People sitting at Prosperity Kitchen and Pantry

Try the delectable small-batch baked goods from Prosperity Kitchen and Pantry. (Photo: Marriott International)

Weekend Getaways

Kick Back for 3 Days in Virginia Beach, Virginia

Virginia Beach is an idyllic destination for those looking for some rest and to rejuvenate among beaches, creative spaces and the great outdoors. While there are plenty of ocean views to relax in front of — it’s what the city is known for, after all — there are also fantastic restaurants, lively bars and plenty of art, which gives this seaside city an appealing range of paces (great for travel groups spanning multiple generations).

No matter what your speed may be, there’s plenty to fill a long weekend.

As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.

Friday: Get Outdoors

People sitting at pier at First Landing State Park
First Landing State Park is stunning any time of year. (Photo: Marriott International)

After settling in from your travels, make your way to First Landing State Park, a coastal wilderness park consisting of more than 20 miles of walking trails bordered by massive coastal forests, salt marshes and cypress swamps — along with a few bike-friendly routes for those looking to explore the area on two wheels.

Best of all, the park is pet-friendly, meaning you can bring your four-legged pals along for the adventure (just make sure to keep them on a leash at all times).

Next, head to the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge for a little more one-on-one time with Mother Nature. The wildlife refuge, located at the southern end of Virginia Beach, is home to some stunning and varied terrain, including huge dunes, freshwater marshes, forests and beaches that stretch as far as you can see.

All this space provides an ideal habitat for local wildlife, including migrating waterfowl and endangered species like the piping plover and the peregrine falcon.

Guests are invited to hike or bike along its vast network of scenic trails and can even take part in educational programs offered throughout the day, making it easy to lean in and learn more about this wonderful place and the creatures calling it home.

Want to keep going? It’s easy. Just pop over to the False Cape State Park, which shares a border with the refuge and contains its own 6 miles of beachfront space for you to explore.

Head to the Oceanfront neighborhood for a waterfront dinner, drinks and live music. Start at the open-air Tulu Seaside Bar & Grille, which is located at the end of the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. (There’s also a late-night menu if you find yourself in need of something snacky later on.)

For fried oysters and live music, check out Ocean House. For a boisterous scene, step into Peabody’s, a club with ocean views. If a quieter atmosphere is more appealing, head to Beachside Social, a shuffleboard club with great drinks.

Saturday: Relax at the Beach

Now’s the time to fully indulge in a little rest and relaxation along the shores of Virginia Beach. The town itself has more than 3 miles of coastline, making it possible to find a patch of sand all to yourself. (Sandbridge Beach, Chic’s Beach and North End Beach are all great places to start.)

This is especially true if you travel to Virginia Beach in the off-season, between October and May. (The weather will be much cooler during this time, but who doesn’t love the feel of a fresh ocean breeze on their face as they sit on the sand in a cozy sweater?) If you sit and look at the water for long enough, you may even spot a dolphin or two swimming by.

Person walking on Virginia Beach boardwalk
Take a stroll down the Virginia Beach boardwalk. (Photo: Marriott International)

Once you’ve had your fill of solitude, get up and walk down to Virginia Beach’s famed boardwalk, which consists of a 3-mile pathway along the sand made for walking, biking or activities like skating. Take your time, because dinner is served (after a bit of shopping) at spots like Chix on the Beach and Catch 31.

Sunday: Explore the Most Creative Places

Virginia Beach is a breathtaking place that will no doubt inspire you. With this in mind, it’s not a surprise it’s home to a thriving arts community that pulls inspiration from this magnificent place, too. Get to the heart of it all with a visit to the ViBe Creative District, the city’s epicenter for arts and culture.

You’ll know when you’ve found the right place when you spot the massive murals lining the walls of shops and businesses, including the 300-foot wall off 18th Street covered in more than 50 unique pieces from local artists. Pause for a few minutes in front of the Steve Swartz diver mural at Anchor Realty and the colorblocked MOCA-Maser mural.

Coffee and croissants from Prosperity Kitchen and Pantry.
Cozy up with coffee and freshly baked pastries from Prosperity Kitchen and Pantry. (Photo: Marriott International)

There are plenty of places to stop and shop for souvenirs like the North End Bag Company, which makes leather and canvas bags and accessories right there in the shop for you to see. There’s also Igor’s Custom, an art shop showcasing everything from hand-painted home goods to unusual decor, all worthy of your dollars.

If you need a little pick-me-up while shopping, there are plenty of places to fill that need, including Prosperity Kitchen & Pantry for excellent coffee, cookies and muffins. For a heartier spread, head to Commune, a restaurant specializing in seasonal, local fare. There’s truly nothing better than ending a long weekend getaway with a fantastic meal.