Venues on Virginia’s coast offer a myriad of meeting options at water’s edge
Sometimes called “America’s first region” Hampton Roads comprises a vibrant mix of towns and cities—Virginia Beach, Hampton and Norfolk, all near or at water’s edge with a rich naval history and hometown warmth along with cutting-edge meeting facilities.
Local Expert Tip
“When exploring the cities in Coastal Virginia, it is easy for attendees and meeting planners to go from Norfolk to Virginia Beach or to Hampton. You can spend the day at the beach and then take advantage of Norfolk’s vibrant city life with performing arts, diverse culinary scene here or local sports teams. Then gaze at the cosmos at Hampton’s Virginia Air and Space Center, all within only 20–30 minutes of a drive from one another.”
– Sarah Hughes, vice president of marketing and communications, Visit Norfolk
5 Reasons Meeting Profs Love Coastal Virginia
It’s easily accessible. Norfolk, Hampton and Virginia Beach are all easily accessible to travelers in the northeast corridor by car, Amtrak or air. All three destinations can be reached by flying into Norfolk International Airport (ORF). Delta, United and American fly into Norfolk International. The region is 750 miles from most of the U.S. population.
- Water, water, everywhere. The Hampton Roads region encompasses 2,500 miles of coastline. Meeting participants can get outside and enjoy water sports such as kayaking, boating or paddling in areas like Newport News, Norfolk and Sandbridge. Groups can take boat tours with American Rover, Victory Rover Naval Cruise, and Yorktown Sailing Charters, which offer sunset sailing tours aboard its schooner. Norfolk is also known for its many commissioned mermaid statues scattered throughout the city—perfect for a brine-inspired group scavenger hunt.
- Cradle of American history. Hampton Roads area is sometimes called “America’s First Region” because it is considered the Birthplace of Colonial America and is home to the “Historic Triangle” of Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown—some of the earliest settled areas of Colonial America all explorable on daytime outings in the region and short trips from anchor venues.
- Outdoor fun parks. The Hampton Roads region is home to a plethora of outdoor entertainment venues like Busch Gardens, Water Country USA (the largest water park in the Mid-Atlantic) and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Where you’ll find a Vortex Tunnel, a 4D movie theater, and Impossible LaseRace.
- A rich naval and aerospace culture. The region’s maritime and naval heritage can be toured in places like the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, the Battleship Wisconsin at Nauticus, and the Mariners’ Museum and Park, which also houses the USS Monitor Center. The Virginia Air Space Science Center functions as the visitor’s center for NASA’s Langley Research Center and Langley Air Force Base—home to a 3D IMAX theater and displays and interactive experiences to warm the heart of everyone who loves space flight and Top Gun-like peak experiences.
5 Fantastic Places to Meet
- The new Embassy Suites Resort Virginia Beach Oceanfront opens in early 2023. Designed as a signature addition to Cavalier Resort, the new Embassy Suites by Hilton opens in early 2023. With 157 luxury hotel suites and 15,000 sq. ft. of conference and restaurant space, it will offer indoor and outdoor pools, a 24/7 fitness center and two new eateries. Sweeping seaside views add to the experience.
- The Hardrock Hotel & Casino Bristol opens in July 2024 as a 750-room hotel, 3,200-seat concert theater and an outdoor entertainment center. During construction, Hard Rock is operating a temporary casino named ‘Bristol Casino-Future Home of Hard Rock’. The hotel will have 50,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.
- Caesars Virginia in Danville opens in 2024. Property plans include a 500-room hotel. In addition, the resort will feature a full-service spa, pool, high-quality bars and restaurants, a 2,500-seat live entertainment theater and 40,000 sq. ft. of meeting and convention space. The casino is open while construction continues.
- With 344,000 sq. ft. of versatile convention and exhibit space, Hampton Roads Convention Center offers 35 flexible spaces for up to 14,000 delegates, including a 102,600-square-foot exhibit hall and a grand ballroom with banquet seating for more than 1,600.
- The 84,000-square-foot iconic Hampton Coliseum features an arena setting perfect for large gatherings such as conventions and exhibitions, with full-house seating for 11,000 and a total capacity of 13,800. The Stars Theater configuration allows seating for 6,200 in a more intimate setting.
Local Expert Tip
“From boardwalk strolls, lively entertainment, fresh-caught seafood to wildlife excursions, historic sites and a vibrant arts scene, Virginia Beach has lots to offer. This laid-back city’s location, year-round temperate climate, ease of accessibility by all forms of transportation and pricing that accommodates a variety of budgets, offer great options for a variety of events.”
– Sally Noona, director of sales, Virginia Beach CVB
visitnorfolk.com // visithampton.com // visitvirginiabeach.com
This article appears in the January/February 2023 issue. You can subscribe to the magazine here.