Two Moms on the Road to VA Beach
The kids were remarkable, something about an adventure with friends seems to always lead to well behaved little people. They played their games and watched The Jetsons, all without much fuss, surprising even me with their lack of complaints. When we pulled up to our hotel on Virginia Beach late Monday morning we were all ready to hit the sand.
Family Friendly Right on the Beach
We bunked for the week at the Holiday Inn and Suites Resort. In our suites up on the sixth floor we were met with panoramic sweeping views of the ocean. Each suite boasted two oceanfront balconies, a separate bedroom with two uber-comfortable queen beds, and a living room with kitchenette.
This was more than enough space for myself with my two kids to spread out and enjoy, and the best part was that it was totally affordable, running at about $170 per night in the springtime.
The Holiday Inn was remarkable in it’s overall kid-friendliness. The hotel had three swimming pools, including an indoor lazy river, perfect for warming up when the sun went down and the temperature dropped in the evenings. The seven of us were frequent flyers in the various pools, jumping from the outdoor “Splish Splash Lagoon”, to the hot tub, to the indoor river, to the beach. Nothing wears kids out like a good swim, pool hopping was the ultimate way to ensure a good night sleep out of all of them.
Horses trotted by, you can rent them right on the beach, and parasailers and jet skiers rode by, everyone enjoying the idyllic sunshine. There was even a playground right on the sand, adjacent to the famous towering statue of Neptune at 31st street. The kids toddled down the slides while we sat back and sipped lattes with our toes buried in the sand.
Splashed by Seals
On Tuesday we headed down the beach a few miles to the local aquarium. The front entrance to the building was boarded by a large seal tank. My four year old daughter Sofie shrieked with fear as the seals slapped their tails in the water and sent up a spray of water that doused us all, the four boys cracked up and begged the seals to do it again.
The aquarium was loaded with cool exhibits and beautiful marine life, a great way to spend the morning. Sofie hid her eyes in fear most of the time, convinced that the sharks would leap through the glass to bite her, but the other kids ran from room to room admiring as much as they could. After wearing ourselves out with sea life we had lunch in the adjoining cafe, and then headed back to the beach.
The aquarium also sponsors several different boat tours daily, including a dolphin watching cruise and a “rocket” power boat that sets sails several times a day. There are many locations on Virginia Beach where you can schedule these boat tours, book a pirate cruise, or engage in another water sport, such as kayaking or paddleboards. These “Vacation Stations” make it convenient to get your adventures in while visiting this bustling town.
I often travel with other moms for a number of reasons, the first being that my husband is a homebody who doesn’t like to travel. The second reason is that having two mothers on vacation is twice as efficient as having just one, even if the number of children has multiplied.
I find that my other mom friends know just when to step in and offer a hug or a sandwich, and are generally very efficient in getting us from one place to another in one piece. Once we have arrived where we are going, there is nothing like sharing a cocktail on the beach with a girlfriend while the kids play together.
It’s a week long playdate and an adventure in communal mothering. Traveling with another family on a road trip meant that the drive went smoother, my kids fought less, and the overall excitement level was higher than your average vacation.
Worth the Journey
All in all, Virginia Beach was well worth the road trip from New England. The family centered, laid back atmosphere of the region made us comfortable, while the countless activities offered made sure we were never bored. Whether its a seaside amusement park, aquatic adventures, or just a relaxed week on the beach, Virginia Beach has what it takes to make any family happy until the long drive home.
Kate Hartshorne is an expert on families: she helps create them! A maternity nurse who lives in Northfield, MA with her family of eight, Kate is also an expert on family travel and she shares her insights with our readers on GoNOMAD.com. Kate strives to give you the biggest bang for your buck on a family vacation, she scouts out the best without breaking the bank.