Birds and Chesapeake Bay Bridge (Virginia Beach CVB)

Whale-watching in Virginia Beach, Virginia (Virginia Beach CVB)

Surfer in Virginia Beach, Virginia (Virginia Beach CVB)

Aerial view of oceanfront in Virginia Beach, Virginia (Virginia Beach CVB)

Fishing in Virginia Beach, Virginia (Cameron Davidson)

Humpback whale breaching off Virginia Beach (Virginia Aquarium)

Sandbridge Pier, Virginia Beach (Sam Cooper/flickr)

Blue crab at Virginia Aquarium, Virginia Beach (Virginia Beach CVB)

Breaching humpback whale at Virginia Beach (Virginia Beach CVB)

Biking on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk (Virginia Beach CVB)

Holiday lights on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk (Virginia Beach CVB)

Holiday lights on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk (Virginia Beach CVB)

Surfer at Virginia Beach, Virginia (Virginia Beach CVB)

Virginia Beach's southern end seen from the air (Virginia Beach CVB)

Dolphin-watching tours are a popular summer activity in Virginia Beach (Alistair Wearmouth)

View of Rudee Inlet and Virginia Beach from the south (Virginia Beach CVB)

View of Virginia Beach's central pier and beachfront from the water (Alistair Wearmouth)

Playing in the surf at Virginia Beach (Virginia Beach CVB)

A moment of summer calm in Virginia Beach (Alistair Wearmouth)

Virginia Beach's central pier as seen from the water on a dolphin-watching tour (Alistair Wearmouth)

Cape Henry Lighthouse at Virginia Beach (Virginia Beach CVB)

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What to do in Virginia Beach

The key to perfecting a downward dog on a standup paddleboard? Patience. The ability to laugh at yourself doesn’t hurt either. And trying it on the calm water of Chesapeake Beach, a remote haven away from Virginia Beach proper, makes it less humiliating. Chick’s Beach, as locals call it, faces the shallow waters of the Chesapeake Bay, offering a low-key alternative to the Atlantic Ocean. The traditional beach-town experience is just up the road at Resort Beach, where tall hotels flank the water and the boardwalk teems with weekenders from D.C. The beaches fill quickly during summer with sand castles, bright towels, and pick-up football games. Though surfing is a staple, standup paddleboarding has exploded in Virginia Beach, with clinics and moonlight tours launching regularly. All you need is patience.

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