Guide to the Virginia Beach Boardwalk

  • 01 of 09

    The Boardwalk at Virginia Beach: Three Miles of Oceanfront Fun

    ••• Aerial view of the Virginia Beach Boardwalk during the annual Boardwalk Art Show. Photo: Courtesy of the Virginia Beach CVB

    Virginia Beach visitors have been making memories on the famous oceanfront Boardwalk for decades upon decades. First built in 1888 as a five-block, wooden-planked promenade, it has provided the setting for many a child's first sight of the seashore, countless marriage proposals and honeymoon moonlight strolls, festivals and celebrations galore or simply a nice place to enjoy the ever-changing sights, sounds and majesty of the ocean.

    Following improvements to the tune of $103 million, the Virginia Beach Boardwalk of today is a three-mile concrete esplanade stretching along the oceanfront from Rudee Inlet to 40th Street. It is 28-feet wide and features an adjacent bike path to accommodate bicycles, surreys, and skaters. Ramps for handicapped accessibility lead from the boardwalk to the beach at each block and wooden walkways at 8th, 17th, 24th and 30th Streets extend to the water's edge.

    In addition to the many oceanfront hotels and restaurants that line the Boardwalk, there are...MORE upscale shops and street-style vendors, amusement areas, historic museums, an array of sculptures and monuments, a traditional fishing pier, live outdoor entertainment stages and much more.

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  • 02 of 09

    Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum and Virginia Legends Walk

    The Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum is located in historic DeWitt Cottage, the oldest beach house still standing along the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. Built in 1895 during the early days of Virginia Beach development and listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register, this typical Victorian beach cottage of yesteryear has twenty-two rooms, a basement, an attic and fourteen-inch brick walls.

    The Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum displays antique and contemporary wildfowl decoys, shorebird carvings, artwork and other artifacts, as well as Virginia Beach history displays. Outbuildings include a Museum boathouse and the first Virginia Beach library. A lovely seaside garden features an array of salt-air hearty flowers, shrubbery, and trees. The Museum Gift shop offers a good selection of ​hand-carved decoys, books, bird kites, wildfowl art, photographs and more.

    Virginia Legends Walk

    While in the area, visitors with an interest in history can take a pleasant and interesting stroll through the Virgi...MOREnia Legends Walk. This landscaped walkway celebrates Virginians who have made important national and global contributions during their lives, including such influential figures as Thomas Jefferson, Captain John Smith, Robert E. Lee, James Madison, Douglas MacArthur, Edgar Allen Poe, Ella Fitzgerald, Arthur Ashe and many others.

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  • 03 of 09

    Virginia Beach Fishing Pier

    Virginia Beach Fishing Pier
    ••• L. Toshio Kishiyama / Getty Images

    Continuing north along the Boardwalk, you will find the popular Virginia Beach Pier, which operates from April through October. During the summer season, from Memorial Day until Labor Day, it is open 24 hours a day. Spring and fall operating hours vary. Fees are charged to fish on the pier, but a fishing license is not required. A small fee is charged to walk onto the pier without fishing.

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  • 04 of 09

    Boardwalk Amusements Park

    Fun Park on Atlantic Drive, Virginia Beach
    ••• Richard Cummins / Getty Images

    Located across from the fishing pier along the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, this small seaside amusement park offers a carnival atmosphere. Usual operating hours are seasonal: summer open seven days per week through Labor Day and on weekends through September.

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  • 05 of 09

    Beach Street USA

    Beach Street USA celebrates summer along the Virginia Beach oceanfront with entertainment, festivals, fireworks, and more. Beginning in mid-June and continuing through Labor Day, daily street performers including puppets, jugglers, magicians, and more create a festive Mardi Gras-esque atmosphere along the sidewalks of Atlantic Avenue and nearby side streets.

    In the evenings, the stages along the Boardwalk come alive with an array of live concerts and theatrical performances. During the spring and fall, several popular events take place on the weekends.

    Seasonal fireworks shows, which are launched from a barge near 20th Street, add to the fun a few nights a week. Entertainment stages are located along the Boardwalk at 7th, 17th, 24th, and 31st Streets.

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  • 06 of 09

    The Old Coast Guard Station

    The Old Coast Guard Station exterior
    ••• BretFisher/Wikimedia Commons/CC0 1.0

    Located along the boardwalk in a 1903 Life-Saving Station, which is designated as a Virginia Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this seaside museum celebrates the coastal and maritime heritage of the region. Featuring two gallery floors, the museum's collection includes more than 1,000 photographs and close to 2000 artifacts, which explore the history of the U.S. Life-Saving and Coast Guard Services, Virginia shipwrecks, World War II and more.

    The Museum Store offers a nice selection of lighthouse collectibles, t-shirts, nautical jewelry, books and boat model kits, toys and many other gift items and mementos. The museum is open daily, except: closed Mondays from Oct 1 until Memorial Day and closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Hours vary.

    The Old Coast Guard Station Website

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  • 07 of 09

    The Naval Aviation Monument

    Dedicated and on May 6th, 2006, the Naval Aviation Monument pays tribute to Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard aviation from the early 1900s through the present and acknowledges the connected and vital role of the Virginia Beach and greater Hampton Roads area. Located next to the Norwegian Lady monument along the Boardwalk, the Naval Aviation Monument features bronze sculptures, by renowned sculptor and artist Mike Maiden, and laser-etched granite storyboards which feature significant historical aviation events including among other things:

    • Eugene Ely, the first aviator to accomplish a successful shipboard launch
    • A World War II pilot and crewman
    • Modern-day aviators and maintenance personnel, including a female pilot
    • A monument which includes the names of all aircraft carriers

    Association of Naval Aviation Hampton Roads Squadron

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  • 08 of 09

    The Norwegian Lady Statue

    I am the Norwegian Lady. I stand here, as my sister before me, to wish all men of the sea safe return home.

    Adjacent to the Naval Aviation Monument, the Norwegian Lady Statue overlooks the Virginia Beach Boardwalk and the beach, her gaze fixed toward the ocean in the direction of her twin statue in Moss, Norway. One of the most beloved landmarks along the Boardwalk, the Norwegian Lady stands in commemoration of lives lost and saved during the tragic shipwreck of Norwegian sailing vessel Dictator from Moss in the spring of 1891.

    Following the tragedy, the sunken ship's wooden figurehead washed ashore, was found and placed near the Boardwalk, where it stood for over 60 years. Over time, the coastal winds and salty air took a toll on the figurehead and it was moved into storage and subsequently either lost or stolen. Through a joint effort on both sides of the ocean, Norwegian sculptor Ørnulf Bast was commissioned to replicate the lost figurehead by creating two bronze statues, one for...MORE Moss, Norway and the other for Virginia Beach. Both of the statues were presented in the fall of 1962 and twelve years later Moss and Virginia Beach were united as sister cities.

    Annually, on the anniversary of the sinking of the Dictator, a memorial wreath is placed at the statue in Virginia Beach, while similar commemorations take place in Moss, Norway. Artifacts from the ship are maintained at the Old Coast Guard Station.

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  • 09 of 09

    The King Neptune Statue

    King Neptune Statue
    ••• Don Klumpp / Getty Images

    A prime photo-op spot and must-see along the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, the King Neptune statue by sculptor Paul DiPasquale stands mightily at Neptune Park near the Hilton Hotel 31st Street. This impressive bronze sculpture is 34-feet tall to the height of the trident, weighs 12.5 tons and, in addition to King Neptune, includes an octopus, two dolphins, a sea turtle, a lobster and twelve fish.

    DiPasquale's design was conceived as ...a hands-on experience of reality and fantasy...about the wonders hidden beneath the waves. At the same time, the stern Neptune is not entirely pleased with the ecologically poor use of his seas. And his message, in bronze and stone, will carry on into the future.

    The project was initiated by the Neptune Festival and funded by private donations. The sculpture was dedicated to the City of Virginia Beach in September 2005 during the annual Neptune Festival's end of the season signature celebration, Boardwalk Weekend.

    Neptune Park

    Situated along the...MORE Boardwalk, next to the Hilton Hotel, Neptune Park overlooks the ocean and features a number of popular outdoor annual events including the Neptune Festival and the Boardwalk Art Show.

    Additional Information