Top Student Destinations: Virginia Beach

Sure, you know all about the wonders New York City, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles have to offer, but you may be surprised at what lesser-known American towns bring to the table. One of those towns happens to be Virginia Beach, VA. Ranked #2 on "Best Places to Raise a Family" and #2 on the list of "Top Ten Places to Discover in America," your student group is bound to fall in love with this East Coast hideaway.

For a dive into Virginia's wildlife, hop aboard a whale-watching ship to catch Humpback Whales' annual winter migration to the Chesapeake Bay. For a hike, bike, or float trip adventure, explore Back Bay Natural Wildlife Refuge bordering the Atlantic Ocean. At First Landing State Park, the camp where the first colonists establishing the Jamestown settlement landed onshore. For one more history stop for an educational tour, the American Rover is a must. This tall-sailing ship offers two-hour tours under a romantic sunset, as well as a student-party tour, featuring a DJ, food, and refreshments.

If your students are looking to celebrate their graduation, or just want to break away and have some fun, Virginia Beach has tons of exciting attractions. Have a paintball fight, swing from a 170-foot tower, or race your friends on world-class tracks at Motor World, one of the few theme parks in America devoted to the thrill of racing. King's Dominion theme park focuses on heart-stopping coasters, like the longest floorless coaster in the world, the Dominator, or The Anaconda, which drops you 144 feet and surprises you with the world’s first looping coaster to showcase an underwater tunnel. If you prefer your rides with a little splash, make time for the world-class water park, Ocean Breeze, for all the fun of the beach without the sand and salt, featuring a 1,000-foot Adventure River through the calming Hideaway Cove.

Of course, it's called Virginia Beach for a reason -- the ocean! Stroll down a classic boardwalk filled with restaurants, shops, amusement parks and more, then cool off in the Atlantic. Once the sun sets, get spooked with the Virginia Beach Ghost Tour, where you'll walk tight-knit in the dark down the boardwalk, learning about Blackbeard the Pirate, his angry crew, and a real-life witch whose trial was held in the city nearly two centuries ago.

For a splash, a thrill, and a scare, Virginia Beach is a top spot for your student group.