The Virginia Beach area is home to servicemembers from the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, and Marines, with a population of 150,000 active duty and civilian DoD personnel. It’s often hard, and expensive, to get away for long week of vacation, but there are plenty of places to get away for a night or two that don’t involve expensive plane tickets. Here are our top picks for Virginia Beach weekend getaways:
The Outer Banks is the not-so-secret getaway for many Hampton Roads locals (you’ll see plenty of cars in the area with OBX stickers). The most cost-effective time to visit is right before or right after the busy season (May, early June or September), and you can find great deals during these times while also still enjoying the beach.
Find weekend rentals here, or splurge on the Sanderling Resort and Spa; it’s one of the few hotels in the area and has great off-season prices. Among the top attractions are kite flying at Jockey’s Ridge, the Wright Brothers Memorial, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Elizabeth Gardens, fishing, golfing, parasailing, and seeing the wild horses at Corolla.
Just an hour from Hampton Roads, Williamsburg is a great family getaway during all seasons, but particularly springtime and Christmas-time. The most popular places to stay include the Williamsburg Inn, Williamsburg Lodge and the Historic Powhatan Resort, although these can be pricey.
You’ll find a better deal by looking for local bed and breakfasts, Airbnbs or staying at the Hampton Inn Williamsburg. The biggest attraction is, of course, colonial Williamsburg, but other attractions include Ripley’s Believe It or Not, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, former Rockefeller home Bassett Hall, and pre-revolution British royal residence Governor’s Palace. You can also take an afternoon to visit nearby Busch Gardens or the Yorktown battlefields.
Less than three hours away from Hampton Roads, Charlottesville is home to the University of Virginia and Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s plantation (well worth the visit). The downtown area by the university is always bustling and is full of cute shops and restaurants, and kids will appreciate the Virginia Discovery Museum. Don’t miss Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive and the many local vineyards and breweries.
This barrier island is famous for its sandy beaches and its world-famous wild ponies. You can also hike, bike, fish, or rent a boat and tour the island. The Hampton Inn and Suites Chincoteague-Waterfront Hotel is just a mile away.
If you don’t leave late on a Friday, when major traffic hits going both ways, you should be able to get to DC in about three hours. While you could spend a whole week exploring what DC and the surrounding areas have to offer, your best bet is to do a Hop-on, Hop-off bus tour to see the major monuments and take an afternoon to see George Washington’s Mount Vernon.
For museums, don’t miss the Natural History Museum (a kid favorite), the International Spy Museum (another kid favorite) and the Holocaust Museum (not a good choice for young kids but important for older kids to see).
Less than four hours from Hampton Roads, Lexington is a quaint small town that’s home to Washington and Lee University, the Virginia Military Institute, and full of revolutionary war history. It’s a great place to feel like you’re away from the chaos of a city. Don’t miss the Lee Chapel and Museum, the Stonewall Jackson House. Explore the small-town shops and restaurants on its beautiful Main Street. Get outside in the Boxwood Nature Center.
Salamander Resort and Spa
This famous five-star resort in Middleburg, Virginia has multiple dining options, a spa, activities like pools, tennis courts, golf, an equestrian center and croquet. Explore local vineyards and shops, or go ziplining. A great romantic getaway.
Just three hours away from Hampton Roads, Yogaville is a full-service retreat center that offers year-round yoga retreats and workshops. They offer many weekend retreats with no shortage of meditation, mindfulness, prayer and yoga workshops, and there’s even a kids yoga program. One of the best places to go if you really need to get away.