures. It's an educational and relatively inexpensive way to spend a day.
6. It could be a day trip! Virginia Beach is about 2 to 2-1/2 hours from where I live, or about 4 hours away from DC if you happen to live up that way. We could get up early, drive down, have a great day, drive back and not have to spend on a hotel. Did you know that Virginia Beach is within a day’s drive or less from two-thirds of the U.S. population? That was something else I didn't realize until I read about it at SocialMoms.
5. Dolphins, I want to see dolphins! I loved watching old re-runs of Flipper, but other than seeing a dolphin on TV or in an Aquarium, I'd never seen one up close and personal. You can kayak with dolphins during a Virginia Beach vacation.
4. I want to build a sand castle. I know that sounds kind of silly... and we do have a river beach here where I live. But I want to take pails and build a huge sand castle with my kids. Other than driving to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Virginia Beach is the closest ocean beach to me and everyone knows, ocean sand is the best for sand castles.
3. Mount Trashmore! No, not Mount Rushmore... Mount Trashmore. Once a landfill, Mount Trashmore is a park built over a completed landfill. There's skate ramps and a fitness trail in addition to playground equipment.
2. Rent bikes (or take our own) at the Boardwalk. Our town is not bike friendly at all and our little town has a Boardwalk of sorts. However, the old fuddy duddies have declared it to be skate board and bike free! This is a terrible tragedy since this town has most of its streets lacking side walks or street lights. I would love to ride on a bike somewhere safe and fun with my kids.
and the top reason I want to visit Virginia Beach again?
1. I want to surf! I really want to learn how to surf because I think it would be a lot of fun. Of course, I'd have to probably take some swimming lessons first! However, I always somehow pictured myself on a surf board, riding the waves. I should probably start sooner rather than later since I'm on the upward climb to 40.
For me, a trip to Virginia Beach would be the ultimate staycation. It really isn't that far away in the grand scheme of things. There's a lot of family friendly activities to do and even some for solo couples with shows and other entertainment available. Want to plan your own Virginia Beach vacation? Check out some of the resource links below for some ideas to get you started on the vacation of a lifetime.
Virginia Beach Resources
More info on Virgina Beach: http://www.visitvirginiabeach.com/visitors/
Virgina Beach on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/VirginiaBeachVA
Follow @VaBeachCVB on Twitter
Things to Do with Kids in Virginia Beach
ShoreLines Blog – “With the Kids”
First Landing State Park
A Couple’s Retreat
Disclosure: I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Virginia Beach Tourism blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here. I have used information from http://www.visitvirginiabeach.com to assist me in writing this blog post.