Top 3 Secret Spots on the Virginia Coast

It seems that some of the best memories from a trip are those that were unplanned and in places that you seemed to have stumbled upon. When you think of Virginia Beach, things like the Statue of Neptune, the boardwalk, the long beaches and stretches of hotels, quickly come to mind. But, there are hidden spots in the area that have captured local attention and have residents and visitors coming back year after year.
Sandbridge Beach is one of our favorite secret spots on the Virginia Coast

1. Sandbridge Beach

For those wanting to get away from the masses at the boardwalk, Sandbridge Beach is one of our favorite secret spots on the Virginia Coast, just south of the main stretch of Virginia Beach. It has been called the “Outer Banks of Virginia” because of its family-oriented, quiet, and laid-back atmosphere. Whether you rent a house with friends and family, or use the public access and stop by for the day to do some surfing or kayaking, there is plenty to do for all. There are non-beach related sites nearby if you want a break from the sun: the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and First Landing State Park are great places for a look at the coastal wildlife, or head inside to the popular Virginia Aquarium.

Enjoy Wonder World, the kids area at the Norfolk Botanical Garden

2. Norfolk Botanical Garden

Norfolk Botanical Garden is also a recommended must-see for those looking to find something different to do during their stay at VA Beach. The acres that make up the grounds are home to 40 themed gardens ranging from rose to Japanese gardens.  There is even a butterfly exhibit that captures the attention of both adults and children alike. You will want to block off a few hours for touring because of its size, and, because the seasonal plant life is so diverse, it is easy to see something new each time you come back for a visit. If you want to get in your exercise for the day, there are plenty of paths for walking through each section. For those wanting to stay off of their feet, there are trams and a boat tour. Plus, the younger visitors will love the World of Wonders Children’s Adventure Garden (pictured above), complete with fun fountains and jet sprays. No matter what you are looking to see and do, whether it’s to find somewhere scenic for your run, to meet someone for a date, or to exercise your photography skills, the Norfolk Botanical Garden seem to have a little something for everyone.

3. Pungo

The last hidden gem of Virginia Beach is the area of Pungo and its many farmers markets. Tucked a few miles off the coast to the south, it is considered the rural part of Virginia Beach. This area is most well-known for its Pungo Strawberry Festival in the early summer, but is also home to all kinds of farms and markets, such as Cullipher Farm Market, Brookdale Farm and Henley Farms, just to name a few. These markets range from fruit and vegetable stands to large pick-your-own farms where you can fill baskets of your own handpicked strawberries, apples, and blueberries depending on the season. Because many of the stands carry seasonal produce, people come year-round to buy fresh, local food to add to their meals.

World of Wonders garden photo courtesy of Visit Norfolk

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