Norfolk is a place where the water is never too far away. This attractive port city lies on the Elizabeth River at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay and is the home of the world's largest naval base. Visit Norfolk to explore maritime heritage, set sail on the water and unwind on attractive beaches.
Go on a guided tour of Naval Station Norfolk and see aircraft carriers, amphibious assault ships and other naval craft. Head to the downtown waterfront for Nauticus, a marine-themed science area, and step onboard the USS Wisconsin, a retired battleship. Enjoy a harbor cruise on the three-masted American Rover schooner.
Whether you visit Norfolk with or without children, the Virginia Zoological Park makes for a great day or half-day out. See animals from several continents, including Africa and North America. Follow the Trail of the Tiger, go on a walk through the Australian outback and explore the world of reptiles.
Enjoy more nature at the Norfolk Botanical Garden, a colorful and fragrant wonderland of themed gardens.
Drive approximately 18 miles (29 kilometers) east of the city for the white sandy beaches and waterways of Virginia Beach. Sunbathe, take part in water sports and enjoy the views, outdoor restaurants and shops of the 3-mile (5-kilometer) Virginia Beach Boardwalk.
If you can pull yourself away from the oceanfront, travel to some of Norfolk's other attractions. Observe some of the thousands of marine creatures representing more than 300 species at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center. Breathe in the fresh air as you hike along the trails of First Landing State Park where English colonists landed in 1607. Nearby is Cape Henry Lighthouse climb up this late 18th-century tower for delightful views of Chesapeake Bay. The newer, 19th-century lighthouse is closed to the public.
For dining options, try the restaurants of the Waterside District, a dining and entertainment complex on the banks of the river.
To get to Norfolk, drive, arrive by train or fly into Norfolk International Airport. Travel to beaches, nautical sites and family-friendly attractions by car or public transportation.