|Family Travel Files Ezine Family Vacations Resource
|Virginia: Virginia Beach, Free or Almost Free Family Vacation Fun.
It’s all about spending less money and having more fun with your kids. A Virginia Beach family vacation includes an abundance of free family-friendly activities and experiences on the beach and off the beach. Just show up and work the list.
Here’s the scoop. Our working menu of free or almost free family fun begins with a three-mile oceanfront boardwalk where, free live entertainment, and irresistible beach time attitude. Soak up sun, enjoy the waves, build sandcastles on Grommet Island or stroll the Boardwalk - all for free. Join nature hikes, gaze at the night sky, 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. Virginia Beach actually has three beach personalities. In the resort area, enjoy a stroll along the iconic three-mile oceanfront and the awesome anchor of the beach - King Neptune. On the quiet side is Chesapeake Beach, also known as “Chick’s Beach” for its calm, shallow waters framing Chesapeake Bay. To the south of Virginia Beach, Sandbridge is a slower paced barrier island option bordering the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge ideal for active families.
Stroll along 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. Well-known honorees include the poet and writer Edgar Allen Poe, the first President George Washington, and country crooner Patsy Cline.
Free family 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 ideal for surfing swimming, a playground for the kids, and a fishing pier for the anglers. Seasonal activities include storytelling, magic shows, live music, puppet shows, and Karaoke for kids. Bonus Points:
Beach goers may borrow oodles of things including badminton equipment, corn hole boards and bags, Frisbees, rubber playground balls, soccer balls, volleyballs and volleyball nets.
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. For example: First Landing State Park offers free monthly programs that include hiking, surf fishing, animal tracking, crabbing, plus activities for junior park rangers, guided beach walks, and nature. A short drive from First landing is Cape Henry Memorial Park the location of a replica of the First Landing Cross. Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park, have more than 20 miles of pathways for biking or hiking plus miles of beaches in an ocean-to-freshwater populated by wild horses, sea birds, feral pigs, turtles, and American bald eagles. 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.
Go fishing for free. 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 on one of four fishing piers, or rent a boat and take to the Bay. Bonus Points: Fishing is free for those ages 16 or younger or 65 and older.
Take a kite to the “mountain”.
When the wind is cooperating, even a novice can fly a kite at Mount Trashmore Park the 165-acre, six–story high, green hill 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 offers plenty for families – all for free. The complex includes marked walking trails, two stocked freshwater lakes for fishing, and picnic shelters, as well as and a delightful Kids Cove, an innovative playground designed for children by children. Bonus Points:
Onsite you’ll find a state-of-the-art TrueRide skate park, free and open to the public.
Listen to the music. Throughout the year the Beach Street USA calendar is punctuated with worthy reasons to show up and have fun. From Beach Music Weekend in May and the Atlantic Coast Kite Festival to hermit crab competitions in July, Chalk the Walk ARTsplosion, and FunkFest in August, Virginia Beach always has something happening. Bonus Points: Perhaps the biggest draw during the summer months is the nightly themed entertainment along the sidewalks of Atlantic Avenue between 17th and 25th streets. And during Beach Street U.S.A the excitement of puppeteers, street bands, jugglers, and magicians on the sidewalks near the beach.
Location on the planet. 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.
Toll-free 1-800-VA-BEACH (822-3224) or go to www.visitvirginiabeach.com
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Content researched and updated by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for theFamilyTravelFiles.com. Images provided by FTF satff. Copyright 2014.