Creating timeless memories has required a little more creativity and thought this year and what better way to make those memories than by piling everyone into the car for a good ole classic road trip. Norfolk will easily check off all the “must haves” your group is looking for in a destination -- beach days for the sunbathers, downtown rooftop decks for those wanting to slurp down oysters with a view, a zoo for the animal lovers and numerous pet-friendly breweries for those who bring along their furry best friend. Here are the top reasons why we think you should make Norfolk your next road trip destination.

photo pictured above, @swampthaaang, Instagram,

1. Our Proximity to You

A Jeep Wrangler sits parked at the Norfolk waterfront.@brutal_jeep, Instagram

Living in the D.C or Richmond area? Our proximity to these cities allows for easy last minute getaway trips, while our location in the Mid-Atlantic creates accessibility to all of those who are willing to fight over the radio for a bit longer. 

Who doesn't love exiting the highway and having a short commute to your hotel? Norfolk is located just off of Interstate 64, allowing for a quick drive to your final destination. Whether you are looking for a weekend trip, week-long vacation or a stopover on your way to the Outer Banks, our proximity to you is unmatched!

2. Free Parking

Cars are parked near shopping and dining establishments on Granby Street in Norfolk

@okelliherphotography, Instagram

When traveling to a new destination, it can be confusing to understand where you are allowed to leave the car for the day but with free parking in Norfolk’s most popular neighborhoods you won't have to worry. Our beaches offer free parking and have multiple public access points via boardwalks and paths. 

While visiting downtown, you’ll find free two hour parking from 8am - to 8pm along Boush Street. Two hours is the perfect amount of time to grab a to-go meal from Omar’s Carriage House and head to the Pagoda and Oriental Garden where picnic tables and waterfront views await. You can also explore the wide-open deck of the Battleship Wisconsin or tour MacArthur Museum without worrying where to leave your car.

The Chelsea neighborhood, which is also extremely pet friendly, is our favorite to explore by bike, but their free street parking makes exploring Chelsea by foot a breeze. Once you find a spot, venture over to The Birch and devour one of their famous grilled cheeses. Looking for more options in Chelsea? Wander over to Benchtop Brewery and sip on a Gose or enjoy Orapax’s mouth- watering Greek cuisine!

3. Our Walkability

A view of downtown Norfolk at dusk illustrates the town's well-lit sidewalks and public spaces.@iamanar92, Instagram 

Our downtown consists of twelve walkable city blocks, filled with endless activities. All downtown hotels are within walking distance of savory restaurants (many with outdoor patios), recreational spaces like Town Point Park, thrilling art experiences at The Chrysler Museum’s Perry Glass Studio and rich historic landmarks along the Cannonball Trail, an outdoor historic self-guided experience. Our small-scale downtown also brings you access to multiple boat cruises, the Spirit of Norfolk, American Rover, Victory Rover and personalized sailing excursions with Nauticus. Mile Marker Zero, the Elizabeth River Trail and Fort Norfolk are also all accessible by foot when you are downtown. Our small town charm mixed with our high-rise southern waterfront city will quench your long awaited need to escape for a vacation. 

4. Abundance of Outdoor Activities 

Packing your vehicle to the brim is an art form, especially when you suit up your vehicle with all your outdoor gear (kayaks, bikes, paddle boards etc.) but don't fret, Norfolk is worth the packing hassle. From 10.5 miles on the Elizabeth River Trail (ERT) to 144 miles of shoreline there is plenty to satisfy an outdoor fanatic! The ERT tours you through Norfolk’s downtown, parks and prestigious neighborhoods while our shorelines are trickled with boat ramps and kayak launches. The Chesapeake Bay has minimal waves making it the perfect spot for paddle boarding or floating the afternoon away on an inflatable tube. Don’t forget your fishing gear and be sure to check out Great White Water Sports for a jet ski dolphin tour. Let Norfolk become your outdoor playground!

5. Our Cuisine

Made with Sweet-potato biscuits, this Handsome Biscuit sandwich is a local favorite.

Pictured above, Handsome Biscuit

Our days are centered around food, especially when you're traveling since it fuels our exploration energy. So what better place to visit than a city doused in owner-operated restaurants and breweries? Norfolk is home to about 800-plus restaurants and about 600 of those are operated by individuals. Because of our high concentration of locally-owned restaurants, the caliber and diversity that transpires through each owner's personalized palettes, distinctive feng shui and true Southern hospitality, makes Norfolk incomparable to other cities our size. Not only will you experience divine high quality food, but you will single-handedly aid in the support of small businesses. Come hungry and taste your way through Norfolk!