9 Day Trips From Virginia Beach: Full Of Rich History

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Virginia Beach calls itself the “birthplace of the nation”,  thanks to the first permanent English settlement in America, established in Jamestown in 1607. 

Virginia Beach has lots of activities to keep you busy, but if you have had enough of those too, then we have two words for you – day trips. Day trips are like a mini-vacation which you can take, plus Virginia Beach has lots of places around where you can spend a day.

Let us explore some of the best day trips from Virginia Beach.

Norfolk, Virginia


Located 20 miles west of Virginia Beach is Norfolk, which makes for a great day trip. A massive attraction in the city is the  NEON district, an acronym for New Energy of Norfolk.

Here you can explore  Chrysler Museum of Art and Glass Studio. This is a great stop for art lovers as it houses an extensive collection of ancient and contemporary art, including one of the largest permanent displays of glass in the world.

If you are in the mood to learn something new, then adjacent to the museum is a Glass Studio where visitors can learn the art of blowing glass. 

Distance: 23 minutes

Ideal for: Art lovers

Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

Colonial Williamsburg

Hop in the car and head to Colonial Williamsburg, which is exactly as it sounds. It will seem as if you have stepped back in time to pre-revolutionary America.

It is home to over 40 historic sites, including four taverns, a blacksmith shop, church, and more. This city pays homage to 18th-century life. It is a great place for everybody to explore and learn more about history.

Distance: 53 minutes

Ideal for: History buffs

Jamestown, Virginia


Located just 10 kilometers south of Williamsburg, and 60 miles north of Virginia Beach is Jamestown. This is the first permanent settlement in America and makes for a great day trip from Virginia Beach.

Established in 1607, Jamestown still has remains of 18th-century buildings, an active archaeological dig, artifacts from the region’s first settlers, and more.

Another interesting tourist spot is water’s edge where you’ll see replicas of the three ships that brought settlers to Virginia from England: the Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and Discovery.

Distance: 1 hour

Ideal for: History buffs

Chincoteague and Assateague Islands, Virginia


If you love horses, then this is where you should go for a day trip. Located off the Eastern Shore of Virginia, these islands which are next to each other are famous for wild ponies.

The ponies have been inhabitants of this island for hundreds of years. Catch a glimpse of these beautiful creatures on the island, after which you can visit the old-fashioned lighthouses, stop by the unspoiled beaches and view plenty of graceful birdlife.

One of the highlights of the islands is the annual “pony swim” when “saltwater cowboys” round up the ponies and swim them across the channel to Chincoteague Island. It is truly a wonderful sight to see.

Distance: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Ideal for: Wildlife lovers

Onancock, Virginia


Hop in and drive through the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel to Onancock. If Victorian architecture, art studios, boutiques, and antique shops thrill you, then this is the place to be.

It is a relaxed and sleepy town with a population of just 1000 people. Onancock is the perfect low-key escape for a relaxed afternoon.

You’ll find folk artists, craftsmen, painters, and sculptors selling their crafts. End your day with a doughnut from Corner Bakery.

Distance: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Ideal for: Relaxed getaway

Great Dismal Swamp Trail, Virginia

Great dismal swamp

The Great Dismal Swamp Trail National Wildlife Refuge is an enormous, marshy habitat that covers large portions of southeastern Virginia. This 8.3-mile trail is open to hikers, walkers bicyclists, and horse owners. 

Many different trees line up the trail which makes the hike even more beautiful. For more adventure, you can even kayak or paddle through the swamp.

Distance: 36 minutes

Ideal for: Hikers and adventure enthusiasts

Luray Caverns, Virginia

Luray Caverns

Discovered in 1878, Luray Caverns makes for a great destination in its own right.  Luray Caverns are the largest cave system in the eastern United States and one of the most popular outdoor caverns systems.

Here you can do a various guided tour that takes the visitors on a 1.25-mile loop. Some of the caverns have ceilings that are ten stories high, and they’re filled with colorful stalactites and beautiful crystal-clear pools. 

Distance: 1 hour and 41 minutes

Ideal for: Adventure enthusiasts

Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Virginia

Busch Gardens

Visit the “most beautiful theme park” in Virginia which is Busch Gardens. It has received this coveted title since 1990 by National Amusement Park Historical Association.

Making for a great day trip with the family, this European-themed park offers six world-class rollers coasters, plus nearly 30 other rides and experiences perfect for any age.

They also have nature exhibits, food stalls, and kid-friendly shows. 

Distance: 1 hour 

Ideal for: Kid-friendly getaway

Virginia State Park, Virginia

Virginia State Park

If you want to be amidst nature or animals, then there is nothing better than visiting the Virginia State Park. Here you will have the opportunity to n drive through 180-acres of free-roaming animals, many of whom will come up to your car.

You can get up-close and personal with these animals via a drive. After that, you can also take the village walk to feed giraffes, interact with kangaroos, and do much more.

Distance: 10 minutes

Ideal for: Kid-friendly getaway


Virginia Beach is a fantastic destination in its own right but it is also a great jumping point to explore gems in the state like Colonial Williamsburg and Luray Caverns.

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