Like many Hampton Roads residents, we tend to avoid the southern oceanfront during the summer (although we spent a weekend there this summer). One of the most popular activities is taking a bike ride on the boardwalk. During the peak season, we feel like we’re taking our lives in our hands with all the bikes and buggies on the bike path. But after Labor Day, things calm down, and we decided to give it a try.
Starting at the southern end, we headed north. There were still plenty of folks on the beach and walking on the boardwalk, but not so many on the bike trail. But still, we wore our helmets (and were about the only ones wearing them), and off we went.
The boardwalk has been lining the beach for just about as long as Virginia Beach has existed. It started out as a wooden boardwalk and later concrete. The Ash Wednesday Storm in 1962 really did a number on it as you can see below.
It has been improved several times through the years and today, at three miles long, the boardwalk also serves as a seawall. It has protected beachfront properties from several near miss hurricanes and nor’easters.
But, back to our ride.
It was cloudy and pleasantly cool as we headed north. The Shriners were in town for their annual convention, so there were plenty of banners hanging over the railings highlighting where they were from.
A few people rode 4-person buggies on the bike path. These are a little controversial during the summer season because they take up one lane of the path, and it can be a little tough passing them. But there weren’t too many out on this Friday, so we had an easy ride. And easy it is…pretty straight and quite flat. The main thing is to keep looking out for people crossing the path getting onto or off the main boardwalk.
There are plenty of sights to see on the way, from the Norwegian Lady statue to good old King Neptune watching over the swimmers.
As we continued north, the landscaping at the hotels looked very lovely. Kudos to the groundskeepers of the Virginia Beach hotels!
Once we got to the north end of the boardwalk, we hopped onto Atlantic Avenue for a few blocks and then got onto Ocean Front Avenue. This is a residential street that runs parallel to Atlantic Avenue but a little east of it. This is where you can see how the other half lives, with homes on the oceanfront costing well over a million dollars.
Heading south again, we stopped to take a look at the progress on the Cavalier Hotel. Built in 1927, it is being restored to its former glory.
We’re looking forward to perhaps staying there once it reopens. We continued back on the boardwalk heading south.
As we got close to where we parked our car, we decided to stop for lunch, not by the beach but over top of it. Ocean Eddies, located on the wooden Virginia Beach Fishing Pier, is a Beach landmark and should not be missed.
We had a terrific lunch, and, somewhat reluctantly, headed back to our car. We’ll do this again soon. And as an added bonus, parking is free after October 1. For Hampton Roads residents, this is a great way to see the beach, and get some exercise, with the boardwalk virtually yours alone.