I have had the pleasure of living in the Shore Drive area for over 2 years. My first observations upon moving; Shore Drive is a really long road and there are many different–yet equally intriguing–micro communities along the way.
Shore Drive runs parallel (mostly) to the Chesapeake Bay for over 13 miles, from the Ocean View area of Norfolk all the way to the Virginia Beach oceanfront. The proximity to the waterways and the unique vibe found in each Shore Drive community makes it a popular spot to call home.
My stomping ground: the First Landing State Park/Great Neck Road end of Shore Drive in Virginia Beach. In this area Lesner Bridge is the go-to landmark when differentiating this corridor of Shore Drive from the Chic’s (Chick’s) Beach area.
Reasons I love Shore Drive in Virginia Beach:
- The Water
Living by the water is a must for me. The Shore Drive area is perfect for salt-veined folks like myself as you are surrounded by so many waterways. Literally though–in some areas you are actually surrounded by water, such as on Bay Island (which, by the way, would be an optimal zombie apocalypse safe haven. Just throwing that out there considering Hampton Roads recently received such accolades).
The beaches along this area of Shore Drive aren’t packed with tourists and the waves are calmer–making this a perfect place for families and those that are looking for a more relaxed, local beach scene. Not to mention, you’ll have plenty of beach “real estate” for your bocce ball game, which is paramount.
The Shore Drive area is also perfect for those looking to venture off of the beach and onto the water. Whether you own a boat or not, there are options.
- Rent a stand-up paddleboard or kayak from Tula Water Sports for a relaxing day of exploring on the water. Or, paddle on over to the Narrows at First Landing State and take a ride on the rope swing (personal favorite).
- Buy your bait and tackle from the Shellfish Company, launch your boat from the Bubba’s boat ramp and head out onto the Chesapeake Bay for a day of fishing, or take a short walk to the Lynnhaven Fishing Pier.
- Many locals keep their boats in a wet slip in one of the many marinas along Lynnhaven inlet, while others utilize the dry storage at Marina Shores Marina (and the fantastic Rum Runners at Surf Rider Bar and Grille).
Another perk is the variety of waterways in this area. You can have a calmer, more “lake-esque” experience on Broad Bay and Lynnhaven Inlet, or venture out to the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. Ahoy!
Honestly, you’d have to try really hard to not get on the water around here.
- The Locally-Owned Vibe
I am an avid supporter of local businesses and am proud to be surrounded by so many like-minded neighbors. The 2-3 mile stretch of Shore Drive that I frequent has significantly more locally-owned businesses than national chains, which makes this community both charming and inspiring. Here are some of my favorite spots and their shining qualities:
- Studio Bamboo Institute of Yoga (above)- All types of yoga for all types of folks (kids too!)
- Froggie’s – Nightly live music and Yappy Hour for pets
- Virginia Beach Bead Shop – For the crafty side of everyone
- The Back Deck (Bubba’s) – Amazing view!
- Carib Shack – Traditional Caribbean food, Vinny & Stephanie are amazing!
- My Chic’s – A secondhand, vintage goldmine for furniture, clothing and more
- Ynot Italian – Authentic Italian and pizza delivery (plus vegan and gluten-free options!)
- Simple Eats – Farm to Table, fresh and local (plus they sell Three Ships Coffee!)
- Bay Local Eatery – Locally-sourced ingredients, delicious bloody marys and amazing decor (seriously though, who decorated–can they decorate my house?)
- The Views
The sunrises, sunsets and starry night skies are easily within my top reasons to love living along Shore Drive. The APA has done multiple studies detailing the mental and physical restoration we receive from nature. The Shore Drive area has so many vantage points for residents to observe nature, whether it be from the beaches, the pier, the docks, within First Landing State Park and more. Living in this community has initiated somewhat of a ritual for me to get out and observe nature more frequently. I now start and end my day with beautiful views that leave me with a sense of clarity, groundedness and gratitude.
- The Brews
Hampton Roads’ craft beer scene is booming, and the Shore Drive area has helped accelerate that movement (cheers to that!). Our neighborhood is the proud home for some great craft beer hubs such as Pleasure House Brewing Co., Mix it Up Virginia Beach and one of my all-time favorite spots, Lynnhaven Pub. The atmosphere, food menu, beer selection and spacious outdoor beer garden have made Lynnhaven Pub a locals’ favorite. What’s more, these craft beer hubs are all an easy walk, bike or Uber ride away. Safety first!
- The Energy
There is something electric about the Shore Drive community. Nothing is stagnant. The people here have a passion for moving, getting outside and creating an environment that inspires. The sidewalks, beaches and bike paths are abundant and are always filled with bikers, runners and folks with their four-legged friends.
The proximity to First Landing State Park (previously known as Seashore State Park) facilitates much of the energy found in the Shore Drive community and is an invaluable perk for locals. First Landing State Park is the most visited state park in Virginia, and is rich with history and wildlife. In addition to camping and cabin rentals, the park has over 19 miles of beaches and wooded trails that are both picturesque and serene. There is a multi-purpose path that runs parallel to Shore Drive and feeds directly into the park, and even connects all the way to the oceanfront. My-not-so-secret advice; take the Fox Run trail. It is often overlooked, but opens up to a quaint little beach that is the perfect place to sit, get quiet and soak it all in.
Part of our series helping you find the right neighborhood for you, sponsored by Rose & Womble Realty Company.
The connectedness and neighborly love felt amongst residents here is contagious. Nothing beats running into familiar faces at the Shore Drive Farmer’s Market, or being warmly welcomed by the staff at our neighborhood Food Lion (also, whoever is in charge of the music in Food Lion needs a raise. There is always something funky playing that makes me boogy up and down the aisles and I look forward to it every time I’m there).
This area is also lucky to have the Shore Drive Community Coalition in place. This organization makes it their mission to create a voice for the community as well as promote community friendship and camaraderie–and that just gives me the warm and fuzzies. Some of their events include the Cape Story Oyster Roast, a July 4th parade, beach fireworks show and more.
Loving where I live helps me live a life that I love.
I encourage you to take a cruise down Shore Drive, I bet you’ll fall in love.
Do you love Shore Drive in Virginia Beach? Tell us why!