Free things to do in Virginia Beach
My own quick search of “free things to do in Virginia Beach Oceanfront” pulled up a list of things NOT actually at the Oceanfront, or not even free. Eyeroll.
Trip advisor failed.
They included places like:
- Mount Trashmore Park (15-20 minute drive)
- First Landing State Park (parking fee and 10-15 minute drive)
- New Realm Brewery (free but 10 minute drive)
And when I say its a drive, its over bridges, down the interstate and/or miles away from the Oceanfront.
My kids actually get bored after two days at the beach. It blows my mind but they get antsy for something else to do.
So here you go, no need to drive anywhere, or put anyone in carseats… unless maybe if you’re going to the Cavalier at 42nd Street. From music, to history and open to space for kids to be kids, the Virginia Beach Oceanfront has it.
Table of Contents
Where is the Oceanfront in Virginia Beach?
- The resort area of Virginia Beach immediately along the water
- The boardwalk from 1st street to about 42nd Street
- From the boardwalk to about 6-8 blocks inland
13 Free Things to Do in Virginia Beach
Playgrounds on the beach 1st Street & 31st Street
Do our kids get bored with the sand and water? It blows my mind but mine do! These two play grounds are right on the beach, just off the boardwalk. Grommet Island at 1st St is wheelchair accessible with lots of ramps.
The 31st St playground is adjacent to the King Neptune Statue which is the symbol of Virginia Beach. Its also right next to the free summer concert series so let the kids play during the show!
King Neptune Statue 31st Street
This statue of King Neptune is the symbol of VA beach and a highly Instagrammable photo spot! Also right next to the LIVE! On the Atlantic stage and a playground
Live! On the Atlantic Summer Concert Series
As of writing this, there is no 2022 schedule available and the listed websites redirecting. But from past years, live entertainment at the 31st St stage happens every Wednesday night from mid June through Labor Day. Check out https://www.visitvirginiabeach.com/explore/events/concerts/ for more information
Ninja Warrior Park and course at 26th Street
This is a grown up playground by my boys love it too! There’s even bars, rings, ropes, tight ropes, the gamut of fun tricks to try. Also free!
Pictorial History of Virginia Beach | 36th Street
I love history, and I especially love old photographs! On 36th St there is a series of panels with old images of the boardwalk, the Cavalier, epic storms. You can see the cars of 60s, the wide landscapes of the homes and original hotels before the Oceanfront was a thing.
Skate park at Wave Riding Vehicles 19th Street
A few blocks off the beach is WRV or Wave Riding Vehicles. They’ve got a small skate park across the street from their shop that they own. As long as there’s not a skate camp happening, its free to the public!
Old Beach Farmers Market
At the corner of 19th & Cypress streets is the Old Beach Farmers Market most Saturdays from 9-noon, one block from the Virginia Beach Convention Center, in the parking lot of Croc’s 19th Street Bistro. They’ve a wide variety of produce, prepared foods, snacks, and artisans all locally made – and even veteran owned!
ViBE Creative District Mural Walk
You can’t help but notice all the murals around town. Once a month the ViBE Creative District offers a free guided tour… or you can get on the VIBE website and do it yourself any time you want. The mural directory lists the location, artist, inspiration and year it was created. They’ve even got a Google map with all the pin points.
You don’t always need to take a boat ride out to see dolphins! Very frequently they feed close enough to shore to see them from the beach. We’ve seen them at 5th street, 81st street and Fort Story (which is the northern most tip of VB that is the opening to the Chesapeake Bay) They’re most active early morning and at dusk.
Ride bikes or skate on the board walk
Please mind the lanes! There is a special path for wheels on the boardwalk. If you have the room to bring bikes, do it! Its the best way to get around – breeze through your hair and a lot less sweat. Virginia Beach is super friendly to cyclists with bike stands everywhere. Worst case, just lock them up on the boardwalk railing. Bring your locks!
My favorite – The Cavalier Hotel
The Cav put Virginia Beach on the map as a resort town in the 20s. It was the first of its kind built in the 1910s. It preserved the art deco style and houses a small museum of its own history – post cards written by guests, old cutlery, cookware, uniforms, and enlarged photographs. You can walk the lawn, grab a beverage and let the kids play without being a guest. If you’re lucky the bell hop may even show you the indoor pool with the original lion head fountains!
The Cavalier also hosts free summer events like movies on the lawn, and garden parties that are paid tickets. They’ve got multiple restaurants that warrant a kid free date night, and offer tours of their on site distillery, Tarnished Truth.
Dewitt Cottage & Waterfowl Museum at 12th Street
You may have walked by this unsuspecting little building tucked between hotel high rises and wondered what the heck it was! “Built in 1895, the deWitt Cottage is the oldest remaining private structure on the Virginia Beach oceanfront.” The cottage is home to the Atlantic Waterfowl Museum, which is totally free!
The cottage also hosts weddings and corporate events.
Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum
Built in 1878 for the Life-Saving Service, it proceeds the US Coast Guard which took over this building 1915. “Coastal History is alive & thriving at the Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum. Standing proudly at 24th Street on the Boardwalk, the museum building itself is a Virginia Beach icon on the National Register of Historic Places.”
13 Free Things To Do In Virginia Beach
So which will you do first?!
There is absolutely no need to jump in the car to do something interesting – no matter was Google or Trip Advisor might tell you!
Did I miss any free things to do in Virginia Beach?
Particularly at the Oceanfront?
Let me know and I’ll add it!
I'm a USMC spouse, South Carolina native, recovering homeschool mama of a 4 boy circus. They've taught me the most important facet of family photography: KEEP IT FUN!