Go BIG or Go Home
What Happens When A Small-Town Family Visits The "World's Largest"... Whatever!

Virginia Beach: World’s Longest Stretch of Pleasure Beach


Shark week

BIG teeth at the Virginia Aquarium (in honor of Shark Week)!

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

Over Memorial Day week, we drove down to Virginia Beach, VA and Williamsburg, VA. We were game for a road trip, and The Boy got to miss four days of school. He starts middle school next month (hold me), and I figured this may be the last opportunity to pull him out of school for such a long stretch!

WHY did you go there, exactly?

Virginia Beach holds a Guinness World Record as the “world’s longest stretch of pleasure beach.” The 35-mile coastline is comprised of the Virginia Beach resort area, the Chesapeake Bay beach, and Sandbridge beach (our favorite spot!)

It’s always convenient when a beach vacation fits with our BIG theme!  Plus, we were on the hunt for several BIG attractions I had read about, including a giant gorilla, a 30-foot statue of Neptune, and an oversized sea serpent!

Okay, what was so cool about it?

Beyond the beautiful beaches, there were several attractions and activities we all enjoyed, especially the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, and the Ocean Breeze Waterpark. I’ve already written broader descriptions of Virginia Beach for other family travel sites. If you would like info on family–friendly attractions, activities, and dining in Virginia Beach, please visit FamilyVacationCritic.com and FamilyTravelNetwork.com

But I know what you REALLY want to know more about – Hugh Mongous, the giant gorilla; Neptune, the King of the Sea; and Isabel, the sea serpent!

Hugh Mongous is the 45-foot tall mascot standing in front of the Ocean Breeze Waterpark. He’s been here since 1985, and has been re-painted several times. Now, his wardrobe of choice is a Hawaiian shirt, shorts and sunglasses. The original sculpture was created in 1978 by local artist Paul DiPasquale for a bank in Richmond, VA, and later was transported to this water park. He survived a fire in 1989 and was thankfully restored. Source: Roadside Architecture.com

Water park

The Girl did not know whether to smile with delight or cower in fear.

Three miles of Virginia Beach are lined by a busy boardwalk. This is where you’ll find a scowling King Neptune, ready to pitch his trident to whoever gets on bad side (or disses his pet turtle, which he holds in his other hand). The 34-foot-tall, cast-bronze statue weighs 12.5 tons. Unveiled in 2005, this work was also commissioned by professional sculptor Paul DiPasquale. The money to produce this piece was raised by volunteers for the annual Neptune Festival.


Please pretend my hair isn't blowing in a million different directions.

Isabel is a 60-foot long sea serpent crafted from driftwood, with coconut shell eyes. She lies in the front yard of a rental home right on Sandbridge Beach, which is about 15 minutes south of Virginia Beach. A local sculptor, Scott Dilatush, created her in 1999. When we found her, we discovered a public access path to the beach just to the left of her yard. The four of us had a fantastic day on that beautiful, uncrowded beach!

Sea serpent

"Can we go swimming already?!"

How it rated on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = snoozefest, 10 = add to your bucket list): [rating=9]

As a destination for BIG-ness seekers, Virginia Beach ranks a solid 9 for its quirky collection!

Hey you! Go BIG!:

Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau

1-800-VA-BEACH (1-800-822-3224)

Disclaimer: Our stay in Virginia Beach was hosted by the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau.


Virginia Beach Things To Do on raveable


  1. Jessica said,
    August 4, 2011 @ 2:40 pm

    That is a lot of big stuff in one place. I love the sea serpent!

  2. Dorothy Butler said,
    August 4, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

    Hi Trace, So glad u got to discover Va. Beach. We lived there when Ed was in the Navy & spent many hrs.on those lovely beaches when our kidlets were young./ since our old Navy friends still live there we’ve been back many times, great place. Loved the photos.

  3. Mike said,
    August 5, 2011 @ 8:36 am

    That serpent sculpture is incredible. Sounds like a great trip.

  4. Sonja said,
    August 5, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

    You are so funny. Love the stuff you do.

  5. Cathy said,
    August 10, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

    I think it is so awesome that you wrote about Isabel. I have lived in Virginia Beach my whole life and accidentally found this sculpture one night while driving around. Not many people in my city know about it. I have taken friends and family down there to see it a few times when I’m near that area (or have nothing else to do). I’m really glad you were able to give me more information on it. Thank you!!

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