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First settled by the Chesepians hundreds of years before Europeans arrived, this stunning swath of seaside wildland has turned into quite the relaxed, cosmopolitan getaway—with some of its natural beauty and historic charm preserved. While the beach—and excellent summertime beach weather—is certainly the big draw in the area, there's plenty of ways to fill your days that don't involve getting sand in your shorts (although we'd definitely recommend some of that).
Historically, Virginia Beach holds the distinct honor of being the spot where Jamestown expedition first made landfall; it's also the home to the first lighthouse authorized by the then fledgling government of the United States. This rich history continues right up to the present, with a smattering of historic buildings and several museums waiting to be explored by history buffs of any caliber.
While you're out and about, you might find yourself a bit distracted with the area's stunning natural beauty—and if that's the case, we definitely won't blame you. You'll find marshland rich with avian life, seas brimming with everything from grouper to tuna, and parks criss-crossed with trails. How you choose to explore is up to you; SUPing, kayaking, (kite)surfing, and taking a guided tour are great ways to get around on the water, while you can hike, bike, or kick back on a beach towel to enjoy the more terrestrial things Virginia Beach has to offer.
The rustic-cosmopolitan vibe of Virginia Beach can probably be most clearly seen in its dining scene: chic bistros serving up clever small plates, mom-and-pop diners, and burger-brandishing whisky bars all make for a rich array of culinary options. There are also quaint and cozy cafes, microbreweries (one of which dates back to the '30s), ice cream shops, and quite a few places to grab a donut. So if you're feeling peckish between meals (or historic stops), you'll have more than a few options to choose from.