Virginia Beach… a super popular summer spot on the east coast of the US. But what about other times of the year? On our recent road trip we decided to head to Virginia Beach when the more northern areas of the coast were way too windy and cold. When we rolled into town we headed straight for the beach, and though it was cold we were thrilled… water and sand as far as we could see! We spent two nights in Virginia Beach and found plenty to do… Virginia Beach is a great spot offseason!
Where to Stay
Something we didn’t quite understand is that the city of Virginia Beach is really big… the oceanfront is just one of the areas. We wanted to stay on the oceanfront and only looked for lodging in that area. The ocean front is miles long and packed with motels/hotels… most are chain hotels and have similar amenities and prices. We stayed in the Courtyard Marriott South and enjoyed our stay. We didn’t book our hotel until we arrived because we wanted to get a sense of the area… when booking a hotel, it’s important to understand where it’s at on the oceanfront in relation to other things you might want to walk to.
What to do
The beach/oceanfront is really impressive… lots of soft sand and a large paved walkway and a separate bike path from one end of the beach to the other. There are also a couple playgrounds on the beach. We had a great time walking the beach and also taking runs one morning. The oceanfront is the hub of activity and though it was offseason there was plenty going on!
We were so excited to go to the beach that we didn’t explore beyond during our stay. However, there are lots of other things to do… On the oceanfront there are boat tours, which were still running in the offseason. There are also lots of little shops and a pier. A few popular off-oceanfront spots are the aquarium, naval base, and port.
Even in the offseason, most of the shops and restaurants on the oceanfront were open. We learned that Virginia Beach has a very large convention center that brings in tons of visitors in the offseason… our hotel was fully booked the day we left!
We hoped to get some great fish in Virginia Beach, but didn’t have any expectation beyond that. We went out to dinner twice and out to breakfast once and all of our meals were exceptional!
Tautog’s is just off the main drag in a house and has a really relaxed and cozy vibe. Tautog’s came highly recommended, but the menu looked really large so we were skeptical (sometimes lots of choices means nothing’s that great). We all loved our meals and our two favorites were the crawfish and crab cakes and the tuna special for the day… both were really unique and delicious. Daniel had "The Soprano" sandwich and was in heaven. The ingredients from our salads to the seafood were all super fresh.
Doc Taylor’s serves breakfast and lunch and is right next to Tautog’s… they also have the same owner. We loved Tautog’s so much that we had to try Doc Taylor’s out the next morning… it was just as fantastic. Something we really loved is that Doc Taylor’s serves its whole menu all day… Todd had an omelet, I had a salad, and Daniel had a burger!
We had one more night in Virginia Beach and were looking for a place within walking distance with a casual vibe and pizza for Daniel. Todd found Hearth on Yelp… it is about a mile south west of the hotel (about 5 blocks off the main drag) and since the the weather was good we decided to check it out… wow are we glad we did!
Everything we ate at Hearth was super fresh, creative, and really delicious. Some of our favorites were the grilled romaine salad, the wood roasted butternut squash salad, and the pizza special for the night… a “black and white” pizza. The black and white pizza was amazing, fabulous, unbelievable… one of the best things I’ve ever eaten in my life… wood fired crust covered with oozing creamy ricotta and mozzerela cheese, black truffles, caramelized onions, olive oil, and truffle salt!
We had really nice weather during our trip… full sun and the temperature was as high as 65 during the day and in the 40s at night. There was a pretty strong wind coming off the ocean, which made it chillier as we got closer to the water. As we were leaving we looked at the forecast and it seemed pretty consistent with what we experienced.
Wrapping it up
We had a great time in Virginia Beach in the offseason and would definitely return!
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