Let's face it. Family members don't always perfectly agree on their vacation preferences. Mom and Dad may yearn for peace and tranquility in a beautiful seaside setting, while the kids want big-city sights and attractions.
Fortunately, Sandbridge Beach, VA, offers the best of both worlds. This serene seaside haven provides a relaxing retreat, close to the beauties of nature but removed from the hustle-bustle. Yet it's just a short, easy drive from hoppin' Virginia Beach.
So, while you and your family are staying in Sandbridge, why not take a day trip or two northward to nearby attractions? That way, everyone's happy!
Here are a few kid-pleasing things to do, all less than a half-hour from Sandbridge Beach, VA.
iFly Virginia Beach (25 Minutes from Sandbridge Beach)
Ever wish you could fly like a bird? At iFly (2412 Pacific Ave, Virginia Beach), you and your family can experience the unique sensation of guided indoor skydiving. It's an unforgettable adventure!
Accompanied by a certified flight instructor, you'll float high on a column of air in a special wall-to-wall wind tunnel. As you soar, you'll relish the refreshing wind and the buoyant feeling of weightlessness.
But not to worry - there are no scary jumps, drops, or freefalls. So, anyone 3 or older can safely enjoy the fun. (Some restrictions do apply.)
The entire session lasts about an hour and a half - including initial training and post-flight photo viewing - but the flight itself takes only 60 seconds. Rest assured, though, that those 60 seconds are packed with magic and wonder.
Depending on which package you purchase, you can fly once or twice per session or even take double-length flights. Special group and birthday packages are available, too.
During your first flight session, the wind tunnel's driver will take photos of you mid-flight. Afterward, you can view the photos and pick which ones (if any) to purchase. You can select digital downloads, 6 x 8 prints, videos, and other formats. Plus, you can access your purchased photos for up to 3 months online.
All told, it's a family adventure you'll remember for years to come. But it's also extremely popular, so be sure to reserve your session online as soon as you can.
Virginia Aquarium (19 Minutes from Sandbridge Beach)
Is your family fascinated by the creatures of the sea? You're in luck. Just up the road apiece - at 717 General Booth Boulevard, Virginia Beach - you'll find the Virginia Aquarium & Maritime Science Center, one of the nation's foremost aquariums.
Here you'll encounter:
- Hundreds of species of fish swimming in giant glass-front aquariums filled with 800,000 gallons of water
- Three different species of sea turtles plus several species of semi-aquatic turtles
- Exotic snakes, both venomous and non-venomous
- Giant lizards, poisonous frogs, sea snails, sea urchins, seals, otters, birds, and more
All animals are viewable - "up close and personal" - in specially designed habitats resembling their natural ecosystems. You'll spot sharks and rays; porcupinefish, eels, and other exotic sea life; actual crocodiles (different from alligators!); cobras and pythons, and many others - a whole world of colorful critters sure to dazzle and delight your children.
Tickets are available online, along with more information.
Rudee Tours (20 Minutes from Sandbridge Beach)
Both kids and adults love deep-sea excursions - especially if they involve exciting activities like whale and dolphin watching!
That's why you'll want to check out Rudee Tours at 200 Winston Salem Ave., Virginia Beach. This locally famous firm operates the largest fleet of head boats in the entire Virginia Beach area. Plus, it offers the only whale/dolphin-watching boats featuring multi-level decks, climate-controlled cabins, and 360-degree views both inside and out.
Depending on the season, you'll get a chance to see:
- Majestic humpback whales, the world's largest marine mammals
- Entire pods of bottleneck dolphins leaping and frisking in the waves
- Plus plenty of other sea life, from seals to seabirds and more
But these eye-popping wildlife sightings are not your only options. You can also book a 6-hour fishing trip on a large, comfortable charter boat. Plus, you can opt for a dashing dolphin-watching jaunt aboard the Rudee Rocket, a special high-speed thrill for teens and preteens.
The Boardwalk (24 Minutes from Sandbridge Beach)
There's something for everyone - from toddlers to grownups - at the famous Virginia Beach Boardwalk.
Teens and adults will love shopping, lunching, and people-watching along this 3-mile-long, 28-foot-wide walkway, which stretches from 2nd to 40th Street. When the weather's nice, the Boardwalk's quaint restaurants offer delectable outdoor dining. And, on warm evenings, live entertainment fills the air with the sounds of summer.
Meanwhile, little kids can have a blast frolicking at Grommet Island Park (100 2nd Street) - under adult supervision, of course! This 15,000-square-foot oceanfront playground provides all the latest child-safe equipment, including height-adjusted sand tables for sandcastle building; a sensory board for kids on the spectrum or visually impaired; a rollicking kiddie sway boat; plus fanciful sculptures that encourage make-believe.
Plus Plenty More, From Mini-Golf to Wilderness Hiking
And remember, these day-trip pleasures are just a few miles from Sandbridge Beach. So, you can jaunt up whenever you want...then return to the seaside serenity of your secluded Sandbridge rental.