The city of Norfolk, Virginia is along the eastern seaboard of the United States. Its close proximity to Washington, D.C. and its strategic position at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay make it the very appropriate home of the largest naval base in the country. With 75 ships and 134 aircraft, Naval Base Norfolk provides protection from the Atlantic to as far as the Indian Ocean. Norfolk's downtown has gone through some major rejuvenation in recent years. There are many new hotels, retail stores and restaurants as well as a number of attractions such as the Hampton Roads Naval Museum and the USS Wisconsin.
When you rent a car in Norfolk you will be given the opportunity to travel the famous Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. Stretching over 23 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, the bridge connects southeastern Virginia to the Delmarva Peninsula which includes parts of Delaware, Maryland and Northern Virginia. In 1964 the bridge and the two one-mile long tunnels (which allow for ships to pass) were built, cutting 95 miles from the otherwise daunting trip. As a major tourist attraction, the road system has many places where you can stop along the way to take in the scenery and wildlife. Come see this remarkable feat of engineering.
The Norfolk Botanical Gardens are located due east of the city centre, directly off Route 170. Sat along the banks of Lake Whitehurst, a local fishing station, the gardens offer beautiful lakeside scenery among the flora. Walk the Border Tail which circumvents the property. There you will find many perennials and annuals in delicate pastel shades. As you continue onto the Rose Garden, you will discover over 3,000 plants in 300 different varieties; over 250,000 blooms can be seen during the peak season. Though the gardens tend to be brighter in the spring and summer months, Virginia's mild winters provided great weather for admiring the Winter Honeysuckle, Holly, and other hearty plants that bloom throughout the year.
Booking your car rental in Norfolk will get you to the parking lot, but not into the depths of the False Cape State Park. As the north end of the park is blocked by the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, you will have to walk along the shore or canoe through the bay to get to the park. The site of the communities first settlers, you will notice a church and other buildings constructed out of the cypress wood that washed ashore. Among the rolling dunes live many waterfowl, grey fox, and the infamous Cottonmouth Water Moccasin (a poisonous species, so watch out!)
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