Last modified: August 14, 2023
Virginia Beach, VA, is a well-known tourist destination for its 14 miles of beautiful public beaches, 3-mile boardwalk, and over 60 blocks of oceanfront fun, from arcades and amusement park rides - to restaurants serving delicious fresh seafood and a well-known reputation for a vibrant nightlife! And while it is easy to drop some serious cash on the countless activities, events, shopping, and attractions in this bustling oceanfront city, there are many free activities that are easy on the budget.
Check out our free and nearly free Virginia Beach attraction and adventure ideas! Browse our coupons and hot deals for extra savings!
Beachstreet U.S.A. and Festivals
There is always some type of festival going on at the oceanfront in Virginia Beach! Most have free admission and are open to the public. These include The Latin Festival, Soul Music Beachfest Blues Festival, PANorama Caribbean Music Festival, Oktober Brewfest, Festa Italiana, Sand Soccer Tournament, and the East Coast Surfing Competition (ECSC). When the weather warms, the beachfront comes alive with free live concerts, theatrical productions, and even a monster truck show!
Click here for a full list of spring and summer festivals in Virginia Beach.
While this may seem like an obvious suggestion, did you know that there is more to Virginia Beach beaches than the Resort Area?
You can opt for the more tranquil Sandbridge beach, a family-oriented beach retreat located just south of the resort area; or you can choose Croatan Beach, located in a more exclusive neighborhood, often less crowded with quiet views and family friendly atmosphere. If you have a peaceful day at a more remote beach idea in mind, Chesapeake Beach is scenic and less crowded with protected shallow waters.
The price: Parking fees.
Boardwalk and Beach Playgrounds
There are many fun attractions that you will find right on the boardwalk itself. See amazing art like the King Neptune Statue, the Norwegian Lady Statue, large golden turtle statues (pictured below), large hermit crab statues, and more! There are a couple of tributes to the United States' Armed Forces as well you'll find sprinkled in along the boardwalk.
You'll also find two great beach playgrounds that are perfect for the little ones and one that is made for atheletes! The two children's playgrounds, Grommet Island Park and Playground at 31st Street are made with the hot sun in mind. The play equipment here is made of materials that don’t get hot, even with the bright sun blaring on it. This protects the little vacationers from having a not-so-pleasant beach experience.
The beach workout arena is called Hillier Ignite Fitness Park. You'll find equipment like monkey bars, pull up bars, tightrope, and more at this adult playground. Hillier Ignite Fitness Park is located at 36th Street on the beach.
The Great Outdoors
Virginia Beach offers more than 18,000 acres of protected state parks! First Landing State Park offers beautiful trails and free educational programs including hiking, surf fishing, and animal tracking.
Hike, run, or bike through miles and miles of unspoiled beaches, dunes, freshwater marshes, and maritime forests at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park, where you can also discover a variety of wildlife.
Also enjoy Mount Trashmore! This large park is full of things to do like skate parks, walking through gardens, walking trails, and playgrounds.
Open May 15 – September 25 and located at the oceanfront, the Virginia Beach Farmer’s Market offers a country-style market in the fresh open air with locally grown produce, dairy products, meats, gifts, wines, jams, and a restaurant.
Admission is free and fresh products are reasonably priced.
Museums and Historic Homes
Virginia Beach VA offers several opportunities for visitors and locals alike to learn about history, art, and science with admission prices that are inexpensive or free! The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art changes their exhibits regularly and offers art classes and hosts special events. Admission is $7.50 for adults, $5.50 for children, children under 4 are free. Learn about World War I and World War II aircraft at the Military Aviation Museum; admission for adults is $10, kids 6-18 are $6, and under 6 are free. Historic homes throughout the city include the Adam Thoroughgood House, Lynnhaven House, Francis Land House, and the Ferry Plantation House. Admission to these historic homes is $5 or less!
Check out the Old Coast Guard Station Musuem too, located right on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. A picture of this is below.
Housed in a 1903 former Life Saving Station, the Old Coast Guard Station Museum give an opportunity to learn about shipwrecks that occurred off of the Virginia Beach coast and learn about the men and equipment used to rescue shipwrecked crews around the turn of the 20th century. Peek through the Towercam at passing ships. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for children.
Virginia Legends Walk
Enjoy a self-guided stroll along this beautifully landscaped walkway, honoring great Virginians from the past and present who have made a big impact on our country. Legends Walk is located very close to the oceanfront, so close that you can walk there! Some of the famous names honored: Edgar Allan Poe, President George Washington, Patsy Cline, and Ella Fitzgerald.
Cape Henry Lighthouse & Memorial Park
The oldest government-built lighthouse in America, built in 1791, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean; the same view seen by lighthouse keepers more than 200 years ago! Located on the Fort Story military base, the original lighthouse is open to the public and across the street from the Coast Guard-operated new Cape Henry Lighthouse. The price you pay is small for what you get at this historic lighthouse! You can climb all the way to the top and get amazing views of the Chesapeake you can't get any where else! Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children over 3.
Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment
People come from around the world to research the psychic readings of Edgar Cayce. Cayce’s findings are used today in spirituality and intuition education and research. Discover Tai Chi, yoga, or enjoy a guided meditation seminar. All events at Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E. are free and open to the public.
The Christian Broadcasting Network
The CBN is more than just an international television network, but is also a college campus, conference center, ministry, and Founder’s Inn. You can enjoy a guided tour that takes you behind-the-scenes of the taping of the 700 Club, a national television program. The 685-acre complex has oil paintings, sculptures, gorgeous architecture and natural beauty. This is the perfect place to spend some quality time as a family. Tours of CBN are free!
Want to learn about even MORE free things? Check out Virginia Beach Mom Explore's list of 100 Things to Do in Hampton Roads with Kids! As you can see, there are tons of activities that don't have to cost a fortune!
Vacationing in Virginia Beach is super fun, and you don't have to spend a dime having fun for some of these attractions! VA Beach is a great place to come to getaway and still stick to a budget.