Top 5 Places to get Dessert in Virginia Beach

SPOON Dessert Café

If you’re a foodie like me, finding a good place for dessert is a necessity on any vacation. Whether you’re looking for a quick ice cream cone after a long hot day on the beach or just something to satisfy your sweet tooth while exploring around Virginia Beach, we’ve got you covered! Here’s a list of some of our favorite dessert places in and around Sandbridge Beach: READ MORE

10 Cool Beach Tool Hacks for Your Next Sandbridge Vacation

top 10 beach hacks for Sandbridge
One of the best-loved vacation destinations is the ocean. While the surf and sun, breeze and wildlife are captivating, it can require a bit of creativity when it comes to sand, snacks, and sun protection. Here are 10 of our favorite beach tool hacks for your next Sandbridge Beach vacation:

#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 READ MORE

A Perfect Day in Sandbridge Beach, VA

Sandbridge Beach perfect day
From sunrises and seafood to swimming, surfing, and kayaking … it’s not hard to have a perfect day at Sandbridge Beach. However, it never hurts to have a plan. Here’s our idea of the best way to spend a day on Sandbridge.

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 READ MORE

More Dog-Friendly Tips for Vacationing in Virginia Beach

dog friendly vacation in Sandbridge
If your dog is part of your family, it can feel like someone’s missing when you vacation without her. At Sandbridge Beach, dogs are welcome in many rentals and restaurant patios, and on the beach, so there’s no reason to leave your baby at home or in a kennel.

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:

  • Food
  • Treats
  • Medicine
  • 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.

Road Tripping

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 READ MORE

Exciting Watersports at Sandbridge Beach

Paddleboard sandbridge watersports
Playing in, on, and under the water is one of the best parts of a vacation at Sandbridge Beach. There are so many watersports to try that you may have trouble fitting them all in. Don’t worry — if you don’t get around to everything, it’s just an excuse to come back next year. Here are some watersports that visitors love at Sandbridge Beach.

Snorkeling

Ready to discover the underwater sights off the coast of North Carolina? Bring your snorkeling mask or buy one locally. If you’re just leisurely paddling around, you won’t need fins. If you’re on a serious exploration mission in search of share-worthy photos, fins will help you maneuver more accurately and quickly.

When snorkeling from the beach, watch for shells and sea glass that are partially buried in the sand. Snorkelers are often rewarded with treasures that beachcombers miss. You are likely to see small fish, shrimp, and schools of baitfish in the warm, shallow waters near shore.

Scuba Tours

Sandbridge Beach is near some of the most famous shipwrecks on the coast. Book a scuba tour for expert guidance to these beautiful and haunting sites. Lynnhaven Dive Center is near Sandbridge Beach, and they have a custom dive boat that is built for comfortable diving in Atlantic waters. For wreck dives, divers can hold on to lines so they don’t get caught in the current and miss seeing the wreck.

If you’ve always wanted to learn to scuba dive, Lynnhaven also offers private scuba instruction and certification. Certification takes about four days; most of that is spent practicing in open waters near Sandbridge Beach. Training doesn’t last all day, so if you want to get certified on your vacation, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy other activities at Sandbridge.

Paddleboarding

Standup Paddle Boarding, or SUP, is a fun sport, great exercise, and it’s not as hard as it looks. Beginner paddleboards are wide and long for maximum stability, so don’t worry too much about falling off. You can rent paddleboards from Ocean Rentals or Surf & Adventure and take them to the beach on your own.

An alternative to surfing, paddleboarding allows you to use a paddle to get past the breaking waves (instead of exhausting your arms). Once you’ve cleared the rough waves, you’re already standing up — keep your eyes open for “foamies” or an “A-frame” and ride it to shore. Sandbridge is a beautiful place to learn to paddleboard — the waves are gentle, and the bottom is sandy (just in case you do fall off).

Tours are also an ideal way to enjoy paddleboarding. Rudee Inlet paddleboard tours are just up the road from Sandbridge Beach. They offer dolphin tours, sunset floating yoga, bald eagle spotting, and more, depending on the season.

Ocean Rentals also offers standup paddleboard tours. Beginners will enjoy touring the calm waters of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, while more experienced paddlers can venture out on an ocean tour from Little Island Park. Paddlers should be older than 12, but no experience is necessary or expected.

Kayaking

Sandbridge Beach is a kayaker’s paradise. For real peace and quiet, rent a kayak from Ocean Rentals and paddle the pristine waters of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Ocean Rentals also takes kayakers on guided tours of Back Bay and the open waters of North Bay. Kayakers can revel in the majesty of the refuge, and get up close with birds such as herons, egrets, bitterns, and migratory ducks.

Treat yourself to a truly memorable experience and sign up for a sunset ocean kayak, or a sunset dolphin kayak tour. Kayakers will see dolphin and pelagic birds such as pelicans and gannets. Some trips go out into the ocean and back, and some have a delicious end at Blue Pete’s restaurant with a van ride home.

Surfing

Surfing is the ultimate beach watersport, and Sandbridge Beach is the ideal place to learn or practice your skills. If you’ve always wanted to learn, Surf & Adventure Company offers private surf lessons and surf camps for beginners. Lessons are two hours long and are held on the north side of Little Island Park Pier. Once you’re ready to surf on your own, you can rent surfboards by the day or by the week from Surf & Adventure or Ocean Rentals.

Preparing for Water Fun

If you plan to enjoy watersports on your Sandbridge Beach vacation, one of the best investments you can make is a long-sleeved rash guard with SPF protection. Rash guards initially kept surfers from getting rashes caused by surf wax, but today they offer sun and wind protection for any water lover.

Whether you’re just relaxing, honing your skills, or developing new ones, the waters around Sandbridge Beach are an aquatic paradise for anyone who loves

Sandbridge Vacation Rentals vs. Hotels: What’s the Better Option?

Sandbridge vacation rentals
Renting a house or condo in Sandbridge Beach can make a vacation so much more enjoyable than staying in a hotel. From giving you more space to letting you live like a local, here are some of the perks of renting a house instead of a room:

Save Money

Renting a house or condo can be significantly less expensive than renting a hotel room (or rooms). At hotels, you’re paying for service: room service, maid service, parking, and concierge. However, on a beach vacation, most people will happily pass on the 8 a.m. housekeeping knock on the door and overpriced food. When you rent a house, you get to skip paying for extras you don’t want or need.

More Value

When renting a house at Sandbridge Beach, you get more bang for your buck. More space, the amenities you really want such as full kitchens, washer and dryer, dishwasher, microwave, blender, and more. You also often find Sandbridge Beach vacation rentals give you premium locations near the attractions you love most.

More Space

The average hotel room is only 325 square feet. That’s a pretty small space to share with another person, or your entire family, for a week. Even the coziest rentals at Sandbridge Beach have a bedroom, kitchen, dining room, living room, and a porch.

Better Views

Why spend your beach vacation looking at a parking lot or bank of air conditioners when you could be looking at the ocean? Many rentals are beachfront or beach view, giving you gorgeous vistas from every room.

Porches

A private porch with rocking chairs is better than a tiny hotel balcony. After a day at the beach, you can spend a quiet summer evening cooking, reading, and relaxing on your porch instead of watching TV in a hotel room.

More Privacy

Like to sleep in? Rather have your breakfast and coffee before your shower? Prefer peace and quiet to the noise of elevators and rude guests yelling outside your door? With a vacation rental house, you have complete control over the decibel level and your schedule.

More Quality Time

If you’re traveling with friends or family, everyone tends to part ways after dinner. Sharing a rental house means everyone can have their space, but still hang out together over coffee or late-night games or drinks without feeling they’re bothering others.

Better Amenities

Rentals can come with fun and useful amenities such as outdoor grills, hammocks, Jacuzzi tubs, books, a fireplace, screened porch, rocking chairs, beach toys, and more. Sometimes these thoughtful touches become the best part of a vacation.

Better Location

Even beachfront hotels can’t rival a rental on a quiet stretch of shoreline. Hotels need space for parking, restaurants, and staff offices. Rent a house, and you won’t have to face the business end of a hotel’s location. Instead, it will be just you, your home, and the ocean.

More Flexibility

Rentals give everyone the space to do as they please. You can get the group together for a boisterous game night, or everyone can have their spot to read, nap, and relax.

Pet-Friendly

Few hotels allow pets, and even if they do, it can be difficult for your furry friend to find a place of their own to get comfortable. Many rentals are pet-friendly, and there’s ample room for dog beds, crates, games of chase, and whatever makes your buddy happy. A rental also allows you to give your sandy, salty dog a bath before she gets in bed with you.

Live Like a Local READ MORE

Top Vacation Budget Tips for Sandbridge Beach (More)

family vacation budget tips
At Sandbridge Blue, we realize that family vacations are all about memories. When you think of your vacation to Sandbridge Beach, we want you to remember how much fun you had and how much you enjoyed spending quality time with your family…not how expensive it was.

With this in mind, we came up with a few budget-friendly activities to add on to our previous article, Top 7 Vacation Budget Tips for Sandbridge Beach, that you can take advantage of while on vacation to save you money while also fostering family bonding.

Budget-Friendly Activities

Make the most of your money and the time you have away with your family in Sandbridge by incorporating these activities into your vacation plans:

  • Participate in Water Activities – While a favorite beach pastime is just catching some rays and maybe reading a book, some people want a little more activity in their beach day itinerary. If you have children, teens, or even young adults in your group, they can spend hours surfing the waves on a body or “boogie board”. If you don’t have boogie boards already, no worries! You can rent some from Surf and Adventure Co. and enjoy free delivery and pickup. Also check out their kayak, canoe and paddle board rentals!
  • Plan a Family Game or Movie Night – Enjoy a night-in with the family at your vacation home with dinner and a movie or family game night. Fry up the fresh fish you caught at the pier, play some board or card games, and then relax on the couch with a family movie and build a blanket fort for the kids to camp out on the living room floor.
  • Go Berry Picking in Pungo – There’s nothing like fresh strawberries you picked right from the farm! Virginia Beach is known for some of the most delicious strawberries and the kids will have a blast harvesting their own fresh treat. Just south of Sandbridge is Pungo Agricultural District with 16 different places to pick your own strawberries; hurry though, Strawberry season in Virginia Beach runs from April through June and the best berries are available early in the season. Depending on what time of year your Virginia Beach vacation is, you may even be able to pick your own bushel of blueberries, blackberries, kale, cabbage, or even wildflowers!
  • Geocache around Sandbridge – Never been geocaching before? Geocaching is a fun (free) way to explore the outdoors and bond with friends and family. Basically, someone will hide a “cache” of some sort with hints about its location and people use a Geocaching App with GPS to find it. Once you find it, you add your name to the paper log (if there is one) and log that you found it on geocaching.com. Not only will you get plenty of exercise and enjoy the challenge of the hunt, but the only cost to you is the price of gas from one area to another!
  • READ MORE

    Virginia is for Lovers: Vacationing in Sandbridge

    Virginia is for lovers in Sandbridge
    They don’t say “Virginia is for Lovers” for no reason! Sandbridge is not only the perfect vacation destination for the entire family, but it’s also in no short supply of romantic opportunities. Here are a few date options for couples of all ages to enjoy on their vacation. Whether you’re looking for romance, adventure, or just some old-fashioned quality time, one of these ideas is sure to impress.

    Sunrise Picnic

    There are few things more romantic than enjoying a beautiful sunrise or sunset on the beach with your significant other. Keep an eye on the weather and try to pick the clearest day of your vacation so that too many clouds won’t fog your view, especially if you opt for the sunrise view. If you want extra brownie points, pack a surprise picnic or some mimosas to enjoy while you take in the sights and sounds of the ocean together. If you bring the kiddos along on vacation and have someone to watch them, you might even be able to sneak away and enjoy some alone time on the beach before they wake up.

    Exploring Back Bay

    Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge has all the beautiful scenery you could ask for. From beach views to the woodlands and marshes that stretch over 9,200 acres, this is the perfect place for outdoor-lovers to go on a peaceful nature hike. A fun addition that would double as a way to remember your Sandbridge Beach vacation would be to have a photography competition during your hike.

    Take pictures of different scenery and any wildlife you come across during your hike (and don’t forget pictures of/with each other) and choose a winner at the end…loser buys ice cream at Sandbridge Sugar Shack!

    Sandbridge Sugar Shack

    Speaking of the Sugar Shack…treat your significant other to coffee, ice cream or frozen yogurt and then rent a couple bikes and explore the area. Keep an eye out for special events going on like live music and face painting. They also do fun specials like “dress up like a mermaid or a pirate for 50% off” which sounds like a date all by itself!

    Craft Beer Tour

    While not specifically in Sandbridge, the Virginia Beach Guided Craft Brewery Tour is a fun, and educational, date idea for beer enthusiasts. You’ll be provided transportation to and from each brewery, guided through each brewery for a behind-the-scenes experience. With over 5 breweries in Virginia Beach, your sure to find your new favorite brew.

    Tee Time

    For the sporty couple, Hell’s Point Golf Club has a beautiful and challenging course for all ages. With a well-maintained course and wide variety in holes. If you’re a couple who enjoys a little friendly competition, this date idea will be fun and occupy a good amount of time when you’re all beached out for the day. If you’re vacationing with other couples, you could even make it a group date!

    Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center READ MORE

    Pro Travel Hack: Always Bring a Sarong to Sandbridge Beach

    Sarongs
    Packing light for a vacation at Sandbridge Beach is part of the fun. Spending a week or two in flip-flops, shorts, and a swimsuit is part of the dream, right? One of the most versatile items you can tuck in your suitcase is a sarong.

    Sarongs are rectangles of cotton fabric about two yards long. A staple of Indonesian and Malaysian culture, they are brightly colored or patterned and traditionally worn as skirts or dresses. However, this up-and-coming trend has beachgoers embracing the sarong for its versatility for the whole family. They roll up small (about the size of a sandwich), so they don’t take up much room in your luggage or beach bag.

    Here are some of our favorite ways to use a sarong at Sandbridge Beach.

    Beach Towels

    When you’re headed to the beach, it’s easy to pack several sarongs in your beach bag. In fact, half a dozen rolled-up sarongs take up less space than one terrycloth beach towel. Imagine having enough towels for the whole family in one small, lightweight bag. Because they are thin, they dry quickly in the sun. Use a sarong in this manner, and you’ll likely always have a dry towel.

    Shawl  or Cover-Up

    Most of the time you’ll only need shorts and a T-shirt or a light sundress at Sandbridge Beach. However, in the evenings or on breezy days it’s nice to have a quick cover-up. Keep a sarong in your bag and eliminate the need for bulky sweaters or sweatshirts.

    Carry a spare sarong, and you’ll always have a light wrap for outdoor meals in the evening, nighttime beach walks, or to cover up in light wind. They can be used to wrap up chilly kids on the beach or at dinner, and they pack and stow quickly. When it’s too hot for a sweatshirt but too cool for short sleeves, sarongs make lovely nap blankets at the beach or on the porch.

    Tote Bags

    Tie your sarong into a small sling and you’ll have an instant picnic bag or grocery bag. At the beach, use it to carry kids’ toys, shells, driftwood, or other treasures.

    Bug Protection

    Sometimes the mosquitoes come out before you’re ready for them. If you’ve forgotten your bug spray, or just don’t want to smell like pine insecticide at dinner, cover up with your sarong.

    Picnic Blankets

    Use your sarong as a beautiful picnic blanket for two, or spread out several colorful squares to make a picnic table for the whole family. Depending on how tightly you roll them, two or three sarongs will fit in a gallon Ziploc baggie to keep them dry if you want to pack them in your cooler.

    Swim Cover-ups for Women, Men, and Kids

    You don’t need to buy an expensive swimsuit cover-up. Sarongs can be worn tied below the waist as a short or long skirt, or around the neck for a short dress. Because sarongs are easy to pack, you’ll have more room in your beach bag for a good book and plenty of snacks. Men can wear sarongs, too— in fact, men in T-shirts, flip-flops, and long sarongs are a common sight on world-renowned beaches from Bali to Puerto Rico.

    Sundresses

    Sarongs come in beautiful, bright colors that blend in with a beachy vibe. With just a few smart twists you can wrap a sarong into a pretty sundress that will take you from the beach to lunch. Wrap it in a longer sundress, slip on your fun flip-flops or sparkly sandals and you’ll be ready for a casual dinner.

    Robes

    Sarongs are great when it’s too hot to wear anything else. They’re also nice to throw on as a robe if you’re renting a house with other people and sharing common space. Wrap a sarong around you if you’re not ready to properly dress yet, or are on the way to or from a shared bath.

    Instant Shade Canopies

    Midday sun can be hot at Sandbridge Beach. Find four long pieces of driftwood, tie the ends of your sarong to the tops, and then wedge the sticks in the sand. You’ll have instant (and pretty) shade without having to haul a beach umbrella around.

    Tie Up Dirty Laundry READ MORE