This post shares a list of fun thing to do in the Virginia Beach area, along with our seaside picnic Tailgating at the Beach.
JUMP TO DO LIST
Recently we took a trip to Virginia Beach which is just outside of my husband’s hometown of Chesapeake Virginia. We decided one evening while we were there to drive down to a more picturesque beach area known mostly by the locals, away from the quintessential Virginia Beach boardwalk area. Sandbridge Beach is more of a private residential beach area, with a few public access points, perfect for tailgating at the beach. It also has some beautiful areas to build custom beach homes perfect for vacation getaways as well which we decided to price out as well, just to keep our options open for the future.
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There are no hotels, no shops, and no crowds in the area which make this area so spectacular. You can still find pretty shells and enjoy the beach vibes of years past with minimum light bleed from surrounding homes as the sun sets. This was the perfect place to have our tailgating at the beach picnic. It really reminded me of what the beach was like when I was a kid. Also a fantastic place to build as well the sweet little beach cottages under construction a beautiful nestled in on the coast!
What did we pack for the picnic? Here are a few of the great items I gathered up to make this day complete. I found this amazing beach or picnic blanket at World Market, and I just loved the bright colors and the 6′ round size. It was called the Medallion Cotton Festival Blanket which I can totally see being used with all the festivals like Coachella, Burning Man, Bonnaroo and Outside Lands. It would also be a great tablecloth or cape, random I know but if the shoe fits you might as well wear it, right?
The plastic plates and cups were items that I purchased to add to my vintage picnic basket to make my own set. The little plates were a fun WayDay deal I scooped up at the beginning of the season Marisol 9″ Melamine Dessert Plate Aqua. The cups are Vivian Diamond Cut 14 oz. Acrylic Drinking Glass which are way too amazing to be plastic in my opinion. The plastic bowls I lucked up on a my local Home Goods as a one off that just happened to match, so lucky me.The cutting boards were an item I picked up to keep in the picnic basket as well. So I made sure that they would fit inside easily prior to purchase. The Brite Concepts Mini Bamboo Cutting Board, is only 6 by 9 inches, and fits perfectly; it also comes in a 2 pack as well. Small Bamboo Cutting Board and Serving Tray with Juice Groove is an easy to store 8 x 6 inches size and made using Premium Bamboo too.At the Beach drinks are always important, so we made sure to have lots of options and ice. Which we may have “borrowed” that ice bucket from our hotel, along with the ice, which is actually a great tip when traveling. I say use what you have at your disposal, LOL! I also packed a few paper straws in our matching color theme and wet napkins available from my amazon store. Flavored waters have become a big part of our lives since we have been on our “lifestyle change” and no longer drink sodas. I tend to like the bubbly, fizzy kind with natural flavors, but I am also fond with just a simple spring water too and fresh fruit to garnish. In fact if you look at this whole picnic it is mostly Mediterranean based as far as the foods go, minus the S’mores for dessert, but that is a local treat. So as you can see, we decided to pack everything up and move it to the beach where we watch the surf and sunset, even though we are on the Atlantic Ocean. Plus we could watch the full moon rise which is something pretty cool to do over the ocean. Tonight’s moon is actually a full moon and is known as the Flower Moon or Blue Moon.It was a beautiful day to be on the beach, cool and breezy and not even the least bit crowded since it is still considered the off season, because it is still before Memorial Day. As I had mentioned before this is more of a residential beach, so it was perfect for looking for seashells and taking beautiful pictures. In fact we saw I wedding and an engagement photo shoot while we had our picnic.
The water here was very clear but still really cold and this sand was a little bit more natural verses the the sand in Virginia Beach that is trucked in on a weekly basis. While it makes the Virginia Beaches really nice, and pristine you will be hard pressed to treasure hunt or find any kind of seashells along that part of the beach.
We found the perfect little spot to set up our beach blankets and our little picnic to watch the sunset. We tossed our shoes in the sand and started unpacking our feast. I have to say I was so excited to try my first shopping experience at Wegman’s. I can not wait for them to grow down to Georgia!I do want to talk a little about a few of the great items that we picked up on our shopping trip. Since we love to eat light and usually eat small plates of tapas these days for dinner. Hummus tends to be a great go to spread with pita chips or these fresh baked baguette rounds from the bakery which can double as a cracker if you wish. Wegman’s offered a variety of hummus we had never tried before, so I branched out to try a cilantro jalapeno style which was amazing. Now if you are among the 14% of the population that is genetically wired to read cilantro as tasting like soap, first of all I am so sorry, second I would recommend the balsamic fig, it sounded good too. Ron just loves cilantro so that is where we landed this time.Also, I highly recommend the Blood Orange Frizzante Soda Waters they are amazing, very light and perfect for the beach. If you are not familiar with European sodas they contain a lot less sugar. I personally like to add a touch of this to Pellegrino to add a nice sweet flavor to the mix. They would also make an amazing float just add in some vanilla ice cream, what a treat!I also snagged a few rosemary infused raw almonds, a selection of olives, cheese and cured meats from the amazing deli department. Which all paired nicely together and you can partake in as much or as little as you would like. These types of snack are great since they require very little refrigeration for a beach trip and they are also keto friendly!I have also had a slight obsession with mini gherkins lately, putting them on everything from bloody Mary’s to deviled eggs. I am not sure why but the salty brine and crispy crunch is better than any chip on the market to me right now and the calorie count is great, you can eat as many as you want, minus the salt content.Another family favorite I will share with you is Manchego cheese, we can not seem to get enough of this delicious Spanish cheese. It has a nice buttery almost nutty flavor which pares nicely with almost anything. We first had it on trip to Spain several years ago, and it has been one of our go to favorites ever since. We of course utilized the full picnic set of plastic plates, cup and bowls, but opted out of and flatware since this was more of a Moroccan style of eating. If you are not familiar with this style of etiquette here is a quick break down:
- Eat only with your right hand, using your thumb and first two fingers. Using more is a sign of gluttony.
- Left hand may only be used for picking up bread or passing dishes.
- Never help yourself to bread, wait until it is given to you.
- Use the bread to dip in spreads and sauces to clean your plate.
- Do not lick your fingers until the end of the meal.
Although I am not sure how they will feel about all the sandy feet in the picture, but we did stick to the majority of the rules.For the sweeter side of things we had a few sweet bourbon chili glazed walnuts which had a little bit of heat. Some fresh fruit which was a nice refreshing light bite and also made a nice garnish for drinks and the infused waters we had packed to wash it all down.As the sun started to set dessert turned toward a local favorite that we hand picked. Now this is truly a perfect little dessert for any occasion, birthday parties or wedding favors, since it is individually packaged, but a single serving for a picnic on the beach was just our speed tonight.
I present S’mores Amore located in the Selden Market, at 208 E. Main St. in Norfolk. You know how I love to find local treats and small businesses, well this one is awesome! These cute little individually wrapped S’mores Brownies & Blondies are adorably packaged and can go anywhere. You can even light toast the top with a kitchen torch or lighter for a more authentic S’mores experience. What a cute little party favor for a wedding or birthday party, I just love them!
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Fun Stuff To Do In and Around Virginia Beach:
Walk or Ride A Bike on the Board Walk If you are unfamiliar with the boardwalk it is a 28-feet wide marvel that stretches three miles. Spanning from 2nd to 40th Street, it features a separate bike path, and is ideal for dog walking, strolling, rollerblading and biking. Along the boardwalk, there’s a variety of quaint outdoor restaurants, here are a few of our favs just off the boardwalk:
Kick Up Some Sand If you are lucky enough to catch the Monster Truck show on the beach you might get to see Steve Sims Stone Crusher toss up a little sand or if you are even luckier you might get to go for a little ride in the back and eat some sand yourself! Check out this fun in the sun mobile!
Fishing on the Pier or Rock Wall Bring the whole family for a fun day of fishing at VA Beach Pier. The Pier Tackle Shop, located on the pier, has everything you need for a day of fishing and crabbing, bait, rod rentals, crab nets and tackle are ready to go. Bluefish, Spanish Mackerel, Roundhead and Blue Crabs are already showing up. As of 05/25/19 the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier is open 24/7 for the Summer. Make sure you have your fishing license and Call (757) 438-2333 for additional information.
Go Shopping I tease that Atlantic Ave and Ocean Ave sound like I am in a Monopoly game but they do truly have some fun little local shops in Virginia Beach all along the boardwalk and the Oceans31. If that is just not enough shopping for you I have been told that The Shops at HillTop are the premium shopping for the area with cute little boutiques.
Check out A Beach Concert The next big concert series on the beach is “Sandstock”, June 28th-30th. Let me just say there is nothing like a LIVE concert on the beach especially as the sunsets! This festival features a fantastic food and beverage menu. Beer and wine as well as non-alcoholic beverages including smoothies and soft drinks complement the great festival food served from vendors on the beach. Best Dive Bars Virginia Beach is known for their dive bars “well” priced liquor, but even more so for their coveted beach side “Orange Crushes“. A lot of the local bars have created their own versions of the Crushes and here are a few of our favorite hometown picks:
- Waterman’s Surfside Grill- Orange Crush (the original- served at infamous “Crush-Fest” over 30,000 are served in a single day)
- Chix Seaside Bar & Grill- Endless Summer Crush (a mix of pineapple, coconut, lemon and orange juices)
- Hot Tuna Bar- Strawberry Crush (my hubby’s fav)
- The Shack of 8th St.- The Coconut Lime Crush
- Back Deck –Sweet Tea Crushes (mix of sweet tea & lemonade) known throughout the entire Chesapeake Bay District
- Rudee’s Cabana Bar – Cabana Crush (known for their famous “dock tails” this mixer is raspberry, lemon-lime, and cranberry juices)
Surfs Up You may not know this but Virginia Beach is actually known for some of the best places to catch some great waves. Whether you’re new to surfing or a seasoned wave riding guru, the waters are prime for surfers of all experience levels. However you will want to go where the locals go, which is to the jetties at 1st Street and Croatan Beach at the Oceanfront, and the Little Island Pier in Sandbridge. Also check out my hubby’s favorite shop the 17th street Surf Shop for all the best gear and the coveted T-shirts.
Parks & Gardens
- Mount Trashmore– World-renowned Mount Trashmore Park is 165 acres with two man-made mountains, two lakes, two playgrounds, a skate park and vert ramp, and multi-use paths. Recognized as an environmental feat, the main mountain, Mount Trashmore, is 60 feet in height and 800 feet long, and was created by compacting layers of solid waste and clean soil.
- Miyazaki Japanese Garden– A 97 acre park located at 398 General Booth Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23451 Free Garden, Free Parking, perfect for photos and pictures.
- Norfolk Botanical Gardens – Offers Seasonal Boat Tours and Garden Tours March 18 – October 15 9 am – 7 pm. Adults $15 Children $13. From Virginia Beach take I-264 to I-64 (Richmond) to Exit 279 B (Norview Avenue). Turn left on Azalea Garden Road from Norview Avenue. The Garden entrance is on the right.
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