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The Weekender: Virginia Beach

This underrated beach town is the perfect mix of old glamour and artistic expression

The stretch of beach that hugs the middle of America’s east coast is more than a place to plant your umbrella during the summer–it’s a destination fit for imagination. As Virginia Beach native and Grammy Award winning artist Pharrell Williams said when asked about creating the city’s inaugural summer music festival, Something in The Water, “Virginia has been home to some of the most gifted artists, athletes, and scientists to ever live. And it makes sense – the people of Virginia are one-of-a-kind: uniquely gritty, bold, and brilliant.”

Something In The Water music festival

Something in The Water music festival

The city’s illustrious ViBe district showcases work from local artists and highlights the feeling of community in this tight knit beach town. Do yourself a favor and cut your beach time in half and explore all that Virginia Beach has to offer with our weekend travel guide.

Where to Stay:

The historic Cavalier Virginia Beach embodies the glamour of old Virginia in an Art Deco inspired landmark along the oceanfront. After undergoing an $85 million renovation, the property oozes a mix of elegance and modern amenities. The impeccably manicured lawn plays host to a smattering of adirondack chairs and plush love seats ripe for that lazy “porch sitting” vibe of years past. The indoor pool is reminiscent of The Great Gatsby with chic black and white cabanas and lions head water fixtures. The Cavalier is also the only hotel in the country to have a working distillery within its walls. Take a stroll downstairs for a tour and taste of Tarnished Truth.

Cavalier Virginia Beach (photo by Robert Benson Photography)

Cavalier Virginia Beach (photo by Robert Benson Photography)

Across the street from the hotel is the guests and members only Cavalier Beach Club. Lounge by the infinity pool or have a tassel-lined navy umbrella and lounger set up for you on the beach. The food and cocktail program at the club features fresh flavors that offer an inherently tropical theme. As you relax, take advantage of passed fruit and Sunday evening barbecues.

Cavalier Virginia Beach (photo by Robert Benson Photography)

Cavalier Virginia Beach (photo by Robert Benson Photography)

Where to Eat:

Virginia Beach is notorious for its seafood, but in recent years local pryvors have taken an even bigger step forward for the community and the environment by focusing on sustainable seafood. Catch 31 Fish House & Bar is a great lunch or dinner spot serving sustainably sourced specialties in an upscale eatery by the boardwalk. If you are looking to try something completely new, step into Aunties, the filipino-fusion restaurant that makes any visitor instantly feel like a local. The bar program is a masterclass in tiki style drinks paired with a creative menu crafted by Chef Abriel Levantino that showcases essential southeast Asian flavors and traditions.

Aunties

Aunties

For brunch, check out Doc Taylor’s for their playful menu of breakfast items ranging from the $4.99 “Beach Bum” dish to the $199 “The Cadillac,” which features two “Beach Bums” and a bottle of Dom Perignon.

What to Do:

If you are looking to give the sun a break, the Virginia Beach Aquarium & Marine Science Center is a great place to educate yourself on the mysteries of the ocean. For a more artful experience, a stroll down to the ViBe district is a must for a deeper look into the bustling art scene. If you’re feeling active, Rudee’s Inlet is the best place for kayaking, paddle boarding, and jet skiing.

Kayaking

Kayaking

Visit the Cape Henry Lighthouse, the 4th oldest lighthouse in the country, and learn more about the history of the area while taking in the stunning scenery. After a long day of exploring, take a load off at one of Virginia Beach’s many local breweries, like Back Bay Brewing, for a flight.

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