The 12 Best Virginia Beach Boat Tours

Virginia Beach is one of the best water destinations in Virginia, so it’s no surprise that the city offers a wide variety of excellent boat tours that are great for the whole family!

A boat tour will give you an unforgettable opportunity to see bottlenose dolphins, whales, seals, bald eagles, seabirds, and more! 

There are a wide variety of tours available in the Virginia Beach area, as well as in the surrounding Hampton Roads and Norfolk area. Dolphin tours are especially popular since Atlantic bottlenose dolphins are quite common in the region. 

Whale-watching tours are also popular, particularly in the winter months when whales migrate to the area.

Other popular excursions include a guided tour of local landmarks like the Cape Henry Lighthouse. Fishing trips are also popular. 

You can even book a kayak nature tour, which is a great way to get an even closer look at the incredible coastal animals that live off of the east coast of Virginia. 

Below are my top recommendations for Virginia Beach boat tours.

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Top photo by Tony Cordaro from Pixabay.

Where to Stay in Virginia Beach
Hyatt Place Virginia Beach Town Center
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What to Bring on a Virginia Beach Boat Tour
1. Binoculars – Click here to buy
2. Backpack – Click here to buy
3. Sunscreen – Click here to buy
4. Bug Spray – Click here to buy

Virginia Beach Boat Tours

Boat ToursGreat ForTickets
Rudee ToursRuddee Rocket speedboat toursClick here to purchase
Virginia Aquarium Boat ToursLearning from marine researchersClick here to purchase
Patriotic ExcursionsUnique military boats and toursClick here to purchase
Virginia Beach WatersportsJet-skiing, tubing, wakeboarding, and waterskiingClick here to purchase
First Landing ChartersPrivate ChartersClick here to purchase
GoKayak! Paddle with a PorpoiseKayaking with dolphinsClick here to purchase
Chesapeake Bay Pedal ClubFloating BarClick here to purchase
Chesapean OutdoorsKayaking and paddle-board tours, surf lessonsClick here to purchase
Moore to See Photo ExpeditionsPrivate, secluded ecotoursClick here to purchase
Pleasure House Oysters Boat TourOyster farm tours and tastingsClick here to purchase
Noah Genda CruisesPrivate tours on a pontoon boatClick here to purchase
Jolie Luxury Party and CruisesParty CruisesClick here to purchase

Rudee Tours

Ruddee Tours actually boasts the largest fleet of boats in Virginia Beach! 

They offer a number of wildlife sightseeing tours, including a full-day fishing tour, whale-watching tours, dolphin tours, and winter wildlife excursions. 

Ruddee has a number of different whale-watching trips, including two-hour tours, half-day tours, and full-day tours.

The winter wildlife excursions give you a chance to gray and harbor seals, humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins, and seabirds. 

They also offer unique special tours such as Boats & Goats, which is a boat tour that also includes snuggling with adorable baby goats on board. 

You can also book a 90-minute sunset boat tour, with drinks and snacks on board.  

If you’re looking for more of an adventure, you can book a tour on the Rudee Rocket speed boat. 


You can purchase tickets online.

Virginia Aquarium Boat Tours

The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center also has boat tours available. An added plus is that you will get to learn more about marine life from the researchers at the aquarium.

From mid-December to early March, the aquarium has 2-hour whale-watching boat tours, during which you might get a chance to spot humpback whales or bottlenose dolphins.  

They also offer a unique Sunset and Moonrise cruise, which gives you a chance to watch the beautiful sight of the sun setting as the moon rises over the Atlantic Ocean. This event occurs in spring. 

Another unique experience is the Ocean Collections Boat Tour, which gives guests a chance to help collect marine samples for research and study. 


You can purchase tickets online.

Patriotic Excursions

Patriotic Excursions has the unique distinction of using boats that were previously used in the military. They use decommissioned, seven-meter RHIBs (a rigid inflatable boat) from the Atlantic and Pacific fleets.

To match their unique fleet of boats, they also have very special tours, such as the Special Ops Simulation, which gives you the opportunity to go on a Special Ops mission. 

They also offer a dolphin cruise, whale and seal watching tours, and sunset cruises. 

You can even book a boat tour bar crawl, which will take you, by boat, to some of Virginia Beaches’ bars.


You can purchase tickets online.

Image by Francine Sreca from Pixabay

Virginia Beach Watersports

Virginia Beach Watersports is your destination for jet ski rentals in Virginia Beach. They also have a Norfolk location, which has jet ski rentals, as well as boat tours. 

You can book a  90-minute sunset boat cruise. They also offer a Watersports & Boat cruise, which gives you the chance to go tubing, wakeboarding, or waterskiing!


You can purchase tickets online.

First Landing Charters

First Landing Charters offers charter boats that you can reserve for your party. It is a good option if you want to go on a tour as a group or family. 

They have a wide variety of tours available, including a sunset cruise and moonlight cruise. They also have a Seals, Dolphins, and Whales tour. 

First Landing also has a tour to Cape Charles, where you can explore more local restaurants. 

Other tours include Tangier Island for the Day, Oysters and Ospreys, and Crabpots and Carriers. 


You can purchase tickets online.

GoKayak! Paddle with a Porpoise

GoKayak! focuses on, as you might have guessed, kayak tours. They feature guided kayak dolphin tours from First Landing State Park.

The tour gives you a chance to explore the Virginia Beach oceanfront and see dolphins as well as many of the other marine animals that inhabit the area, including bald eagles, ospreys, even sea turtles, sting rays, pelicans, herons, and more.

They offer three daily tours at 9:00 am, 12:00 pm, and 6:00 pm. Each of the tours lasts two hours. No kayaking experience is needed, though you may need to do some paddling.

Note that the tours are closed during the winter months.


You can purchase tickets online.

Chesapeake Bay Pedal Club

The Chesapeake Bay Pedal Club focuses on fun. They feature a floating 20-passenger Cycleboat pub. The tour travels through Rudee Inlet for scenic views around Virginia Beach.

The highlight of the tour is the 10-person bar with snacks and drinks. The tours are perfect for private events like birthday parties, and bachelor and bachelorette parties. You can also book a public cruise if you have a smaller party.


You can purchase tickets online.

Chesapean Outdoors

Chesapean Outdoors also specializes in guided kayak dolphin tours.

They also offer other activities including stand-up paddle-board tours, bike tours, surf lessons, rentals, adventure camps, and more.


You can purchase tickets online.

Moore to See Photo Expeditions

Moore to See Photo Expeditions specializes in private boat tours and eco-tours in some of the more secluded locations in the Virginia Beach area. 

One of the available nature tours is North Landing R., which explores the secluded North Landing River and surrounding marshlands. 

Another tour option is Picnic on the River, which includes a quiet river location where you can enjoy a picnic basket full of fruits, meats and cheeses, bread, crackers, pasta salad, and water.

You can also book a private sunrise and sunset tour. 

They offer a large number of other unique tours, including: 

  • Great Bridge Battle – learn about the history of the area on a trip to the Great Bridge Battlefield and Waterways Historic Park.
  • Back Bay – get a chance to see hundreds of birds, plus marine mammals and reptiles of the region. 
  • River Crab Feast – enjoy a boat tour, plus a feast of steamed Blue Crabs, locally caught in Back Bay and Currituck Sound.
  • Winter Eagle Tours – get a chance to see the majestic bald eagles that migrate to the area each winter!
  • Birds & Brunch – visit an island rookery with over 2,000 pairs of nesting birds!


You can purchase tickets online.

Pleasure House Oysters Boat Tour

Pleasure House Oysters Boat Tour offers a very different kind of boat tour: you get the chance to tour an actual oyster farm along the Lynnhaven River!

There are three main tours you can choose from: The Chef’s Table Tour lasts about three to four hours, and includes either lunch or dinner, plus a sampling of locally sourced oysters.

You can bring your own bottle of wine to enjoy with this very unique experience. You also get a chance to learn about the local wildlife and waterways.

Pleasure House Oysters Boat Tour also offers a Tasting Tour of the local oysters.

For those really interested in a hands-on experience, the Waterman Tour gives guests a chance to wade into the riverbed and pick up oysters and other marine animals like crabs and eels. This tour option also includes the Tasting Tour experience.


You can purchase tickets by calling.

Noah Genda Cruises

Noah Genda Cruises comes with a cute and clever name. They offer private tours on a pontoon boat, under the helm of a U.S. Coast Guard captain who has been exploring the Virginia Beach waters for nearly 50 years!

Some of the available tours include sunset and dinner tours, dolphin tours, Lynnhaven River and Chesapeake Bay tours, a boat trip to Seashore State Park, and shelling on the Eastern Shore. 


You can purchase tickets online.

Jolie Luxury Party and Cruises

If you are looking for a party boat, then Jolie Luxury Party and Cruises offers just the thing. Their tours can include a water slide, tubing, jet skis, and more!

You can also relax with a lunch grilled right onboard the ship, plus you can enjoy other snacks and drinks. It is a great choice for parties. 


You can purchase tickets online.

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Check out the top things to do in Virginia Beach in Winter

Whale breaching