The beach is one of my FAVORITE places to be, but sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate. I’m going to share 7 cheap or free things to do in Virginia Beach when you can’t go to the beach.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Living on the East Coast, I have visited LOTS of beaches. Typically, you plan your trip in advance, but the weather doesn’t always get on board with your plan.
It’s best to have a backup plan when you can’t go to the beach in case it is cold or rainy. You can also use these “7 cheap or free things to do in Virginia Beach when you can’t go to the beach” ideas for things to do at nighttime or for ANY beach area that you are visiting in the United States.
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1) Tasting Spirits in Virginia Beach
Chesapeake Bay Distillery
Distillery tasting, or wine tasting, is my “go-to” activity to do on vacation when it’s cold or rainy. Chesapeake Bay Distillery was a really cool place that was exactly what we were looking for. It is conveniently located right on Virginia Beach Boulevard.
They have a variety of spirits to taste such as vodka, rum, whisky, tequila, and more. You can do a tasting of either the straight spirits or you can taste a variety of their delicious mixed drinks. I thought the tasting of 4 mixed drinks for $10.00 was perfect!
The Hunt Room
If you are looking for an exquisite hotel to stay at while you are in Virginia Beach, I HIGHLY recommend the Cavalier Hotel. For help finding the perfect accommodations read Top 5 Things you Need to Know when Finding a Hotel!
This hotel is out of my budget, but it’s still a great place to see. While you’re there I would suggest you stroll through the hotel because the decor is absolutely breathtaking!
Virginia Beach Bar Hunt
One of the cheaper fun things you can do is this ocean views and brews tour. I mentioned before that one thing you must do every time you travel is to take a tour. You use an app for this unique tour which takes you to popular attractions and hidden gems. You will answer trivia questions and participate in challenges to get the next clue. Along the way, you can enjoy a drink to celebrate your progress!
There is no minimum age so you can have fun on this scavenger hunt with your whole family. Click HERE for tickets to the Ocean Views and Brews Scavenger Hunt Tour. 🎟
2) Self-Guided Virginia Beach Mural Tour
If you read about my “Top 10 things to see and do in Nashville, Tennessee” then you know I enjoy seeing murals while traveling during the holidays, when most attractions are closed. This is a perfect activity to do on an overcast or chilly day! This is one of the best free things to do when you have large family and/or small children that you can bring in a stroller or wagon.
The “ViBe Creative District” is a really cool area in Virginia Beach. You can download the Walking Tour Map and take your time strolling around to see 60 different murals from local artist and business supporters. I’d suggest wandering around this art district while stopping into the various restaurants for a drink or bite to eat.
Check out the ViBe website for special events during the summer months.
If you’re looking for an “adult vibe” for your guided mural tour then Viator has a cool ViBe District Art Tour and Craft Beer Tasting. This is a 2 hour long guided tour. This is one of the top things to do so make sure you get your tickets in advance. If your plans change they offer free cancellation within 24 hours prior to your experience.
3) Workout on the Beach
I traveled to Virginia with one of my best friends, who happens to be a fitness instructor. When most people plan their trip they think of the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. Not my friend Susanne. She brought along equipment so we could do short workouts on the beach. (True story.)
If you are not able to bring your own equipment, Hillier Ignite Fitness Park has strength training and body weight-based workout equipment right on the beach. It is located on 36th street on Oceanfront Avenue.
This fitness park has ropes, a balance beam, high and low bars, rings, parallel bars, and more. You can find people using the equipment all throughout the day.
Most people don’t like to workout while on vacation, but if you can workout ON the beach then you should definitely give it a try! It’s a fun experience. You can still workout on the beach, even when it’s cold or a little rainy.
4) Watch the Sunrise
This was probably one of the best things out of the 7 cheap or free things to do in Virginia Beach when you can’t go to the beach. I’m so glad that my friend suggested this and that we did it together! This was a perfect place for watching the sunrise on the Atlantic Ocean.
I will DEFINITELY make it a point to watch sunrises more often when I travel. When thinking back to my post “Paris: Eiffel in Love with Travel” it would have been an amazing experience to watch the sunrise near the Eiffel Tower. I’d STRONGLY encourage you to add this to your next vacation, no matter where you go. It is one of those free activities that end up being priceless!
Surprisingly, this is something I have never taken the time to do while on vacation before. All you have to do is check a weather app, like Accuweather, to see what time the sun is going to rise the next morning. Then, set your alarm to get up and be on the beach about 10 minutes before the projected sunrise time.
The actual sunrise does take quite a bit of time. You will want to stay there to watch the ENTIRE thing unfold before your eyes. Make sure you dress warmly and bring a blanket because you don’t want to hinder the experience by being cold and uncomfortable.
5) Henna Tattoo
In case you’re not familiar, a henna tattoo is done with ink from a henna plant and it is temporary. These temporary tattoos start to fade around two weeks and can last for up to four weeks. It really depends on the location of the tattoo and the type of ink used.
Much like an actual tattoo, sometimes you can bring the artist a picture of the tattoo that you’d like. They also have many design options to pick from right in the store.
The great thing about henna tattoos is, unlike an actual tattoo there’s no pain, it’s not very expensive, and it’s completed in a matter of minutes. I wanted to try out a design for a tattoo cover-up that I’m considering on my lower back. My friend would like to get a tattoo on her forearm. She got a henna tattoo in that location to see how she would feel about it. We were very happy with our selections. I thought it was so much fun that I decided to get two of them.
Karma: 1704A Atlantic Avenue, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
While walking on the boardwalk we spotted a henna tattoo shop and decided to check it out. I have a few real tattoos, but I didn’t know much about henna. Read about the history of these temporary tattoos because it’s very interesting.
We had a lot of fun with this spontaneous adventure. I’d definitely recommend doing it if you are not certain of what you want because it is a great way to “try on” your tattoo first.
6) Indoor 3-D Mini Golf
King Neptune’s Mini Golf: Pacific Avenue, Virginia Beach.
This underwater-themed indoor 3-D miniature golf experience is a lot of fun with the black light. When we went everyone in our group enjoyed playing. It’s hard to show you the experience in pictures because you wear the 3D glasses while you play mini-golf.
This 10 hole experience is $7.00 per person, but there is a discount if you have a group of 10 or more. This is one of the cheap things that is fun and unique to keep in mind when it’s cold, rainy, or late at night.
7) Day Trip to Norfolk Virginia
Although there are plenty of Virginia Beach attractions to enjoy, there are also some day-trips that you can take from Virginia Beach. We decided on a day-trip to Norfolk, Virginia.
The Cannonball Trail
We made a few stops on our day trip, that were part of The Cannonball Trail. There are 43 stops along this free self-guided tour. I would HIGHLY recommend looking at the brochure in advance to select some of the best places to stop and visit on your trip to Norfolk.
As I mentioned in “Have you Heard of the Historic Triangle in Virginia” history lessons don’t excite me. The history that we saw and read about on The Cannonball Trail was VERY interesting. I would definitely go back and complete more of the trail on my next trip to Norfolk.
Don’t let this picture fool you. We really are having fun. I asked her to pose just like the sculpture and she agreed.
The Pagoda Garden
The thing that prompted the day trip to Norfolk was The Pagoda Garden.
The Pagoda is actually a restaurant that serves international food with an Asian flair. We were excited to discover this little gem and really enjoyed exploring this space while in Norfolk.
We thoroughly enjoyed exploring Norfolk Virginia for the day.
You could also take the 2 1/2 hour Best of Norfolk guided E-Bike tour as a fun way to really see what the town has to offer! It will take you on some biking trails and through parks to experience some of the “must see” sites in Norfolk. 🎟 Click here for tickets to the E-Bike Tour.
I would encourage you to plan one day trip while you are on vacation! It is great to be able to see less popular towns that border the main tourist attraction.
I hope these 7 cheap or free things to do in Virginia Beach when you can’t go to the beach were helpful to you. Do you have ideas of things you like to do when it’s too cold or rainy to go to the beach? Please share them in the comments below!
Need more ideas for things to do in Virginia Beach?
If you enjoyed “7 Cheap or Free things to do in Virginia Beach when you can’t go to the Beach” you might also like: Have you Heard of the Historic Triangle in Virginia.
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Do you like to take day trips when you are on vacation? Comment below and share your thoughts.