Hampton Roads is the region around coastal Virginia that includes Hampton, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Newport News. It’s accessible by three airports and is a few hours from Richmond. The region is not far from Williamsburg if you want to add to your trip.
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There are plenty of chain hotels with amenities for families. The Element Hotel Hampton is next to a shopping and dining district, offering rental bikes and free breakfast.
Wake up with harbor views at the Hampton Marina Hotel. Swim in the outdoor pool or walk to the marina for boat tours. The science museum is also nearby.
Smithfield Station boasts the state’s only accommodations inside a lighthouse. Kids will love the including the Captain Sinclair Suite. They also have a restaurant and marina to dock your boat.
Rentals like Airbnb are also available in the area’s fun neighborhoods for a comfortable stay.
Museums and Attractions
Give yourself at least three days to explore the many attractions in the greater Hampton Roads area.
- Hampton History Museum– Learn about the rich history of Hampton Roads including the pirates, space and aeronautics work, and crabbing industry. Hampton
- Virginia Air and Space Museum– This Smithsonian museum is affiliated with NASA’s Langley Research Center and has interactive exhibits related to space and air travel. Highlights of the collection are the command capsule from Apollo 12 and early military planes. Hampton
- Fort Monroe– The fort was established around 1812 for its strategic coastal location and was used during the Civil War. It even held Jefferson Davis as a prisoner. Today it’s a sprawling space with a lighthouse and preserved buildings. Hampton
- Virginia Living Museum– The open-air museum includes an aquarium, science center, aviary, botanical preserve, and a planetarium with over 250 species of reptiles, mammals, birds, and fish. Take advantage of the Skip the Line: Virginia Living Museum Admission Ticket. Newport News
- The Mariners’ Museum and Park– Over 150 watercraft from around are on display at this 550-acre park. A conservation lab holds artifacts from the Civil War ironclad Monitor. Newport News
- Nauticus– This interactive science and technology celebrates the region’s naval and maritime history. It features exhibits on the Navy and NOAA and also includes the Battleship Wisconsin and the Hampton Roads Naval Museum. Norfolk
- Virginia Beach Ocean Breeze Waterpark– Cool off during the summer months at this park with over 30 rides, including a lazy river, wave pool, and water slides. Virginia Beach
- The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center– The aquarium features over 800,000 gallons of displays, including fresh and saltwater species. Get a discount on the Aerial Park Experience. Virginia Beach
Parks and Gardens
This area may be known for its beaches and coastline, but you can also soak up the green spaces.
- Chesapeake Arboretum– Opened in 1996, this 48-acre park is completely free to visit. There’s walking trails, a farmhouse, and theme and demonstration gardens. Chesapeake
- Carousel Park & Hampton Carousel– This downtown park is centered around a historic carousel from 1920. Visitors can take a ride inside the glass pavilion. Hampton
- Town Point Park– The waterfront park plays host to seasonal events. Little ones can play in the fountains. Norfolk
- First Landing State Park– Set on over 2,000 acres, the park features a beach and 19 miles of hiking and biking trails. It’s named for the settlers that arrived near the site. Virginia Beach
The Hampton Roads area has an incredible restaurant scene and there are plenty of spots that provide good value and options for picky eaters.
- Wickers Crab Pot Seafood– The family-owned business is one of the best places around for fresh seafood. The kids’ menu has favorites like chicken tenders, grilled cheese, and corn dogs. Chesapeake
- Brown Chicken Brown Cow– This downtown restaurant is known for its incredible burgers, including dry-aged beef. Enjoy a milkshake on their patio. Hampton
- The Deadrise– The laid-back seafood restaurant on the harbor is a great place to enjoy fresh seafood, sandwiches, and tacos. Eat on the deck for the full experience. Hampton
- Doumar’s Cones & Barbecue– The roadside barbecue restaurant has been open since 1904. They also serve burgers, hot dogs, and ice cream. Norfolk
- Pie-O-Neer Pizza Bar– Kids and adults can build their own pies, down to the crust and toppings. There are two locations in the area. Virginia Beach
Looking for something a little different? The towns of Hampton Roads has tons to offer for all types of families and interests.
- Miss Hampton II Boat Tour– Navigate the Chesapeake Bay on this guided boat tour as landmarks are pointed out along the way. Hampton
- Fort Monroe Bike Rentals– Rent a bike within the fort walls to explore on your own by two wheels. They also offer Segway rentals for older kids. Hampton
- Sky Zone Hampton– Bounce your heart out at this trampoline park. Get a discount on your jump pass. Hampton
- Wetland Zip Tour– Soar through the trees via 70-foot towers over the course of 90 minutes. Virginia Beach
- Small-Group Dolphin Kayak Eco-Tour– Explore the waterways around the Chesapeake Bay on the lookout for sea creatures. Virginia Beach
- Epic Scavenger Hunt Virginia Beach: Surf, Sand, and Sculptures!– See the city through an app-based scavenger hunt that takes you to local landmarks. Virginia Beach
- Hunt Club Farm– Get up close with animals at this local petting zoo. Book a Skip the Line: Hunt Club Farm Petting Farm Ticket before you go. Virginia Beach
- Beach Arcade– For those occasional rainy days, visit this arcade filled with video games and classic entertainment. Virginia Beach
There’s never a shortage of events going on in Hampton Roads, no matter what time of year you visit!
- Blackbeard Pirate Festival– The town where the famed pirate was captured hosts the pirate-themed event with re-enactors, activities, and live music. Hampton
- International Children’s Festival– The spring event provides activities for kids to learn about different world cultures. Hampton
- Winter Carnival at the MacArthur Center– Celebrate the holiday season with ice skating, rides, entertainment, and concessions. Norfolk
- Norfolk Harborfest– The iconic harbor plays host to the annual event with decorated ships, activities, booths, and fireworks over the water. Norfolk
- Virginia Children’s Festival– Over 100 vendors come out every year to provide activities and fun for the state’s young ones. Costumed characters also make appearances. Norfolk
- Patriotic Festival– Held every July 4, the event celebrates the region’s military tradition with live music and booths. Virginia Beach