One of the biggest success stories to come out of Virginia Beach in the last few decades is the resurgence of the Lynnhaven oyster. Meet some of the locals helping to bring this living icon back to the waterways, and discover ways you can see them for yourself.
The Local Spots
In Virginia Beach, you can get out and explore the wonderful world of oysters by land and by water. Between the local eateries and shops, miles of hiking trails, and welcoming communities, there are plenty of ways to make some memories along the way.
Get started with a stroll through the tidal wetlands and sandy shores at Pleasure House Point Natural Area. Home to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Brock Environmental Center, you can see evidence of the oyster restoration efforts in person. These peaceful trails along the Lynnhaven River are the perfect place to breathe in some fresh air or watch the sunset. No matter the season, it’s also a great spot to catch sight of the many bird species that call the area home. From herons, egrets, and osprey year round to bald eagles nesting October to June and migrating waterfowl in the winter, there’s always some type of activity happening in the air around you. Launch your canoe or kayak from the nearby Lynnhaven Boat Ramp & Beach Facility to tour the area by water.
One of the most unique experiences in Virginia Beach is a farm tour with Pleasure House Oysters. Head out on the water with Captain Chris Ludford for some hands-on fun. Depending on which tour you choose, you’ll get to sample oysters pulled up directly from the water in front of you and get knees-deep into the river. It’s an adventure that will delight all of your senses, and one you won’t soon forget.
Coveted for their size and saltiness, get a taste of the famous oysters for yourself at one of the many seafood restaurants in the area. From Blue Pete’s Restaurant, Zoë’s Steak & Seafood, and Coastal Grill to raw bars at Calypso, Chick’s Oyster Bar, and CP Shuckers, you can’t go wrong with the fresh catch when you’re dining out. Stops like Captain George’s Seafood, Rockafeller’s Restaurant, and Tautog’s are even included on the Virginia Oyster Trail. Plus, with menus full of everything from pasta and tacos to desserts and cocktails, we’re sure your taste buds are already begging for a visit.
As the locals know, there is no better time to visit than during the annual Oyster Roast and Craft Beer Festival. In addition to your fill of roasted, raw, and fried oysters, this family-friendly event features local artists and vendors, live music, and an auction. With proceeds supporting the Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad, this year’s event is planned for March 22, 2022.
The Lynnhaven oyster is just one unique facet to the wide world of wildlife and nature in this coastal city. Discover these marine creatures, their habitats, and much, much more when you visit Virginia Beach.
Cover photo by Shannon McGowan