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Introducing Virginia Beach

With 35 miles of sandy beaches, a 3-mile concrete oceanfront boardwalk and nearby outdoor activities, it's no surprise that Virginia Beach is the largest city in the state (population 438,000) and a prime tourist destination. In recent years the city has worked hard to shed its unfortunate reputation as a rowdy 'Redneck Riviera.' With a $300 million facelift, the beach is wider and cleaner than ever, with dolphins frolicking offshore, and a heightened police presence (and antiprofanity signs!) aimed at keeping loutish drunken crowds in check. The town's appeal, however, is limited: uninspiring high-rise hotels dominate the horizon, while the crowded beachfront and traffic-choked streets leave much to be desired.

The I-264 runs straight to the visitor center and the beach. Surfing is permitted at the beach's southern end near Rudee Inlet and alongside the 14th St pier.