Even though we think summer should mean sunshine every day, the weather doesn’t always want to cooperate. It can be a little disheartening to plan for fun in the sun on vacation, only to end up with gloomy weather. What are you supposed to do on family vacation, at the beach, when the beach is a no-go? Here are five budget-friendly, family-friendly, and location-friendly activities to enjoy when on vacation at the beach, or just on a rainy day.

Watch a Movie

Beach Cinema Alehouse is just a couple of blocks away from the oceanfront and is the perfect place to go with the family when sand and sun aren’t in the plans. The beauty of this theater is in their name: ‘alehouse.’ They offer a full menu and beverages as well (including alcohol for the adults). It’s the best of both worlds – a restaurant and a movie theater. Pick a long movie and enjoy! No sun needed. $$

Explore a Museum

The Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum is open daily at 24th Street on the Boardwalk. Kids (and the young at heart) can compete in scavenger hunts and dress up in their Costume Corner. During the summer, they offer Ghost Walks (outdoors or in the haunted building, weather dependent) on Tuesday and Saturday evenings. They welcome large families, small families, fur-families, and every family in-between. Stop in for a few hours to wait out the rain. They have senior and military discounts, and kids (17 & under) are free! $

Shop at the Mall

It may sound a little cliché, but the mall is a great place to take the family when the beach isn’t an option. Check out new stores and grab some lunch! The Lynnhaven Mall has four restaurants, a food court, a movie theater, and retail stores galore. Waste some time, and maybe some money, while still being with the family. $

While you’re at the mall, stop by Jump Virginia Beach. When the rain won’t stop and you need to exert some energy, just Jump! It’s the perfect mix of exercise and fun. They are open seven days a week. Check out their website for pricing, times and waiver forms. $

Knock Down Some Pins

Less than 2 miles from the Oceanfront is Pinboy’s at the Beach, a bowling alley. Bring back memories from your childhood at the bowling alley. It’s the perfect cover from rain, or even too much sun. Pinboy’s is open seven days a week, and they run regular specials. Check out their website for the deals of the day! $

Play some Bocce Ball

The newly opened Beachside Social is located on Atlantic Ave. It’s on the second floor and hosts a bocce ball court, shuffleboard, and other games. The décor is super cute and is light and beach-inspired. They have a full concession stand with food and drinks. The games are all first-come, first-serve. They open at 2p.m. Monday-Friday and 11a.m. on the weekends. Grab your umbrella and get there early! $$

Rain is something we can’t predict, even when we plan our family vacations months ahead of time. Don’t let the bad weather put a damper on your vacation. Check out these cool spots when it’s gloomy or even when you’ve had enough vitamin D and need a change of scenery. No matter what time of year your vacation is, or even if you are local, we have you covered for activities!


(Per person)

$ = $0-$10

$$ = $11-$20

$$$ = $21-$30