Virginia Beach is home to 249 city parks and facilities encompassing 4,000 acres. In addition, First Landing State Park offers boating, swimming, hiking, biking, picnicking, and 19 miles of trails on 2,888 acres. The 4,321 acre False Cape State Park boasts six miles of unspoiled beaches and nine miles of hiking/biking trails. The Back Bay Refuge encompasses 9,000 acres and has a wide assortment of wildlife, including threatened and endangered species such as loggerhead sea turtles, piping plovers, peregrine falcons, and bald eagles.
In addition, residents and visitors can visit a variety of historic attractions, including the Adam Thoroughgood House, Francis Land House, the Cape Henry Lighthouses and site of the First Landing.
Each year millions of visitors flock to Virginia Beach to enjoy its famous three-mile boardwalk (named one of the top ten boardwalks by Sherman Travel), 35 miles of beachfront and many exciting year-round attractions. For more information, visit www.vbfun.com.
The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center features several aquariums holding 800,000 gallons of water, live animal habitats, hundreds of hands-on exhibits, outdoor aviary, nature trail and marshlands, and a 3D IMAX Theater screen measuring six stories tall and eight stories wide. Opening in May 2009, Restless Planet, a 12,000-square-foot exhibit gallery, will explore modern habitats that illustrate what Virginia was like in its geologic past.
The Town Center of Virginia Beach features an eclectic mix of shopping, dining, entertainment, and living options covering 17 city blocks. Enjoy world-renowned performers at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, or free live entertainment and festivals in the plazas. Dine at a local eatery or a national restaurant. Shop at popular brand retailers and upscale boutiques or treat yourself to a night at the 4-star Westin Virginia Beach Town Center Hotel.
The Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, the region’s newest performing arts facility, hosts scores of world-renowned entertainers while providing a state-of-the-art home for the area’s finest performing arts organizations. Seating in the 1,300-seat performance hall is both generous and intimate, with the furthest seat only 100 feet from the stage.
The Virginia Beach Amphitheater seats 20,000 and was recently nominated as one of the top venues in the United States. Indeed, the venue draws world-renowned entertainers including Dave Matthews, Kenny Chesney, Mary J. Blige, and Aerosmith. Whether you're in one of the 7,500 reserved seats under the pavilion roof or under the stars on the lawn, the Amphitheater is a must-see attraction. For concert information and ticket prices, visit Live Nation.
The Virginia Beach Sportsplex seats 6,000 and hosts more than 60 sporting events annually, including professional soccer and high school athletics. The Sportsplex is also the training home to the U.S. Field Hockey Team.
Golf courses are plentiful in Virginia Beach. There are 11 top rated courses designed by such world famous course architects as Fred Couples, Arnold Palmer, and the legendary Pete Dye. These courses, including the prestigious Virginia Beach National, are sure to intrigue beginners and challenge the pros.
Historic Colonial Williamsburg is just an hour’s drive away, as is Busch Gardens. The Chrysler Museum is in Norfolk, 30 minutes away. Other amusement parks, museums, dining, shopping, and sporting venues can be found all over the Virginia Beach MSA. And the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, a world-class performance hall in Virginia Beach, will open in 2007.
Thanks to its location on the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, Virginia Beach is a great place for water sports, sailing, and fresh and saltwater fishing. In addition, the City has six community recreation centers, 249 city parks, 198 tennis courts, 179 ball fields, 204 basketball courts, 175 playing fields, 11 public golf courses, 18 marinas with public access, three fishing piers, and 60 miles of biking trails. There are also three major state and regional parks, three large national wildlife refuges, and 79 miles of scenic waterways. In 2005, Men’s Fitness magazine ranked Virginia Beach among the top cities with the most basketball courts per capita.
With all it has to offer, it’s no wonder that USA Weekend Magazine named Virginia Beach “the best place to live in America” in 2003, and that Money Magazine ranked it among the top ten best big cities to live in America in July 2006.