Want to combine your beach vacation with a visit to an amusement or water park? Whether you’re looking for an all-day excursion to a well-known theme park or just a few hours of fun at a smaller amusement or water park, you can find both options in and around Williamsburg and Virginia Beach.
Busch Gardens, Williamsburg
The first Busch Gardens theme park, now owned by Seaworld Parks, Busch Gardens Williamsburg is clean, attractive, and suitable for the entire family, and is also the reason many visitors head to the area. Filled with some great roller coasters for thrill seekers, Sesame Street-themed rides for the littlest ones, and plenty of other fun for everyone in between, this park continually wins awards for its décor and customer service.
This particular Busch Gardens originally carried the tagline “The Old Country”, and it’s still divided into six themed lands – Italy, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, and France/New France. Hence, the rides and shows in each of those lands correspond to the country. For example, the incredible Alpengeist roller coast and the new Verbolten – appropriately – are in Germany, and the Roman Rapids ride can be found in Italy.
The shows in Busch Gardens Williamsburg are excellent and provide entertainment for all ages. The musical extravaganzas, like Celtic Frye, are superb, and there are also shows with pets and other animals, as well as a Sesame Street “Sunny Days” celebration that tots and pre-schoolers will love.
Dining is also themed, so you’ll find lots of pasta and pizza in Italy and a 2,000-seat beer hall in Germany, where it’s always Oktoberfest. Be sure to check out the shops in each land as well, many of which carry items particular to that locale.
Busch Gardens is open from late March/early April until the December holidays, with limited hours after Labor Day. Tickets can be purchased online for less than at the gate. Combo tickets are available that include Water Country USA. Be prepared to pay an extra fee for parking.
Water Country USA
Also managed by Seaworld Parks, Water Country USA is a sizeable water park that’s sure to thrill anyone who loves slides, pools, lazy rivers, and more. Again, like all Seaworld parks, this one is very family-friendly, offering attractions that can be enjoyed by a variety of ages.
Looking for a thrill? Check out the new Vanish Point, where riders step into a box with a floor that drops out and plunges them rapidly down a slide. If, however, you’re hoping for something a bit milder, you can lounge around on the Hubba Hubba Highway lazy river or watch the 20-minute Aquabatics show. There’s something for everyone.
Ocean Breeze Waterpark
Located in Virginia Beach, Ocean Breeze is a mid-sized park that’s a good option for families that want some water park fun without leaving Virginia Beach. While it’s smaller than Water Country in Williamsburg, it’s also a lot less costly. The park includes 16 waterslides of different sizes, the 1 million-gallon Runaway Bay wave pool, the Buccaneer Bay Water Playground that kids love, an Adventure River, and much more.
There are also plenty of places to eat on site as well as a few shops. Visitors can rent poolside cabanas if they wish, assuring that they’ll have a seat throughout the day when it’s time to rest. There’s even a flat-screen TV in each cabana!
Atlantic Fun Park
This area on the Virginia Beach boardwalk dubs itself an amusement park, though it’s typical of beach amusement areas. It recently re-opened after another park at the location folded, so it looks clean and new. There are no less than two dozen rides here, ranging from fun zip lines and other thrill rides to traditional family fair such as Ferris wheels, Scramblers, and more. The park is open daily from April through September.
Go Kart fanatics rush to this fun attraction whenever they’re in Virginia Beach. It’s easy to understand why. It has 11 go-kart tracks on site and a host of go-karts of 16 different styles. There’s also a Skycoaster at Motor World as well as bumper boats and other rides for both big and little kids. There are also 2 paint ball zones and a miniature golf course, so visitors can spend all day here without getting bored. Tickets can be purchased in various combinations.