Often thought of as primarily a Navy town, Norfolk, Virginia has been enjoying a renaissance in recent years, and is fast becoming one of the finest tourist destinations on America’s eastern seaboard.
One of the best features of Norfolk is its thriving downtown dining and cultural scene. There are restaurants serving every kind of cuisine, from Italian to Mexican (as well as delicious locally produced Virginia ham), and theatres and cinemas are opening up all of the time. For others, the town offers a lively party atmosphere, with bars to suit all tastes. Check out the Ghent district for some of the best places to enjoy a relaxing drink after sightseeing.
And the sights are worth seeing. Visit the town’s memorial to World War Two general Douglas MacArthur, head to the Hermitage Museum of Art or to the excellent Botanical Gardens which offers seasonal tours showcasing the flowers of the eastern coastal region.
Children are catered for by Norfolk’s well-run Zoological Gardens, while the whole family can enjoy an exceptional experience with a tall-ship cruise along the “Hampton Roads”. Visitors can explore the USS Wisconsin – one of the biggest battleships ever built, and they can learn even more about the sea at the brilliant Nauticus exhibition.
For others, the coast offers superb beaches and a chance to relax in the pleasant Virginia climate. Try your swing at a local golf course like Lambert’s Point or go hiking at the gorgeous Hoffler Creek Nature Preserve.
Norfolk is also conveniently situated to reach the attractions of Washington DC. Rent a car or take a bus to see the Capitol, the White House and Lincoln Memorial before heading back to your hotel room the same day. It is even possible to reach New York and Philadelphia in a few hours.
To enjoy the beaches and coastal lifestyle around Norfolk, travelling between May and September is a good idea. However, peak season can bring large crowds, and the heat can be a bit much, so consider travelling in April or October for warm weather and a more relaxed experience. For those only focused on sightseeing, a winter trip in December of January would be even cheaper.
Getting around Norfolk itself can be achieved by foot, bicycle, taxi or bus – but getting to the beaches, golf courses, hiking trails and to cities like Washington DC really requires a car. For local transport, an excellent light rail network connects the town to coastal resorts.