Sandbridge is situated just south of Virginia Beach and Norfolk on the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia. It lies on a coastal island between the North Bay and Atlantic Ocean, and boasts a low-key community surrounded by state parks and national wildlife refuges. Book a Sandbridge vacation rental to enjoy easy access to a ton of waterfront attractions, thanks to the many water canals. Whether you opt for a beach house facing the Atlantic, or a North Bay property, your vacation will be full of fun and relaxation. Check out these top things to do while on vacation in Sandbridge.

1. Visit Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge

As your nearest neighbor to the south, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is close enough to explore at your leisure. You can walk along the boardwalk while keeping your eyes open for interesting birds–the osprey nests here–or local wildlife such as deer. Stop at the visitor center to pay the entrance fee and get information about the wildlife.

2. Go to the Military Aviation Museum

Just a few miles inland is the Military Aviation Museum, which features aircraft dating back to World War I. Both biplanes and triplanes from that war are on display. Plus, they fly in the museum’s air shows. World War II planes include fighters and bombers. See the famous fighter Messerschmitt ME 262, developed and built in the United States. You can even go up in one of the aircraft.

3. Go Paddleboarding

Ease your way through the bays and inlets on paddleboards. Several rental firms are available in Sandbridge and Virginia Beach. Back Bay Getaways offers stand up paddleboard rentals (as well as surfboards if you want a different boarding adventure). You can do a self-guided tour with your family or friends, or opt for a guided tour. Moneysworth Beach Equipment Rentals not only stocks everything you need for watersports, including stand up paddle boards, it also offers beach equipment, including beach towels, baby gear, chairs, and umbrellas.

4. Play at the Adventure Park

Adventure Park isn’t your typical amusement park. As its name suggests, it’s serious about adventure, offering zip lines, aerial forest experiences, and climbing trails. There are 21 zip lines and 15 treetop trails. If you have kids, the Labyrinth is perfect for those who can’t quite manage the more advanced trails.

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5. Explore the Virginia Aquarium

While at Adventure Park, go next door to the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center for a look at the marine life that lives around you. See the protected loggerhead turtles, watch river otters, and climb Owls Creek Path to the observation tower for a look at the surrounding wildlife. Kids can examine shells and shark bones. There are also plenty of educational programs to engage children in learning.

6. Go to Hunt Club Farm

Take a break from the ocean and move inland to the Hunt Club Farm. It boasts 28 acres of fields and livestock with a petting farm and pony rides, which are ideal for families with children. You can stock up on fresh produce while you’re there. Plus, the farm hosts many festivals throughout the year, including an Easter egg hunt and a harvest fair.

7. Try Parasailing

Enjoy the air up there with some parasailing from Pirate Parasail and Rudee Inlet Parasail. Pirate Parasail offers 10- to 12-minute flying adventures with heights reaching up to 1000 feet. Bring a buddy or two because you can parasail in tandem or triples. Of course, there’s single parasailing if you’re feeling adventurous.

8. Enjoy Ocean Breeze Waterpark

You can get your thrill in a different way at Ocean Breeze Waterpark. There are exciting rides and slides, ranging from Earth Shaker and Vortex to the family-friendly raft ride. Children can splash around in the Buccaneer Bay area–they’ll love the pirate ship–and you can relax at Runaway Bay, the million-gallon wave pool.

9. Go Horseback Riding

Sandbridge and Virginia Beach offer several stables and horseback riding establishments such as NAS Oceana Stables. You can go trail riding or take the kids on a 30-minute pony ride followed by a hay ride. Calypso Run Farm, Heron Creek Farm, and Rivers Landing all have trail rides through rolling farm country.

10. Go on a Back Bay Tour

Tour the wetlands of Back Bay with one of the area tour agencies, such as Back Bay Getaways. You can go on a kayak or bike guided tour of the bay. Tour in luxury with the Back Bay Restoration Foundation Tram Tours. The guides point out all the wildlife and historical sites.

11. Play at Motor World

Motor World is not just for children. With 11 Go-Kart tracks and 16 different styles, it’s a fun getaway for both adults and children. Take to the adult speed track, and race your besties. If you have kids, go for bumper boats, or try one of the kiddie Go-Kart courses. After racing cars, play a game of mini golf.

12. Try Surfing

Surfing is one of the area’s most popular attractions due to Sandbridge’s location on the Atlantic Ocean. Get gear rental from surfboards to wetsuits at Surf and Adventure Company. Enroll in surf camp to learn the basics. The 17th Street Surf Shop and Seth Broudy School of Surf also offer everything you need to tame the Atlantic waves.

13. Stroll the Miyazaki Japanese Garden

Find your inner zen and stroll through the cultivated paths of Miyazaki Japanese Garden. Take a moment to relax on the bridge, and enjoy the green bamboo and water features. If you plan your trip right, you might even walk the garden while the cherry trees bloom.

14. Explore the Historic Sites

Take a tour of the area’s history. Start at First Landing State Park and visit the Cape Henry Lighthouse, which was built in 1792. Work your way south to the Virginia Beach Surf and Rescue Museum, Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, and Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum. Finish at the Whitehurst-Buffington House.

15. Eat Good Food

Sandbridge and Virginia Beach have more than enough eateries to satisfy your food cravings. Enjoy fresh seafood at Simply Steamed. The Sandbridge Island Restaurant boasts an eclectic combination of seafood and pizza with some live music for in-house entertainment.

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