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In Pictures: Virginia Beach by sand, sea and air
By Tom Adkinson
August 31, 2023

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Virginia Beach has a celebrity greeter perhaps without peer – King Neptune. A 24-foot-tall bronze statue of the Greek god of the sea reigns over the Virginia Beach Boardwalk and the adjacent Atlantic Ocean, too. It is a favorite spot for a memorable tourist photo, but Virginia Beach is full of other photo ops. You can find them on the sand, out on the water and even in the air. The boardwalk, of course, is the city’s biggest attraction – three miles long and lined with vendors, outdoor restaurants, hotels and other businesses, plus the bonus of four stages for musical performances. The Virginia Aquarium lets you observe sea life indoors and operates two boats for outdoor excursions, while the Military Aviation Museum even has a way to fly over this action-packed city.

Say hello to King Neptune

king neptune statue virginia beach
The 12-ton statue of King Neptune may look fierce, but he’s actually a friendly photo model on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk at 31st Street. He rules at the gateway to Neptune Festival Park. Image courtesy of Virginia Beach CVB

Leave footprints for miles

virginia beach aerial view
“Beach” is the operative word in “Virginia Beach.” Miles of golden sand are the city’s most notable visitor magnet. Beachside hotels, restaurants and shops – plus an entertainment-filled three-mile-long boardwalk – add to the appeal. Image courtesy of Virginia Beach CVB

Dream of flying

Military Aviation Museum
The Military Aviation Museum is one of Virginia Beach’s attractions away from the ocean, but it does offer flights in a vintage biplane over the beachfront if you want to make your dreams of flying come true. The museum is one of the world’s largest private collections of World War I and World War II aircraft. One is a bright red three-wing Fokker DR1 like the Red Baron flew in World War I. Image courtesy of Virginia Beach CVB

Get on the water

The Atlantic Explorer
The Atlantic Explorer is one of two excursion boats that the Virginia Aquarium operates. The other is the Atlantic Scout, a smaller craft. The waters off of Virginia Beach are home to a substantial population of bottlenose dolphins, so you are almost guaranteed to see those sleek creatures. Image courtesy of Virginia Beach CVB

Have a whale of a time

virginia beach whales
Winter is the time you might see migrating whales during an excursion on the Atlantic Explorer or the Atlantic Scout. The massive animals certainly don’t perform on cue, but you always can hope for a big breach. Image courtesy of Virginia Beach CVB

Inspect loggerhead turtles and more

loggerhead turtle
This loggerhead turtle is a representative of more than 300 species you can see at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center. The aquarium’s tanks and exhibits take you from coastal habitats to the depths of the Atlantic. Image courtesy of Virginia Beach CVB

Trip-planning resources:, and

(Travel writer Tom Adkinson’s book, 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, is available on

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