It’s a perfect day at Sandbridge Beach, VA. The sky is blue. The sun is bright. The waves are gently lapping the shore.
But, as the temperature soars, you start to feel slightly uncomfortable. Sweaty. Thirsty. Maybe even a little groggy.
It may be secluded and uncrowded (a huge part of its charm!). But make no mistake, Sandbridge Beach, VA, offers tons of opportunities for family-friendly fun. So, if you’re vacationing with children – tots to teens – you’ll never run out of kid-pleasing things to do.
How do you make education fun? Take it to the beach! At Sandbridge Beach, VA, kids can expand their knowledge and boost their skills while having the time of their lives. Here are just a few possibilities.
Sandbridge Beach may be a hidden gem, removed from the hustle-bustle. But this secluded coastal paradise offers plenty to see and do, including fun-filled attractions for your entire family. Here are just a few options.
As an angler, you know that the adventure of fishing is as much about the experience as it is reeling in the a big one. If you’re used to one fishing (or fish), you’ll love the variety that awaits you in Sandbridge Beach, Virginia.
Did you know that Sandbridge Beach, a community of Virginia Beach, is one of the nation’s prime locales for watching dolphins at play?
It’s true. The shallow shoreline waters just off Sandbridge Beach literally teem with dolphins, especially when the weather is warmer. Visit the shore at sunrise or sunset for your best chance to spot these beloved marine mammals as they leap and frisk in the waves.
Have you noticed? Families simply don’t spend time together the way they used to. According to psychologist Dr. Jim Taylor, writing in Psychology Today, busy lifestyles and 24/7 technology are driving us apart. “It’s gotten to the point,” he writes, “where it seems like parents and children are emailing and texting each other [even] more than they’re talking.”
#1 Sort Your Stuff With Packing Cubes
A beach vacation requires packing lots of little bits and pieces, especially if you have kids. Invest in several small or medium clear packing cubes to quickly sort and group small items. For example, you can have separate packing cubes for miniature toys, travel size toiletries, suntan lotions, and first aid necessities. Clear packing cubes not only make packing more manageable, but they also make it easier to lay your hands on what you need when you arrive.
#2 Make a Pocket Beach Towel
Traditional terry beach towels aren’t nearly as cool as thin, roll-up towels that have pockets for sunglasses, suntan lotion, eReaders, books, and toys. You can buy roll-up beach towels with pockets on Amazon, but you can also make your own. Martha Stewart’s website has an easy-to-follow pattern, and you don’t even need a sewing machine.
#3 Create a Bottle Safe
Upcycle a large format plastic bottle to create a secret stash for your phone, keys, and cash. From the back, cut the top half of the bottle nearly all the way off, just leaving the front panel intact. Wash the bottle with plenty of dish soap and let it dry. Attach a piece of clear packing tape to the back to hold the two pieces together. At the beach, stash your valuables in the bottle and tape it shut. No one will ever know!
#4 Make a Waterproof Camera
Cell phones are expensive, and they aren’t waterproof, so it’s a little risky to take one to the beach. Luckily, several manufacturers have started making inexpensive waterproof bags for phones. Not only do these bags keep your phone (and keys) safe at the beach, you can actually take them into the water so you can snap photos. Waterproof phone bags range from $10 to $30 — not a bad investment when you consider you’ve got a ready-made waterproof camera.
#5 Create a Sand-Free Zone
Beach lovers know that sand has a way of getting into everything, and it’s no fun when it gets into your picnic. You can easily create a clean, sand-free zone with a fitted sheet. Just place the sheet upside down on the beach and put four heavy items, such as beach bags or coolers, in the corners and pull the elastic over them.
#6 DIY Sunscreen
Catch the Sunrise
Sunrises on Sandbridge Beach are spectacular. The sun comes up early in the summer — just after 6 a.m., but this sunrise is worth getting up for. If you don’t want to set the alarm on vacation, sleep with your blinds open and get up as the sky begins to lighten. Grab your coffee and walk to the beach to watch the show.
Breakfast at Baja Coffee
Reward yourself for rising at the crack of dawn with a hearty (or light) breakfast from Baja Coffee. The shop is open from 6:30 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and is located just a short drive from the fishing pier.
Treat yourself to a freshly baked cinnamon roll or muffin, a breakfast wrap, yogurt and homemade granola, a fresh-fruit smoothie, or even a gluten-free quiche.
Baja’s coffee comes from Kill Devil Coffee Roasters in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The beans come from small independent farmers who are focused on sustainability and organic growing methods. This is the most delicious small-batch coffee you’ll find, so you may want to linger for a second cup.
False Cape Bike Tour
After breakfast, it’s time to get moving with a False Cape bike tour. The bike tour is a new activity for Surf & Adventure Co., and it’s sure to become one of the most popular.
Meet at Little Island Pier for a 10 a.m. start on one of two tours. You can either bike the semi-paved roads in False Cape State Park or rent a fat-tire sand bike and cruise the beach. Tour the interior roads, and you’ll pedal through high dunes and diverse ecosystems. Of the two tours, this is the least strenuous. Keep an eye out for critters such as deer, foxes, birds, and wild pigs.
The beach tour will take you east of the dunes across pristine, undeveloped beaches. You may see dolphin and seabirds starting their day too.
Lunch at Simply Steamed
If you’re ready for a break and a big glass of tea, head to Simply Steamed. Start with a jumbo shrimp cocktail, crab cake, She Crab soup, gazpacho, or a salad before diving into one of their famous sandwiches. Choose from local favorites such as the seafood wrap, shrimp taco, lobster salad, or crab-cake sandwich, or go for traditional entrees such as a BLT, Club, or fish sandwich. Take your lunch to the deck outside the seafood market and relax.
Before you leave, notice their one-pot take-out meals. Pots are custom made to order and can include corn on the cob, onions, red potatoes, and any combination of shrimp, clams, mussels, crabs, lobster, and crawfish. A small pot feeds two or three people, and the large pots can feed a large group or family. All you have to do is steam the contents of the pot in water, beer, or wine, and serve.
Shopping at Sandpiper Beach Shop
After lunch, it’s time for a little shopping at Sandpiper Beach Shop. This cute store is the best place to find the ultimate Sandbridge Beach souvenir. You’ll also find beach clothing for the whole family, sun hats, beach toys, sunblock, games, beach-themed home décor, and more.
Fishing and Swimming at Little Island Park
Traveling with your dog takes a little planning, though, so we’ve put together a list of tips to help you and your best friend have a good time together at your dog friendly vacation rental in Sandbridge.
And, don’t forget to check out our first article on Dog-Friendly Tips for Vacationing in Virginia Beach.
Packing for Your Dog
Your dog will need her own bag of supplies to keep her comfortable and happy while she’s away from home. You’ll probably want to bring:
- Jug or bottle of water for the ride
- Collapsible water bowl
- Waste bags
- Leash and harness or collar with your phone number on the back
- Vaccination records (just in case)
- Bed or favorite blanket
- Favorite toys
- Old beach towel
- Flashlight for walking at night (it’s dark out here!)
Before you leave, Google the nearest vet or pet emergency room and program it into your cell phone contacts. If you need them, you won’t have to waste time searching for help.
If your dog isn’t use to traveling, start by taking her on several short drives so she gets used to the motion, sights, and sounds of being in a car. Have a co-pilot give her lots of attention, praise, and treats so she recalls riding in the car as a happy experience she wants to repeat.
You’ll also want to find out early if your dog gets carsick. If she does, there are ways to help her cope, such as using a crate with limited views, or a middle seat so she can look out the windshield.
Once your dog is adjusted to the car, give her access to her favorite bed or blanket so she can take a nap once the excitement wears off. For safety, never let your dog ride in the driver’s lap (or in the open bed of a pickup truck).
Adjusting to the Rental House