Regent University is seated in the southern area of Hampton Roads. The combination of beach, nature and history make it an exciting place to call home. We’d be remiss if we didn’t give you a chance to take full advantage of some local gems. Fortunately, if you plan on visiting Regent, or attending on-campus, you’ll have direct access to some renowned (and some lesser known) locations.
Here’s a list of places we think will help you to better enjoy your time in Virginia Beach, and ultimately, at Regent, all the more.
ETA from Regent: 5-10 minutes
It more intimate size, it’s close to campus, totally free and beautiful. A prime piece of Virginia Beach’s public spaces, this park centers around a large lake, one filled with fish and waterfowl aplenty. A small boat launch adjacent to the parking lot provides an easy launch for canoes and kayaks, both prime means by which to enjoy the serene setting.
If you’ve got a hammock, bring it; Lakeside trees make for ideal spots to perch. Hankering for a run? Look no further than loop of trails that runs through the park’s wooded section.
ETA from Regent: 15 minutes
This city is bursting with culture, color and — of most importance to college students — coffee shops. Quaint, city streets paved with colonial cobblestones run down lanes filled with houses just as old. But old meets new here, as both the Tides AAA baseball team and Fort Norfolk (a semi-secret spot that George Washington himself visited) call the city home. With a variety of local restaurants, the sublime Chrysler Art museum and Chrysler Opera hall, and even an old battleship doubling as an escape room, you’ll be hard pressed keeping away from the excitement and charm Norfolk offers.
ETA from Regent: 20-30min
From mini golf to ice cream shops, carnival rides to surfing, Virginia Beach’s Oceanfront is packed with places to eat, play, and soak up some sun, surf, and sand. A 3-mile boardwalk lines the location’s main attraction: the beach. The stretch is rife with shops where you can pick up towels, T-shirts and any other gift store sort of beach-themed paraphernalia your heart may desire. Want a better view or to try your hand at fishing? A wooden pier juts out perpendicular with the coastline with plenty of space to walk and take in the sight of the busy waterfront.
Parking can be tricky the closer you get to the pier and the southern end of the area. This is the hub of beachside businesses and restaurants. For free parking, and a quieter experience, head to the beach’s northern end. It’s more of a residential area with less businesses and yields greater overall accessibility.
ETA from Regent: 45min
Travel back to a bygone era of tricorn hats and red coats in this living history town. Horses and buggies saunter down avenues lined with colonial clapboard residencies here. Smells of bread emanate from brick ovens and reenactors in garb from the period roam about, chatting with visitors and delivering both clever quips and historic information from the era they represent.
There are paid tours available for the Governor’s Mansion, the original Virginia House of Burgesses, a blacksmith forge, and a few other attractions. You’ll also find plenty of sights, shops and restaurants free of additional charges—including firing drills from reenactors playing as both British Regulars and colonial militiamen. Central to the sprawl is the more than 300-year-old Bruton Episcopal church. Founding fathers George Washington, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and George Mason attended services here. The high-box pews they sat in are labeled with plaques. Visitors can sit in them and share the same view our nation’s leaders must’ve took in ever so many years ago.
Fun fact: The tombstones occupying the church yard form what is possibly the largest colonial cemetery in the Commonwealth.
ETA from Regent: 45min
Don’t let the name fool you; False Cape is a very real place and an exciting one at that. Having seen little human settlement — save the survivors of a legendary shipwreck who formed the Wash Woods community — the park boasts a pristine, coastal environment, teeming with wildlife. Located just south of the Sandbridge beach area and Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, False Cape boasts a network of trails through these woodlands. The area occupies a narrow strip of land between the Currituck Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. And if you want to get off-shore, there are a host of seasonal rental companies more than happy to get you set to explore the waterways by kayak. What’s more, you can enjoy rolling sand dunes and even an old shipwreck you can spot from shore and take your pick of campsites throughout the property.
Note: You can only to enter the park from the Outer Banks (which could take a couple hours of driving), or Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. If you go with the latter, be ready to walk or bike about 3 miles down an unpaved road to reach the park.