The affordable alternative to Virginia Beach
On the east coast of Virginia is a seaside town less well known than its neighbor just south, Virginia Beach. While the latter is famous for its distinctive boardwalk, iconic homage to Neptune, the god of the sea, nightlife, shopping, and beaches, it’s not the only coastal option for those looking to go to the South. A quieter alternative exists just across the tunnel from the Hampton Roads Bridge and if you don’t mind driving underwater, it’s worth checking out.
The city in question is Hampton, and it is larger than Virginia Beach, more affordable, has several beaches and a myriad of other activities for families, couples and solo travelers.
A bit about Hampton, Virginia
The best thing about Hampton is the location. It’s exactly in the middle of the east coast along the Atlantic, giving beachgoers prime beach access, as well as stunning views. It is also a city which has a history and which is full of museums and historical places which pay him a great tribute.
The town of Hampton is part of the coastal region known as the Hampton Roads, which includes Virginia Beach and several major military bases, so those interested in military history will enjoy this area as well. For anyone who just wants to spend a lazy and relaxing day at the beach, that’s no problem – even the town’s nature reserve includes a long stretch of peaceful coastline, perfect for soaking up the sunshine on the beach. ‘Atlantic.
What to do and how to do it
The drive to Hampton from the north, south or west is easy and doesn’t produce a lot of stress (unlike driving in a big city, like New York or Boston, for example). So right off the bat it’s okay to feel like a vacation even before the travelers arrive. For those traveling, Newport News / Williamsburg International Airport is literally a town of Hampton – so hiring a car or taking an Uber will be incredibly easy.
Once visitors have arrived at their accommodations (more on that below), it’s time to plan a day at Hampton! Any great first day of vacation starts with a great breakfast or a quick snack and luckily there are plenty of places to do it in this city, including plenty of diners with great options. For the closest to the beach, try Laura’s Rise & Shine:
- Hours: Wednesday – Sunday 7 a.m. – 1 p.m., closed Monday & Tuesday
Accommodation reservation: advice
One thing to note about Hampton is that unlike Virginia Beach, there are no hotels along the coast – it’s strictly residential and beachside. It’s wonderful for maintaining a quiet and low-key atmosphere, but it presents a few challenges when looking for a beachfront property. The good thing about it is the affordability of hotels, hostels, and accommodations. hosts; most cost less than $ 150 / night, and many are under $ 120.
This means that there will be a drive to get to any nearby beach. The best alternative to this is to book an Airbnb, and by researching Buckroe Beach in Hampton (the largest beach in town) travelers will be rewarded with a list of homes along the coast, with 80% of them falling. below $ 200 / night, and several ranging between $ 120 and $ 180 / night. To save even more money, consider a property located a few blocks from the beach in a residential neighborhood.
Head to the beach!
Buckroe Beach & Park is the perfect way to soak up the sun on the first day. The park is great for kids while the beach is much quieter than Virginia Beach and has a very laid back vibe.
Toilets are available on site and for those who have rented houses in the immediate vicinity, the walk is not bad at all. A stroll on the beach will bring beachgoers to the James T. Wilson Fishing Pier, which offers great views, and along the way they will also pass by Hampton Watersports for all recreational water activity needs.
Once the fun of the beach is over, a quick descent to the end of the shore will bring visitors to Fort Monroe National Monument, which sits at the center of a downtown waterfront area. This small community gives way to the military fort which is surrounded by water canals and constitutes a great historical promenade.
Visitors can head to the museum or continue to explore the outskirts of Fort Monroe, which includes the Old Point Comfort Lighthouse, Fort Monroe Public Beach, and Oozlefinch Beers & Blending, a brewery. Here, visitors can stop at Firehouse Coffee 1881 for a quick refueling or grab a bite to eat, or head to The Deadrise for casual seafood with waterfront deck seating.
Breweries and end-of-day fun
Heading to the Old Comfort Lighthouse, open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., visitors can walk along Fenwick Road to see other historic landmarks.
Following historical landmarks will bring visitors to Continental Park, before returning to Oozlefinch Beers & Blending to indulge in food trucks, beers, live music, and lawn games.
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