Watching the ocean

David watching the ocean from our hotel room balcony above the Virginia Beach boardwalk.

A dolphin jumped across the horizon in a smooth arc–then another, and another. From our Virginia Beach hotel, the Comfort Inn & Suites Oceanfront, we had a panoramic view of this amazing blue playground and dozens of dolphins.

When we booked a fall foliage tour, we didn’t think we’d get to see any dolphins, as dolphin watching tours end by mid-October when they head a little further south for the winter.

And mid-October is typically a little too early for whale watching in Virginia Beach.

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However, our hotel on the waterfront gave us the vantage point we needed to get one of the greatest dolphin shows ever!

Virginia Beach, is, of course, one of the most popular summer destinations on the East Coast. However, if you prefer walking on the beach to baking on the beach under a hot summer sun, we discovered that Virginia Beach is the perfect fall holiday.

Our Top 3 Things to Do in Virginia Beach in the Fall

 

1. Visit the Military Aviation Museum

Our first stop in Virginia Beach turned out to be one of our favorites, the Military Aviation Museum. Here are our top reasons why

World War I era plane.

World War I era plane at the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach.

  • The guides are retired military personnel, so they can answer any and all questions, plus give you insider information you didn’t even know you should ask about. In addition to guides throughout the museum, free tours to closed parts of the museum are scheduled on the hour.
  • The museum is one of the world’s largest private collections of airplanes from World War I and World War II–including a whole German hangar moved piece by piece from Germany to Virginia Beach.
  • My favorite artifacts: The planes flown by an elite, all-women regiment of Russian bombers that had been converted from crop dusters. Known as the Night Witches, these women surprised their German enemies by shutting down their engines in the final stages of their bombing runs.
  • Daily admissions start at $12 for adults (Seniors $10)

 

2. Walk the Virginia Beach Boardwalk

The Virginia Beach Boardwalk didn’t turn out to be quite what I expected, which was a typical plank walkway that ran for a short ways along the ocean. It was ever so much more!

Statue on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk.

Sea shell statue on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk.

There’s lots to love about the free Walkway, but these were our favorites.

 

  • Instead of plank, the Boardwalk is packed golden beach sand that follows the coastline for three miles–and at 28 feet wide, there’s lots of rooms for joggers, walkers, baby strollers, and well, everyone interested in enjoying the sea air. And in October, there’s lots of room no matter what time of day you’re walking the Boardwalk.
  • The walk along the Boardwalk takes you past small statues  right to Neptune’s Park–where you’ll find a 34-foot cast bronze statue of who else but Neptune, God of the Sea. You can even join in the Neptune Festival, the last week of September, for some great fall entertainment. We were lucky to spend the weekend of the Virginia Beach Craft Beer Festival on the Boardwalk, which takes place in mid-October.
  • When walking the Boardwalk works up a thirst, there are many places to stop to quench your thirst and have something to eat. We can highly recommend Catch31, with its great seafood (and other options) on the menu. Whether you’re dressed casually, or ready for fine dining, you’ll feel comfortable in one of their seating areas. Along with a nice cold drink, I enjoyed  the Creamy Clam Chowder, one of their signature soup dishes.

 

3. Discover the Undersea World of the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center

Aquariums always interest me–whether I’m discovering local exhibits or exotic ones. The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center had lots of both!

Virginia Beach Science Center Boardwalk.

Virginia Beach Science Center Boardwalk with a hint of fall foliage colors.

What we most enjoyed:

  • David had been looking for sharks all down the East Coast, and we finally found some in the Sand Tiger Shark display. These sharks grow up to 10 feet long and weigh up to 250 pounds, so they’re not the largest around, but were certainly interesting to watch.
  • My favorite spot was the Malaysian Peat Swamp, since it brought back lots of memories from a three week visit I’d made to Malaysia a number of years ago. And if you’re wondering why this type of display would be in a Virginia science center, it’s because during the Carboniferous period, which Virginia’s coal deposits grew out of, Virginia looked very similar.
  • The Nature Trail hike provides a great way to relax and enjoy the outdoors on a fall day–we sure did!
  • Adult tickets start at $22 (Seniors $15)

So, we hope you enjoy your fall visit to Virginia Beach too! This YouTube video, while long, is full of beautiful images of Virginia Beach in the fall.

 


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And if you’d like more tips on visiting, check out this Virginia Beach website!

Acknowledgements

Our thanks to the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau for hosting our visit to Virginia Beach.

 

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