You can get away from it all in Sandbridge, but not too far from the fun and relaxation. A bucketful of seashells is a great treasure to carry back to your waterfront vacation rental. Maybe your ideal vacation rental is a quiet, secluded spot in the forest where the deer and birds drop by from time-to-time. Wherever you stay, beach vacations offer lots of options. What would your family think about a dinner cruise? It’s an exciting dusk adventure with some beautiful sightseeing along the way. The anglers in the family may want to check out sport fishing charters with A Fishinado and Aquaman for half-day fishing adventures. Here’s a list of the top 10 Sandbridge vacation rental locations to help you make your plans.

1. Sandbridge, Virginia

virginia
Source: Flickr/Jeff Futo

Along the coast of Virginia Beach, the little community of Sandbridge gives your family access to a beach vacation paradise where sandcastles, surfing, and the sunshine seem endless. At the southern end of the Island, Little Island Park sprawls over 130 acres of beach property to provide places for swimming, fishing, and crabbing. There are also picnic shelters and sports courts to make it a day full of fun. Just a little way up the beach, a 34-foot cast bronze statue of King Neptune dominates the gateway to Neptune Park. Dedicated in 2005, the statue stands at 31st Street, gazing affectionately out over the shore.

2. Chesapeake, Virginia

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Adventures in Chesapeake for active families include the Dismal Swamp Canal Trail, a former section of an old highway that is now open to biking, walking, jogging, hiking, and horseback riding. The Northwest River Natural Area Preserve’s calm waters make a great location for kayakers of all experience levels and ages. Another aspect of this area is plenty of wildlife, including blue herons, wild turkeys, owls, and green herons. Deer, river otters, snakes, and turtles also populate the area. Can you imagine capturing beautiful photographs in these natural surroundings from the deck of your vacation rental?

3. Portsmouth, Virginia

childrens museum
Source: Wikimedia Commons

As one of the oldest working harbors in America Portsmouth visitors often see ships passing by the seawall downtown, including Navy ships entering and leaving Norfolk Naval Station. The town isn’t all work, as evidenced by the Children’s Museum where hands-on exhibits and play areas combine learning and fun. Kids love the bubbles exhibit in which they can make bubbles of different shapes and sizes. There’s also a yard where toddlers up to age three can safely play and explore.

4. Norfolk, Virginia

us navy
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Norfolk is well-known as a naval town, including military facilities and museums. The USS Wisconsin is moored there. It was built in Philadelphia and launched in 1943, the second battleship of the United States Navy to be named in honor of the state of Wisconsin. The Hampton Roads Naval Museum is dedicated to the study of 235 years of naval history in the area. It assists with management of the exhibits concerning the USS Wisconsin. After a day of touring the museums, you can retreat to your vacation rental for a cookout in the backyard before soaking in the hot tub.

5. Chic’s Beach Neighborhood, Virginia Beach

rollercoaster ride

Chic’s Beach puts you close to the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center. It houses more than 800,000 gallons of aquariums and lives animal habitats, including hands-on exhibits, and outdoor aviary, a nature trail, and marshlands. Since you’re only an hour south of Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, you can make a great day-trip to take in the rides, shows, and shops.

6. Ocean View Neighborhood, Norfolk, Virginia

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The Ocean View neighborhood is your gateway to Ocean View Beach Park. There’s a sports shop in the park that rents out paddle boats, jet skis, and sailboats. If you’d prefer to stroll along the boardwalk, you can watch naval submarines and ships. To really change the pace, have you ever wondered what the Zoo is like at night? The Virginia Zoological Park invites visitors to participate in a nighttime adventure to learn about the animals, meet some up close, and walk around the zoo. Your kids must be at least six years old to participate.

7. Woodhouse Corner Neighborhood, Virginia Beach

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Woodhouse Corner is a neighborhood where locals know you love to be scared, and they are willing to oblige. You and your kids who are at least 10 years old can walk through a haunted house called Nightmare Mansion. After all that, you can go ghost crabbing down on the beach. These shy critters own the beach at night, and families love taking flashlights out to spot them. Later, you can prop up your sandy feet on the deck of your vacation rental and count the stars overhead.

8. Northeast Virginia Beach, Virginia

cape henry lighthouse
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Norwegian Lady Statues stand in the sister cities of Northeast Virginia Beach and Moss, a coastal town in Norway. The story reaches back to 1891 when a Norwegian ship ran into a storm, and the Virginia Coastguard made valiant efforts to help save the ship. The statue is a replica of the ship’s figurehead that washed ashore after the ship sank. For more history, the northern end of Virginia Beach also features the Cape Henry Lighthouse, built in 1792. Visitors can climb the tower and browse the gift shop.

9. Great Bridge Community, Chesapeake, Virginia

great bridge community
Source: Flickr/randompicsilike122990

The Great Bridge Community is home to the 48-acre Chesapeake Arboretum, which features a trail system that winds through a hardwood forest. It contains eight bridges, over three miles of walking trails, a three-acre lake, a 19th-century farmhouse, and picnic tables. When the kids are ready to blow off some steam, you can take them to Cloud9 Trampoline Park where they can climb the aerial silks over the foam pits, jump on the trampolines, and play on the trapezes.

10. Arrowhead Community, Virginia Beach

badminton racket

There’s no need to take things too seriously when you’re on vacation, and the Arrowhead Community gives you permission to have fun. Topgolf, for instance, is about hanging out. There’s a 240-yard outfield with targets in the ground. Micro-chipped balls keep track of scores; the closer you get to the center of the target, the more points you earn. You can take the family to the famous Mount Trashmore Park, built over a former landfill. Two man-made mountains, lakes, playgrounds, a skate park, and multi-use paths sprawl over 165 acres. Visitors can check out free equipment from the park office, including badminton equipment, frisbees, soccer balls, volleyballs and nets, and wheelchairs.