The Oceanfront on Foot

Experience the History and Culture at Your Own Pace

By Chelsea DeAngio

A lazy walk along the Boardwalk is one of the best ways to see this city. Meandering through shops and along the sandy shore is a great way to take in some of the Oceanfront’s best sights. Start at 13th street and work your way up the statues, monuments and other great photo opportunities for an unforgettable afternoon.

The Virginia Legends Walk is a great way to start your tour. Honoring famous Virginians (either natives or by residence), it features historical figures like Pocahontas, Edgar Allan Poe and George Washington.

Next along the boardwalk is the Old Coast Guard Station, an important part of the area’s history. At the corner of Atlantic Avenue and 24th Street, visitors can imagine the Oceanfront of yesteryear. A Virginia Historic Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places, the station is now home to more than 1,000 photographs and over 2,000 historical artifacts. Head inside for a lesson on Virginia shipwrecks and the maritime history of the region in its on-site library. Check out the tower cam and watch boardwalk activity as a “surfman” on duty in the tower would have done decades ago.

Just one block down on 25th Street, you can find the Naval Aviation Monument, which honors the military presence in Hampton Roads. The bronze statues depict WWII soldiers and modern day aviators, among others.

Located right next to the monument is the Norwegian Lady. After a tragic shipwreck of the Norwegian sailing vessel Dictator in 1891, the sunken ship’s figurehead washed ashore. It was placed on the Boardwalk where it stood for nearly 60 years. After decades of weathering, the statue was replaced with a replicate statue memorializing those lost in the shipwreck. The Norwegian Lady’s twin stands in Moss, Norway—Virginia Beach’s sister city.

Keep your eyes open for dolphins—not only in the waves, but all around the city of Virginia Beach. In the vein of Richmond’s rockfish and Norfolk’s mermaids, dolphins have been surfacing around town. Created by local artists through A Dolphin’s Promise foundation, the dolphins serve as unique symbols of hope throughout the city. The foundation promotes cancer research, as well as raises money for local museums.

Finish your walking tour of the Oceanfront with a grand finale. A few blocks down from the Norwegian Lady is the grand finale of boardwalk statues: the King himself. The King Neptune Statue is the crowning glory of the Virginia Beach Oceanfront and a must see for visitors to the area. Built in 2005 in celebration of the annual Neptune Festival, the 34 foot tall statue makes for a great photo opportunity. Trident in hand and surrounded by dolphins, fish and turtles, Neptune majestically rules the boardwalk. What better a way to remember your trip than a photo with the King of the sea?

By the end of your journey, you’ll have a day of memories that will last long after the summer sun fades.