Though Virginia Beach is usually known as a family-friendly coastal summer getaway, there is a lot more to this city than just beaches and summer fun. Virginia Beach gives travelers some amazing insights into all different eras of U.S. history, with plenty of museums and preserved homes to entertain history buffs.
Virginia Beach was established way back when John Smith journeyed to North America. Smith named the area Cape Henry and claimed it for England before he headed north to colonize Jamestown.
So besides the ocean views and cheap Virginia Beach hotels, check out the following historical sites when you head out to this beautiful seaside town.
View Wartime Aircraft at the Military Aviation Museum
Your history lesson begins right when you arrive at Virginia Beach Airport, as you will find yourself right next to the Military Aviation Museum. The museum started as a small collection of war planes and has since grown into a huge display of military aircraft from World War I, World War II, and even up to the Korean War. The museum displays British and German planes along American classics like the Mustang and Spitfire.
On the weekends, special shows are held and local volunteer pilots fly the planes out to entertain the crowds.
Walk Through a 200-Year-Old Plantation Home
The Francis Land House is a local 200-year-old plantation home that Virginia Beach has preserved as a historical record of the architecture and lifestyle of the 18th and early 19th centuries in the southern U.S. Walk through the house to admire the various antiques, and take a tour to learn about plantation life and how households operated back when the Francis Land House held a family instead of a museum, around 1805 to 1819.
See One of the Oldest Homes in the USA
Visit the Adam Thoroughgood House to see one of the oldest brick homes in the USA. This colonial-era Virginia Beach landmark features 17th and 18th century furniture, as well as a collection of pictures of the property over time. The House offers hourly tours for visitors who want to learn more about the life and times of the Thoroughgoods, one of Virginia’s first successful colonial families.
Visit the Old Coast Guard Station
The Old Coast Guard Station started operating back in 1903, and has now been turned into a museum to honor the memory of the men who served on life-saving missions in the U.S. Coast Guard. Learn about the naval history of the Virginia Beach area and the shipwrecks on which Coast Guard members carried out their heroic duties. You can also check out the interactive tower camera at the station, which lets you see all the ships leaving and entering the Hampton Roads port.
Once you venture past the beaches and beyond the water, Virginia Beach offers travelers plenty of historical gems to explore and a chance to learn about U.S. history from colonial times to the World Wars.
Photo by Pragati Bidkar.