Boating in Norfolk, Virginia
A Destination for Everyone
The city of Norfolk is home to the world's largest naval base and has a historic downtown district, dozens of waterfront shops and restaurants, and a fascinating selection of museums. It also has miles of sandy Chesapeake Bay beaches—the destination truly holds something for everyone.
What to Do
Nauticus is a unique attraction that’s sort of a naval museum and science center all rolled into one. Visit the touch tanks to learn about horseshoe crabs, starfish, and sea urchins; and wander through exhibits about Theodore Roosevelt’s mighty navy and NOAA’s current marine explorations. (One waterside Drive, 757-664-1000)
The 53-acre Virginia Zoo has elephants, kangaroos, a prairie-dog habitat, and a train that wends through the lush grounds. (3500 Granby Street, 757-441-2374)
The Elizabeth River is one of the Chesapeake’s largest tributaries, and there are many ways to venture onto it. The 135-foot, three-masted schooner American Rover (757-627-7245, www.americanrover.com) sets sail daily April through October. The paddle wheeler Carrie B. (954-609-4735, www.carrieb.com) goes out rain or shine. For a more upscale cruise, The Spirit of Norfolk (866-304-2469, www.spiritofnorfolk.com) offers buffet dining and dancing.
Where to Eat
Chef Todd Jurich trained in Europe and Asia before settling in Norfolk and opening Todd Jurich’s Bistro, where he prepares acclaimed Eastern Shore-inspired dishes in a chic but relax environment. Oyster stew is thick with bacon, potatoes, and chives; Virginia sea bass comes with lump crabmeat and lemon confit. The excellent wine list includes selections from the world’s top regions. (150 W. Main St., 757-622-3210)
Downtown’s d’Egg is the locals’ favorite breakfast spot. Pancakes, grits, eggs any style, and housemade biscuits and gravy keep ‘em coming back for more. (204 E. Main St., 757-626-3447)
Where to Dock
Waterside Marina, in the heart of downtown Norfolk, is within easy walking distance of Waterside Festival Marketplace, where there are more than 60 restaurants to choose from. Marina amenities include floating docks, an athletic club, and a no-wake zone. (333 Waterside Dr., 757-625-3625, www.watersidemarina.com)
Family owned and operated since 1958, Cobb’s Marina has a friendly vibe and such homey touches as a covered picnic deck and a fish cleaning station. (4524 Dunning Rd, 757-588-5401, www.cobbsmarina.com)