I survived my first road trip with my family. We planned a last-minute trip to Virginia to visit my daughter and I wish I took this trip sooner. We had an amazing time, six hours on the road and two rest stops along the way. I wish we could have stayed longer. When taking a road trip with your family, there are a few things to consider.
I’m going to share my experience and hope it helps you to plan a great trip as well. We checked the weather to see if there would be any storms. The weather said it would shower off and on, but that didn’t damper our plans. I even searched for things to do in the rain. We had a neighbor check on our house and feed our cat while we were away.
Make sure you have someone you can trust stop by your house to make sure things are fine or to care for any pets. If traveling with children it’s great to bring along snacks, water, coloring books, car games. We downloaded movies for the Ipad for our daughter, but she was too excited for her trip and looked out the window most of the time.
I went online and looked at hotels that would be close to the beach. The closer to the beach the more expensive the hotels were. So we looked for hotels not too far from the beach. Some hotels even charged for parking. Make sure there is parking on the hotel grounds. I didn’t want to leave my car and have to walk a block back to my hotel. I made a list: hotels close to the beach, hotels by reviews, hotels with a pool, hotels that included parking, and most importantly the price.
Beware: Many third-party sites offer deals, in my opinion, it’s best to call the hotel directly and book your stay. I witnessed guests arriving at the hotel and they didn’t have their reservation or the room they requested online. We went directly through the hotel and received a deal, we signed up for their free Rewards program and now we will get points when visiting hotels.
The bad reviews can hurt you from staying at a good hotel. People were complaining about the smallest things, from the noise of an air conditioner to people in the hall, and the list can go on. We stayed at the Spring Hill Suites by Marriott in Norfolk Virginia, 20 minutes from Virginia Beach and the highway is next to the hotel. There are many hotels to choose from, kid-friendly to adult fun with rooftop lounges. Take your time when choosing the right hotel and don’t spend too much stressing over the “perfect” place to stay.
My Review of our Stay: Great stay with my family. The bad reviews were exaggerated. Enjoyed the pool and jacuzzi. Our room and bathroom were clean when we arrived. The bed was comfortable and we had no complaints of noise from guests or our AC. The only complaint was we didn’t have the breakfast that was included.
We woke up late 9.30 and there was no hot breakfast. ( There are many low-cost breakfast places to eat, there was a Denny’s in the same lot of the hotel. We went to the Waffle House and had a great breakfast, under $30 for three people). We had maid service come to our room to be serviced but wasn’t needed. Will stay here again.
We even received a Quick Response from the owner: We’re so sorry that you didn’t get the breakfast. That’s not like us at all. We do hope the next time you stay you have an even better experience. We agree the bad reviews are exaggerated. We’ve tried very hard to hire amazing staff for our busy season in the summer, thank you for staying with us. It was a pleasure having you here with us. We hope to see you again.
REST STOPS/ TOLLS/ WATCH YOUR SPEED
Check the rest stops along the way to see how far you will be from the next gas station or restroom. You can drive for miles before your next stop. Fees from the tolls and bridges vary from weekday and weekend. Make sure to pay attention to the Cash and Easy Pass lanes. Drive the speed limit! There are different rules and speed limits in each state. New Jersey highway speed limit is 65 mph, when we drove through Virginia the speed limit was 45-50 mph. We saw a few cars get pulled over for speeding, don’t let that be you. Be safe.
Plaza Azteca Mexican Restaurant 5209 Providence Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23464 The food here was amazing with full of flavor. We had fresh guacamole made at our table. We enjoyed a few dishes: Pina Loka (grilled pineapple stuffed with steak and chicken), Tacos de Pollo (grilled chicken with avocado and chile de Arbol sauce), and Camarones al Mojo de Ajo (sauteed shrimp in garlic mojo sauce, onions, tomato, and fresh avocado served over rice). We enjoyed their signature margaritas and left full and satisfied. It a great place to come and feel like you’re in Mexico with the decor and music playing. https://www.plazaazteca.com/locations-hoursWaterman’s Surfside Grille 415 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451 (Family time-NO PHOTOS-I had to respect my family and put my phone down) We made sure to have some seafood while we were in Virginia Beach and was given a suggestion of the best seafood restaurants to visit. We chose Waterman’s Surfside Grille and couldn’t wait to see what all the fabulous reviews were about.
We were seated by the window overlooking the beach and were not disappointed with our food. We started with appetizers: calamari, crab cakes, chicken tenders, and crab dip. Everything was flavorful and fresh. There are many things to choose from on the menu from seafood, pasta to burgers, and the prices are reasonable. Service was fast and the customer service was amazing from the beginning to the end. This is a restaurant I can’t wait to visit again when I’m in Virginia Beach! https://www.watermans.com/
There are many things to do while you’re in Virginia from visiting the Navy bases, museums, Norfolk Zoo, Botanical gardens, the aquarium, and the list can go on. Virginia Beach Boardwalk, have many things to keep you entertained for the day. They have a small amusement park with rides, haunted houses, and plenty of places to get a bite to eat. We paid $20 for all-day parking and headed to the beach. We rented beach chairs and an umbrella from the cabana on the beach which cost under $40. We enjoyed the soft sand and cool water from the sun.
We headed to the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center which is a 10-minute drive from the beach. We enjoyed our visit and it’s a great place to bring family of all ages. We saw seals swimming in the large tank even before we went inside the aquarium. Many exhibits are also hands-on. They offer boat trips to see the dolphins and sea turtles, there are different fees, be sure to check online for the prices.
The best for me was seeing the huge Loggerhead Sea Turtle and the Sandbar Shark. The aquarium is a must-see when visiting Virginia Beach, we spent almost two hours inside and there was even another center to visit but we were tight with time. The grand attraction when visiting Virginia Beach is going to see the King Neptune Statue, which’s located on the boardwalk.
We had such a great time, that we can’t wait to visit again. Enjoy your stay in Virginia!