10 Best Day Trips From Virginia Beach, Virginia

day trips from virginia beach

Virginia Beach is a gorgeous coastal city that is strategically perched where the Chesapeake Bay kisses the Atlantic Ocean, in the southeastern part of Virginia State. The city boasts a 3-mile (4.8-km) boardwalk on the magnificent oceanfront where tourists come to enjoy breathtaking views of sunsets on the ocean’s horizon. Even better, it also features beachfront hotels and vacation rentals for guests who wish to stay close to the waters. What makes the city an even more exciting prospect to tourists are features such as Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, Cape Henry Lighthouse, First Landing State Park, and Norfolk Botanical Garden among many other wonderful attractions. To explore the beauty of Virginia, read on to learn about the best day trips from Virginia Beach, Virginia.

1. Norfolk

BB-64 USS Wisconsin in Norfolk
Source: Photo by Flickr user Mobilus In Mobili used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Located roughly about 18.4 miles (29.61 km) from Virginia Beach, Norfolk is a magical waterfront city in the southeastern part of Virginia. From gorgeous animal parks and zoos to iconic landmarks and attractions, the city is full of endless possibilities that are waiting to be explored by you. Begin your adventure by taking a tour and admiring animals such as bongos, bears, and others at the Virginia Zoo. Explore different art designs including glass art at the Chrysler Museum of Art. Pass Nauticus and learn naval and maritime history. Visit Norfolk Botanical for a romantic walk as you admire the lush green gardens.

2. Williamsburg

Governor's Palace, Colonial Williamsburg
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ben Cohen used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Travel about 60.3 miles (97.04 km) from Virginia Beach to learn about the intriguing history of the American Revolution at Williamsburg, a city rich in history and spell-binding beauty. Having served as the capital of the Virginia Colony in the 18th century, this magical city, together with Yorktown and Jamestown, form what is popularly referred to as the “Historic Triangle.” Start your exploration at Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area, which is the nucleus of the city. Hunt for uncommon and strange artifacts at Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum. For those who love art and interior design, the Dewitt Wallace Decorative Art Museum should be your next stop.

3. Jamestown

Worship at Jamestowne, 1639 (and brief history)
Source: Photo by user Tony Fischer used under CC BY 2.0

Travel back in time to the 18th century as you learn the history of the early British settlers in North America at Jamestown, a historic site that sits about 65.4 miles (105.25 km) from Virginia Beach. See the remains of the English settlement at Historic Jamestown and other historical structures like the 18th-century Ambler Mansion. Stroll through the Jamestown Settlement, which is a living museum, and learn about how the colonials and natives used to live in the 17th century. In order to preserve these memories, make a stop by Jamestown Glasshouse to buy souvenirs and gifts for your loved ones.

4. Portsmouth, VA

Portsmouth, Virginia
Source: Photo by Flickr user Doug Kerr used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Are you living in Virginia Beach and are looking to explore the wonders that Virginia has to offer? Pack your travel bag and make a short trip of about 20.3 miles (32.67 km) to Portsmouth, an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Learn about ship technology and naval history at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Admire a collection of world-class pieces of art which include contemporary designs, sculptures, and glass art at the esteemed Chrysler Museum of Art. Take the kids for fun and adventure to the Children’s Museum of Virginia where they are taught interactive learning skills if they are interested.

5. The Great Dismal Swamp

Great Dismal Swamp
Source: Photo by Flickr user NPS Natural Resou... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Lying on a vast mass of land roughly about 44.9 miles (72.26 km) from Norfolk City in Virginia, the Great Dismal Swamp is a marshy swamp that is located on the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. This swamp forms very eye-catching scenery which acts as a major source of tourist attraction in the state. This area used to be infested with a high number of snakes and mosquitoes and hence, the name Dismal. Enjoy breathtaking views of birds, bears, and other wildlife as you enjoy a romantic stroll in the woods. You are likely to spot people having a good time while fishing and hunting or even jogging.

6. Onancock

Source: Photo by user Joel Bradshaw used under CC0

Enjoy unforgettable experiences as you explore the natural mystics of Onancock, a small town hiding in Accomack County, some 79.7 miles (128.26 km) from Virginia Beach. If you are planning to spend your day discovering new stuff, you couldn’t have chosen a better destination. Begin your expedition at Turner Sculpture, viewing different art designs like sculptures. Visit one of the oldest train terminals in Virginia, the Onley Historic Train Station, where you’ll learn how hectic work life was like in the station. Finally, you need to spend some time at Parkers Marsh Natural Area Preserve where people come for hunting, hiking, sightseeing, and camping.

7. Luray Caverns

Luray Caverns "Dream Lake" (8041060683) (2)
Source: Photo by user Paulo Ordoveza used under CC BY 2.0

Marvel at the sight of breathtaking geographical features in the town of Luray, which is about 229 miles (368.54 km) from Virginia Beach, as you take a tour of Luray Caverns. These are thrilling caves that have made this little town in Virginia a popular destination among tourists. People from all over the world visit what was originally known as Luray Cave to come to admire and learn about different amazing geographical features such as columns, stalactites, stalagmites, mudflows, flowstone, mirrored pools, and many other intriguing features. You may want to take some pictures because this is an experience you won’t wish to forget.

8. Chincoteague and Assateague Islands

Source: Photo by Flickr user Rain0975 used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Situated approximately 83 miles (133.58 km) north of Virginia Beach, Chincoteague and Assateague Islands are a paradise full of endless possibilities. From winding waterways and pristine beaches to a wide variety of wildlife, Virginia’s Eastern shore is truly a beauty to behold. Admire wildlife in their natural habitat at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Not far from there, you’ll find Assateague Island National Seashore which boasts astonishing attractions as well. Admire different species of birds at the main Atlantic Flyway. Along the magnificent bays encompassing the island, you will discover amazing things such as oyster beds, flounders, and clam shoals.

9. Richmond, VA

View of Downtown Richmond (VA) from Brown's Island April 2015
Source: Photo by user Ron Cogswell used under CC BY 2.0

Discover some of the hidden gems of Virginia in Richmond, a glorious city situated 107 miles (172.2 km) from Virginia Beach and serving as the capital of Virginia State. From historical landmarks and beautiful gardens to vibrant nightlife and amazing culinary traditions, it’s easy to see why tourists love this place so much. To explore what Richmond has to offer, begin your adventure at the charming Maymont admiring gorgeous gardens and wildlife. View different art designs from all over the world at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Travel back to the time of the Civil War at the American Civil War Museum – Historic Tredegar.

10. Outer Banks, NC (from USD 68.0)

Explore the beautiful coastal landscape as you traverse approximately 126 miles (202.78 km) from Virginia Beach to the charming islands of Outer Banks. This adventure gives you the opportunity to explore the amazing opportunities that the island has to offer, from rare wild horses to breathtaking landscapes in North Carolina. For water activities and sports enthusiasts, this is an opportunity for you to test your adrenaline. Explore the eye-catching sanctuary sites and refuge areas to see different birds and wildlife in their natural habitat. See where colonial Spanish Mustangs used to run free, at the Wild Horse Conservation Easement. After your adventure, cool off at Carova Beach.

Wild Horse Tour from Virginia Beach

Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

8 reviews

Experience breathtaking Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is a beautiful city that is strategically positioned around amazing theme parks, cafes, shopping malls, and other attractions. This also gives you a wonderful opportunity to explore the hidden gems in the state and its neighboring areas. These amazing road trips ensure you enjoy an unforgettable experience during your vacation.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Stephen Kinyanjui is an IT graduate who previously worked as an IT Assistant in a BPO company. He has an insatiable desire for traveling and adventure. He’s an artist who loves drawing and...Read more

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