| Family Travel Files Ezine Family Vacations Resource
|Virginia: Virginia Beach, Family Vacation Ideas - Things To Do With Teens - Boardwalk Music, Surf Lessons, and Shopping. Even teens agree family vacation time can be tricky meaning no fun without a flexible location and plan that provides freedom for parents and freedom for teens. I can say Virginia Beach offers both.
Here's the scoop. For the third time in two days my sister and I were standing in the not-so-express line at the Dairy Queen. That it might take forever didn’t really matter. We felt free. Free to share sundae; free from organized activities; free to discover quirky stuff on our own; no schedules, just sun, sand, waves, beach, music, and chilling.
The reality is that most teenagers cringe at the idea of a “family vacation” because it means sharing close quarters and giving up freedom. (Hello! Everyone needs their own space.) It doesn’t have to be so. Yes some adjustments may have to be made but there are plenty of places that suit parents and meet the needs of teens as well and Virginia Beach is always on the selective teen vacation list. Why? The reason is obvious, the place is fun.
I can think of five reasons a Virginia Beach family vacation works for teens not including sun, beach and the obvious fact that there are other teens on the beach.
The beach is endless. The dream of most every teen on a beach vacation is to garner that coveted summer tan; preferably before returning home. My recommendation is to hit the beach. With more than 35 miles of ocean and bay beaches, Virginia Beach isn’t known as the “World’s Largest Pleasure Beach” for nothing. With a width of more than 300 feet between the boardwalk and the water there’s plenty of room for every sun-worshipper. Beach volleyball is popular. Doubles, triples, fours and sixes are often played. Parasail riders soar overhead. There is even room to build a sandcastle with a self-filling moat. Mostly it is a place to just "hang” meet others and enjoy the atmosphere.
The Boardwalk is awesome. After baking in the sun teens can roll along the boardwalk which stretches from 40th Street to Rudee Inlet. It’s a great place to jog, bike, rollerblade, or pedal a beach buggy. Didn’t bring your blades, rent some. Need a bike? Rent one at Cherie’s almost anywhere along the Boardwalk. It is absolutely the place to people-watch while sipping and Italian ice. Everyone meets at the Dairy Queen or at the fishing pier. The boardwalk like the beach itself has an energy that defines what it means to be on vacation.
Shopping never ends. Near the beach there are also a lot of shops offering plenty of opportunities to buy cool stuff. I found great sandals and an awesome beach skirt while looking for sunscreen. The trolley route leads to Lynnhaven Mall and pure fun. Hecht’s, Lord & Taylor, JC Penney, The Gap, Dillards, Old Navy, Abercrombie & Fitch, Forever 21 make the list. Pembroke Mall at Town Center has plenty of shops and eight movie theaters. (Yeah!)
Go where music is the thing. Atlantic Avenue between 17th & 25th Streets is “Beach Street USA” with summer entertainment and festivals through out the year. In the evenings, music can be heard up and down the boardwalk. Two stages, an amphitheatre, an orchestra, and a musical stage company all provide musical entertainment every night of the week. It’s easy to mix, mingle and have fun.
The VB Wave means freedom. Wheels mean freedom and freedom is an integral part of any vacation – at least from a teenager’s point of view. Following mom and dad around a museum, and sitting in the hotel room while the youngest family member sleeps away the afternoon doesn’t strike the fancy of many teens. Parents are leery of letting their older kids roam unknown cities without a specific plan. Fortunately, Virginia Beach, with its north-south trolley and multitude of restaurants, shops and free music concerts, gives teens hundreds of options to choose from when planning “away-from-parents” time, and keeps teens within a specific area. The trolley even stops at the mall.
Location on the planet. Anchored in the southeastern corner of the state where Virginia meets the sea, Virginia Beach is four hours southeast of Washington, D.C. by car, and within a day’s drive or less from one-third of the U.S. population.
Make it happen. Virginia Beach works for teens. Make plans by calling toll-free 1-800-VA-BEACH (822-3224) or checkout www.visitvirginiabeach.com
Family Vacation Planning Details
Here's the deal. Before going anywhere in Virginia Beach go to one of the tourist centers. Why? Because there is always a useful selection of discount coupons for the best activities, as well as shopping and eating, of course.
The VB Wave. The Wave has three distinct routes, each designed to provide visitors freedom. Each route also connects either to the trolley or HRT bus routes providing even more access. (757) 222-6100 or www.vbwave.com
Hilltop Shopping District. The complex includes La Promenade, the Plaza and The Marketplace all along Laskin Road.
Cool & Eclectic. A superstore where outrageous things seem perfectly normal, this is the place for giant shoe-chairs, mohair pillows, sofas shaped like lips, unique jeans, clever tops and a funky staff. 984 Laskin Road (757) 428-8000.
Echoes of Time. The perfect place for anyone that loves vintage clothing, they have items from the 1800’s to the 1970’s. Fun stuff, great staff. 700 Norfolk Avenue (9th St.) (757)428-2332 or www.Echoes-of-Time.com
Lynnhaven Mall. 701 Lynnhaven, (757) 340-9340.
Pembroke Mall. 4582 Virginia Beach Blvd., (757) 497-6255.
Beach Street USA. Atlantic Avenue, (757) 491-SUNN (7866).
What’s for lunch? There is food for the parents as well as teens. The wide selection makes it easy to meet parents for lunch and not miss a beat back the beach. A plethora of culinary delights exist all within easily access of the Virginia Beach trolley. Everything from Korean and Thai food to German and Italian food can be devoured. For the more prosaic palate there are plenty of burger joints and the staple Italian and Tex-Mex restaurants to settle those hunger pangs. We have our favorites.
Dairy Queen. Located at 17th & Atlantic or 27th & Atlantic they are best known for S’mores Galore and their Peanut Butter Parfaits.
Dough Boys Pizza. Known for terrific California-style pizza, they have two locations anchoring Beach Street USA. 17th & Atlantic, 422-6111 and 24th & Atlantic, 425-7108.
Jimmy’s Pizza House & Subs. The pizza is handmade and simply scrumptious. Jimmy is known for the best Greek Pizza ever. They make 3 foot long party subs that are perfect for family picnics. 3584 E. Stratford & Shore Drive in the shadow of the Lisner Bridge. (757) 464-9190.
August. In late August the pace slows along the coast but the ocean is still wonderful, the beaches less crowded and the sunrises seem more brilliant. To celebrate the transition of seasons with levity Virginia Beach looks to Old Man Neptune. The Virginia Beach Neptune Festival is a boisterous and beloved send-off to summer. Each year from the end of August 29th to the end of September celebrating sets its own pace. The festival offers everything from a wine tasting and world-class sandcastle competition to numerous athletic competitions, an air show and the famous Neptune Parade.
September. The last weekend of September is the culmination with the excitement of Boardwalk Weekend. For three days and nights, 30 blocks of Virginia Beach oceanfront come alive with a myriad of activities. Free and open to the public. The Southeast Tourism Society and the top 100 festivals by the American Bus Association recently ranked the event in the top 10 festivals in the southeast. (757) 498-0215 or visit www.neptunefestival.com
November/December. Holiday Lights at the Beach also is part of the 100 Miles of Lights program which highlights the walk and drive-through light displays and holiday events in seven cities from Virginia Beach to Richmond, Va. Single and multi-night holiday packages are available and include accommodations, some meals and various event and attraction tickets. For information on attending a "100-Miles of Lights" event or booking a holiday vacation package, call toll-free 1-888-493-7386, ext. 100. For Holiday Lights at the Beach event information, call 757/491-7866 or visit the website www.beachstreetusa.com
Content and images by Scott Kamps-Duac. Copyright 2011.