Bright sunshine, warm sand and the relaxing sounds of the ocean… that’s my idea of a perfect vacation. Roadside markers, historical sites and guided tours… that’s my husband’s idea of a perfect vacation! Fortunately, our visit to Coastal Virginia met the mark for both of us (the kids had a fabulous time, too!). If you haven’t had the chance to visit this stunning and historically significant region, it’s time to plan a trip.
Norfolk is a hub for all things maritime-related. One of the first shipyards in America, Norfolk is now home to the largest naval base in the world. Anyone with an interest in nautical happenings will fall in love with Norfolk! Take a tour of the Nauticus National Maritime Museum and visit the Battleship Wisconsin, one of the largest and last battleships built by the U.S. Navy. Be sure to stop at the MacArthur Memorial, final resting place of General Douglas MacArthur and home to award-winning exhibits. Finally, any trip to Norfolk must end on the water! Sail the beautiful harbor in style on an American Rover Cruise (you might even get to take a turn at the helm!).
Just a quick jaunt up the road is charming Newport News, settled in 1621. The Mariner’s Museum and Park is a must-do in this lovely piece of Virginia real estate. You’ll have the chance to experience the Monitor’s story in a way that history books can’t do justice! The Mariners’ Museum commemorates the Battle of Hampton Roads every year in early March. Step back in history to encampments and interactive activities for all ages. You might even get a handshake from President Abraham Lincoln! The Virginia War Museum sheds light on the history of the American military with unique, personal artifacts, weapons and other fascinating pieces of war memorabilia.
If southern living is more your thing, you’ll definitely want to check out the Lee Hall Mansion– a picture of the antebellum south frozen in time. The Virginia Living Museum gets you up close and personal with Virginia’s natural heritage and beauty with interactive exhibits and discovery centers. There’s much to do in this little slice of heaven!
Now that we’ve (momentarily) satisfied the history-seeking wanderlust in my husband, it’s time to relax on that sun-soaked beach…. which I enjoyed for 2 glorious hours before we were off on our next adventure!
Virginia Beach is truly a magnificent place for walks on the beach, casual beach front lunches or breath-taking sunsets. Our kids love the energy and excitement of the boardwalk and I love tucking myself under the beach umbrella with a good book while the waves crash around me. However, Virginia Beach is so much more than just the beach!
When you are ready to shake off the sand, a trip to the Virginia Aquarium Marine Science Center is a great option for cool, indoor fun! More than 10,000 animals are featured and countless interactive exhibits are available. Follow your wildlife encounters by taking to the tree tops as you climb and zipline your way through Adventure Park. What a view!
Just about an hour’s drive from Virginia Beach is the ultimate destination for history buffs. As my husband certainly qualifies as a “buff,” Williamsburg and the Jamestown Settlement top the list of required stop.
Colonial Williamsburg is the “world’s largest living history museum.” As you step onto the gravel roadways, you are stepping back in time to the 18th century. Visit the apothecary, talk to the artisans and craftsman of the era, and engage in political discussions relevant to the day as the colonists debate a war of independence. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget (especially if you manage to land in the stocks!!)
The historic Jamestown Settlement provides a glimpse into the lives of settlers in the first permanent English settlement in America, as well as their Native American counterparts. Almost everything is interactive, and kids (and adults) are encouraged to take part in village activities as well as climb aboard reproductions of the three ships that delivered the settlers in 1607.
If you are fortunate enough to homeschool your children, check out the Coastal Virginia Homeschool Odyssey by Group Travel Odyssey. During the week of October 15-22, 2017, you can join other homeschool families for great discounts and programs as part of a travel package designed EXCLUSIVELY for homeschoolers. The beauty of this travel opportunity is in the pricing and schedule flexibility. It’s a great chance to connect with others in the homeschool community while exploring all that this destination has to offer. Our family loved our trip to Coastal Virginia- it’s exciting, educational, and yes, even relaxing for Moms (at least for an hour or two!)