Virginia Beach Boardwalk: Your Ultimate Beachfront Guide
Nestled along the Atlantic Ocean, the Virginia Beach Boardwalk is a coastal escape with its blend of natural beauty and lively entertainment. Stretching three miles from 2nd to 40th Street, this oceanfront promenade offers you a chance to experience the serene views of the Atlantic Ocean while indulging in the vibrant culture of Virginia Beach. Whether you're seeking a nice walk, a bite at a beachfront eatery, or the joy of live music wafting through the salty air, the boardwalk awaits your exploration.
As a cornerstone of Virginia Beach, the boardwalk provides a separate bike path that invites you to cycle or rollerblade with an ocean view. Along this scenic route, nautical sculptures emerge as landmarks amidst the numerous attractions, from putt-putt golf to fishing piers. The carefully maintained boardwalk ensures that whether you're here for a beach day or an evening meander under the stars, your experience will be both comfortable and memorable.
At the heart of Virginia Beach's allure, the boardwalk is not merely a pathway by the ocean; it's a dynamic avenue lined with opportunities for entertainment, shopping, and relaxation. You'll find the famed King Neptune statue, a cultural icon, presiding over the festivities, encapsulating the city's spirit. Imagine yourself here, where the sand meets the surge of urban life, and every step unfolds a new chapter of your oceanside getaway.
History and Development
The Virginia Beach Boardwalk has undergone significant transformations from its early wooden structure to the renowned concrete promenade you see today, marked by historical events that have shaped its existence.
The Early Years: 1926 and 1937
Your exploration of the Virginia Beach Boardwalk as we know it today starts in 1926. This year signifies the pivotal moment when the Virginia Beach Walkway Corporation embarked on a $250,000 bond campaign. Their vision was to construct a seawall and a boardwalk made of concrete, which would become a central part of Virginia Beach's allure. By 1937, the boardwalk had already become a defining feature of the area's development.
Key Historical Events and Changes
Considering the boardwalk's evolution, it's crucial to note the key historical events over time. Initially, the boardwalk boasted wooden planks in 1888, stretching along the oceanfront, melding with the prestigious Princess Anne Hotel. This structure laid the groundwork for a resort area that would become synonymous with Virginia Beach.
Boardwalk Fire and Renovation
Your journey through the boardwalk’s history would not be complete without acknowledging the fire in 1907 that led to the destruction of the original wooden boardwalk. It was a transformative event that prompted a major renovation. Consequently, Virginia Beach revitalized its vision for the boardwalk, transitioning from wood to a more durable concrete foundation, ensuring its resilience and continuity as a beloved landmark.
The Virginia Beach Boardwalk has iconic attractions and landmarks that combine cultural history and seaside charm. As you stroll along, you'll encounter captivating sights ranging from the majestic King Neptune Statue to the bustling Virginia Beach Fishing Pier, complemented by various monuments and sculptures.
King Neptune Statue
At 31st Street, you can marvel at the towering King Neptune Statue, a bronze colossus that stands as a tribute to the sea and serves as a guardian over the boardwalk. Each September, the Neptune Festival celebrates the city's nautical heritage, and this statue is the focal point of the festivities.
Virginia Beach Fishing Pier
If you're keen on angling or enjoy scenic ocean views, the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier is a must-visit. It stretches into the Atlantic, offering fishing opportunities or a simple way to relish the vast ocean horizon.
Monuments and Sculptures
Make sure to explore the Virginia Legends Walk at 13th Street, which honors Virginians who made significant contributions to the nation and the world. Additionally, the boardwalk's Monuments and Sculptures, including those recognized by National Geographic, enhance its appeal.
Events and Entertainment
When you visit Virginia Beach Boardwalk, prepare to immerse yourself in a variety of live entertainment and events that span the entire year. Whether it's musical performances on oceanfront stages or high-energy sports competitions, there's something to pique your interest during every season.
Oceanfront Stages and Concerts
The boardwalk boasts four oceanfront stages located at 7th, 17th, 24th, and 31st Streets, offering nightly entertainment during the summer months. Live concerts abound, featuring genres from rock to jazz, ensuring your evenings are filled with melody and ambiance. To experience some of the live musical acts, make sure to check schedules and acts during your stay.
Festivals and Seasonal Events
Throughout the year, the Virginia Beach Boardwalk serves as the backdrop for various festivals. Notable events like the vibrant Mardi Gras celebrations bring a taste of New Orleans, while the East Coast Surfing Championships showcase top talent in a beloved surf competition. Each event enriches your visit with unique and festive experiences.
For sports enthusiasts, Virginia Beach hosts exciting sporting events. The famous East Coast Surfing Championships, heralded as one of the longest-running surfing competitions on the East Coast, and the North American Sand Soccer Championships not only offer thrilling competitions to watch but also bring a festive atmosphere that enlivens the entire boardwalk. Whether you’re a participant or a spectator, you’ll find the energy and passion of these events captivating.
Virginia Beach Boardwalk offers many dining options that cater to every palate. Prepare to indulge in fresh local seafood, enjoy many flavors, and experience farm-to-table freshness with views of the Atlantic as your backdrop.
Variety of Restaurants
The Boardwalk is lined with an eclectic mix of restaurants, ensuring you'll find something to satisfy your cravings. From casual eateries where you can grab a quick bite with oceanfront views to more upscale dining establishments, there's a spot for every occasion. Popular destinations include Catch 31, famous for its vibrant atmosphere and delicious food, and Lager Heads, offering an extensive selection of beers and hearty pub fare.
Local Seafood Specialties
When dining at the Boardwalk, the star of the show is undoubtedly the seafood. With a prime location along the oceanfront, restaurants like Waterman’s Surfside Grille boast a menu featuring the freshest catch. Be sure to try the local favorite, the Orange Crush cocktail, alongside a dish of expertly prepared seafood that showcases the flavors of the ocean.
Experience the best of local produce with farm-to-table dining options along the Boardwalk. These establishments pride themselves on using ingredients sourced directly from the region's farms, ensuring your meal is as fresh as possible. For a truly authentic farm-to-table experience, explore menus that change with the seasons, offering you a taste of Virginia's finest in every bite.
Recreation and Outdoor Activities
Virginia Beach Boardwalk offers various outdoor activities designed to take full advantage of the ocean views and tourist-friendly amenities. Whether you're into leisurely strolls, active sports, or family-focused fun, you'll discover many options to enrich your beach vacation.
Biking and Walking Paths
For those who enjoy cycling or walking, the Boardwalk presents a 28-foot wide path stretching for three miles, ensuring room for both pedestrians and cyclists. This dedicated bike path not only grants you clear passage away from the foot traffic but also offers the convenience of surrey rentals for group rides along the picturesque Atlantic Avenue.
Beach and Water Sports
The variety of water sports enhances your beach experience in Virginia Beach. Indulge in surfing, paddleboarding, or swimming in the Atlantic Ocean's welcoming waves. You’ll notice shops dotting the Boardwalk that offer gear rentals and lessons if you're eager to dive into a new aquatic adventure.
Parks and Family Activities
For a delightful day with your loved ones, explore Neptune Park located next to the Hilton Hotel. The park plays host to entertaining outdoor art showcases and various family-oriented festivals. A prominent attraction for families is the Ferris Wheel, providing breathtaking panoramic views. Beyond the sand, spend quality time at the nearby street stages where live music floats through the sea breeze.
The Virginia Beach Boardwalk presents an eclectic mix of shopping experiences, ranging from quaint boutiques to essential beachwear vendors. You'll find everything from high fashion to unique souvenirs that make your visit memorable.
Beachwear and Souvenirs
No trip to the boardwalk is complete without the right beachwear. You'll find multiple vendors offering everything from swimsuits to flip-flops. For beach essentials and souvenirs that capture the spirit of Virginia Beach, make sure to stop by a Sunsations store, known for their vast selection of beach gear and accessories.
Fashion and Accessories
If you want to update your wardrobe, Virginia Beach's shopping scene won't disappoint. Whether you're after casual wear or designer outfits, the array of shops along the boardwalk, including notable brand outlets and chic fashion stores, ensures a variety of styles to suit your taste.
Before you visit Virginia Beach Boardwalk, it's important to understand the safety protocols and rules that ensure a pleasant experience for all. Alongside, knowing what amenities are available and how to navigate parking and transportation makes your visit stress-free.
Boardwalk Safety and Regulations
Your safety is a priority at Virginia Beach Boardwalk. The boardwalk, spanning 28-feet wide, allows for ample space for walking, rollerblading, and bicycling. For your safety, be aware of the designated bicycle lanes to avoid collisions. Rollerblading is permitted, but it's essential to maintain a cautious speed. If you're bringing a stroller, keep it close to prevent it from obstructing the path of others. Attentiveness is key, as the boardwalk is always bustling with activity.
- Ban on Motorized Vehicles: Motorized vehicles are not allowed, preserving the boardwalk's peaceful atmosphere.
- Seawall Rules: While the seawall provides breathtaking ocean views, sitting on or jumping over it is prohibited.
Accessibility and Amenities
Virginia Beach Boardwalk boasts excellent accessibility options for all visitors. You'll find multiple handicap ramps throughout, ensuring the boardwalk is welcoming to everyone. Convenient restrooms and water fountains are spread across the length of the boardwalk.
- Amenities include:
- Public Restrooms
- Water Fountains
- Outdoor Showers
For visitors using wheelchairs or pushing strollers, getting onto the sand is made easier with the help of the Rudee Inlet Connector Walk.
Transportation and Parking
Arriving at Virginia Beach Boardwalk is straightforward, with several parking options located nearby. Paid parking lots and street parking are both available, and the rates will vary by season and location.
- Parking Tips:
- Arrive early to secure a spot during peak times.
- Consider using the parking lots near Rudee Inlet for convenience.
Public transportation and bike rentals offer alternative ways to reach the boardwalk, helping reduce the demand for parking spaces. Remember, if you decide to cycle, keep within the designated bike path for everyone's safety.
YOUR LOCAL REALTOR
DJ Parker is your local Realtor and guide to Hampton Roads, Virginia. As a native of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, Virginia for over 30 years, he has the local knowledge you need. He has helped clients with Real Estate throughout Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Suffolk and all of Hampton Roads Virginia.