Planning a Family Vacation in Sandbridge, Virginia

Sharing is caring!

Many people are familiar with the Virginia Beach area but seldom travel south to the quieter Sandbridge Beach in Virginia. When planning our family beach trip on the East Coast of the US, we wanted a family-friendly beach with access to vacation home rentals and a manageable drive from our hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. Sandbridge, Virginia was recommended by friends and family as one of the best east coast beaches for families.

Keep reading for where to stay, places to eat and things to do in Sandbridge, VA!

Disclaimer: Toddling Traveler participates in the Amazon Associate Program and other affiliate programs. That means we could earn a commission for qualifying purchases through our links.

Table of Contents: Sandbridge Beach Vacation Guide

Getting to Sandbridge Beach in Virginia

Sandbridge, Virginia is part of the greater Virginia Beach area on the east coast of the United States. It’s a 3-mile stretch of beach at the Northern part of the Outer Banks, above Corolla, NC. Virginia Beach is known for its boardwalk, nightlife and tons of other activities. Sandbridge, alternatively, is a more quiet, secluded beach with primarily house rentals and residential properties.

Many people choose to drive to Sandbridge, Virginia, but flying is an option as well. Norfolk is the closest international airport to Sandbridge, and Virginia Beach also has a small regional airport.

Where to Stay in Sandbridge, VA

There are hundreds of vacation rentals in Sandbridge, VA, most of which are family homes. Booking sites like AirBnB and offer several Sandbridge vacation rental options. There are also two realtors in Sandbridge, Virginia that manage most of the condos and beach house rentals in Sandbridge, VA. (Sandbridge Realty and Siebert Realty.)

We went with Sandbridge Realty and were happy with the level of service and help we received in finding the perfect vacation home in Sandbridge Beach. We ultimately chose the Southern Comfort house from several Sandbridge beach house rentals. It’s a great 6-bedroom vacation rental in Sandbridge, with a private pool and several added features like a boat dock and game room. (Although full disclosure, the landscape and dock out back where not as well maintained as in the pictures.) While there are several Sandbridge house rentals on the beach, ours was located 2 blocks from the beach on Sandpiper Road with easy beach access.

If you’re looking for condo rentals in Sandbridge, VA Beach, there are also two large condo buildings available. Sandbridge Dunes is located at the entrance into Sandbridge and Sandbridge Sanctuary Condos are located on the southern side of the beach. If you’re searching for Sandbridge, VA hotels, you’ll find that there aren’t any hotels in Sandbridge. (One of the selling points for us!)

For more vacation rentals in Sandbridge, Virginia Beach, search here.

Things to Do in Sandbridge, VA

Wondering what to do in Sandbridge, VA? While the town itself is pretty quiet, there are several outdoor things to do in Sandbridge, VA in addition to the beautiful beach. Plus, the greater Virginia Beach area also offers several different activities if you’re looking for more things to do near Sandbridge, VA. Keep reading for more ideas below.

Sandbridge Beach, VA

The beach itself is the obvious draw for a family vacation in Sandbridge, Virginia. Compared to some other beaches I’ve been to, Sandbridge Beach is incredibly clean and flat. Given that there are no hotels in Sandbridge, VA, the beaches also don’t get very crowded. (Perfect in this new era of social distancing.) We were able to find tons of seashells and even spotted dolphins close to the shoreline one morning.

If you’re visiting Sandbridge for the day, there’s public beach access and restroom facilities near the entrance to town. Sandbridge beach parking is also available in a small parking lot.

Dolphin Watching in Sandbridge, VA Beach Toddling Traveler

Military Aviation Museum

The Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach is the perfect activity for the whole family, whether you’re with adults or looking for things to do with kids in Virginia Beach. It’s home to one of the largest private collections of WWI and WWII planes in the world. The entrance to the museum has a great gift shop area, and the main building is packed with history and artifacts from the world wars. You can also find original aircrafts from WWI and WWII in separate Army and Navy hangars.

For updated information on hours and admission at the Military Aviation Museum, see the website here. The museum is located at 1341 Princess Anne Road in Virginia Beach, 10 miles from Sandbridge.

Things to do in Virginia Beach Military Aviation Museum Toddling Traveler

Jerrasic Park at the Military Aviation Museum

Looking for free things to do at Virginia Beach? Be sure to also check out “Jerrasic Park” at the Military Aviation Museum. It’s an outdoor area with a walking path that takes you around several large statues of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. You can even get a dinosaur scavenger hunt (also free) at the museum’s gift shop to learn about and search for the dinosaurs as you go. It was a little too rainy when we were visiting to walk through the whole thing, but the kids loved seeing the dinosaurs from the car.

Jerrasic Park is located at the entrance to the Military Aviation Museum. You can park at the flat area under the trees when you first turn off Princess Anne Road.

Free things to do in Virginia Beach Jurassic Park Toddling Traveler

Kayaking in Sandbridge

With access to both the bay and the ocean, Sandbridge is the perfect spot for kayaking in Virginia Beach. Our Sandbridge house rental was located on the bay side of Sandpiper Road and came with a dock, so we rented a kayak for the week. If you’re looking for a place to kayak with dolphins in Virginia Beach, Sandbridge is also known for frequent dolphin sightings in the morning along the shoreline.

Ocean Rentals LTD offers Sandbridge kayak rentals, and they conveniently deliver them to your house for free. If stand up paddle boarding is more your thing, you can rent SUP boards through them as well. For more Sandbridge beach rentals, you can get beach chairs, umbrellas and carts delivered to your house from Ocean Rentals as well.

Kayaking in Sandbridge, VA Back Bay Toddling Traveler

Golfing in Sandbridge

With access to so many different golf courses in Virginia Beach, Sandbridge is a great base to golf Virginia Beach from. The guys in our family went golfing at two different golf courses in Virginia Beach: Virginia Beach National Golf Club and Heron Ridge Golf Club. Both courses are 18-holes and open to the public. Virginia Beach National Golf Club is a par 72 course designed by Pete Dye, who is known for designing popular golf courses like TPC Sawgrass and Harbour Town. Heron Ridge is another challenging course with several water hazards, lakes and wetland areas throughout.

For more golf courses in VA Beach, search here.

Virginia Beach National Golf VA Beach Toddling Traveler

Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge

We discovered Back Bay Wildlife Refuge when planning family pictures in Virginia Beach. While sunbathing is technically not allowed at the Back Bay beach, it’s a great option if you’re looking to explore the wildlife in Sandbridge, Virginia. There’s even a scenic walkway with a stroller-friendly path that goes from the parking lot to the beach. In addition to the beach, Back Bay is also known for fishing, hiking and bird watching.

The main parking at Back Bay Wildlife Refuge is located at 4005 Sandpiper Road. At the time of our visit, the visitor’s center at Back Bay was closed and fees were not being collected. (Typically the cost to enter Back Bay is $5 per car.) Be sure to check the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge website for up to date information on hours, access and entrance fees.

Back Bay Wildlife Refuge Things to do in Sandbridge, VA Toddling Traveler

Family Pictures in Sandbridge, Virginia

With this being our first trip as a growing family on my husband’s side, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for family pictures with my mother-in-law. We opted to take our Virginia Beach family pictures at Back Bay Nature Reserve given the mix of ocean, sand dunes and greenery. The Sandbridge fishing pier is another popular place for family pictures in Sandbridge as well.

There are several Virginia Beach photographers available if you’re looking to do family pictures on your trip. We originally discovered Misty Saves the Day in our search for Sandbridge, VA photographers. With rainy days and schedule conflicts, however, we had to go with another photographer. She quickly put us in touch with Valerie Demo, an awesome Virginia Beach Wedding photographer. Valerie was great with the baby and toddlers, and we were able to get a number of pictures in a short amount of time. (Including a mini maternity photo session from when I was pregnant with my second child.)

Maternity Pictures Virginia Beach Family Pictures

More Fun Things to do in Sandbridge

Between a couple of rainy days and closures, we weren’t able to do everything we initially planned when booking our Sandbridge family vacation. There are so many fun things to do in Virginia Beach with kids (or without) that we’re excited to have even more reason to visit again. Below are a few Virginia Beach things to do that were recommended by family and friends for a future Sandbridge vacation.

Sandbridge, VA Restaurants

Given the quaint size of the town, there aren’t a ton of restaurants in Sandbridge, VA. A few Sandbridge restaurants, however, are close and even walkable depending on where your rental property is. Fortunately, there are so many great food options in the Virginia Beach area if you’re willing to venture out a little more as well.

Note: We also did grocery delivery on this trip and planned several meals at home. Instacart offers delivery from several local grocery stores, including Food Lion, Kroger’s, Aldi’s, Total Wines and more.

Baja Restaurant Sandbridge

Baja is one of the most popular Sandbridge restaurants and offers outdoor seating and live music. I definitely recommend the seafood risotto and she crab soup, and the crab cakes were also delicious. We ended up ordering takeout after a long beach day, and it was just as fresh!

If you’re ordering takeout from Baja, be sure to call right at 5pm when they open. They don’t typically offer takeout past 6pm or so when they get busy. Full disclosure, we did have several issues with things missing from our order, but they attempted to quickly remedy it.

Baja Restaurant Sandbridge is located at 3701 Sandpiper Road, Virginia Beach.

Pungo Pizza and Ice Cream

Pungo Pizza was recommended to us as the best pizza in Virginia Beach. It’s a local gem a few miles from Sandbridge in the Pungo area. I definitely recommend getting the stuffed pizza at Pungo’s, but everything we had was great. Pungo Pizza doesn’t deliver, but they do offer takeout and dine-in.

Pungo Pizza is located at 1824 Princess Ann Road in Virginia Beach.

Bonney & Sons Seafood and Produce

This little shop offers steamed crabs in Virginia Beach, plus other fresh seafood options and local produce. It’s close to Sandbridge Beach and perfect for a seafood night at home. The crabs are caught each morning, so if you want to order I recommend calling right when they open at 8am. They will then give you a pickup time to get your food later in the day.

Bonney and Sons is located at 1793 Indian River Rd in Virginia Beach.

Simply Steamed Seafood Market

For a takeout seafood place right in Sandbridge, Simply Steamed has a great menu. For an easy lunch or dinner, they offer soup, salad and sandwiches. There’s a large variety of seafood options like lobster roll and fish tacos, or they have non seafood options including grilled cheese and hot dogs. Simply Steamed is known for the seafood pots, with a variety of options like shrimp, clams and crab legs, plus potatoes and corn on the cob.

Simply Steamed in Sandbridge is located at 2545 Sandpaper Road.

Donuts at Sandbridge Seaside Market

The Sandbridge Seaside Market is a great local grocery store in Sandbridge that sells a variety of groceries, alcohol and necessities. In addition to the typical grocery offerings, this Sandbridge market is also known for having some of the best donuts in Virginia Beach. The donuts are made fresh daily and include a variety of flavors from glazed to cream filled and amazing apple fritters.

Sandbridge Seaside Market is located at 209 Sandbridge Rd.

Sandbridge Seaside Market Best Donuts in Virginia Beach Toddling Traveler

More Restaurants Near Sandbridge, VA

Given that we did mostly takeout and grocery delivery on this trip, there were several restaurants near Sandbridge Beach, VA that we had on our list and didn’t get to. Below are a few Virginia Beach restaurants that were recommended to us by family and friends.

Have you been to Sandbridge, Virginia or the Virginia Beach area? Please share in the comments if you have more ideas for things to do on a Virginia Beach vacation!

For more ideas for some of the best family beach vacations in the US, check out the posts below:

Like this post? Pin an image below to save for later.

Sandbridge VA Beach Pinterest Toddling Traveler
Sandbridge Virginia Beach Vacation Toddling Traveler


31 thoughts on “Planning a Family Vacation in Sandbridge, Virginia”

  1. Amanda, you do such a great job highlighting these awesome family vacation destinations! I loved this article and how explained exactly what to do in Sandbridge while on a family vacation. Thanks for writing!

  2. I’ve never heard of this town! And I have vacationed in both Corolla and VA Beach… hmmm… so we are driving home from FL to NY at some point this summer, this could be a good stop – have to look at the map. I do love this area, beaches are great

    • It’s definitely secluded so it’s perfect for right now! It’s mostly weekly rental houses but there are two condo buildings that I hear great things about- it’d be a nice relaxing stop for sure!

  3. Those restaurants look delicious! I’ve never been to Virginia, so thank you for sharing these great tips!

  4. My family’s been lucky enough to have bought an ocean front house back in the 80’s. Favorite spot on the East Cost – next time order in from Lago Mar: fantastic stromboli, pizza, and subs! Glad you mentioned the donuts – definitely a favorite, just get there early before they’re gone!

  5. Hello! I use to love all the happenings and craziness when I was younger but after I became a mom, I started to think more cautious. I have 3 daughters (currently 11, 7 and 5 years old) and back in 2013 and 2015 we have visited Sandbridge Beach, VA.
    My 3 daughters are VERY active and love to run so Virgina and other beaches popular worried me! Sandbridge Beach, VA is completely and totally awesome! If your looking for calm, quiet and tranquillity, Sandbridge is the place!! In 2013 we went down at the end of July (think that house was 3rd row back) and we had almost the whole beach as far as the eye could see to ourselves! Peak season, a quiet and pretty much empty beach?! Oh wow! In 2015, we stayed at the northern end of the beach (a semi oceanfront house) towards the end of August and it was just as quiet and calm and we only paid I think $1,800 for a 6 bedroom house!
    I have a hard time relaxing, even before my daughters came along but at this beautiful place, I was able to let myself be calm and relaxed! We planned nothing both times we went there and it was AMAZING! I told my husband we need to move closer (we live in the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania) because I have found ‘my Heaven’ at Sandbridge! 💞💞

    • Thanks so much for sharing your experience! I agree it’s such a great, quiet beach and we loved that there are little to no crowds.

      • My family has been going to Sandbridge for nearly 25 years. We have stayed mostly in the same house year after year.
        Some other restaurants worth mentioning are Lago Mar pizza (our Saturday night tradition after a long drive from Northeast Pa)and they deliver! Sandbridge Island Restaurant (next to the market) and if you’re feeling like a drive- head to Virginia beach and go to Nick’s on laskin road. It doesn’t look like much but the food is great and Thursday night you can get an entire lobster for $15. You have to call and reserve your lobster ahead of time. How funny is that?
        I have parasailed, jet skied and even ran many half marathons in Virginia beach. This seriously is my favorite place to vacation.

  6. Can’t believe Sage Kitchen wasn’t even a mention. It’s not a Sandbridge address but it’s as close as some of the others.
    Located in Anderson’s on the corner of Sandbridge Rd and Fishers Arch. You can’t miss the outdoor patio and kids play area! The hobbit house was so cute! Sweet boutique too! So reasonable and healthy, delicious food.

  7. Pingback: Pittsburgh Family Photographers: Family Pictures With Lindsey Ferrie Photography - Toddling Traveler
  8. Pingback: 8 Awesome Things to Do at Siesta Key, FL - Toddling Traveler
  9. Pingback: Packing Tips and Beach Essentials for Baby - Toddling Traveler
  10. Pingback: 6 Tips For a Successful Road Trip With a Toddler - Toddling Traveler
  11. Pingback: 6 Duck, NC Restaurants You Need to Try - Toddling Traveler
  12. Pingback: 8 Family-Friendly Things to do in Duck, NC and OBX -
  13. Pingback: Pittsburgh Family Photographers: Family Pictures With Lindsey Ferrie Photography
  14. Pingback: Unique Things to Do in Charlottesville, VA: Weekend Getaway Guide - Toddling Traveler
  15. Pingback: Packing Tips and Beach Essentials for Baby
  16. Pingback: 7 Awesome Things to Do With Kids in Charlottesville, VA
  17. Pingback: 7 Awesome Things to Do With Kids in Charlottesville, VA - Toddling Traveler
  18. Pingback: 8 Family-Friendly Things to do in Duck, NC and OBX - Toddling Traveler
  19. Hi Amanda! I am vacationing at Sandbridge this year with my 1 and 3 year olds and am ALSO driving from Pittsburgh. Do you have any recommendations of stops along the way?

    • That’s so fun! Depending on what time you leave, Fredericksburg, VA is a good halfway point and has some parks and things to stop at or Frederick, MD is also an easy stop. We’ve also stopped in Richmond and the Williamsburg area on the way to Sandbridge or OBX (depending on when we leave and can check into our house.)


Leave a Comment