Packing Them In

The beach and the boardwalk are still the biggest draws

Virginia Beach

May 16, 2007|By Jason Skog | Jason Skog,Special to the Sun

A $200 million convention center opened two years ago, and there's talk of a new hotel and new entertainment, but the broad beaches and bustling boardwalk remain the most popular attractions for Virginia Beach visitors.

The city has become Virginia's largest, with almost 430,000 residents and nearly 3 million visitors a year.

For those seeking a break from the resort's crowds, check out the north end above 47th Street. Parking can be dicey, but the payoff is a quieter, more relaxing beach experience.


Residence Inn by Marriott, 3217 Atlantic Ave., 757-425-1141. Opened early last year, the 72-suite hotel has private balconies overlooking the ocean, full kitchens, direct beach and boardwalk access, a fitness center and wi-fi. Minimum stay of three nights may be required. Summer rates: $169-$329.

Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront, 3001 Atlantic Ave., 757-213-3000. Opened in March 2005, this is one of the largest and most luxurious hotels along the oceanfront. It features flat-screen TVs, five-jet showers, wi-fi access, a rooftop pool and Sky Bar. Call for summer rates.

The Cavalier Hotels, 4201 Atlantic Ave., 757-425-8555 or 800-446-8199; The grand old hotel was built in 1927 and it towers above the hillside. The complex has indoor and outdoor pools, five restaurants, tennis courts and a health club. It also boasts the only private ocean beach in Virginia. Summer rates: $139-$499.


Beach Bully BBQ, 601 19th St., 757-422-4222; For authentic North Carolina barbecue, the Beach Bully, located just a few blocks from the beach, is tough to beat. Prices range from $4 for a sandwich to $14 for the ribs.

Catch 31, 3001 Atlantic Ave., 757-213-3001. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Catch 31 is part of the new Hilton at the Oceanfront. The restaurant features fresh seafood, chicken, steak, pizza and pasta. There's also a buffet breakfast. Entrees range from $20-$30.

The Jewish Mother, 3108 Pacific Ave., 757-422-5430; jewishmother .com. Featuring original sandwich creations and great omelets, the deli also serves as a live-music lounge after dinner. Entrees range from $9.95-$17.95.

Bubba's Crab House, 3323 Shore Drive, 757-481-3513. Enjoy sunsets and a steady stream of working watercraft delivering the day's catch to this waterside restaurant. After a long day at the beach, wash down a basket of steamed crabs ($16.95) with a cold pitcher of beer.


The Abyss, 1065 19th St., 757-671-8100. For chest-thumping bass, bright lights and a huge dance floor, the Abyss is the place to go.

Croc's 19th Street Bistro, 620 19th St., 757-428-5444; crocsrestau When there's not a live band, a DJ spins tunes for those who come to eat early and dance late.

Peabody's, 209 21st St., 757-422-6212; peabodysvirginia With claims to the "biggest dance floor in Virginia Beach," Peabody's is known for its massive Thursday-night ladies' night and the occasional dodge ball match.

Sweet Caroline's Bar and Restaurant, 1910 Atlantic Ave., 757-333-6175. Dueling pianos, live music and billiards make the scene most nights at Sweet Caroline's.


First Landing State Park, 2500 Shore Drive, 757-412-2300. Visitors can explore 19 miles of hiking trails, quiet lagoons rimmed by looming cypress trees and rare plant life. Guided kayak tours take paddlers into otherwise inaccessible marshes and bays.

Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, 717 General Booth Blvd., 757-425-3474; virgin Virginia's largest aquarium has a variety of species from the Atlantic Ocean and nearby Chesapeake Bay, including sharks, rays, sea turtles and harbor seals.

Motor World, 700 S. Birdneck Road, 757-422-6419. With go-carts, mini-golf, paintball and something called "The Skycoaster" that whizzes at up to 70 mph, there's something for everybody at Motor World.

Ocean Breeze Waterpark, 849 General Booth Blvd., 757-422-4444. The waterpark has waterslides, wave pools and a whirling thrill ride called "The Hurricane." For young buccaneers, there's even a pirate ship to explore.


Lynnhaven Mall, 701 Lynnhaven Parkway, 757-340-9340; Just southwest of the main resort, Lynnhaven is the area's largest shopping mall. Among its 180 stores are anchors Hecht's, Dillard's and JC Penney, as well as Abercrombie & Fitch, Brookstone, Gap, Barnes & Noble, H&M and Old Navy.

Town Center, Virginia Beach and Independence boulevards, 757-965-5452; towncenterofvirgi Just a short drive inland from the beach lies the city's new Town Center development, featuring several restaurants and shops -- Ann Taylor Loft, Brooks Brothers, Dick's Sporting Goods, Stanley Adams stationers -- surrounding a central courtyard and fountain.

31 Ocean, Laskin Road and 31st Street. Boutique stores, housewares, collectibles, clothing and a gourmet candy shop are just some of the offerings at this new shopping area, which is connected to the new Hilton hotel at the Oceanfront.



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