Summertime is the perfect time to make a splash with a visit to Norfolk, one of the world’s great port cities. With 144 miles of shoreline waiting to be explored, with the Chesapeake Bay, Atlantic Ocean and countless rivers in our backyard, you’re never far from the water in Norfolk. Here are a few great things to do on the water during your visit.

Go Sailing

The Sail Nauticus First Sail experience is an introduction to sailing in a casual setting. Up to three students and an instructor will learn how to harness the winds and steer the boat on a course. All students will receive online access to Chapter 1 of US Sailing's book on sailing after signing up. If you are wondering what it takes to sail and want to learn more, this is the course for you! A great way to unwind or just give yourself a unique treat.

sailing - photo for blog@rylantuohy, Instagram

Hit the Beaches in Ocean View & East Beach

Ready for a swim? Norfolk has three beaches in the low-key Ocean View area that are perfect for swimming. These include Sarah Constant Beach Park, just east of 4th View Street, Community Beach Park, and Ocean View Beach Park, farther east near Norfolk Avenue. 

ocean view - photo for blog@marstravelsearth, Instagram

Go Fishing!

No matter what your choice of the fresh catch may be, you’re sure to find it in the nearby Chesapeake Bay, Atlantic Ocean or Elizabeth River. The Chesapeake Bay is home to a host of saltwater fish, including trout, flounder, cobia, croaker, red drum, and striper. The Ocean View Fishing Pier offers a unique and enjoyable experience, with fishing license included in the cost of admission, equipment available for rent, on-site facilities and restaurant, and head boat excursions departing once or twice daily. 

ocean view blog

@coopdeville_, Instagram

Board and Tour a Tall Ship

Want to get a lay of the land from the water? Then you’ll want to set sail aboard Norfolk’s own Tall Sailing Ship, The American Rover. This three-masted topsail schooner with its familiar red “tanbark” sails has been a signature sight along the Elizabeth River and Hampton Roads Harbor since 1986, offering 1½- and 2-hour narrated Harbor or Sunset Cruises, April through October. 

Experience City Cruises

See incredible views of the Norfolk Harbor and the Navy’s Atlantic Fleet aboard City Cruises. Enjoy delicious new menus and specialty drinks. Then, dance to DJ entertainment or relax on the rooftop lounge. It all adds up to the perfect Norfolk experience. Cruising year-round from downtown Norfolk, Spirit offers lunch, brunch, dinner, cocktail, moonlit cruises and more. 

spirit of norfolk - blog post

@toddimbriaco, Instagram

Step off the Garden Path

Norfolk Botanical Garden offers more than strolls through beautiful landscapes. This must-see attraction also offers Guided Kayak Tour-Sunset Paddles and other waterborne adventures on the adjoining Lake Whitehurst. Visit their website for details and tour schedules. 

Cruise by the Base

The Victory Rover is your front row seat to the U.S. Navy’s Norfolk-based fleet. Departing from a berth just a short walk along the Downtown Norfolk Harbor from Nauticus, the Victory Rover offers a 2-hour narrated naval base tour, an enjoyable alternative to the bus tours offered on base. Passengers will witness the majesty of the Navy’s aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, guided missile cruisers, and other vessels that make up the world’s most powerful sea-going armada. 

Victory Rover