With sand, seafood and serious entertainment, a weekend in Virginia Beach is the ultimate beach break. You can feast on freshly-caught fish, listen to live music or simply stroll alongside the Atlantic Ocean – the issue is how to fit everything in. Here’s our itinerary, with ideas for spending two or three days in Virginia Beach.

Friday Evening

You only have 72 hours in Virginia Beach, so make Friday night memorable. Dump your bags and make a beeline for Virginia Beach’s buzzing boardwark. The three-mile long boardwalk is a hub for nightlife, with bars, restaurants and live music venues overlooking the ocean. Get your first taste of Virginian seafood at Catch 31. Its “dock to table” menu includes a raw bar and impressive oyster selection.

For after-dinner entertainment, usually from June through Labor Day Weekend, look no further than Live! On Atlantic. The program features street performers and free live music at four open-air oceanfront venues. Come during the annual Neptune Festival in September for more live music, art shows and sand sculpting. Near the 7th Street stage, laid-back Chix on the Beach has late-night DJ sessions and an extensive drinks menu. Try the Orange Crush, the favorite cocktail of Virginia Beach locals.

Saturday Morning

Shake off last night’s Orange Crushes and spend the first of your remaining 48 hours at Commune, a sustainable, organic café. It focuses on farm-to-table dining showcasing local ingredients from the café’s farm. The menu features hearty breakfasts like the Winter Heirloom Grit Bowl and Big Backyard Salad.

Commune is within Virginia Beach’s ViBe Creative District, an area for artists and creative businesses, a few blocks from the beach. Wander the area after breakfast and you might run into the regular farmer’s market or community art project.

Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is a short walk away and displays works from regional, national and international artists. As well as regularly changing exhibitions focused on painting, sculpture, photography, glass and other visual media, MOCA hosts the Boardwark Art Show, in June. The museum is open 10am-4pm on weekends, but check ahead as it closes during exhibition installation. Entry is $8.

Saturday Afternoon and Evening

Chesapeake Bay Distillery in Virginia Beach

Back in the ViBe district, drop into the Chesapeake Bay Distillery, Virginia’s first gold and double gold craft distillery. The distillery serves everything from Ghost Pepper Infused Vodka to Dr. Stoner’s Smoky Herb Whiskey. Tastings are available, and free tours can be enjoyed on Saturdays from 12pm to 4pm (you’ll need to book a slot). If beer is your tipple, Virginia Beach has a vibrant craft brewing scene. Follow the beer trail to up to 25 city brewing destinations, with beers ranging from flavor-filled IPAs to a pumpkin porter.

Treat yourself for Saturday night in Virginia Beach with a dinner to remember at award-winning Terrapin. Using the freshest, locally-sourced ingredients, the restaurant supports organic farmers and fishermen in the region. It’s one of Virginia Beach’s most-acclaimed restaurants. The eclectic menu includes everything from crispy short rib with cauliflower and kimchi to softshell crab with bok choy and jalapeno-cilantro emulsion. Book a table in advance.

Sunday Morning

First Landing State Park in Virginia beach

Do as the locals do and spend Sunday morning in Virginia Beach walking, jogging or cycling along the boardwalk. If you fancy meeting one of the city’s most famous residents, walk until 31st Street where the 26-foot tall statue of King Neptune looms over the boardwalk.

You’ve now got fewer than 24 hours left in Virginia Beach, so if you really want to make the most of it get up before the sun. You’ll be rewarded with a cool Atlantic breeze and a sunrise over the ocean.

On your way to First Landing State Park, stop by Bay Local Eatery. Here you can fill up on brunch fare like fried chicken and waffles or biscuits with sausage gravy. Once inside the park, you can follow one of nine hiking trails through 3,888 acres of woodlands, including a 1.5-mile strip along Chesapeake Bay beach.

Sunday Afternoon and Evening

The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is located just south of Rudee Inlet at the southern end of Virginia Beach Boardwalk. The center houses more than 300 species including sharks, Komodo dragons and loggerhead sea turtles. It’s open from 9am-5pm.

Check the events calendar to time your visit with a ray feeding or a talk about harbor seals. On the marine theme, Pleasure House Oysters run farm tours on the Lynnhaven River. Bringing a bottle of wine is encouraged and you can even dine in waders as part of the Chef’s Table Tour.

Sunday night in Virginia Beach can be relatively quiet, but Hot Tuna on Shore Drive takes advantage of the final weekend hours. With seafood from Chesapeake Bay and Certified Hereford steaks, Hot Tuna is also known for its outdoor fire pits, live music and daily happy hour from 4-6pm.

Ready for the Perfect Weekend Getaway?

Virginia Beach is one of the country’s most famous beaches – but it’s much more than a stretch of sand. The city comes alive in summer and the vibrant nightlife, creative culture and top quality food and drink scene is year-round. A weekend is barely enough but it’s a start. So book your getaway to Virginia Beach today.