Seeing Virginia Beach on a Budget
Virginia Beach offers up some of the best beaches in the United States. Surfers, vacationers, and locals enjoy Virginia Beach year round. But when summer arrives, things can get a bit pricy. That's why AOL Travel offers up some tips for folks planning on seeing Virginia Beach on a budget.
Flying to Virginia Beach for Less
The Virginia Beach area is primarily served by Norfolk International Airport, approximately 13 miles away. This airport provides most of the domestic and international service to Virginia Beach. You may be able to save money on airfare if you consider using surrounding airports, though it may depend on your travel circumstances. Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport is an option primarily for U.S. travelers and is only 34 miles out. (While it's labeled "international," the only international flight I could find was to/from Ottawa, Canada.) Flying into Richmond or D.C. may also be an option if you're making those cities part of your trip. When using online travel aggregators, remember to select the option to check prices at surrounding airports. You'll definitely have a better chance at saving money on flights and seeing Virginia Beach on a budget.
Cheap accommodations in Virginia Beach
While some of the best Virginia Beach hotels are certainly top-grade quality, you'll typically pay top-grade prices for them. For the traveler seeing Virginia Beach on a budget, there may be better options. There are several things to consider, however, when looking for budget accommodations. What is your price range and how close to the beach do you need to be?
If staying close to the airport doesn't bother you, you can save big, even during the busy summer months. The Hampton Inn, Virginia Beach is highly rated on Hotels.com and Orbitz.com, and the prices are more than agreeable. The hotel has a free airport shuttle, and it's only 12 miles from the beach. If you're not renting a car, the #20 bus runs by the hotel and goes all the way to the coast in a little less than an hour.
For those who want to be close to the beach, you're going to pay a little more money. However, the La Quinta Inn and Suites on Pacific Avenue may be an option for the budget traveler. The hotel is also rated highly on travel aggregators, has very competitive prices, and is only two blocks away from the beach. As of this writing I was able to book a weekend May excursion for one for as low as $89 a night. Weekday rates are even lower for the traveler seeing Virginia Beach on a budget.
The Best Western Oceanfront may also be an option for those wanting budget accommodations on the beach without sacrificing quality.
Cheap Eats and Drinks in Virginia Beach
Saving money on food and beverages can be tricky on any vacation, especially for families. But there are some local restaurants and bars that won't empty your wallet. Start your day off eating breakfast at Mary's Restaurant, a haven for foodies for over 40 years. If you're willing to get there before 9 a.m., you can try the hearty Early Bird for only $2.99. But don't worry: the prices and food are still great all day long. There's even a kid's menu to help save a family more money during their Virginia Beach vacation.
For those looking for cheap eats around lunch or dinner time, then consider heading to Pierce's for some great Virginia barbeque. Pierce's is often packed with both locals and travelers and for good reason. Sinking your teeth into The Jumbo pork or chicken sandwich will have you coming back for more. And the prices are always friendly on the budget.
If you're looking for some of the best drink specials in Virginia Beach, I highly recommend visiting BarflyVirginiaBeach.com. The team of people who maintain the site have handily organized all the best drink specials from bars and restaurants in Virginia Beach into daily breakdowns. Want to know what's cheap on Thursday? Read reviews about other bars and restaurants? Head to Barfly.
Finally, don't forget to check out AOL Travel's best Virginia Beach restaurants to discover some of the best food and service in the Virginia Beach area. Many are very easy on the wallet, making seeing Virginia Beach on a budget easy as well.
Enjoying Virginia Beach on a Budget
Here are some extra tips for enjoying the beautiful Virginia Beach while saving money:
• Remember that being flexible with your travel dates will save you money on airfare and accommodations. Vacationing on weekdays -- especially during the summer -- will likely be cheaper than weekends.
• Public transportation in Virginia Beach is pretty much limited to bus and taxi. A new light-rail line is in the works, however. Buy one-day and seven-day passes to save money on the bus.
• There are numerous free and almost free things to do in Virginia Beach. For more ideas, here are AOL Travel's top 10 attractions in Virginia Beach.
• Sometimes checking out the weekly vacation rentals in Virginia Beach yields great dividends for those wanting to save money on week-long accomodations.
Photo by Beadmobile from Flickr