|Family Travel Files Ezine Family Vacations Resource
|Virginia: Virginia Beach, Free or Almost Free Family Vacation Fun.
A family beach vacation needs little more than sun, sand and water – all free. Spend long days on the sun-drenched beaches, boogie boarding, building sandcastles and splashing through the waves. Sit on the sand and watch the magical transition of colors as the sun sets; count millions of stars over the Atlantic or listen to music under the stars all free.
Our working menu of free or almost free family fun begins with a three-mile oceanfront boardwalk, free live entertainment, and irresistible beach time attitude. Soak up sun, enjoy the waves, build sandcastles, or play beach volleyball - all for free. Go biking, roller-blading, running, or strolling along the boardwalk – for free. Join nature hikes, gaze at stars, fly kites, play golf, throw horseshoes or shoot hoops – no coins needed.
Enjoy free time at the beach.
Public beach choices span more than 14 miles, and most come with absolutely no fees while some assess a nominal parking or camping fee. From swimming, tide pooling, surfing and sailing to beach combing, sandcastles and volleyball, all the traditional beach rituals are available in the Chesapeake Bay area.
Take a kite to the “Mountain”. When the wind is cooperating, even a novice can fly one from the very top of the "Mountain." Mount Trashmore Park is a 165-acre, six–story high, green mountain created by compacting layers of solid waste and clean soil. Just seeing the result of the environmental feat is worth the time but the location has plenty for families – all for free. The complex includes picnic shelters, playground areas, basketball court, volleyball areas, parking, vending machines and restrooms as well as marked walking trails, two stocked freshwater lakes for fishing, and a delightful Kids Cove, an innovative playground designed for children using children's ideas and input.
Bonus points: Onsite you’ll find a state-of-the-art TrueRide skate park which includes an extensive street course flowing from an above-ground, seven-foot deep bowl and an impressive 13.5 ft. vertical ramp - free and open to the public.
Free fun on Sandbridge at Little Island Park. Little Island Park is a 144-acre beach park located on the Atlantic Ocean just north of the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge. The park has plenty of awesome gently sloping beach space, surfing and areas, swimming a playground for the kids, a fishing pier for the anglers, and a wonderful covered picnic area. Amenities include basketball courts, concessions, restrooms, tennis courts and volleyball courts. Activities include storytelling, magic shows, live music, puppet shows, and Karaoke for kids. Bonus points: You can borrow badminton equipment, basketballs, baseball bats, corn hole boards and bags, footballs, frisbees, rubber playground balls, soccer balls, volleyballs and volleyball nets with a valid driver's license or other form of ID. Need to know: Parking from Memorial Day through Labor Day is $5 for the day. To access the pier the fee of $7 per day per person (April - October).
Seek what’s naturally free. Wild and free is easy to be with more than 18,000 acres of state parks and a national wildlife refuge in the area. First Landing State Park, Virginia's most visited state park, offers free monthly educational programs that include hiking, surf fishing, and animal tracking. Bike through Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge or False Cape State Park, and discover miles of beaches in an ocean-to-freshwater bay habitat, barrier islands, dunes, freshwater marshes, maritime forests, and ponds. For example First Landing offers many various self-guided and guided programs that cover crabbing, junior rangers, beach walks, nature hikes and structured environmental education programs. Within the park you’ll find 20 miles of marked trails suitable to follow on foot or by bicycle. Bonus points: Trail maps are available from the Trail Center for the self-guided adventures and free trail walks are conducted by interpreters throughout the year.
Stroll through Legends Lane.
Virginia Legends Walk is located at the oceanfront 13th Street Park and honors Virginians who have made significant contributions to the nation and world. Taking a quick stroll through the park is a fun and free thing to do that will keep the kids' attention while exposing them to some big names in our nation's history. Well-known honorees include the poet and writer Edgar Allen Poe, the first President George Washington, and country crooner Patsy Cline. Go fishing for free.
Take your fishing pole and tackle box because the spots ready for fishing are many. Virginia Beach is known as the "Striped Bass Capitol of the World," but fishing in the area includes the chance to catch tuna, wahoo, marlin, red drum, and flounder as well. Enjoy both freshwater and saltwater fish from the shore, from one of four fishing piers, or a variety of boats including a kayak. Bonus points:
Fishing is free for those ages 16 and younger or 65 and older. Need to know:
For anyone fishing on a recreational boat, charter boat, head boat, party boat, from a commercial fishing pier, or rental boat which possesses a valid Virginia recreational fishing license covering all people using that boat or pier do not have to buy a fishing license. Fishing from the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier (between 14th and 15th Street) costs $8 per person. Free fun at oceanfront festivals and events.
Throughout the year the Beach Street USA calendar is punctuated with worth reasons to show up and have fun. For Beach Music Weekend in May a stage built right on the beach at 30th Street. All performances are free to the public. During the Atlantic Coast Kite Festival it’s all about high-flying kites and fun for families, and participants. There will be kite demonstrations to music (including kite ballets, sports kite flying, and dual and quad line kites), kite building workshops, and kite flying lessons. Hermit crabs in competitions in July prove “Crab is King” at one of the wackiest events on the beach where else? Chalk the Walk ARTsplosion is just like it sounds and explosion of art along two blocks of the Boardwalk. In August FunkFest will feature bands in free concerts on the 24th Street Stage. Food, merchandise, and dance contests will contribute to a festive, “funky” vibe in the park.
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 entices visitors to "Live the Life" every season of the year and to enjoy the free stuff locals enjoy every day. For more ideas on free or almost free things to do in Virginia Beach, call toll-free 1-800-VA-BEACH (822-3224), head to their Facebook page
, catch them on Twitter (@VaBeachCVB
) or checkout the big picture at www.visitvirginiabeach.com
Free or Almost Free Family Fun Planning Details
Mount Trashmore 310 Edwin Drive Virginia Beach, VA 23462. (757) 473-5237 or www.vbgov.com/parks
Little Island Park Sandbridge Beach 3820 Sandpiper Road. Virginia Beach, VA 23456. (757) 426-0013 or www.vbgov.com/parks
False Cape State Park. 4001 Sandpiper Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23456. (757) 426-7128 or www.dcr.virginia.gov
Content researched and created by FTF; images provided by staff. Copyright 2013.