Virginia Beach is an incredibly fun vacation destination. There is always something happening, and usually for free! I was amazed at how many things were open to the public for free. I expected to pay through the roof for everything that I wanted to do, and I thought that most of my free time would go toward swimming and relaxing by the ocean (which was never a disappointment), but that wasn’t the case at all. I spent my days finding free things to do, and my evenings on the ocean.
I found that the best time to get to the beach (for me at least) was about 7pm because by then it was still hot out but the sun was just setting behind the tall buildings along the boardwalk. If you are pale, and burn easily like I do, (or want to save money on sunblock) it’s definitely the best time to go. If you were looking to get a tan, however, I would go earlier.
One of the great free things that they offer along the boardwalk is the theatre! Now, if you know me, you’ll know that I am an insane theatre buff (I’m studying Musical Theatre in college), so obviously I’m a little partial. But, even if you aren’t a ‘theatre person’, the shows were all extremely interesting (and did I mention that they were free). So, I thought that I would do a small series on the shows that I saw on the beach (because the same shows come back year after year!).
There were six shows that I saw on the boardwalk, so I will share them two at a time for a couple posts! The first two shows that I saw on my first night on the boardwalk were Aviators & Afterburners and The Wreck of the Dictator.
Aviators & Afterburners is the story of the history of Naval Aviation. Even if you aren’t a history buff, or don’t know anything about the Navy that’s okay! The play is short (about 30 minutes) and is high energy, with lots of really cool Navy footage (think incredibly fast planes and helicopters). Another really cool thing about this show is that it takes place inside the Naval Aviation Monument. So, while you’re learning about the Navy, you can look around and see life-size statues of the people they are telling you about! Also, if you turn around and look out onto the ocean, you can see the Naval ships that they reference. It’s a very cool experience to be surrounded by all of that history.
In case Aviators & Afterburners isn’t quite your speed, perhaps The Wreck of the Dictator might be! The Wreck of the Dictator is a dramatic one-man retelling of, you guessed it, the wreck of the Dictator. In 1891, the Norwegian ship, the Dictator, was caught in a terrible storm right off shore. Literally, right off of the shore at 25th street. That is what is so cool about this play; it takes place in the exact spot that the crew of the Dictator actually stood more than a hundred years ago. The story is incredibly moving, and again, it’s another cool experience to be right in the same spot that it actually happened.
I would highly recommend catching both of them if you have the opportunity! I will be sharing the others soon, so stay tuned!
Until next time,