With 35 miles of sandy, salty coastline, Virginia Beach inevitably provides your student travel group with prime beach opportunities. But Virginia Beach offers much more than crashing waves and sun bathing. Student travelers can enjoy some of the best outdoor activities, explore some of the country’s oldest homes and come face to face with exotic wildlife. It can all be found at Virginia Beach, a hot student destination.

Student Attractions in Virginia Beach

It’s not just a beach, it’s an educational adventure perfect for your student trip. The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center is one of the best in the country and the largest in Virginia. This aquarium gives student tours a close-up look at sharks, sea turtles, stingrays, fish, harbor seals and other ocean wildlife. With 10 acres of outdoor marsh habitat, a nature trail and over 350 hands-on activities, your student tour group will enjoy hours of aquatic entertainment.

For more outdoor adventure, take your student travel group to Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, a 9,000-acre fresh water retreat. The geographical makeup of this park—with sand dunes, maritime forests, marshes, ponds and ocean beaches—make it the perfect location for student travelers to get in touch with nature and local wildlife. The various habitats can be accessed by marsh trails or the beach. First Landing State Park, the most visited park in Virginia, marks where the settlers first docked their ships to enter the Chesapeake Bay and settle along the James River. Student tours will get a glimpse at a historically significant spot as well as experience the divine natural environment that surrounds this point of interest.

There are a number of historic places for your student travelers to visit. The Adam Thoroughgood House, built in 1719, is one of the earliest examples of a permanent brick home in Virginia. The house features an elaborate collection of 17th and 18th century decorative art and provides educational tours for student travel groups. The  Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum is dedicated to the birds of the Atlantic Flyway and upholding the traditions of Eastern Virginia. The museum was placed in the old deWitt Cottage, the only remaining turn-of-the-century seaside cottage. Lynnhaven House, a classic example of 18th century brick masonry, is one of the most unaltered survivors from that time period. Costumed guides show student groups the English furniture and other furnishings. Outside, student travelers can pay their respects to heroes in a small Revolutionary War graveyard.

Take your student travel group to the Old Cape Henry Lighthouse & Museum, where you can climb the steps and look out from the top of the first lighthouse in Chesapeake Bay. Follow with a visit to the Old Coast Guard Station, a former U.S. lifesaving station built in 1903. Exhibits depict the history of life-saving seafarers, shipwrecks and battles during both World Wars.

Being outside is encouraged in Virginia Beach, but you must bring your student travelers inside to the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia. The people here are dedicated to teaching visitors about the beauty of contemporary art through ever-changing exhibits, educational programs and art classes. For something a little different, take your students to the Association for Research and Enlightenment, a non-profit organization dedicated to the works of Edgar Cayce. Student travelers will appreciate the unconventional teachings that focus on holistic health, ancient mysteries, personal spirituality, dream interpretation, philosophy and reincarnation. The visitor center offers free activities such as ESP demonstrations, daily guided tours and a movie on Cayce.

At False Cape State Park, student tour groups can explore the nine miles of hiking and biking trails and six miles of pristine beaches. The park also features an extensive environmental student education program in one of the only intact coastal environments left on the East Coast.

Top Student Sightseeing Tours in Virginia Beach

A number of boat cruises and tour packages get your student travelers out on the waves and into the wild. The Ocean Collections, available through the Virginia Aquarium, offers a dolphin and whale watching tour where students can witness animals’ behavior in their natural habitat. American Rover Tall Ship Cruises offers educational student tours with hands-on activities like setting the sails and tying sailor knots. Carrie B Harbor Cruises provide a guided sightseeing tour on a Mississippi River boat replica.

Student Performance Venues in Virginia Beach

One of the best parts about being on the beach is the opportunity to watch some great shows. So why not let your student performance group be the main event?

Along the Virginia Boardwalk, one of the most frequented spots in the city, there are various stages available for student performance groups to rent out. 7th Street Stage, Starfish Pavilion, Seaside Palladium and Neptune Park are top venues where students can perform to crowds of locals and tourists alike.

The Lynnhaven Mall and Contemporary Art Center allow small student concerts and shows to put on in front of their facilities. Many Virginia Beach public parks have open green spaces and pavilions that can be rented out for student performances.

Student Dining in Virginia Beach

Many restaurants serve up authentic Chesapeake Bay fare that captures the spirit of the Virginia coastline. Bubba’s Seafood Restaurant and Crabhouse is a Virginia Beach institution. Student travelers can dine inside among the rustic decor or out on the covered dock overlooking the quaint marina. They can nibble on fresh appetizers of oysters, calamari and fries or fill their stomachs with crab cake sandwiches, surf burgers or a large seafood platter.

At Jakes Smokehouse Bar-B-Que, student tour groups can enjoy the savory taste of ribs slow cooked for hours over a hardwood fire. With a variety of dishes like barbecue chicken nachos and pulled pork sandwiches, Jakes is a great place for student travelers to enjoy a delicious meal. Taste Unlimited is another local treasure that serves up great lunch items for student tour groups.

Pi-zzeria specializes in—what else—pizza. Get a large specialty pie to share with your whole student tour group, or let them order any of the other traditional Italian dishes. To satisfy their sweet tooth, take your student travelers to Franzo’s Yogurt. The all-natural ingredients combine perfectly with an assortment of toppings, making for a delectable dessert.

Student Accommodations in Virginia Beach

With over 11,000 rooms in Virginia Beach, there is plenty of space to house your student travel group. You should probably avoid the resort area of Virginia Beach since those hotels run a high price, not to mention the large crowds that may take up most of the rooms. For an oceanfront stay that won’t break the bank, look into Sandcastle Oceanfront Resort Hotel, which offers discounted rates during spring and fall and offers a complimentary breakfast. Another good option on the water is the Ramada Inn on the Beach.

Some of the hotels a couple miles from the beach will run a little cheaper. Travelodge Bay Beach, only six miles from the beachfront, is close to attractions and offers a free breakfast. Wingate by Wyndham requires more of a commute to the seaside attractions, but the great group rates and amenities make it worth the trip.

Virginia Beach is an escape from the daily routine of classrooms and tests, but that doesn’t mean students travelers won’t come away without learning anything. The rich history, natural habitat and local wildlife provide your student tour group with prime educational opportunities as well as exciting recreational activities. So book your next student trip now and head to the beach!