The big resort city next to Norfolk is Virginia Beach. Virginia Beach is more than oceanfront hotels, a boardwalk and a long, wide beach. It's a vacation resort with an amphitheater, good restaurants, night clubs, fun amusement parks, an aquarium, quality golf courses and truly special events. The city actually has 6 different Atlantic Ocean beaches -- from the crowded tourist beach to the remote and undeveloped False Cape.
Directly across the Elizabeth River from downtown Norfolk is Portsmouth. The city features historic neighborhoods, antique shops, and museums for children and sports fans.
Hampton, Virginia, is located across the Hampton Roads harbor from Norfolk (the congested Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel connects the two cities). The downtown waterfront area has been renovated and welcomes visitors. Attractions downtown include cobblestone streets, brick sidewalks, and shops, restaurants, pubs, galleries, an air and space museum, restored antique carousel, and a waterfront park.
The Phoebus/Fort Monroe area is located on Hampton's eastern side. Phoebus was once an incorporated town and has retained it's individual character. Today's Phoebus is experiencing a renaissance and features a nice mix of older homes, antique shops, arts and crafts galleries, and restaurants. The restored American Theatre has become one of the premier performance venues in Hampton Roads.
The other big city on the peninsula is Newport News. Big employers there include Newport News Shipbuilding and multiple military bases. Attractions are the Mariners' Museum, Virginia Living Museum, Endview Plantation, and Newsome House.
The Eastern Shore is just across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel from Norfolk, but it's like another world. From the golf courses and marina at Cape Charles to the wild ponies of Assateague, there's a lot to see and do.