If you’re heading to Virginia Beach, you’re going to be checking out Oceanfront. Virginia Beach Oceanfront is where all the action is at – it’s the Virginia Beach hub for hotels, restaurants, and entertainment.
Virginia Beach Oceanfront refers to the three-mile-long boardwalk area in South East Virginia Beach on the Atlantic Coast. It includes the boardwalk itself, as well as Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Avenue.
It’s where all holiday makers and locals gather for walks on the boardwalk, food, entertainment, and, of course, to spend a day at the beach. With Virginia Beach being a resort city, the Oceanfront is the main tourist attraction.
Here’s your guide, created in partnership with Hotels.com, to experiencing the best of the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.
Check out our post on the best sunglasses for the beach.
Getting around Virginia Beach Oceanfront
The best way to explore the Oceanfront area is on foot. The long boardwalk and shopping streets are all pedestrian friendly and perfect for walking.
If you don’t feel like walking though, you can hop onto the VB Wave & Bayfront Shuttle.
There are three routes:
- Route 30: Atlantic Avenue – Going from one end of Atlantic Avenue to the other.
- Route 31 Trolley: Aquarium and Campground – Ride the VB Wave south to campgrounds and tennis courts, fun parks, and to the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center. Catch the Atlantic Avenue shuttle for points north.
- Route 35: Bayfront Shuttle – seasonal service between Atlantic Avenue / 3rd Street and Shore Drive / Pleasure House Road in Virginia Beach. Route 35 will service the Oceanfront, First Landing State Park, North End beaches, Chesapeake Bay beaches and Bayfront restaurants on Shore Drive.
You can buy your tickets for the VB Wave on the GoHRT app.
Virginia Beach Oceanfront attractions
Here’s the main not-to-miss Oceanfront attractions.
Atlantic Avenue is a hub of entertainment at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront District. From live music and street performers to outdoor cafes and food vendors.
It’s also the spot to get your shopping done, with everything from charming local boutique clothing stores to souvenir shops. It’s a shopper’s paradise! Some of the shops to look out for include Bargain Beachwear and True Woman.
Atlantic Avenue is also home to the Live! On Atlantic Free Summer Concert Series, where performers put on free shows throughout the season. Note that this event was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, they have not yet announced dates for 2021.
Rudee Inlet marina
Rudee Inlet is located at the south end of Oceanfront and is the place to go for all water activities. Some of these include fishing charters, jet skiing, parasailing and even waterside dining!
The marina caters for yachts up to 100 feet with deepwater fixed and floating piers protected by Rudee Inlet. You’ll find many fishing boats here, so look out for the fisherman to see their catch of the day.
Rudee’s Inlet Station Marina is a five-minute walk to the boardwalk, it’s close to the public golf courses, tennis courts, shopping, and the Virginia Aquarium. It’s an outdoor activity paradise!
Virginia Beach Boardwalk
Virginia Beach Boardwalk was voted among the best boardwalks in America by CNN. It’s a 28-feet wide boardwalk that stretches for three miles! It’s great for going for long walks or runs or also for biking and rollerblading as there is a separate bike path. If you don’t have your own bicycle, there are many vendors, and even some of the restaurants, that offer bike rentals.
During the summer months, four stages are set up on the boardwalk at 7th, 17th, and 24th and 31st Streets, providing live musical acts and entertainment.
Atlantic Fun Park
The Atlantic Fun Park is located right on the boardwalk at 15th street and includes a bunch of family rides and food stalls. It’s a seasonal amusement park, only open during the summer months. It wasn’t open in 2020 but keep an eye out for when they’ll next be open.
The park usually includes about 16 different rides, including go-karting and a variety of family-friendly rides.
The King Neptune Statue
The King Neptune Statue is the most famous statue on the boardwalk. Standing over 30 feet tall, holding a gigantic loggerhead turtle with two dolphins behind him and an octopus to the left of him. Located on the Virginia Beach boardwalk, overlooking Neptune’s Park on 31st Street – you definitely won’t miss him!
The Norwegian Lady
The Norwegian Lady is another statue on the boardwalk, located at 25th Street and the Boardwalk. Looking over the ocean, the statue is a tribute to all those who have died at sea.
Virginia Beach Oceanfront restaurants
You’ll find a good variety of restaurants near the Oceanfront, including a mix of the usual fast-food restaurants and also more traditional restaurants. Some of the more traditional restaurants serve up seafood and grills, or Italian-style meals.
A few of the seafood restaurants near Rudee Inlet include Big Sam’s Raw Bar, Rockafeller’s, or Rudee’s on the Inlet. Other long-standing seafood restaurants include Tautog’s and Waterman’s Surfside Grille. Doc Taylor’s is another old favorite, offering great breakfasts and diner-style grub.
Other great restaurants with an oceanfront view include Tulu Seaside Bar & Grille, Chix Seaside Grille & Bar and Ocean House.
If you’re not looking for a full meal, you can also grab a hot dog from the street stands or pop into one of the many ice-cream parlors for an ice-cream cone. Or, head into the famous Dairy Queen on the Boardwalk for their popular Banana Splits.
There are also a few great bakeries and delis. May’s Parlor sells a delicious mix of sweet and savoury treats, including locally sourced dairy, meats and cheeses. Make sure to try their delicious Macarons in interesting flavors like “Back Bay Brewing Co. Strawberry & Basil Beer”.
Virginia Beach Oceanfront hotels
There are plenty of accommodation options along the Oceanfront, with a wide range of Virginia Beach hotels and motels. Choose to stay in one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Virginia Beach.
A few options include:
Luxury: Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront
Located just off the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, this hotel is just a short walk to the beach. It features a rooftop infinity pool, two restaurants and a rooftop bar. Rooms are comfortable with all of the amenities that you’ll need. Some feature a balcony overlooking the beach.
Family-friendly: Boardwalk by Diamond Resorts
Ideally located in the heart of all the action, in the center of Virginia Beach’s famous boardwalk. It’s a great option for families with the option of studio rooms as well as one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom suites. The larger rooms have full kitchens and private balconies. The resort also features an ocean view fitness center, on-site restaurant, indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub.
Budget-friendly: Country Inn & Suites by Radisson
While budget-friendly Country Inn & Suites by Radisson features all of the comforts that you’d want. Rooms are comfortable with the usual amenities (some have oceanfront views) and all rates include a complimentary hot breakfast. It’s located right on the beach, and just a few steps away from the Virginia Beach boardwalk.
Ready for summer at Virginia Beach Oceanfront?
Virginia Beach Oceanfront is an ideal summer vacation. It ticks all the right boxes of a seaside vacation: beautiful beach, great restaurants, long boardwalk for evening strolls, shops, and summer entertainment. Plus, the wide array of Virginia Beach Oceanfront hotels means that you can stay in the middle of the action!
If you love the outdoors, then check out our post on the Virginia birding & wildlife trail or check out the other beaches in Virginia.