Norfolk’s biggest claim to fame is that it’s home to Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval base in the world! For many, especially those interested in military history, the naval base is certainly a draw. But there’s plenty of things to do for people who are interested in spending a few days in the area. 

It’s easy-to-get-to location, waterfront activities, and laid-back atmosphere makes it a perfect destination to spend a few days relaxing from the hustle and bustle of your daily life. 

In this post, we’re going to cover what you need to know to make the most out of your trip to Norfolk. 

Ready to dive in?

Things to Do

Norfolk Botanical Garden

Botanical gardens are always popular destinations. Who doesn’t love spending an afternoon wandering amongst beautiful flora and fauna? But the Norfolk Botanical Garden is unique. It’s surrounded by water on three sides. This adds a special dimension, not to mention amazing views, that you don’t usually see at gardens.

MacArthur Center

If no vacation is complete without a little bit of retail therapy, the MacArthur Center should be high on your list. This is the premier mall of the region. With over 100 shops, live events, and places to eat, you’re going to find something for everyone in your group. 

NEON District

The New Energy of Norfolk District was created a few years ago to celebrate all the arts and culture Norfolk has to offer. Inside this arts district, you’ll find public art on display, the d’Art Center which features local artists in residence and the Chrysler Museum of Art

Local Brews

Love craft beer? Norfolk is just the place for you. There are some breweries here that attract both the locals and visitors alike. If you’re interested in trying some of the local flavors check out O’Connor Brewing CompanySmartmouth Brewing Company, and Coelacanth Brewing Company to start.

Battleship Wisconsin

With an entire naval base right at your disposal, it’s a good idea to take advantage of it! Take a self-guided tour of the Battleship Wisconsin. This ship was one of the biggest battleships the US Navy ever built and served during World War II.


While you’re visiting Battleship Wisconsin, be sure to check out Nauticus too. It is a museum and science center that is marine themed and focused. Throughout the year they have all sorts of exhibits as well as live events you won’t want to miss. Traveling with kids? Nautics is a great spot to spend some time. 

Getting There

Norfolk city skyline and Elizabeth River, Virginia, USA

Norfolk is easily accessible via Interstate 64. It’s also less than three hours driving from Washington, DC; Raliegh, North Carolina; and Charlottesville, Virginia. It’s a great stop along a road trip to or from any of these great American cities. 

As you can see, you won’t run out of things to do on your trip to Norfolk. Spend a few days here, and you’ll be planning your next visit back!