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At a travel meeting for top level travel professionals, My Vacation Lady, had the opportunity to meet with 2 representatives from Norfolk, Virginia.  One was the tourist board representative and the other represented the Sheraton Hotel in Norfolk.

During our discussions, we realized that there was more to Norfolk than we had ever realized.  We visited years ago when our kids were small as a day drip from Williamsburg but there is a lot more to see and do and experience to make it more than just a day trip or a stop over to the beach.

Some here are some good reasons to visit Norfolk (and even stay for a few days)

1.  It’s only 20 minutes from Virginia Beach so if the prices of the hotels in Virginia Beach are too high, stay in Norfolk and drive a bit to the beach.

2.  It’s about 2 hours from the Outer Banks, so if you’re driving down from the New York metro region, it’s a great place to stop either before or after your beach time.

norfolk mermaid in front of the world trade center

photo credit-VisitNorfolk

3. It’s all about those Mermaids– statues, pictures and mermaid things all over the city!  In the maritime culture, if you believe in mermaids, you’ll always be protected so get some protection in Norfolk.

4.  Rumor has it that the first waffle cone was invented in Norfolk in 1904 and you can still have the World’s Original Waffle Cone at Doumar’s in Norfolk- rolled right in front of your eyes on the original four-iron waffle machine.

5.  Wineries and breweries- no vacation is complete without some food and drink and Norfolk’s craft beer culture is hopping with two great breweries (with more on the way) some greatgastropubs and some of the country’s best craft beer bars. To make the wine drinkers happy, Norfolk even has an urban winery- the Mermaid Winery (appropriately named-don’t you think?).  Granby Street has over 30 locally owned and operated restaurants to satisfy your hunger from Tapas, to Mexican to American Bistro and so much more!

photo credit- www.visitnorfolktoday.com/

photo credit- www.visitnorfolktoday.com/

6.  Tall ships and sailors— Norfolk is full of them!  Check out some huge aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, submarines and historic battleships at the world’s largest Naval installation. A 2 hour base cruise tours leave 3 times a day from the downtown waterfront or you can head over to Naval Station Norfolk and enjoy a narrated bus tour of the base.

7.  Water, Water everywhere– and we’re not talking about just drinking it.  We’re talking about boating, fishing, sunset cruises, sailing, swimming, kayaking or just enjoying the views.

8. Harborfest–every year in June, Norfolk hosts an annual festival celebrating nautical history so come on down to see some tall ships, delicious food, great music and some spectacular fireworks along the downtown waterfront.

9.  Festival of Lights– just because if may be too chilly for the beach, doesn’t mean that Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day isn’t a good time to go to Norfolk.  Between Richmond, Norfolk and Virginia Beach, there are drive through and walk through light shows with parades, history re-enactments and dining and music events.  100 miles of lights!

10.  Norfolk’s NATO Festival and Virginia’s International Tattoo– every spring!  After a parade of floats and bands,  you can explore NATO Nations and their diverse cultures at NATOFest-with food, entertainment and ships to tour.  After that, head over to Scope Arena for the Virginia Hullabaloo for a free 3 hour performance and outdoor festival before the show. Afterward, you can experience the Virginia International Tattoo, a 2 hour military performance with participation from 1/2 dozen or more counties including all 5 of the United States Military branches.

Did we show you a couple of reasons to visit Norfolk, Virginia?  We hope so!  Whether it’s a long weekend or a couple of days or even overnite before the beach, Norfolk is a great place for a visit!