Virginia Beach vs Ocean City – Which Is Better to Visit?

Which Is Better to Visit, Virginia Beach or Ocean City

Choosing between Virginia Beach and Ocean City for your vacation can be tough because each has its unique attractions. If you prefer a laid-back, nature-filled getaway with a touch of history, Virginia Beach might be the right choice for you. But if you enjoy vibrant nightlife, tropical-themed bars, and a variety of entertainment options, Ocean City is a great option.

Both destinations have long stretches of clean, soft sand. Virginia Beach is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for having the longest pleasure beach in the world. Ocean City offers its appeal with attractions like the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum, perfect for rainy day activities.

Think about what you want from your vacation. If safety is a concern, be aware that some visitors feel Virginia Beach has a higher crime rate, especially on the boardwalk in the summer. Ocean City tends to be more lively and suitable for families and those seeking adventure.

Overview of Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is situated on the southeastern coast of Virginia, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay. Its strategic location makes it easily accessible. Major highways such as I-64 and I-264 connect to the city, ensuring smooth road travel.

You can fly into Norfolk International Airport, which is just a 20-minute drive from the beach. This airport services multiple major airlines, offering direct flights from various American cities. Public transportation includes buses and taxis, providing convenient options for reaching your destination.

The weather in Virginia Beach is typically mild, with warm summers and cool winters.

Average summer temperatures hover around the mid-80s Fahrenheit, while winter temperatures usually stay in the 40s to 50s Fahrenheit range.

Spring and fall seasons are particularly pleasant, offering moderate temperatures ideal for outdoor activities. Rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year, so it’s wise to check the forecast and pack accordingly. The region occasionally experiences hurricanes in late summer and early fall, though advanced warnings usually allow ample time for preparations.

This area is near the site where the first permanent English settlers landed in 1607 before moving on to establish Jamestown.

You can visit First Landing State Park to explore this rich history.

The city also features Cape Henry Lighthouse, originally built in 1792, which played a crucial role in guiding ships safely through the Chesapeake Bay.

The Military Aviation Museum showcases World War I and World War II aircraft, giving you a glimpse into the area’s military history.

Overview of Ocean City

Ocean City

Ocean City is situated on a barrier island in Maryland, stretching about 10 miles along the Atlantic Ocean.

The city’s location provides easy access to the water, making it a prime spot for beach activities and water sports.

Ocean City experiences a humid subtropical climate. Summers are typically warm and humid, with average high temperatures around 85°F (29°C), making it ideal for beachgoers.

Winters are mild, rarely seeing heavy snowfall and average temperatures are in the low 40s°F (5-6°C).

Ocean City’s climate allows for a variety of seasonal activities, from summer festivals to quieter, off-season retreats.

Founded in 1875, Ocean City boasts a rich cultural history.

The city has grown significantly over the past century, and today it hosts various events and festivals that celebrate its heritage and community spirit.

Key cultural sites include the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum and the Art League of Ocean City, which offer insights into the local history and art scene.


Hotels in Virginia Beach

Hotels in Virginia Beach

Oceanfront hotels dominate the scene, offering stunning views and immediate beach access. Many of these hotels provide amenities like pools, fitness centers, and on-site dining. Popular choices include the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront and the Dolphin Inn.

Luxury options such as the Hilton offer rooftop bars, upscale dining, and extensive family-friendly activities. On the other hand, budget-conscious travelers might find comfort at places like the Travelodge Virginia Beach, which provides basic amenities without sacrificing location. Virginia Beach also features several all-suite hotels, perfect for extended stays or family vacations.

Vacation Rentals in Ocean City

These rentals are typically more affordable than hotels and offer the added benefit of a homely atmosphere. Notable areas for rentals include Boardwalk, Midtown, and North Ocean City.

Boardwalk rentals are ideal for those wanting to be close to the action, while Midtown offers a quieter, more residential vibe. North Ocean City features larger houses perfect for family gatherings.

Rentals often come fully furnished with kitchens, allowing you to prepare your meals, which can significantly reduce costs. Services like VRBO and Airbnb are popular for finding the best deals and unique properties in Ocean City.

Beach Experience

Beach Activities in Virginia Beach

Beach Activities in Virginia Beach

You can enjoy water sports like jet skiing, parasailing, and paddleboarding. For those interested in marine life, the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center offers fascinating exhibits and dolphin-watching tours.

Additionally, the three-mile boardwalk is perfect for biking, rollerblading, or simply taking a scenic walk. The boardwalk also features outdoor restaurants and shops, providing a complete beachside experience.

Beach Leisure in Ocean City

Beach Leisure in Ocean City

This area is packed with tropical-themed bars, restaurants, and shops, making it a hotspot for relaxed leisure activities.

If you’re looking to unwind, the flat, sandy beaches are perfect for sunbathing and swimming. Family-friendly attractions like mini-golf, arcades, and amusement parks also dot the coastline, providing plenty of entertainment options.

Rainy day? Visit the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum or the Art League of Ocean City for a cultural diversion. These attractions ensure that there’s always something to do, regardless of the weather.

Entertainment for Kids in Virginia Beach

The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is a great destination with over 800,000 gallons of aquariums and live animal habitats. The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium offers an exciting zip-lining experience among the trees.

For beach fun, the Ocean Breeze Waterpark features over 30 rides, slides, and attractions, making it ideal for children of all ages. At First Landing State Park, your family can explore trails, go camping, or engage in various water sports. These activities offer both fun and learning opportunities.

Recreational Options in Ocean City

The Ocean City Boardwalk stretches for three miles, packed with arcades, shops, and eateries. Trimper’s Rides and Jolly Roger Amusement Park offer a variety of rides and games suitable for children and teens.

The Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum provides educational exhibits on shipwrecks and sea rescues. On rainy days, the Art League of Ocean City can also be a good spot for kids’ workshops and exhibits. Additionally, visitors can enjoy mini-golf, go-karting, and numerous playgrounds scattered around the city. These various activities ensure a fun-filled experience for the whole family.


Local Eats in Virginia Beach

Local Eats in Virginia Beach

Dockside Seafood & Fishing Center is a popular spot where you can enjoy crabs, oysters, and fish straight from the Atlantic. For a southern twist, visit Waterman’s Surfside Grille known for its signature dish, “Crabby Balls”.

Breakfast enthusiasts will love Doc Taylor’s, a converted 1930s cottage serving hearty brunch menus. For something sweet, The Bee & The Biscuit serves delicious pastries and biscuits.

Culinary Scene in Ocean City

Culinary Scene in Ocean City

Thrasher’s French Fries are a local favorite and a must-try snack. International flavors are also well-represented.

Hooked focuses on seafood with a twist, serving dishes like Lobster Mac & Cheese. If you enjoy themed dining, try Seacrets, known for its tropical ambiance and live entertainment. There’s something for everyone, making Ocean City a dynamic culinary destination.

Nightlife and Entertainment

Bars and Clubs in Virginia Beach

Bars and Clubs in Virginia Beach

One popular spot is Waterman’s Surfside Grille, known for its signature Orange Crush cocktails. For live music, you can check out The Shack, offering a variety of performances in a casual beach setting.

If you’re into craft beer, Back Bay Brewing Co. provides a local selection in a cozy atmosphere. There’s also Chicks Oyster Bar, which is perfect for enjoying seafood with a drink while overlooking the water.

Evening Activities in Ocean City

Evening Activities in Ocean City

For a lively night, visit Seacrets Jamaica USA, a popular club with multiple bars, dance floors, and even an outdoor beach area.

Families can enjoy Trimpers Rides and Amusement Park, which offers a variety of attractions and games suitable for all ages. If you’re looking for a more relaxed evening, you can stroll along the Ocean City Boardwalk, filled with arcades and shops that stay open late into the night.

For those who enjoy live performances, the Ocean City Performing Arts Center hosts a variety of shows from concerts to comedy acts throughout the year.

Cost Considerations

Budgeting for Virginia Beach and Ocean City
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Budgeting for Virginia Beach

The average daily cost per person is approximately $126. This includes accommodation, food, transportation, and entertainment.

For accommodations, expect to spend around $70-$150 per night in a mid-range hotel. Dining out can range from budget-friendly options like diners or fast-food joints costing $10-$20 per meal to more upscale restaurants where you might spend $30-$50 per person.

Transportation costs are moderate, with public transit options available, or you might choose to rent a bike for around $20 per day to explore the area. Entertainment, such as admission to local attractions, typically ranges from $10 to $30.

Expense Planning for Ocean City

Ocean City tends to be slightly more expensive with an average daily cost of $160 per person. This covers accommodation, food, transportation, and entertainment.

Hotel prices here are generally higher, often ranging from $100-$200 per night in mid-range accommodations. When it comes to dining, you have various choices from casual seaside cafes at $15 per meal to fine dining establishments where meals can cost $40 and up per person.

Transportation options include renting scooters or bicycles, costing around $30 per day. If you prefer driving, parking fees can add up. Entertainment in Ocean City is abundant, with costs ranging from $20-$50 for activities like amusement parks, water sports, and guided tours.

Breaking Down

Virginia Beach vs Ocean City
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Deciding between Virginia Beach and Ocean City comes down to what you want out of your vacation.

Virginia Beach is perfect for a more relaxed and laid-back experience. It offers serene beaches, nature-inspired activities, and a touch of history. It’s a great spot if you enjoy a slower pace and want to unwind. The area is very family-friendly and ideal for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle.

On the other hand, Ocean City is vibrant and lively, packed with nightlife, entertainment options, and energetic beach activities. The boardwalk is full of attractions, making it a fun destination, especially for families seeking excitement and variety.

If I had to choose, I’d say Virginia Beach edges out Ocean City for a vacation. The lively atmosphere, diverse activities, and fun-filled boardwalk offer something for everyone, making it a more dynamic and engaging destination. Whether you’re traveling with family or friends, Ocean City promises a memorable and action-packed getaway. Enjoy your trip