Hey everyone, sorry it’s been a little quiet around here. Addie and I just got back from a whirlwind trip to Virginia Beach. Our main purpose for the trip was a gymnastics competition but we went up a few days early to do some exploring. I’ve only been to Virginia Beach one other time, but that was 20 years or so ago and Addie had never been. I reached out to the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureaus and they were more than happy to help suggest some family friendly fun for my trip. They are the official source for travel information in the Virginia Beach area. They’ll be more than happy to help you too. You can visit their website, www.VisitVirginiaBeach.com or call them at 1-800-VA-BEACH and request a complimentary vacation guide. Virginia Beach is really big, a whole lot bigger than the beach area that I live in. It actually has more than 35 miles of sandy shores and boasts 3 different beach experiences and a lively downtown district, Virginia Beach is truly a place you can “Live The Life”.
On travel day, we woke up bright and early. I always like to get up and go to maximize our actual sightseeing time. Unfortunately, it rained my entire 5 1/2 hour drive and slowed us down a bit but we still arrived before lunchtime. The first thing we did was check in to our hotel. We stayed at the Comfort Suites Beachfront and the staff was more than helpful to accommodate our early arrival time. We freshened up a bit and then headed off to the Military Aviation Museum which is located in the Sandbridge Beach region of Virginia Beach. The Military Aviation Museum has one of the world’s largest collections of flying World War II airplanes. Addie and I were really excited to go to the museum because earlier this year, we visited the Normandy region of France and the World War II memorials there. I love building upon things we’ve already learned and it was great to be able to add another component to that. The museum’s director, Mr. Mike Potter, was kind enough to give us a private tour of the entire museum and even some sneak peaks of what’s to come. 2 out of every 3 planes that we saw, actually still fly today and on Tuesdays and Thursdays when the weather is nice many are pulled outside and are taken for a spin by local pilots. What I like about this museum is nothing is behind a glass case. You can get as close to a World War II plane as the actual pilots did. What an amazing experience for children. Not only are there planes, but also service vehicles and an actual watchtower from England that is being rebuilt with the original brick. So much history to explore. We spent 2 good hours walking through the hangers asking Mike all sorts of aviation questions. Even if you aren’t on a tour, there are plenty of knowledgeable volunteers walking around and will be able to help you with your questions. Addie was even able to hop up in one of the trainer jets and pretend she was a pilot getting a lesson. Addie is 9, almost 10, years old and this museum was perfect for her age and it really held her interest the entire time. I think 8+ is a great age to visit unless your younger child is super into airplanes, then it’s great for all ages. The Military Aviation Museum is open daily from 9:00a.m-5:00p.m. except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. When you visit, pack a picnic to enjoy on the beautiful grounds. It’s a great place for kids to run and burn off some energy.
After the Military Aviation Museum, we tried to walk on the boardwalk around our hotel but it was too chilly so we decided to save that for another day. We ventured in some beach shops, who doesn’t love those? And then we decided on an early dinner. Ever since I started researching what to do in Virginia Beach, Big Sam’s Raw Bar restaurant kept popping up so I knew we had to give it a shot. It’s a local and tourist favorite alike, and you know it has to be good if that’s where the locals eat. The restaurant located right on the Rudee Inlet next to the Virginia Beach Fishing Center. The menu is large and has a nice variety so even the pickiest of eaters should be able to find something here. For an appetizer, Addie and I decided to try the blue crab dip. Blue crabs are something we fish for off of our dock and we love them so this was right up our alley. The dip is served warm with pita slices. It was fantastic. If you want a true down home southern dip, this is it. The crab is sweet but it has a nice salty bite to it, like it came fresh from the ocean. We happened to dine on tapas night where the Chef creates a few things not listed on the traditional menu. I always love specially created meals so I went with the pork tenderloin on cashew and cranberry bread budding and the calamari glazed with a honey-jalapeno sauce. Both were fantastic but the pork and bread pudding was the stand out, it was almost like having breakfast for dinner. Addie is growing out of the kids menu as her tastes are expanding but we thought that the kids menu here had nice offerings and she decided to order the popcorn shrimp and french fries. The portion was generous, which was great since kid’s meals don’t typically fill her up anymore. They were fried to a perfection with a crispy bite to the crust. Everything that kept going past our table looked delicious. The next time we are visiting Big Sam’s will absolutely be on our must eat list.
After our meal, we stopped at the store to get a couple of necessities and decided to call it a night. Driving really takes it out of a person, especially in the rain. We grabbed a bag of popcorn and popped it in our suite and watched a movie on Netflix. The hotel we stayed at sits right on the water and it was so calming to hear the waves crash on the sand while we fell asleep. If it were warm out, this itinerary would be perfect paired with a nice afternoon walk on the beach for your arrival day in Virginia Beach.
I want to thank Mr. Mike Potter with the Military Aviation Museum, The Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau and Big Sam’s for hosting us during our first day in Virginia Beach. I received select tickets and/or gift cards in exchange for reviews on my site. My opinions, however, are that of my very own. If you would like to get in contact with The Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau, you can find them on Facebook, Twitter and on Instagram. The official hashtag to search all things Virginia Beach is #visitvabeach.