A Virginia Beach Vacation: More Than Ocean

Virginia Beach has a number of exciting places to visit besides just the ocean and bayside. One of the best parts about taking your vacation in Virginia Beach is that you can visit so many interesting places.

The first place you should stop if you are remotely interested in religion or philosophy is ARE. Edward Cayce, a mystic, founded this center, and it exists today as one of the leading places to find information on seminars and religious enlightenment. People who visit ARE can find seminars and interactive exhibits that will guide them through the beginnings of spiritual journeys.

The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center is another possible location for people who are visiting the area. This aquarium is really neat because it has 800,000 gallons of water! This water has fish and other marine life of all types. It also has a huge aviary, or bird sanctuary, where you can watch birds flying around overhead. The Marine Science Center has a number of interactive exhibits as well so that you can get a feel for various parts of marine life.

One of the neatest things in the area near Virginia Beach is the Virginia Air and Space Center. It is located in Hampton, which is not far from Virginia Beach, and it has the command module for Apollo 12 as well as other artifacts from the American space race. The artifacts are housed there because it was one of the original places for training astronauts and studying space. The city school system in Virginia Beach also has its own planetarium, and there are public presentations available many nights throughout the summer.

The Atlantic Avenue area of Virginia Beach is home to a number of restaurants and shops that will be perfect for your trip. In addition, you can find all of the typical vacation activities located there. You can bowl, play miniature golf, visit an arcade, or go to the movies. These activities are mundane, but they are often needed on a fast-paced vacation. You will find that after spending a few days on the ocean, everyone needs to relax, and these games are just the thing that will help you rejuvenate for the rest of your trip.

If you are into water sports, then Virginia Beach is the place to be. There are scores of local outfits offering jet ski rentals for ocean riding as well as skiing over the bay. You also can take a kayaking tour of the area. This tour is something that the family can do together. The tours last only a couple of hours, so you are not committing yourself to being out on the open water all day. You will be able to see the water up close on these beginner-friendly kayaks. Some of the companies even specialize in getting you up close and personal with the bottlenose dolphins that are often seen near the banks in Virginia Beach.

There are two areas, the 17th Street Stage and the 24th Street Park, that offer a wide variety of entertainment. These areas are a bit low-key, but they are definitely local hot spots. They have little walk-offs where you can hear concerts or see thespians performing. You also will be able to just walk along and have an ice cream cone from one of the local vendors along these walkways.

If you visit at the right time of the year, you can find ethnic festivals going on. Diversity is important in the Virginia Beach area as there are people representing a variety of nationalities. They show their cultural roots throughout the summer months with weekend festivals and periodic concerts and celebrations. To find out about these festivals, contact the Virginia Beach Chamber of Commerce to see when they will be held.

Virginia Beach provides so much entertainment that you find fun for the whole family. Be sure that you look at the schedule ahead of time to see what will be there when you are. You may just find that you have such a blast that you will return again and again. My family has vacationed in Virginia Beach twice, and we are looking forward to our next trip. I know you will feel the same.

By Julia Mercer

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