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Posted by on Mar 1, 2009 in Bars, Places To Go, Road Trips, southeast | 0 comments

Tacky, Tasteful, Or Typical? – MCRT’s Guide To Virginia Beach, VA


Growing up in Richmond, Virginia meant spending at least a few weekends during the summer at Virginia Beach. Depending on the traffic, two hours took you from the streets of downtown Richmond to the sunny shores of Virginia Beach. There was nothing quite like a splash down in the Atlantic Ocean to beat Virginia’s balmy summer heat. Over the years, Virginia Beach has transformed from a semi-popular tourist destination to one of the most sought after escapes on the East Coast. VA Beach has something for everyone: The beach, the bars, family attractions, et cetera. Because of this, Virginia Beach can appear tacky to some, tasteful to others, or a typical example of what a beach city looks like. Which is it? You will have to come and find out for yourself.

AmandaLouiseTourist Central

A stroll down Atlantic Avenue in the heart of the tourist zone will give you a better idea of what I mean. If you like Henna tattoos, buy-one get-one free t-shirt deals with the logos “Virginia Beach Is For Lovers” or “World’s Coolest Dad”, or cheap souvenir shops, then VA Beach has what you seek. The only thing missing is a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. Are these tacky or typical signs of a touristic beach city? Perhaps, but these shops stay in business for a reason: We have all bought cheap shot glasses or “handmade” jewelry from these peddlers at some point. If nothing else, these trinkets usually spark pleasant memories of our travels.

On The Boardwalk

bill barber (very sporadic)Label it however you like, but definitely check out the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. Most beach cities have a boardwalk, but VA Beach’s is rather nice and roomy enough to comply with most everyone’s activities. Run, walk, bike, or inline skate along the Boardwalk and admire the beautiful ocean views. For those interested, equipment rentals are available if you do not have your own. And, of course, you have to enjoy the shore when you visit. Because of the beach’s large size, you normally have ample room to enjoy yourself without violating someone else’s space. Relax seaside with an icy beverage and a good book, taking advantage of the ocean to occasionally cool off. When you get hungry, Virginia Beach has some tasty seafood, so enjoy it fresh while you can.

Road Rage

Depending on several factors, travelling to Virginia Beach can range from a peaceful journey to a migraine-inducing, bumper-to-bumper nightmare. If your route takes you on Interstate 64 heading east from Richmond, Virginia towards VA Beach, beware during the summer months. Virginia Beach has steadily increased in popularity over the past decade and the interstate system seems too small to absorb the enormous amount of vacationers during the summer rush. How bad the congestion is depends on what time and what day you decide to travel. For instance, most vacations stretch from Saturday to Saturday, or Sunday to Sunday, making your arrival and/or departure from Virginia Beach potentially chaotic if you follow the herds. In addition, the Hampton Roads area is well known for having terrible congestion to begin with, so be mindful of the to-and-fro work traffic throughout peak driving hours during the week- near the tunnel(s) is the worst.

It’s Your Call

Doom and gloom; this article is not much fun anymore. One of my goals is to be as realistic as possible; I would want to know these things before I planned my trip. In spite of the traffic issue, Virginia Beach is a touristic hotspot and a great place to visit. The beaches are clean and large, the boardwalk is great, and the nightlife scene varies from biker bars and thug dance clubs to hidden dive bars and local favorite hangouts. You will be amazed at how different the crowd is after dark. The seafood is good, too, so make sure you bring your appetite. As always, a little pre-trip research will go a long way to ensure your trip yields favorable memories. Therefore, is Virginia Beach a tacky, tasteful, or typical touristic beach city? You make the call, but you will definitely have some fun finding out.

By: Gordon Alford

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