Browse beautifully restored historic planes at the Military Aviation Museum.
Virginia Beach has a number of activities for all ages and interests that are free to enjoy.
Among the many things to do in Virginia Beach, a must-do is spending a day at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Images from Virginia State Parks
Explore a Different Side to Virginia Beach at False Cape State Park
When you think about spending the day outdoors in Virginia Beach, your mind immediately goes to the sandy beaches along the Atlantic Ocean. Along with the beach, there are several other ways to have some fun in the great outdoors. Among the many things to do in Virginia Beach, a must-do is spending a day at False Cape State Park.
About False Cape State Park
Tucked between the Atlantic Ocean near Sandbridge Beach and the Back Bay, False Cape State Park is one of the few remaining undeveloped areas on the Atlantic Coast. The nearly 4,000-acre park offers outdoor adventurers plenty of opportunities for scenic fun and relaxation in a primitive setting extending to the North Carolina state line.
Things to Do at False Cape State Park
False Cape State Park is home to kayaking excursions, camping, hiking and biking trails, miles of beach and so much more.
False Cape State Park has a total of 15.3 miles of trails for hiking, biking and taking self-guided and guided tours.
Fishing and Boating
Freshwater and saltwater fishing are permitted at False Cape State Park with a valid Virginia fishing license. Boats and motorboats are also permitted.
False Cape State Park offers guided programs with the park’s knowledgeable staff members. Browse the online schedule for interpretive programs, guided kayak tours, outdoor education programs, along with school and group programs. There’s even more to see and do at the park’s environmental education center.
False Cape State Park offers primitive camping year-round. There are no cabins on site. The park’s four, tents-only primitive campgrounds allow up to six people per site. Those interested in camping at False Cape State Park should reserve their campsite in advance.
More Information about False Cape State Park
For more information about False Cape State Park, visit DCR.Virginia.gov
False Cape State Park is open year-round from dusk to dawn.
Getting to False Cape State Park
False Cape State Park does not allow public vehicle access. The park is accessible by foot, bicycle, beach transport, tram or boat. The park operates a tram that leaves from the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge on Sandpiper Road. This tram travels through the refuge and gives visitors a chance to see the park’s historic site.
Parasailing is an exhilarating way to get a bird’s-eye view of Virginia Beach.
There are over 150 LOVEworks across the state of Virginia, including six now in Virginia Beach.
From family friendly and casual to fine dining and romantic—you can find a local Virginia Beach restaurant for every occasion.
Indoor Skydiving at iFLY in Virginia Beach is an experience I will never forget!
I am scared of heights. Full stop. Period. But I hate the idea of limiting myself. So I have always pushed myself to move past this fear. Whether it be looking down when I’m at the top of a skyscraper or battling obstacles in the treetops at the Adventure Park at the Virginia Aquarium, I don’t want a fear of heights to determine what I can and cannot do.
That’s why my fiancé, Danny, and I decided to go to iFLY at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. Danny is a lot more adventurous than I am. He’s always up for an adventure, and has been my partner in many exciting excursions. We went on a beautiful summer day but, because iFLY is an indoor facility, this adventure would be perfect for rainy days or to get away from the scorching heat.
Indoor Skydiving? What’s That?
I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew that doing indoor skydiving involved a high powered wind tunnel, but that’s about it. At iFLY, they use a vertical wind tunnel to simulate what it feels like to skydive. Guests float, fly upwards and as they become more advanced, do amazing tricks in midair. These tunnels are used to by skydivers to train and hone their skills before actually jumping from a plane. The popularity of these wind tunnels has created a new sport called “bodyflight,” which involves performing freestyle and formation flying.
Coming Early, Prep for Flight
We were told to arrive about an hour early to do our “pre-flight training.” This entails checking in and signing a waiver. On the wall were touch-screens that allowed us to electronically read through the instructions and warnings and sign our names. The staff was incredibly friendly. They welcomed us and immediately put us at our ease.
As Danny read the warnings, he realized that there is a danger if you’ve ever dislocated a shoulder. The high powered wind puts pressure on your arms and shoulders. Even though he is very active, he suffered many dislocated shoulders when he was a teenager. Surgery fixed this for the most part, but he alerted the staff to the danger. They were caring and concerned and said to make sure to tell our flight instructor. After we signed the waiver, we were told to head upstairs to the wind tunnel, our instructor would meet us there.
We went upstairs, and there it was! The wind tunnel looked as it did in the pictures I saw online, and yet, more impressive. It was much taller than I expected, stretching at least two stories tall. There were guests in the tunnel. They were obviously beginners, just trying out their newly taught skills.
After they finished, the pros jumped in. I had no idea everything a person could do inside the tunnel. I thought it was just a bunch of floating. These wind acrobats did tons of flips and turns. Then, unexpectedly they shot to the top of the tunnel. That’s when I started to get nervous. I thought we’d be floating gently just a few feet off the ground. I had no idea it was even possible to go that high. I told myself, maybe it’s just the pros that do that.
Then our flight instructor, Jason, found us. Jason led us to the training room. Since it was both Danny and my first time, he put on a basic instructional video. When you indoor skydive, there is a basic position you are to keep your body in. You lie on your stomach as you float with your hands above your head and your legs slightly bent extended behind you. We were also taught hand motions that our instructor would use if he needed us to adjust our body position. Because of the high wind in the tunnel, he would be unable to give us verbal instructions, so the hand motions were very important.
When Jason returned, he was extremely friendly and helpful. With the help of a padded table, he demonstrated the body position, and asked us if we wanted to practice. I appreciated the fact that Jason did it first, making me feel less foolish when I jumped up to try out the moves.
Danny told Jason about his past dislocations, and he was instructed to let Jason know if he started feeling any discomfort. Jason looked at our tickets and told us that our passes were special passes which allowed him to take us to the top. At that moment, my fear of heights kicked in. But when he asked if we wanted to, I meekly said yes. Next step, the tunnel!
Suit Up and FLY!
Our flight suits fit easily over our street clothes. We were told to wear lace up shoes, but these we had to remove and put back on to get the suit on. It was obvious that safety is a high priority at iFLY. We were given ear plugs to protect us from the high intensity wind, as well as safety goggles and helmets.
After we were dressed, Jason directed us to the tunnel. It’s completely enclosed in glass and consists of two entrances. The first leads you to the bench where those waiting to fly are seated. The next is your gateway into flight, leading directly into the wind tunnel.
I was up first. As soon as I stepped in, I got into the body position and began to float. It was unlike anything that I have ever experienced, and easier than I expected. For our first flight, Danny and I would just be practicing the basics, flying in a stable body position with minimal help. We were allowed two sessions with Jason in the tunnel. And each time, both Danny and I had huge smiles on our faces. It was so much fun! The sensation of flying is something I’ve always dreamed of! Jason helped us to learn how to go higher and lower and move around.
At the end of my second session, Jason gave me a hand signal letting me know we were about to go up. He grabbed my hands and off we flew. Circling around and around we jetted to the top of the tunnel and back down again. I definitely was not thinking of my fear of heights. I couldn’t help but laugh and woot! The whole ride was exciting and fun.
Post Flight and Future iFLY Excursions
After our flight, Jason gave each of us a certificate, stating that we had completed our training and gone through the first session successfully. He told us we did great, and encouraged us to come back.
Each time you return to iFLY, you are taught new skills like back flying, flips, cartwheels, jetting up to the top and more! Danny and I agreed that we would both love to come back!
iFLY is an amazing activity here in the Virginia Beach area. Whether you are a visitor or local, be sure to check out this unforgettable experience.
Check Out My Flight & Danny’s Flight
iFLY Virginia Beach: 2412 Pacific Ave., Virginia Beach • 757-754-4359 • Website
14 Rainy Day Activities
Pouring rain doesn’t necessarily mean a poor vacation. Instead of spending your time inside pouting about the weather, do a little exploring instead. You’ll learn that Virginia Beach has much to offer—even when the sun’s not shining.
1. Explore the Aquatic Life
You may not be able to hit the beach today, but there’s still plenty of aquatic activity going on at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. Experience hands-on exhibits along with more than 800,000 gallons of aquarium and animal habitats.
Click here to read more about the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center.
2. Get Your Game On
If you’re looking for a unique game, try The Escape Room. With just 60 minutes on the clock, you and your family or a group of friends are challenged with just one goal in mind—escape the room. For some good, clean fun, why not play a game or two of bingo? Bingo Palace proves that bingo isn’t just grandma’s game. Each session consists of about 45 games, giving you plenty of opportunities to shout “bingo!” and win some prizes. New to the Oceanfront is Beachside Social, a fabulous place to play shuffleboard and bocce ball. This 10,000-square-foot ocean-line inspired space has several courts to play. When you aren’t playing, head to the bar for a delectable cocktail or craft beer, or grab a bite at the concession window.
3. Shop ‘Til You Drop
While there are several malls in the Virginia Beach area, be sure to browse one-of-a-kind goods created by local artists. 17th Street Marketplace is an art and consignment shop offering a wide variety of home furnishings and gift items. You’ll always find new and exciting pieces, including furniture, metal steel work, soaps, pallet creations, beach-themed décor and more.
4. Find a Treasure From the Past
Antiquing is more than just your average shopping. It’s a magnificent hobby of finding treasures from the past and giving them new life again. At the Virginia Beach Antique Mall, you’ll explore 12,500 square feet of antiques and collectibles in the heart of Virginia Beach. You never know what you’ll find, so browse slow, and take a second lap to be sure you didn’t miss anything.
5. Catch a Flick
Whether it’s an old classic or documentary, take a seat in the renovated six-story National Geographic 3D Theater at the Virginia Aquarium. This theater showcases nature and other films that will educate and entertain. Get transported into the film as you watch in 3D on the massive screen.
6. Knock Some Pins Down
Bring the whole family to Pinboy’s at the Beach for a round of bowling. They offer party packs and discounts, a tasty line of snacks and beverages, and Pinboy’s After Dark from 11 p.m.–1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Click here for a Pinboys at the Beach coupon.
7. Get Inspired
Art has a way of bringing out the best of our imaginations and creativity, both when making art and viewing it. Visit the Virginia MOCA to see their current exhibits, featuring art that both inspires and challenges. They also host wonderful family activities and exciting events throughout the year. Peruse amazing local artwork at the Artists Gallery. This artist run gallery hosts special exhibits, workshops, demonstrations and special events you won’t want to miss.
8. Make Some Furry Friends
Grab a cup of coffee or tea, then spend some time with feline friends. Catnip Cat Café is Coastal Virginia’s first cat café and offers the perfect place for cat lovers to relax with these fabulous felines while enjoying a complimentary beverage. If you find a cat that you can’t live without, adopt it! All the cats are from local shelters and available for adoption.
9. Play Dress-up
Have you ever wondered what you’d look like as a cowboy or saloon girl, a Civil war general or Southern belle, a hillbilly, pirate, French maid, flapper or gangster? You can stop wondering and start indulging in a fun experience at Memory Lane Old Time Photos. They’ll provide the authentic costumes and historic props from different eras; all you have to do is loosen up and strike your best pose. At the end, you’ll have some marvelous photos to take home to remember this memorable activity.
Click here for a Memory Lane Old Time Photos coupon.
10. Show Off Your Creativity
If you have explored Norfolk already, chances are you’ve admired the “Mermaids of Paradise” located all around the city. The Mermaid Factory is a creative studio that not only is the “official” supplier of the Norfolk mermaids, but also offers walk-in painting sessions so you can make your own mermaid creation. Both studios, in Norfolk and at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, also specialize in mermaid, nautical and unique gift items.
Click here for a Mermaid Factory coupon.
11. Relieve Some Stress
If you are looking for a day to treat yourself, spend an afternoon at Balance Therapeutic Massage for a truly relaxing and soothing experience! Nationally and state certified therapists shape each session based on your personal needs while incorporating their own specialties and styles. Balance Therapeutic Massage offers Young Living Aromatherapy Raindrop Technique, Castor Oil Packs popularized by Edgar Cayce, Hot Stone massages, both individual and couple’s massages and much more!
Click here for a Balance Therapeutic Massage coupon.
12. Explore Outside the City
Trendy restaurants, unique shopping and world-class attractions are just some of the reasons to visit Newport News. Go antiquing, take in some art and explore through historic neighborhoods in Portsmouth. Norfolk is a city on the move, and with the Waterside District, come for an exciting mix of dining, entertainment and live music. Browse through boutiques and dine at award-winning restaurants in Suffolk. History comes to life just a quick day trip away at the Jamestown Settlement, American Revolution Museum at Yorktown and Historic Yorktown, where there are plenty of hands-on history experiences and attractions to explore. Discover the many parks and restaurants, then stay a night while in nearby Hampton. No matter where you choose, you are bound to learn a lot and have a great time!
13. Visit a One-of-a-kind Museum
There are plenty of famous museums throughout Virginia Beach and the surrounding areas. At the Boardwalk on 24th Street stands the Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum. This museum is a converted, historic coast guard station and serves as a testament to the maritime history which defines Virginia Beach. Participate in hands-on activities, touch tanks and watch a 3D movie at the maritime-themed Nauticus Museum in downtown Norfolk. Connect to nature at the Virginia Living Museum or uncover history of the open sea at the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News. View a collection of more than 9,000 works of contemporary art at the Hampton University Museum. Step into a life-sized bubble and explore the antique train exhibit and more at Children’s Museum of Virginia, the largest children’s museum in Virginia.
14. Get Some Air Time
If your kids are bouncing off the walls because of the rain, why not take them to a place where that’s normal? Jump Trampoline Park features over 50 world-class trampolines where both kids and adults can jump and soar through the air, having the time of their lives. Another high-flying, unforgettable experience is iFLY Virginia Beach. Located right at the Oceanfront, this high powered, vertical wind tunnel gives you the experience of skydiving without having to jump out of a plane.