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Virginia Beach is not just about sparkling sand or glittering waters. While these would make any travel destination worthwhile, Virginia Beach is much more than a beach. For starters, Virginia Beach packs a lot of interesting colonial history. History buffs will be thrilled to enjoy fascinating stories about one of the earliest settlement areas in the US. It’s also featured in the Guinness Book of World Records as having the world's longest stretch of pleasure beach. We’ve not even mentioned the mouthwatering oysters and the delicious crab soups.


Yet, contrary to what many might suppose, Virginia Beach is not one beach. Or, to put it more accurately, it’s one beach with two sections. While these sections share a beautiful shoreline, they are not exactly the same in look and feel. In this article, we discuss the differences between North Virginia Beach and South Virginia Beach—and pass a verdict on which is better.

The Difference Between North Virginia Beach And South Virginia Beach

Any traveler to both sides of Virginia Beach will be struck by the contrast before his eyes. These two sections of the beach are different in many ways. For starters, North Virginia Beach is quieter—and therefore, perfect for couples or families. On the flip side, South Virginia Beach is noisier and livelier. Of course, there are those who find silence livelier. However, South Beach has a party-like vibe and pulse that one can’t fail to notice immediately. Also, South Beach features a waterfront food scene that’s broader in range, taste, and cuisine. Of course, there are many hotels in North Virginia Beach. However, hotels and restaurants in North Virginia Beach are more exclusive and luxurious. Naturally, that comes at a cost. That’s the reason hotels in North Beach are more likely to be pricey than their South Beach counterparts.

Then, South Beach is almost always more crowded than North Beach. And even the crowds at these two beaches will not be the same. South Beach is patronized by a younger, gung-ho crowd that enjoys a vibe that’s fun, fast, and furious. At the other end of the spectrum, North Beach’s crowd is a little older—or of a different temper and disposition. The area around the 3-mile Virginia Beach Boardwalk is particularly a bee-hive. Both Pacific and Atlantic Avenues can also be crammed up. For beachgoers who want to pick one or two items on the go, South Beach has an obvious edge. There are many shops on South Beach for making purchases—or for renting stuff like umbrellas, chairs, or bikes.

Related: A Guide To Virginia’s Most Beautiful Natural Wonders.

Other Differences Between North Virginia Beach And South Virginia Beach

Talking about a beach vacation without mentioning water is like talking about the sky—with not a mention of the sun. Here’s the difference: The waters on North Virginia Beach, especially in the Chesapeake Bay area, are rarely troubled by waves. Instead, beautiful, glittering ripples— placidly move on the serene surface of the waters. One other difference is entertainment and nightlife. Again, the palm goes to South Beach. South Beach has more nightclubs and bars than North Beach. Virginia Beach Winery, Tripadvisor’s Travelers Favorite—offers free wine tasting every weekend—if one is making a purchase. South Virginia Beach also has more restrooms than North Virginia Beach. But there are other attractions as well. South Virginia Beach has more museums, art galleries, and exhibitions.

Between North Virginia Beach And South Virginia Beach, Which Is Better?

Here’s the verdict. On an overall aggregated score, South Virginia Beach beats North Virginia Beach. In the range of activities, including shopping, dining options, and nightlife, South Beach has an obvious edge. Also, South Virginia Beach comes with considerable convenience. Unlike North Virginia Beach, a car may not be necessary for South Virginia Beach. The area can be covered on foot. Then there are more restrooms and more shops where one can quickly dush into to pick an item that he has immediate need of. This could be an umbrella or even just a roll of toilet paper.

Related: How To Spend 48 Hours In Virginia.

Yet North Virginia Beach has its own unique charm and allure. For those who want a quiet vacation experience, away from much noise and bustle—South Virginia Beach is the place to go. Sitting down on the sand, and looking at the blue skies or the calm ocean, is better experienced in North Virginia Beach. That’s the reason those who have children may prefer South Virginia Beach. It’s easier to keep your eyes on them.

  • Where does south beach Virginia start and end? The dividing line between north and south is Laskin Road. Laskin Road meets Atlantic Avenue at 31st St.

Here’s the take-home. Virginia Beach has two contrasting sides to it—the north and south. Many would say the south side is better for its range of activities while the north side is better for a calmer, quieter experience.