Virginia Beach has a rich and interesting history absolutely worth exploring. Throughout the city, there are historic sites and structures that offer phenomenal educational opportunities about the region, the nation and the world. This summer, and year-round, come learn new and exciting things, whether out in nature, in museums or someplace in between.
Did you know that Virginia Beach was the first landing site of the Jamestown colonists in 1607 and then later became a more permanent settlement in the 1630s? Located near this landing site is the Cape Henry Lighthouse, where visitors can climb the steps to the tower. The lighthouse is open seven days a week, except on certain holidays. Visits to historic sites, such as the Cape Henry Lighthouse, make for terrific educational experiences, providing something of interest for the entire family.
In the city’s resort area, there are some historical gems right amongst the busy beach activities. Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum is one of these special rarities. Located on 24th Street and Atlantic Avenue in the Life-Saving Station built in 1903, this museum is free to the public, offering visitors a maritime history lesson through a diverse collection of artifacts on display at the museum, plus hosting educational and outreach events for the community throughout the year.
Not far away is another charming museum located at the oceanfront with free admission is the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum, which focuses on the history of wildfowl. Visitors will get an up-close look at wildfowl art and artifacts, including decoy carving. In addition, the museum’s gift shop has unique items to check out.
For an elegant experience like no other, spend time at The Historic Cavalier Hotel. Since 1927, the Cavalier Hotel has been hosting guests, including 10 presidents. Today this iconic hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but also offers modern amenities. Plan a stay at the hotel or an evening of dinner and drinks in one of its various restaurants and other establishments, including Tarnished Truth Distilling Company, the country’s first distillery in a hotel.
For more historical discoveries, plan a tour of the Thoroughgood House, which was built in 1719 and is one of the oldest remaining colonial homes in the city. Also be sure to visit the Lynnhaven House and Francis Land House for additional interesting history about the homes and lives of earlier residents of the Virginia Beach area.
Journey out to the Military Aviation Museum in the Pungo section of Virginia Beach to learn fascinating history and stories about iconic military aircraft. Positioned on 130 acres, this extraordinary museum has more than 50 aircraft from World War I and II. Come experience a variety of displays, demonstrations, events and much more. For the more daring, take a ride on an open-cockpit flight.