In all of my twenty-nine years, I had never been to a beach along the Atlantic Ocean. Until this past Wednesday.
We drove into Virginia Beach and were greeted by the balmy, intoxicating seaside air. The white shores stretched out for miles, beckoning us.
After checking into Holiday Inn & Suites North Beach, we suited up and walked a few steps to the beach. Our girls ran toward the waves in obvious rapture. Tim & I took turns holding their hands tight...and holding the camera.
We took a dip in the pool on our way back to our room. Our little ones opted out of the two water slides, but we had a grand time in the lazy river. The hotel clearly knows how to please families - there was also an on-site movie theatre that had showings four times each day and a Splash Kamp kids room with crafts & activities.
In the morning, we ate breakfast on-site at the Greenery Restaurant. The Breakfast Buffet was bountiful and included plenty of fresh fruit, made-to-order waffles and omelets, pastries, and bacon & sausage. Plus, kids eat free!
On our way out of town, we sat in on a taping of the 700 Club. We actually don't personally watch the show, but it was interesting to be sitting so close to the on-film action. The Christian Broadcast Network campus is gorgeous - with timeless brick buildings and pristine walkways.
Final Conclusion? Virginia Beach's beaches are beautiful. They're clean, well cared for, and adjacent to a giant boardwalk. The mid-size city (approximately 450,000 people call it home) seems to be a happening place - for living or vacationing.
Have you every been to Virginia Beach? What did you like/not like about it?
Do you prefer beaches along the Atlantic or Pacific oceans?
* Special thanks to the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau for providing our 1-night hotel stay and passes for area attractions.
So many people have mentioned Cape Cod to us! I wish we could make it up that way this summer! Perhaps another time...
Thanks for the links to those campgrounds. They appear to be in a wonderful location (which explains the fact that they're a bit out of our budget). ;)
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these pictures! So fun! I have never been to Virginia Beach...but have been to a few East Coast beaches - Cape Cod, all along the coast of Maine...beautiful...and completely different from the West Coast. I saw in one of your comments you are a huge fan of 'beach culture'...um...be prepared for a bit of that when you make your way over here to Santa Cruz! Have I mentioned that the beach just two blocks from my house includes an RV camp right along the water??? http://www.santacruzstateparks.org/parks/seacliff/ also another one just down the road at New Brighton: http://www.santacruzstateparks.org/parks/newbrighton/
we LOVE VA BEACH! the hilton there is gorgeous. we love visiting there!
husband and i lived there for a summer with campus crusade. it was so so fun.
Sounds fun!! That hotel looks great. Never been to a beach that way...but now I want to. (:
The Pacific Ocean seems much more dramatic to me, or at least what I've seen of it. Loved driving along Route 1 in California (or is 101?) anyway, amazing cliffs looking down at the ocean. Incredible. But nothing compares to the long beaches in Maine. Love them too.
I think I'll take the Pacific coast with the miles and miles of sands and bluffs and water you can actually go into without freezing sometimes. On the other hand, Cape Cod is one of my top 5 favorite places of all time, the beautiful beach and fresh water 'kettle ponds' and the pine woods for camping and bike paths everywhere, good seafood- good memories. It is impossibly overcrowded these days, and thus impossible to get to (only one road in !) but I'd still go anytime. One of hard things about Tucson for me is no ocean access, after living within 45 min of the shore for 26yrs. The sound of the surf, the smells, the sand calms me and makes me happy in all sorts of ways...... Good thing a trip to San Diego is in the works here, cause you have made me realize how much I am missing it.......
So many people talk about Cape Cod with admiration. I wish we could work it into our trip, but I don't think we have room in our schedule.
Have fun in San Diego!
I don't think I've ever seen the Atlantic. I'll have to talk Stephan in taking a trip with the kiddos someday.
I was struck by how tall your eldest daughter looks in these pictures. Gorgeous!
It looks like you all had a fabulous time. I've never been to Virginia Beach but it looks grand!
She is growing taller, smarter, and sweeter every day! I can't believe she's 4 1/2. She is a bona fide kid in every possible way. (I love it).
I think the southern Atlantic beaches are much more - playing on the beach and in the water friendly than any of the pacific beaches I've been to - but I love the pacific beaches. They are part of my childhood.
I can't really say b/c I've not been to any Pac Coast beaches. I don't particularly care for Atlantic beaches up our way b/c they are rocky and cold and dirty. Yes, I know, I've just doomed my career as a travel agent in these parts! :)
VA beach sounds amazing!
Was it weird to stay in a hotel room after being in the RV?
One thing that struck me about Virginia Beach was how CLEAN it was! The boardwalk was pristine and the sandy beaches were litter-free. I think I heard someone say that the sand is raked regularly.
Our hotel room seemed giant compared to our RV! I'll write about that soon.
I might need to visit! Since we live so close. Thanks for the recommendation. And I LOVE how that hotel looks... hmmmmm.... "If i had a million dollars..."
Sounds amazing! I've been to Myrtle Beach (Atlantic beach - South Carolina) as a very young child, but all I remember is the water being cold. I've never been to a Pacific beach. I've been to Galveston and South Padre beaches a lot (Gulf beaches) since I grew up in south Texas. Maybe one day I'll get to an Atlantic (again) and Pacific beach to compare.
Love your girls' suits.
In all my 35 years I've never been to a Pacific Ocean beach! LOL! I'm originally from New Jersey and the Jersey Shore is such a huge part of my childhood. I've been to Delaware, NC, SC, and FL beaches and they're all great.
My husband is in the Navy and we have been stationed there for most of our marriage (although now we are moving to South America!) I love the whole area...the downtown area of Norfolk, the beaches, the military history and the rural beauty of the Suffolk country side (birthplace of Planters peanuts!) I love east coast beaches (in the States...international waters are amazing!) unless you want to throw Gulf beaches into the equation (the sand!) I love following your journey and it is neat to see places we have lived or enjoyed ourself...
We didn't get a chance to drive into Norfolk or Suffolk. Maybe next time?
I wonder if the Planters peanut factory is open for tours...
My grandparents lived in VA Beach my whole life and I spent at least a week of every summer there as well as many other short weekend trips. Seeing those pictures brings back such memories!!!
Now that I'm a Philly girl, by marriage of course, and by the fact that I've lived here ALMOST as long as I lived in Virginia (that is weird!!) I am totally and completely in love with the Jersey and Delaware beaches - they are more intimate than Virginia Beach. There are more house rentals than hotels and there are a lot of smaler beaches rather than just one huge one.
Still, I love Virginia Beach. I have such fond memories of staying there!!
I can't really compare coasts. I've been to California but I don't know if I've ever been on a CA beach.
Virginia is a lovely place! We've enjoyed our stay in this state immensely - minus the mosquitos and gnats! ;)
What city did you grow up in?
I grew up in Roanoke -- over on the south western side of the state. It's more mountainous over there. I love it. :-)
Yes, LOVE Virginia Beach! Hmmm...not sure which coast's beaches I like better. I think I'm actually partial to the Michigan side of Lake Michigan (I know...not an option)...but I LOVE the beaches there!
I have several friends who are enthralled by Michigan. I hope we get an opportunity to visit there someday!
So happy you made it to an Atlantic Beach on your journey! What a wonderful place..would you ever consider living by a beach one day?
I'm not a huge fan of "beach culture" so I'm not sure if it would be my first choice to live right next to a shore, but it might be nice to be within a few hour's drive. Maybe if we had a piece of our own beach property...hmmm... :)
I DO love the sound of the waves crashing and the feeling of sand in between my toes.
What about you?
My in-laws live in Va Beach, so we visit frequently, matter of fact we were there last month. My husband and I picnic on the beach all the time, it is our favorite place to be (its where we met, Miami Beach). Glad you enjoyed it....I would love to live in Va Beach permanently someday.
I LOVE VA Beach!! We go there every year for a race....the Shamrock Marathon and Half Marathon. We've been going for the past 5 years. It's one of the most family friendly races in the US. You should run it one year, they even have kids races. They have an 8K, half marathon and full marathon. I go to support my friend and her family and help raise money to find a cure for MItochondrial Disease. Her son has this disease. I love the playground that is right on the beach. During the summer season there are street performers on almost every corner. It's a very fun and family friendly place. Did you eat at Baker's Crust? AWESOME restaurant and the owner is a great guy.
Sounds like a fun race! One of my dreams is to eventually run in a 1/2 marathon. What other races would you say fit in the "family-friendly" category?
We didn't get a chance to eat at Baker's Crust. Is it right on the boardwalk? What kind of food is served there?
How beautiful! I love that shot of you and the girls with your arms up :) I have been to Virginia Beach once, when my husband was playing baseball nearby. It was lovely!