A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to go camping for three nights in Virginia Beach. My friend’s parents took us; it was the two of them, and six of us girls. We were camping at First Landing State Park http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/fir.shtml, which stretches across the little area where the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean meet. It was unusually chilly for April down in Virginia, and needless to say we took every opportunity to get warm, one of which was the aquarium, which will be the subject of my next post.
The beach was gorgeous, as it usually is. Because of the cold and windy weather, we didn’t go swimming at all, but we did have fun walking along the shore, picking up shells, tossing a lacrosse ball around, and looking at the military ships in the water. The park we stayed at surrounded a military naval base, so there were lots of military ships, planes, and helicopters coming and going. The planes were really loud at night, but it was neat. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend camping here this early in the year, but if camping in the cold is your forte, by all means go for it; the park is beautiful.
Since it was so cold outside, we didn’t want to spend all our time at the campground, so we did a little bit of shopping. Driving about twenty minutes takes you into the more “touristy” area of Virginia Beach, with lots of hotels and little shops. We walked around along some of the streets and did some shopping along the way. They have coffee shops, ice cream shops, frozen yogurt, and lots of clothes stores and souvenir shops. We also went to the local mall and spent a few hours there. It was a pretty average mall to me, but we had a good time looking around and getting out of the cold. The shopping in Virginia Beach didn’t seem all too extensive to me, but it’s definitely worth checking out.
One thing that I really enjoyed on our way back up north from Virginia was the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel. We took a different route going down; passing DC and Baltimore, but on the way home we took the more direct route, going straight through Delaware and Maryland into Pennsylvania. The bridge/tunnel is an engineering feat, to be sure. At night, we could actually see the lights shining across the water from it on our campground beach. It stretches for twenty-three miles, alternating between bridge and tunnel, and it was really cool to drive across. It was a really sunny day, and the water was very aqua colored and pretty. Looking down off the bridge, the waves were very big looking, crashing into the beams supporting it. The tunnel sections were really cool too, and we kept wondering how they built a tunnel down under the Atlantic in the first place. We didn’t really come up with any good answers, but I guess that’s why we aren’t tunnel engineers. After what seemed like forever, we were driving off the bridge, and back on land. It may not seem like that big of a deal, but to me, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel was a really neat experience, and if you’re driving to Virginia from the north, I’d say it’s the route you should take if at all possible.
Overall what I’ll say about camping in Virginia the first week of April is that it’s an adventure. When it poured rain one night and I woke up with sand in my mouth another night, it’s obvious we were a little miserable at times. I wouldn’t take any of it back, though. It was a really fun few days and I’m so glad we did it. Virginia Beach is a really nice town and if you ever get a chance to go there, whether it’s for vacation or something else, make the most of it. There’s a lot to do, and it’s what you’d expect from a coastal city. Hopefully next time I go though, it will be warm enough to go swimming and enjoy everything this beautiful area has to offer!