In grade school, I always heard from the other kids about their family vacations to Virginia Beach and Florida - fun-filled destinations with lots of rides, playing on the beach and junk food. So when I got the chance to visit, I couldn't jump faster at the opportunity to visit.
Today, Virginia Beach is a classic family-friendly destination for fun, entertainment, beachside restaurants, mini golf and sandcastles, ice cream parlours and cotton candy machines - Virginia Beach offers a timeless getaway catering to good old-fashioned family values. I mean, where else can you find "no swearing" signs lining the streets?
With all that good old-fashioned American fun and food, I did what I know best: I ate my way through Virginia Beach in 48 hours. Discover more TripAtlas.com eating adventures like How to Eat Like a Local in the Bahamas or How to Eat at Miami's Top Restaurants for Less.
Eat your way through Virginia Beach in 48 hours
Eating your way through a destination in a short time seems like a difficult feat where stretched waistbands are a necessity. But don't forget that Virginia Beach is also the longest pleasure beach in the world and one of the oldest parts of America, so there's lots to do and see - besides these great eateries.
You'll have tons of time to check out these classic Virginia Beach eateries while being able to visit the boardwalk, Atlantic Avenue, Neptune's Park, the Virginia Beach Town Center, Back Bay National Wildlie Refuge and the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center.
Stop by Jody's Gourmet Popcorn (205 Laskin Rd.) for any 23 flavours of gourmet popcorn, fudge, chocolate covered rice krispie squares on a stick or apple-pie flavoured caramel apples. Go to jodyspopcorn.com for more.
Value breakfast at Big Sam's (300 Winston Salem Ave.) for a hearty American breakfast for a really great deal: waffles, pancakes, eggs done any style, biscuits and gravy, sausage links and bottomless coffee to wash it all down.
Breakfast buffet! For one of Virginia Beach's newest hotels to lay your weary head and heavy stomach, be sure to check out Springhill Suites (901 Atlantic Ave.), great for families and kids. The breakfast buffet bar is packed with croissants, donuts and pastries; cereals and fruits; oatmeal and coffee - and a waffle iron. Free for hotel guests, it's a great option for families who don't want to worry about running around for breakfast before the day's itinerary.
Frozen custard from Khor Bros Ice Cream can be found from the top to the bottom of Atlantic Ave. The frozen custard is a specialty of the franchise, and is like ice cream but thicker and creamer from less churning. Before your stroll down Virginia Beach's boardwalk, pick up a cone, cup or get chocolate-dipped, if you're feeling adventurous. Go to www.kohrbros.com/home.html for more.
For a fun beachside patio lunch, go to Waterman's (5th St. & Atlantic Ave.), a local favourite for seafood dishes like crab cakes, she-crab soup, sea scallops and a daily catch of the day. Part of the Virginia Aquarium's Sensible Seafood Program, Waterman's works to ensure that the seafood served at their restaurant is both sustainable and friendly to the seafood ecosystem. Go to www.watermans.com for more.
Grab a late night drink at Catch 31 (3001 Atlantic Ave.), the trendy restaurant at The Hilton in Virginia Beach, where you can sit around a few of the patio's large round tables featuring roaring fires in the middle, just steps way from Neptune's Park. Make sure you check out some of their great seafood selection - and their bathrooms, rated #2 in American in 2007. Go to www.31ocean.com for more.
The Cheesecake Factory (265 Central Park Ave.) in Virginia Beach's new budding "Town Center" neighbourhood brings a high-vaulted ceilings, dozens of cheesecake flavours and European train-station bistro styled seating. The non-dessert menu includes salads, pasta, pizza and sandwiches - for those who don't believe that dessert should be the only part of your meal. Go to www.thecheesecakefactory.com for more.
For the eco-conscious, check out Croc's 19th Street Bistro (620 19th St.), the first certified "Virginia Green" restaurant, offering cuisine with a sustainable, organic and local emphasis. Their specialty "Green Drinks" menu offers eco-friendly drinks and once a month, local environmentalists meet here at Croc's to share drinks, laughter and ideas for promoting eco-living in Virginia Beach. Don't forget to try the gator bites! Go to www.crocs19thstreetbistro.com for more.
For a coffee break, visit the Daily Grind in Town Center (168 Central Park Ave.) or Bad Ass Coffee next to Croc's Bistro (619 18th St.) for an alternative to Starbucks. The Daily Grind offers a cozy coffee shop with killer lattes, baked goods and sandwiches. Bad Ass Coffee offers specialty Kona coffee and an unending list of iced shakes from mint chocolate to macaroon and snickerlicious.Go to www.dailygrindunwind.com and www.badasscoffee.com for more.
Stop by the Virginia Beach Farmer's Market (3640 Dam Neck Rd.) for an hour for the best of the season. Stop by Country Butcher & Deli Shop for authentic Virginia ham; Seasons Best Bakery for chocolate chip cookies straight out of the oven and $2 lemonade; Yoder Dairy for a taste of their creamy-good ice cream; and the small Kettle Corn shack for the tastiest salty-sweet combo you'll ever taste. Go to www.vbgov.com for more.
For a more special evening, visit the Sonoma Wine Bar & Bistro (189 Central Park Ave.) in the Town Center district for an evening for adults. Great bites and impeccably presented dishes like a charcuterie plate (be sure to try the Virginia Ham!), the warm Camembert cheese & wild mushroom fricassee and other seasonal selections. Don't forget to get the wine pairings for the perfect compliment to your meal! Go to www.sonomatowncenter.com for more.
If you're looking for a true Virginian culinary experience, the Swan Terrace at the Founders Inn and Spa (5641 Indian River Rd.) offers an upscale-traditional southern evening of dining and relaxation. Chef Eric Doamberger brings his best to the table daily, using as many local ingredients as possible, dishes like the Terrace Oysters topped with Virginia Ham and lamb osso buco are a great compliment to wine pairings from Virginia wineries and California. Go to www.foundersinn.com for more.
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Gizelle Lau is a freelance writer & photographer in Toronto, Canada with a passion for food and travel.
Located: Toronto Canada
Likes: cities, culture, food/wine, paths-less-travelled, photography, wildlife