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!

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Top 7 Vacation Budget Tips for Sandbridge Beach – Updated

budget tips in sandbridge
If you’re looking for a beach vacation but think that it may be too expensive then consider staying at Sandbridge Beach! When you stay in Sandbridge you can have a relaxing, secluded vacation without breaking the bank. This may sound too good to be true, but we’ve provided 7 vacation budget tips to help you plan your next beach vacation!

Vacation Budget Tips

  1. Check For Specials and Discounts

One of the best money saving tips we can give any vacationer is to check for specials. The best benefit to staying in Sandbridge as opposed to Virginia Beach is the seclusion.  We all know the old saying “you get what you pay for” but in this case you can get the seclusion of Sandbridge for close to the same price as busy Virginia Beach. Our Specials page is constantly updated to reflect the most current discounts and specials.

  1. Make The Most of Your Rental

Your vacation rental should have everything you need to enjoy a budget-friendly vacation. All our properties include a full-sized kitchen and a grill. Since you will have a kitchen and grill you can save money by cooking rather than going out to eat. Most of our properties are equipped with some form of entertainment: pool table, foosball table, volleyball court, private pool, etc. Having this kind of entertainment is a fun, cheap way to enjoy your vacation while you’re not on the beach.

  1. Rent Beach Equipment

I know what you’re thinking, “why rent beach equipment when I’m trying to have a budget-friendly vacation?” Well the fact of the matter is you can rent kayaks, surfboards, boogie boards, and bicycles fairly cheap for the entire week.

  • Visit Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
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    Top 7 Photo Ops at Sandbridge Beach

    photography for Sandbridge photos
    Sandbridge Beach is a photographer’s paradise. Even if you’re not a professional shutterbug, you’ll enjoy taking advantage of the beautiful photo opportunities that pop up everywhere you look at Sandbridge Beach. Here are some of our favorites.

    The Ocean

    The ocean at Sandbridge Beach changes with every passing hour. From high tide to low tide, calm seas to stormy waves, sunrise, and sunset, capturing the natural majesty of the ocean is a powerful way to preserve your vacation memories.

    Take a beach walk and capture close-up shots of seashells, sand castles, dunes, and vegetation. If you have a DSLR camera, turn your setting to “micro” to get the best details. If you’re using a camera phone, zoom in so that smaller objects fill the whole frame.

    Beach Dogs

    Sandbridge Beach is dog friendly, and nobody has more fun playing on the beach than our furry friends. Keep your camera ready so you can capture those wet, goofy smiles as these playful pups dash by.

    Back Bay Wildlife Refuge

    There’s no end to the photo opportunities at Back Bay Wildlife Refuge. This 8,000-acre barrier island is home to hundreds of species of birds, including flocks of Tundra Swans and rare ducks. On the ocean side, keep a lookout for turtle nests, diving seabirds, and dolphins. In the wetlands and forests, stay camera ready for deer, bobcats, hawks, and colorful songbirds.

    Little Island Park & Pier

    Little Island Park is a 122-acre beach park just north of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The 400-foot long fishing pier provides spectacular opportunities to photograph crabs, fish, diving pelicans, the sparkle off the water, sunrises, sunsets, and even passing dolphins breaching the waves.

    Lotus Garden Park

    Lotus Garden Park is just north of Little Island Park on Sandbridge Road. This park has a lovely pond that is full of blooming lotus flowers. Lotus Garden Park is a haven for colorful water birds, frogs, butterflies, and other animals and exotic insects. For the best pictures here, go slowly and observe the water and flowers carefully.

    False Cape State Park

    Between Back Bay and the ocean, you’ll find False Cape State Park, an undeveloped slice of heaven. This historic site has 6 miles of pristine beach and hiking trails that pass by photo-worthy locations such as an old church site with a cemetery, the Coast Guard Life Saving Station, and the remnants of the Wash Woods community settlement.

    You can hike or ride bikes around the park, but you can also take a tram ride that leaves from Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. If you’re short on time, the tram is an excellent way to make a round trip through the park and see the highlights. The park is open from dusk until dawn each day for visitors. You’ll want to bring plenty of sunscreen and bug spray.

    Family & Friends

    Of course, the heart and soul of Sandbridge Beach are the people who come to share the joy of this special place. It’s easy to wind up a vacation with hundreds of scenic photos, but the best photos to help you remember your vacation feature you and your family or friends. Make a vacation resolution to take at least one group shot each day, commemorating your favorite moment or most dramatic discovery. If you’re traveling with your kids, remember how quickly time flies. Those photos you take of your children playing on the beach may just become your  favorite memories years later when they’re grown.

    Pro Tips

    Whether you’re using your cell phone camera or a DSLR camera, a few quick tips can help you take better photos of your Sandbridge Beach vacation.

    Lighting: The hour just after sunrise and just before sunset are known to photographers as “the golden hours.” During this time, sunlight is naturally diffused, giving everything a heavenly glow. Take photos of people (and things) when the sun isn’t directly behind them, so you don’t get a dark, backlit effect. Pictures come out better when the sunlight is indirect; the closer you are to noon the more washed out your photos will be.

    Composition: Frame your photos with the subject either directly in the middle of the frame or filling up two-thirds of the frame. If you’re taking pictures of a trail or boardwalk, place the start of the path in the corner of the screen.

    Quantity: If you’re using a digital camera, the best way to get a fantastic photo is to take lots of pictures and edit down to your favorites later.

    With its pristine beaches, protected parks and refuges, and breathtaking scenery, Sandbridge Beach is a photographer’s dream. Take plenty of pictures, seek out off-the-beaten-path gems, and capture your favorite moments and discoveries each day to enrich your memories later.

    Top 10 Boredom Busters In and Around Sandbridge Beach

    Boredom Busters
    With summer fun behind us and the excitement of the holidays still weeks away, things can get a little boring at home in the fall. If you’re in need of a boredom-busting adventure, head to Sandbridge Beach. Fall in Sandbridge Beach offers some unique opportunities. Here are some of our favorite fall adventures in Sandbridge Beach.

    See Back Bay From the Water

    There’s something special about seeing Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge from the water. Fall is quiet — the right time to enjoy watersports and tours. Always wanted to learn to paddleboard or surf? Come on down.

    Kayak the Tributaries

    Rent a canoe or kayak from Surf & Adventure Co. and take their two-hour guided tour of the quiet tributaries that run through the refuge to the Atlantic Ocean. Your guide will help you identify all the magnificent birds and wildlife that become active in cooler temperatures.

    Ocean Kayaking

    If you’re feeling more adventurous, take an ocean kayak tour. You’ll likely spot dolphins and pelagic birds as you cruise the quiet waters of the coast. For a special treat, book the Blue Pete’s kayak tour. This one-way paddle begins in Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and ends at Blue Pete’s restaurant around sunset. Have dinner, then catch your ride back to your car at the refuge.

    Learn to Surf or Paddleboard

    Waters around Sandbridge Beach are still warm enough in early fall to surf or paddleboard, though you might want to rent a thin wetsuit. Sandbridge Beach has gentle waves and a sandy bottom, making it the ideal place for beginning paddleboarders or surfers. You can rent surfboards and paddleboards by the day or week, and some outfitters even deliver right to your cottage.

    Hike Off the Beaten Path

    Hike or Camp False Cape State Park

    The East and West Dike Trail to False Cape State Park is open until October 31. False Cape State Park is accessible only by foot or by boat, so this is a truly special bucket list trip. There are a few primitive campsites in the park, and staying overnight allows visitors to experience the absolute quiet and stunning starlight displays that day visitors miss. False Cape also features the ruins of a church and cemetery that are worth exploring.

    Prefer a bed to a sleeping bag? Day hikers who take the 7.6-mile coastal trail hike in Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge can see white-tailed deer, multiple species of birds, migrating waterfowl, foxes, rabbits, and the occasional sea turtle. This hike will take you through diverse ecologies such as beaches, sand dunes, fields, marshes, and woodlands so you can kiss boredom goodbye.

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    Activities for the Adventurous Vacationer in Sandbridge

    activities iFly Virginia Beach
    If you are looking for an adventure that offers more adrenaline than what your typical go-carts or putt-putt can offer we’ve got you covered. Here are 6 activities that will get you active and your adrenaline going in the Virginia Beach area.

    iFly

    Newer to the area, we have indoor skydiving at iFly. iFly is a 14’ temperature controlled indoor skydiving venue located on Pacific Ave. in Virginia Beach. Once you check-in you will have a small training session where you learn the proper body position for flying and hand signals the instructor will use while you are flying. After that you gear up and are ready to go! Each flight last 60 seconds. Even if you have little ones who are brave and want to go it is totally safe for anyone ages 3 and up!

    The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium

    Spend the day zipping from tree to tree at The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium! The Adventure Park is the largest forest climbing park in the nation with 15 trails, 21 zip lines, 6 difficulty levels and 200 challenge bridges. You will be able to choose a 2 or 3 hour forest adventure. This does not include the safety orientation that you must take before climbing. With 15 different trails to choose from, beginner to advance, The Adventure Park is a great way to spend a day of active fun with your friends and/or family.

    Stand Up Paddleboarding

    Stand up paddleboarding, also known as SUP, is a bit more relaxing but still a lot of fun and gives you a full body workout. Riders balance themselves standing on the board and use a paddle to navigate through water. While staying in Sandbridge you have access to all the canals and Back Bay Wildlife Refuge to paddle through. If you are looking for more of a rush you can head over to the beach and catch some waves. Never paddle boarded before but interested in learning? Check out Surf and Adventure! They offer group or private lessons and well as SUP tours.

    Kayaking

    Spend the day soaking in the sun while experiencing nature at it most pristine. With over 121 navigable miles of waterways Virginia Beach is a perfect place to go kayaking. If you have your own kayak there are a few different launch sites at Back Bay Wildlife refuge. If you are traveling you can rent or go on a kayak tour at Surf and Adventure. They offer 6 different tours from a eco tour to a kayak fishing tour.

    Offshore Fishing

    You can get such an adrenaline rush from offshore fishing especially if you catch a blue marlin or a yellowfin tuna. Most trips last from 12 to 17 hours and need to be reserved in advance. The day starts before the sun comes up. You will head out to wrecks, offshore towers, and underwater canyons 75 miles from shore. Once you get where you are going you will drop your line and hopefully be reeling in a 300-pound tuna. You can book offshore fishing charters with Rudee Tours. They even offer 3 hourly nightly fishing tour, from 6 pm to 9pm, that is perfect for kids.

    Back Bay Wildlife Refuge/ False Cape State Park

    Back Bay Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park is such a beautiful place to go hiking or biking. These are two different locations and offer different sights but you can only access False Cape through Back Bay Wildlife Refuge.

    Back Bay has 8 miles of scenic trails to explore. They offer tours and educational programs. You will have amazing views of the bay and may see some wildlife such as birds and deer along the trails.

    False Cape has 6 miles of beaches, 12 campsites, and 9 miles of hiking/biking. They also offer tours and educational programs. If you plan on visiting for just the day you will be able to take a tram from Back Bay. You will have 2 hours to explore the area. While you are there be sure to check out Wash Woods area. There is an old church and cemetery. If you plan on stay the night you will have to hike/bike through Back Bay refuge.

    Even though many people choose to vacation in Virginia Beach to spend the day in the sun building sandcastles there are many activities in the area for the more adventurous time. Have you tried one of these activities? I am sure there are many other things to do in the area to get your adrenaline going. Is there a place that you go to every year that we may have missed?

    Explore the Beauty and Excitement of Sandbridge Parks and Refuges

    refuges

    Visitors to Sandbridge Beach come for seclusion, pristine beaches, and the rare opportunity to be immersed in an unspoiled natural environment. Sandbridge Beach may be compact, but what it lacks in square mileage it more than makes up for in breathtaking wildlife refuges and family-friendly state parks.

    Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge

    Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge covers more than 9,000 acres on the Currituck Banks Peninsula. The refuge borders the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Back Bay of Currituck Sound to the west. This salt- and freshwater refuge was established in 1938 to preserve a critical feeding and resting habitat for migrating waterfowl. As part of the Atlantic Flyway, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is a temporary and permanent home to hundreds of species of birds.

    Back Bay Refuge is also an important habitat for loggerhead sea turtles and other animals. During fall and winter, thousands of ducks, tundra swans, and snow geese stop at the refuge for rest and recreation. Visitors may also spot great blue heron, the elusive American bittern, American black ducks, osprey, deer, muskrats, river otters, bobcats, and raccoons.

    Visitors can enjoy a diverse geography that includes sand dunes, marshes, ponds, beaches, and forests by hiking or biking the marsh trails, strolling the boardwalk, or walking the beach. A good first stop is the Visitor Contact Station, which is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. For a broad overview of the refuge before you dive in on your own, take a ride on the Blue Goose Tram, which offers an excellent guided tour through Back Bay and False Cape State Park.

    Want to learn more about this special place? The refuge offers educational and public service programs, including Clean the Bay Day, fishing clinics, turtle conservation programs, the Pond Explorers program, and marsh nature hikes. Canoes and kayaks can be launched at Horn Point, and fishing is available off the dock and the beach.

    False Cape State Park

    False Cape State Park lies between Back Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. This is a primitive, undeveloped park that was once home to Native Americans and the historic Wash Woods community. The park is accessible only on foot, by bicycle, tram tour, boat, or beach transport. If you are looking for quiet and seclusion, this is a wonderful park for kayaking, camping, hiking, beachcombing, and trail biking.

    False Cape State Park is on the two-hour tram tour that begins in Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Overnight campers are welcome in the park, but be sure to bring plenty of water, insect repellent, and sunscreen and be prepared for pop-up storms.

    Little Island Park

    Little Island Park is a small but mighty park north of Back Bay Refuge. This beachfront park has a 400-foot fishing and crabbing pier, and an ideal surfing and swimming beach. Little Island has all the amenities families need for a fun day at the beach including picnic shelters, charcoal grills, a playground, canoe and kayak rental, restrooms, fishing pole rentals, concessions, and vending machines. Visitors can also check out sport and beach gear such as basketballs, baseball bats, corn hole boards and bags, Frisbees, soccer balls, volleyballs, and beach wheelchairs from the park office.

    Little Island Park welcomes dogs anytime after Labor Day weekend and before Memorial Day weekend. Otherwise, dogs are allowed in the park and on the beach before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. the rest of the year.

    Red Wing Park

    Just a short drive from Sandbridge Beach you’ll find Red Wing Park, a 97-acre park that is home to some of the most beautiful gardens in Virginia. If you’re visiting in warm months, you’ll likely see outdoor weddings and formal wedding photography taking place. This park not only boasts a picturesque Japanese garden, but also plenty of picnic shelters with grills, playgrounds, a dog park, concessions, restrooms, and basketball, volleyball and tennis courts. Red Wing also allows visitors to borrow sports equipment from the park office.

    For nature lovers, Sandbridge Beach is the perfect place to turn off the cell phone and get back in touch with Nature and what really matters most. Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge has something for all ages and abilities — whether it’s an adventurous solo overnight camping trip or a relaxing, educational tram ride through Back Bay Refuge and False Cape National Park.

    Sandbridge Beach has both primitive and thoughtfully appointed state parks for those seeking solitude or fun family outings. Pack a picnic and your sunscreen, then head for the hiking trails and uncrowded beaches of Sandbridge’s state parks and you’ll be set for a day you’ll remember for years to come.