Packing your bags for a weekend at the beach may not be the first thing that comes to mind in the middle of fall or winter. But when you’re talking about Virginia Beach, which is about three and a half hours from downtown D.C., you might want to slide the shore to the top of your shortlist. In addition to whale watching, a wide open boardwalk and beautiful sunsets, here’s how to fill a couple of off-season, off-shore days at Va. Beach.
Where to Play
Hunt Club Farm
Explore this family owned and operated farm that features a petting farm, pony rides, educational experiences, pumpkin picking and more. The farms Halloween Festival is their star event, but take a peek at the calendar as there’s family fun to be had year-round.
2388 London Bridge Rd.
Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center
Go deep water scuba diving without getting even a little bit wet by checking out over 800,000 gallons of one of the best aquariums and animal habitats in the country. Your school of fish will experience hands-on exhibits, a nature path and marshlands.
717 General Booth Blvd.
Captain Jacks Pirate Ship Adventures
Set sail aboard the Lost Pearl for an adventure on the high seas. During this nautical voyage, all hands will help search for a grand treasure stolen by that scurvy dog Blackbeard! Your mission–should you accept–is to track down the booty, and take revenge on those who stole the loot.
308 Mediterranean Ave.
Virginia Beach Boardwalk
Whether it’s peak season or off season, the boardwalks 59 blocks is always bustling. Featuring everything from shops and restaurants to a fishing pier and public art installations (hello, King Neptune), there’s something for everyone within walking (or biking) distance.
Where to Eat
Il Giardino Ristorante
Craving fancy Italian fare, but not the stuffy vibe that sometimes comes with it? This is your place for authentic pasta, wood oven pizza, fresh seafood, and a kid’s menu sure to impress (think: rigatoni with butter sauce and parmigiana).
910 Atlantic Ave.
Old Beach Market
Not only is this the best place to snag yummy noshes–seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables, charcuterie, eggs, seafood, and cheese (oh my!)–but it’s also perfect for picking up a souvenir or a tchotchke for yourself.
Cypress Ave. at 19th St.
Breakfast works around the clock at this brightly colored/Pocahantas themed eatery with kid items that weigh in under $5. Carb load with your crew on silver diner pancakes, waffles or French toast as you oh and ah at real life Indian artifacts.
3420 Atlantic Ave.
Where to Stay
Hyatt House Virgnia Beach/Oceanfront
It’s no wonder “house” is in the name of this hotel. In addition to offering 156 spacious den, studio, and one bedroom suites, many of which include fully equipped kitchen with a refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, and stove, Hyatt House offers a complimentary bistro breakfast with pastries, fruit, oatmeal, pancakes, sausage, and made-to-order omelets. In the lobby, there’s a mini store that provides everything from extra toothbrushes to beach snacks for your crew. Junior will love peeping the lobby fish tank filled with colorful swimmers that look like they swam straight out of the Dory movie. While the waves may be too chilly to conquer in the off season, watching them from your balcony is a clutch way to wake up and go to sleep each day.
2705 Atlantic Ave.
Do you have a favorite off-season adventure? Tell us about it in the comments below.
A special thanks to the Hyatt House for hosting the trip.