Virginia Beach, simply put, has it all. Beautiful beaches, great seafood, celebrity performers and a thrilling amusement park are all within your grasp when you vacation here. Distance from Baltimore: 250 miles Summer events/activities: If you've always dreamed of catching that big wave, but can barely stand on a surfboard, watch some of the nation's best hang ten at the East Coast Surfing Championships (Aug. 19-25; 2nd St. Jetty; surfecsc.com). If it's a show you want to catch, Farm Bureau Live (3550 Cellar Door Way; livenation.com or 757-368-3019) will host some of the hottest shows of the summer, including Jimmy Buffett (July 13), Dave Matthews Band (July 26), Lil Wayne, T.I. and 2 Chainz (July 28) and John Mayer and Phillip Phillips (Aug. 24). Cool lodging: The Founders Inn and Spa (5641 Indian River Road; foundersinn.com or 800-926-4466) offers a luxury get away removed from the vivacious shoreline. Fear not, beachgoers. The Founders Inn offers a free beach shuttle service. Also, if Fluffy the dog has a hankering for the beach, Founders Inn is pet friendly, so now the whole family can enjoy some fun in the sun. Eat here: Nestled in the Great Neck corridor of Virginia Beach rests Coastal Grill (1427 N. Great Neck Road; coastalgrill.com or 757-496-3348), a 1950s-style restaurant renowned for its fresh seafood. Refined but not pretentious, Coastal Grill is one of the finest places on the Virginia Beach shore to experience the tastes of the sea. Don't miss: For most, going on a vacation to the shore takes them back to their childhood days. So why not embrace your return to pre-adulthood and make the trip to Busch Gardens Williamsburg (1 Busch Gardens Blvd., Williamsburg, Va.; buschgardens.com or 800-343-7946) for one of the great amusement park experiences of the East Coast. Too sophisticated for a day at the park? Colonial Williamsburg (history.org) is still worth a day trip, as the town is one of America's historical gems.
Rob Ostermaier / Daily Press