My family has quite a bit of history in Virginia, so it’s a little surprising that the only time I’ve visited prior to this was on an 8th grade field trip to Washington D.C. to learn about places like Monticello and colonial Williamsburg. This time around, Craig and I went for a long over due visit with family and to see a bit more of the state. If your next trip to Virginia takes you to the Virginia Beach area and Charlottesville, here are a few suggestions for what to eat, see and do while you’re there!
A long weekend felt like plenty of time to make our way around each of these areas of Virginia. Although, Craig and I did discuss a fantasy scenario we both had about staying longer to do a Civil War road trip. This is deeply embarrassing (nerd alert!) but something we actually do hope to make a reality someday.
Why Virginia Beach?
We came for a long overdue visit with family but honestly, it’s such a unique and cool area of the country, it’s totally worth experiencing even if you don’t have any connections here. We started our trip in Franktown, which is about a 45 minute drive from Virginia Beach. This is a great destination for a half-day trip because of the oyster ships and tasting shacks along the coast here. The area is known for having a large variety of oysters, second only to the hudson valley in terms of production, historically speaking. And while the oysters here were a bit on the large side for me, they tasted super briny and delicious! The scenery here is also really beautiful. We did quite a bit of driving and all of the highways run over water and it’s a bit like being in the movie “Waterworld”. As you make your way between the countryside and Virginia Beach, you’ll drive past quite a few shops and bed and breakfasts. We didn’t get to stop at any of them but it seemed like a fun way to spend an afternoon, especially if you stop off for a bottle of rosé and just bop around shopping for antiques and eating oysters.
Where to Stay
We stayed in an Airbnb in the Cape Charles area, which is one of the southern most towns along Virginia’s Eastern shore. The area has a main thoroughfare where the boardwalk is and there are a bunch of hotels if you’d rather go that route. Honestly though, I recommend renting a cute Airbnb (Think: 1900’s bungalows, so charming!) in a relatively walkable area with some cute surf shops, restaurants, and boutiques. Virginia Beach has a nice east-coast surfer vibe in the hipper areas, but it has a Jersey Shore vibe in the not-so-hip areas, so take a look at what’s near by before you book.