Virginia Beach Off The Beaten Path

  • Virginia Beach
    Virginia Beach
    by chewy3326
  • Cape Henry Lighthouses
    Cape Henry Lighthouses
    by tpangelinan
  • Visitors Centre
    Visitors Centre
    by bugalugs

Best Rated Off The Beaten Path in Virginia Beach

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    CAPE HENRY LIGHTHOUSES

    by tpangelinan Written Mar 6, 2005

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    Cape Henry Lighthouses

    Take a ride up the coast out of the town north on route 60 to Fort Story Army Base, this is still an active Army Base so you need to go through an inspection of your car and show ID. There is no charge but you need to behave your self. There is also a public beach on the base just off to the right as you come on base. It's so neat to see both old and new lighthouses together and still standing. The Fort is about a 15 minute or so drive and well worth it, so check it out if you like lighthouses.You can find the full history about these light houses on my Lighthouses of the East Coast II album on our home page.

    583 Atlantic Ave.
    Fort Story Army Base
    Virginia Beach, VA

    November 1thru march 15 daily 10am to 4.m.
    March 16 thru October 30, daily 10am to 5pm

    7 Days a Week

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    Visit Portsmouth

    by grandmaR Written Mar 28, 2005

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    Red Lightship behind bulkhead from Elizabeth River
    4 more images

    Portsmouth has been a ship building town from its founding in 1752. The Norfolk Naval Shipyard (which is here and not in Norfolk at all) was begun here in 1767, and it's repair record extends from nuclear powered submarines to the Confederate ironclad Merrimac. The first drydock built here in 1831 in still in use. Container ships regularly vist the docks between Pinner and Love Points.

    The Naval Shipyard Museum is in Portsmouth. But the shipyard is called the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Which is confusing, at least to me. The name was chosen because at the time, there was already a Portsmouth Navy Yard in New Hampshire.

    "The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum offers a unique perspective on U.S. history, from Colonial to Civil War times and beyond. You’ll find beautiful ship models, uniforms, military artifacts and exhibits portraying life in 18th, 19th and 20th century Portsmouth."

    The Lightship PORTSMOUTH (the red ship in the picture) and the Naval Shipyard Museum are together in the same admisssion price.

    Winter Hours for both Museums:
    Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday; open on Mondays that fall on a holiday.

    Summer Hours for both Museums:
    Between Memorial Day and Labor Day;
    Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

    Admission:
    The $3 admission fee covers both the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum and the Lightship Museum.

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    "New" Cape Henry Lighthouse

    by grandmaR Updated Mar 28, 2005

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    Cape Henry Lighthouse reflected

    This is the 1881 replacement for the old Cape Henry lighthouse. It is NOT open to the public.

    It was was built to replace the older light only 357 feet away. The old lighthouse is open to the public and is maintained by the APVA.

    The New lighthouse is a 164-foot octagonal tower made up of cast iron plated inner and outer walls, with a masonry lining, making it the tallest such lighthouse in the U.S. It has a first-order Fresnel lens and is painted in black and white alternating vertical stripes. In 1923 the lantern was converted to electricity. The 1,000 watt light was automated in 1984 and has an intensity of 80,000 candlepower. Overlooking the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, its 20 second flashing light can be seen for only 15 miles out to sea because of the bright city lights.

    From the south, take I 95-N to 58-E to I 64-W. Take Exit 282 (Northampton Blvd) and follow Rt. 13 for four (4) miles. take the last exit before the bay bridge tunnel and bear right onto Rt. 60 (Shore Drive) and travel about five (5) miles. Ft. Story is a left turn at the flashing red light. After passing the guard house, take the first left, then your first right. This gate may be closed, if it is continue approx. 3 miles to the first stop light and take a left. This will lead you to the main gate. Continue straight approx 2 miles and you will see the Cape Henry sign on the right. You must show a picture ID at the gate.

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    Virginia Beach in winter

    by chewy3326 Written Dec 26, 2005

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    Virginia Beach

    VA Beach may not be quite as exciting in winter, and you definitely won't be able to sit on the beach and relax (well, maybe with a heavy jacket you could...), but it's still worth coming in winter. Besides the very obvious plus that there are no crowds, you can still visit historic areas as well as take whale-watching tours. It's a different beach experience

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    • Beaches

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    Wildlife

    by bugalugs Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Visitors Centre

    After we had crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel we didnt really have any where in mind to visit, but I had read about the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge and on leaving the Bridge its only a couple of miles up the road.
    However when we arrived it was early evening and the visitors centre was closed.
    The hours of opening are:
    April - October - Daily - 9.-4pm
    November & March - open daily 10-2pm
    December, January and February Open friday - Sunday only 10-2pm

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    • Birdwatching

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    Butterfly trail

    by bugalugs Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Butterfly trail

    I had read that there was a butterfly trail here, we parked, found the trail and started wondering down it. Telling the boys to be quiet as I didnt want the butterflies startled, we walked along silently with our eyes glued trying to see a butterfly. We had been walking for about 20 minutes and had not seen one!!!!! We then decided to head back to the car.

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    At last!!!!!! Butterflies

    by bugalugs Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Butterfly

    As we reached the gardens around the Visitors Centre, our son said 'oh look' and yes you've guessed it, we at last saw some butterflies.
    Such lovely colours, you may want to click on the photo to see it better.

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    • Eco-Tourism
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    More butterflies

    by bugalugs Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    This refuge is also a huge area for migratory birds before they fly south.
    There have apparently been over 260 different species of birds here.
    There are lookout points and hides to see these birds.

    Here in the picture is another beautiful butterfly.

    I must add that when reading the web site of this place, one thing that I just cant agree with considering this place is a refuge for wildlife is that that have designated areas for hunting and killing white tailed deer!!!! The two just dont seem to go together.

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    FIRST LANDING STATE PARK

    by robertnavy Updated Mar 11, 2007

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    I visited first landing state park on 3/10/2007 and loved it...Hiked a little of the Nature trail thru bald cypress lagoons...this is all i have done for now will update later when explore more of it but read reviews and it seems to be nice...Has camping sites and also Cabin rentals also beach access and nature programs and tours

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    Historic Williamsburg

    by Goner Updated May 31, 2004

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    Williamsburg

    Williamsburg isn't really off the beaten path as it's a very popular destination from Virginia Beach. It's the largest authentic Early American town that was the first capital of the US. No cars are allowed on the streets, all you see are horse and buggies. The buildings are the original buildings of the period and these building house the arts and crafts indicative of the era.

    The trip is less than an hour north of Virginia Beach and an easy day trip.

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    • Historical Travel
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    The Blue Ridge Mountains

    by Goner Updated Nov 16, 2003

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    Blue Ridge Mountains

    The Blue Ridge Mountains are the easternmost range of the Appalachian Mountains that extends from northern Georgia to North Carolina and into Virginia and West Virginia. Most Blue Ridge peaks are between 2,000 and 4,000 ft.. There is a plethora of parks to visit along these mountains and for complete information stop at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center which is located at- Parkway Milepost 115, (540) 427-5871. Open seasonally for detailed Parkway information. Or visit the website listed below.

    The mountains are dotted with B & B’s and lodges, so lodging is never far away. There are miles and miles of nature walks, lakes, streams and beautiful vistas. Besides water activities, horseback riding is a favorite . A great introduction to the area is a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway which affords the most spectacular views of the mountains.

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    Natural Bridge

    by Goner Updated Nov 13, 2003

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    Natural Bridge

    This Natural Bridge is a Virginia Historic Landmark and considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. It can be found in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley at the end of a beautiful walk through a canyon. It's a sacred site for the Monacan Indians who discovered it. George Washington actually surveyed the area for Lord Fairfax and in 1774 Thomas Jefferson purchased the "rock" from George III to ensure it would be available to the public. Jefferson built a log cabin retreat here believing people would come to see this natural phenomenon. Today, there is a visitors center, a conference center and various arts and craft shops to browse as well as a wax museum with narrative while viewing the lifelike figures and historical scenes.

    In the evenings at dark, symphonic music is played to colored lights spread across the arch and the Biblical story of the dawn of the world is told. Very inspirational.

    Take 501 North past the Blue Ridge Parkway to Glasgow. Take 130 West to Natural Bridge (approximately 25 miles).

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    Jamestown Island

    by Goner Written Nov 21, 2004

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    Jamestown Island on the James River

    On May 14, 1607, 104 male passengers on three ships; Susan constant, Godspeed and Discovery landed on this island to begin a permanent settlement establishing an English colony. This landing predated Plymouth, Massachusetts by 13 years.

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    Visitors to Hampton Roads...

    by MrGQ Written Sep 8, 2002

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    Visitors to Hampton Roads renting a car, take a drive through the longest bridge tunnel system in the world!! The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Bring some cash though, 'cause this 17.6 miles of subterranean fun can cost around $10 ... each way! Ohh .. make sure you have enough umm ... gas!! :)

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    Blue Ridge Parkway

    by Goner Updated Nov 13, 2003

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    Blue Ridge Parkway

    Built during the Depression, the Blue Ridge Parkway is the nation's longest rural parkway connecting Shenandoah National Park in Virginia with the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in North Carolina. The design of the parkway was an engineering stroke of genius for its time

    This drive is ranked as "America's most scenic drive" by leading travel writers. The Blue Ridge Parkway leads travelers through the forested mountains passing several intriguing stops along the way.

    Designed as a drive awhile - stop awhile recreational drive, the Blue Ridge Parkway provides both stunning scenery and close-up looks at the natural and cultural history of the southern Appalachian mountains along its 469 miles. It has turnouts at overlooks, picnic and camping facilities, trails, and wonderful cultural and natural areas.

    For park information on for up-to-date gate closures and weather-related information see the phone number listed below.

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    • National/State Park

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Virginia Beach Off The Beaten Path

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