Spring Fling: How to Make the Most of 48 Hours in Virginia Beach

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Virginia Beach in spring was a much different scene than Virginia Beach in winter. Even though we were there in early May, the beaches were brimming with activity, and everyone was in full-on summer mode already. And, to be honest, I wouldn’t have known it was even the same town had you dropped me in the middle without a map (or rather, an iPhone).

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend

As usual, we crammed far more than the average tourist might into a weekend as we were there with my travel squad for an #InstaMeetVABeach—you can search that hashtag on social media for even more tips from a wider variety of travelers, from Millennials to family bloggers—but here’s a quick little look at how to make the most out of 48 hours in Virginia Beach.

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend
48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend

Explore the ViBe Creative District

In the time since I last visited, the ViBe Creative District has sprung up and created a vibrant hub for entrepreneurs to showcase their wares. I’m a sucker for a good coffee shop, and it’s a bonus if it’s also ridiculously photogenic as is Three Ships Coffee Roasters. The Punga Latte is a must, as is the giant rainbow Rice Krispie treat. Kid Augustine recommends the gourmet juice box.

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend
48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend

From Three Ships, we wandered into some of the adjoining shops to check out the makers doing their thing—bag-making, sign-painting, you name it, they do it in ViBe—before eventually making our way to Chesapeake Bay Distillery, where we tasted flights of their spirits like the iconic ghost pepper-flavored vodka mixed up in Bloody Mary form (it was bloody delicious!).

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend
48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend
48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend

That evening, we had the whole back patio reserved for dinner at Esoteric Craft Beer & Curated Provisions, a name that’s a mouthful but pretty accurately summarizes what you can expect from this food- and booze-forward restaurant.

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend
48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend

The husband-wife chef-restaurateur team behind Esoteric who calls themselves “Yippies—somewhere between a hippie and a yuppie is where you will find our philosophy” took a 1920s building and morphed into their vision, one brimming with foodies and cocktail lovers who fill the inside and out every night they’re open. I’d definitely recommend a reservation if you’re hitting Esoteric during peak dining times.

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend
48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend

Enjoy a quiet morning on Sandbridge Beach

The boardwalk isn’t the only beach in town. In fact, I prefer the quiet of Sandbridge, nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, to the buzz of the boardwalk. Just a half hour from downtown, Sandbridge draws more locals who live near its rugged dunes than it does tourists staying near the boardwalk. We arrived bright and early on a Saturday morning and had the beach virtually to ourselves.

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend

SVV and I did a little acro while our friend Kristen buzzed the beach with her drone (Sandbridge is one of the few places in Virginia Beach where you can fly a drone).

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend
48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend

And we saw DOLPHINS, guys. You can’t beat kicking off your weekend like that!

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend

Go strawberry picking

I’m not sure I’ve been berry picking since I was a kid, and I’m also not sure I’ve had as much fun in ages as I did that Saturday morning out at Cullipher Farm. And no I don’t always try and match my scenery, but hey, it helped!

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: Strawberry Picking

You pick your own berries by the gallon, but I’m pretty sure I ate as many as I picked (sorry, Cullipher Farm!) as they were so darn tasty right out of the ground. This is such a fun activity for big groups, as well as travelers of all ages. There are also swings and playground equipment and plenty of other draws for the little ones when they tire of berry-picking.

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: Strawberry Picking
48 Hours in Virginia Beach: Strawberry Picking
48 Hours in Virginia Beach: Strawberry Picking

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend
48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend

Cullipher Farm is also out right near Sandbridge, so you can plan the perfect beach morning, followed by strawberry picking then brunch at the Bee & the Biscuit.

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: Strawberry Picking

Plan a self-guided brewery tour

On my first visit to Virginia Beach, we stumbled across Young Veterans Brewing Co., which had just opened, and spent a good afternoon there dodging the rain. In the years since, multiple breweries have joined the scene, and Commonwealth Brewing Company was my favorite, both for the space itself, the roomy patio area and the brews.

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: Commonwealth Brewing Company

We also hit up Pleasure House Brewing with SVV’s old Navy roommate, Joe, and his wife Hillary, and while it’s much smaller, they had plenty of fun brews like key lime ale on tap, not to mention a shark mural. I regret that we couldn’t make a visit to Back Bay Brewing Co. happen due to their hours because many locals claimed that one as their favorite.

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend
48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend

Dive into the Military Aviation Museum

This was, by far, my Navy veteran, plane-loving husband’s favorite part of the whole trip. We spent four hours browsing the many hangars comprising this expansive aviation museum, and he would have easily stayed four more (or possibly overnight) had I let him. The collection of vintage warplanes is just insane, and the docents—mostly current or retired military—are so knowledgeable about the history of every aircraft that this is a must-visit for any aviation nut (and even just enthusiasts like myself).

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: The Military Aviation Museum

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: The Military Aviation Museum
48 Hours in Virginia Beach: The Military Aviation Museum
48 Hours in Virginia Beach: The Military Aviation Museum

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: The Military Aviation Museum

Take a Biplane Ride Over the Back Bay

I never knew that riding in a biplane was on my bucket list until I’d actually done it. But if you’re visiting the Military Aviation Museum from April through October, there’s the option to hop in a 1941 Boeing Stearman and go for a 15- or 30-minute flight over the Back Bay and the Virginia Beach coastline.

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend

You’ll be seated up front in an open cockpit, and there’s no feeling like this in the world. It was a bit breezy the day I went up, so I recommend a light jacket. If you plan on taking a camera up like I did, make sure you have a mount or a wrist strap that cinches tightly, as the wind will whip it right out of your hand if not.

A Biplane Ride Over Virginia Beach

A Biplane Ride Over Virginia Beach
A Biplane Ride Over Virginia Beach
A Biplane Ride Over Virginia Beach

If you’re traveling in a pair, there’s also a three-seater Waco YMF-5 biplane that fits the pilot and two passengers.

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend
48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend

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There’s plenty more to do in Virginia Beach in spring and summer months—particularly around the boardwalk area—these are just a few of my favorite off-the-tourist-path activities. I’m very much a steer-clear-of-crowds kind of traveler, so I appreciate a large city like this one that has places for me to steal away to and not be crushed by people.

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend

48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend
48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend

Have you been to Virginia Beach? What’s your favorite activity to do there in warmer months?

I traveled to Virginia Beach as part of a Travel Mindset project. All opinions are my own.

 

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48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend
48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend
48 Hours in Virginia Beach: How to Plan the Perfect Spring Weekend
COMMENTS
  • May 21, 2018

    Thank you for being the unofficial photog for my daughter- she loves you and the camera so much. haha!

    And I’m so happy you found a new love for this Atlantic Coast spot- I knew the ViBe and the breweries would win you over. 🙂

    • May 23, 2018

      I’m just getting started 😉 I’m going to put “must travel with Augustine” in my rider from here on out!

  • May 21, 2018

    Wow, this place seems so pretty. Pictures are really cool. Virginia Beach is now on my bucket list, would love to travel once.

  • May 21, 2018

    What a fun and fascinating story. Looks like a great time for family and relaxation. – Jim

  • May 21, 2018

    Amazing place! And a lot of fun spots! Thank you for sharing! Lovely photos!

    • May 23, 2018

      Have you been, Shani? You should go!

  • May 23, 2018

    I once went picking my own fruit in Edinburgh, it was such a great experience! Ha, I also found it impossible to eat the fruit while picking them!

    • July 2, 2018

      Right? Those strawberries were some of the tastiest I’ve ever had! I’m convinced they taste even better when you have to work for them, too 😉

  • May 24, 2018

    I admit I don’t know much about Virginia Beach but it looks super cute from your post. I’ll have to keep it in mind for future US travels.

    • July 2, 2018

      It is really cute! And a super easy trip from D.C., too.

  • May 30, 2018

    Virginia Beach is the closest beach to me, but I still don’t get down there very often. When I do it’s usually for work and we have a tiny little military installation down there that’s beach front & includes a beach that’s only open for military members. I always seem to be there in the winter, but I always stop by to say hello to the ocean & admire the empty beach.

    • July 2, 2018

      How about you meet me there on my next visit?!

  • June 3, 2018

    Girl, I absolutely loved showing you guys around my hometown! Beach, breweries, art and strawberries; how can you go wrong?

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