The 10 Best Things to Do at the Virginia Beach Boardwalk

People relaxing and swimming along Virginia Beach and walking on the boardwalk.

 Mark E. Gibson/Getty Images

For over a century, the boardwalk has been a staple of Virginia Beach fun. Built in 1888 as a five-block, wooden-planked promenade, the Virginia Beach Boardwalk of today is a 3-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, rollerbladers, 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 upscale shops and street-style vendors, amusement areas, historical museums, an array of sculptures and monuments, a fishing pier, live outdoor entertainment stages, and much more.

01 of 10

Party at Beach Street USA

People biking down a path in front of Virginia Beach Resort, a cream high-rise building with many balconies, landscaped with palm trees and flowers.
Imagesbybarbara/Getty Images 

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, and magicians, create a Mardi Gras-like atmosphere along the sidewalks of Atlantic Avenue.

In the evenings, the stages along the Boardwalk come alive with live concerts and theatrical performances. Seasonal fireworks shows, which are launched from a barge near 20th Street, add to the fun a few nights a week.

02 of 10

Check Out the Attractions at Atlantic Fun Park

Binoculars on Virginia Beach boardwalk with amusement park in background.
 Dennis K. Johnson/Getty Images
233 15th St, Virginia Beach, VA 23451-3458, USA
Phone +1 757-422-0467

Across from the fishing pier along the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, this small seaside amusement park offers fun for the whole family. There are go-karts, a 100-foot Ferris wheel, a rock wall, and a swinging pirate ship ride. Usual operating hours are seasonal; in the summer, it is open seven days per week through Labor Day and on weekends through September.

03 of 10

Attend an Event at Neptune Park

3001 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451-3032, USA
Phone +1 800-822-3224

On the boardwalk next to the Hilton Hotel, Neptune Park is home to several popular outdoor annual events, including the Boardwalk Art Show and the Neptune Festival, which has sand-sculpting competitions, wine tastings, Symphony by the Sea concerts, volleyball tournaments, a sailboat regatta, and more. There's also a free summer concert series that lets musicians perform for the public during the weekends.

04 of 10

Go Fishing at the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier

Sunset view of dock, ocean, and people fishing at Virginia Beach Fishing Pier.
Don Klumpp/Getty Images 
1413 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, USA
Phone +1 757-428-2333

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 24/7. Fees are charged to fish on the pier, but a fishing license is not required. A small fee is also charged to those who want to walk on the pier and explore.

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05 of 10

Take a Walk Along the Virginia Legends Walk

Virginia Legends Walk, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, USA

While in the area, visitors interested in history can take a pleasant stroll through the Virginia Legends Walk. This landscaped walkway celebrates Virginians who have made significant 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 more.

06 of 10

Admire the King Neptune Statue

Statue of King Neptune with turtles, dolphins, and other marine life along the Virginia Beach bceanfront boardwalk.
Sherry Smith/Getty Images 

A prime photo-op spot 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 12 fish.

07 of 10

Learn About Maritime History at the Surf & Rescue Museum

Sunset view of Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum: white building with tower and wraparound balcony beside a path lined with lights and Coast Guard color flags leading to the beach.
VBSRM/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0
2401 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451-3203, USA
Phone +1 757-422-1587

Located along the boardwalk in a historic 1903 Coast Guard Station, this two-floor museum celebrates the region's maritime heritage. The collection includes more than 1,000 photographs and close to 2,000 artifacts, which explore the history of the U.S. Life-Saving and Coast Guard Services, Virginia shipwrecks, and World War II.

08 of 10

Browse the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum

Grey and white cottage with multiple floors, a green roof, and a wraparound porch. DeWitt Cottage, Virginia Beach.
Sue Corcoran/Wikimedia Commons
1113 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451-3503, USA
Phone +1 757-437-8432

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, this Victorian cottage has 22 rooms that have been converted into galleries.

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

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09 of 10

Pay Tribute at the Naval Aviation Monument

25th Street &, 2500 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451-3103, USA
Phone +1 757-433-3766

The Naval Aviation Monument pays tribute to Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard aviation from the early 1900s. It acknowledges the connected and vital role of Virginia Beach and the greater Hampton Roads area. Next to the Norwegian Lady monument, the Naval Aviation Monument features bronze sculptures by renowned artist Mike Maiden and laser-etched granite storyboards of historic aviation events.

10 of 10

Gaze at the Norwegian Lady Statue

Back view of Norwegian Lady Statue, weathered green with colonial dress and hair pulled back into a bun, in Virginia Beach, pointed in the direction of Moss, Norway.
 Don Klumpp/Getty Images
2500 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451-3103, USA

The Norwegian Lady Statue overlooks the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, 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 the Norwegian sailing vessel "Dictator" in 1891.

Following the tragedy, the sunken ship's wooden figurehead washed ashore, was found and placed near the Boardwalk, where it stood for more than 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 Moss, Norway, and the other for Virginia Beach. Both sculptures were presented in 1962, and 12 years later, Moss and Virginia Beach were united as sister cities.

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The 10 Best Things to Do at the Virginia Beach Boardwalk