Is Virginia Beach a destination for a family vacation or is it more commercial? I always had the impression is was not so much of a family beach with a boardwalk, etc.
VA beach is definitely a family destination. Classic beachfront. Miles of beach in front of miles of concrete "boardwalk" in front of miles of hotels in front of miles of chain restaurants, mini golf, and drinking establishments.
The water, whenever I've seen it, has been in that zone where the waves are big enough to make swimming a little tough but doable, and small enough that surfing is sort of lame but doable.