Because adventures can still be epic without a car.
Virginia Beach: The land of beautiful beaches, large residential communities, and hundreds (if not thousands) of restaurants, churches, stores, parks, and attractions to visit. Regent campus is perfectly situated between Norfolk, Chesapeake, and VA Beach, and you can find almost any place to eat, shop, and explore within a 5-30 minute drive. But what if you don’t have a car on campus, or have a car loaded down by nine boxes of books (like me), or even have an old car that’s temperamental? Here’s a short list of places to explore by bike or legs on those days when driving isn’t an option.
1. Regent Commons/The Village: There are plenty of places in the Village and the Commons that are basically unexplored. When you’re not rushing back and forth to classes, you could take a walk around the paths in the Village (and even play my personal favorite, ‘The trial-and-error, find your friends’ apartments’ game), or explore the forest behind the Commons. Sit by the bench at the pond and watch the ducks, string up a hammock in the Lord of the Rings-esque area between the fountain and the Comm building, sit at the eternal flame NOT-roasting marshmallows (sorry, this is forboden) or come up with a chant and tribal dance (which may or may not have been part of my freshman year experience) around its brick wall. There are lots of unique spots on campus—just pick a direction and start walking!
2. Woods Corner Shopping Center: A mile down Centerville Turnpike, the not-really-bustling, but still fun Woods Corner Shopping Center awaits. In this area, you’ll find a Neighborhood Wal-Mart, Centerville Bingo (how cool is that? This should definitely be on the college bucket list), a CHKD thrift store which has surprising treasures, and Sushi King, which has good takeout for decent prices. They also have an all-you-can-eat lunch for $11.99 that includes, well, all you can literally eat of sushi, teriyaki, rice, dumplings, soup, and salad. I recommend miso soup and an avocado roll for your walk back if you choose takeout—there’s no shame with drinking soup and eating sushi along Centerville Turnpike. Own it.
Distance from Regent Commons: Approximately 1.4 miles
Distance from the Village: Approximately 1 mile
3. City View Park: To get to this park, escape your laptop, TV, and social media, exit your front door—or window—and make a beeline for Centerville Tpk. Turn right, and follow Centerville until you get to Kempsville Rd. Turn right at the light, and soon you’ll come across a green oasis that has the holy grail of parks: two playgrounds with swings, slides, and monkey bars! If this isn’t exciting to you, there’s also a basketball court, volleyball court, baseball field, large grassy areas for capture the flag, picnic benches, and a running path through the woods. This is a great place to study or escape from studying, hang out with friends or just get some God and nature time.
Distance from Regent Commons: Approximately 1.7 miles
Distance from the Village: Approximately 1.3 miles
4. KempsRiver Crossing: This area has it all. Starbuck’s, Panera Bread, K-Mart, Tropical Smoothie, Farm Fresh, Dollar Tree, Rite-Aid, Korean BBQ, Payless ShoeSource, Hair Cuttery, Tastebuds Popcorn (a store that just sells popcorn!), Heaven & Earth (a Christian bookstore), IHOP, Post Office, and Cinema Café (where movie tickets are criminally cheap). The row of stores across Kemps River Drive includes a health food center, bakeshop, pizza places, subway, Delicate Oriental Grocery (the food and other items here are definitely worth the trip), and Pet Supplies Plus (for that tame squirrel we all secretly want to have in our rooms).
Distance from the Commons: 1.3 miles
Distance from the Village: 1.8 miles
5. Lake James: This lake is monstrous—especially when compared with our pond—and tucked away in its own world across the street from us. To get there, don’t cut through the woods across from campus. Instead, be respectful of Lake James’ property owners and walk in one of the two closest entrances for Regent students.
Option 1: Turn left onto Centerville Rd. and walk/ride until you get to Indian River Rd. Turn right at the light, and at the second light (Lake James Drive), turn right again. When you reach Belvoir Ln., go right or left around the loop until you find a good view or lake access.
Option 2: Turn right onto Kempsville and cross the street into Brandon Blvd. After it curves around, turn left onto Rueger St. or Delaney St., and from there, find a good view along Lake James Dr.
While Regent on-campus students don’t officially have access to use the lake since we’re not Lake James residents, now would be a good time to make friends with those who live there (or not to be completely mercenary, visit your Regent friends who live in the neighborhood to catch up, and then casually bring up the idea of a walk around the lake). The sunsets are magnificent, the streets are quiet enough for a walk or bike ride, and the lake atmosphere is peaceful.
Now that it’s fall, the strong breeze, cloudy days, and slight chill (and bonus crunchy leaves) make these walking/biking trips and other local explorations even more epic. Bring a book along! Just leave these at home… Have fun adventuring!
Katie Patchell is a Staff Writer at the Daily Runner.