Are you thinking about taking a trip to Virginia Beach, Virginia? If so, researching ahead of time to discover the best time to visit will ensure you get to experience everything this seaside city has to offer.
Virginia Beach is packed with activities for visitors of every age. However, many of them are seasonal. That means you have to plan your travel dates carefully. Below, discover some top reasons why you should visit Virginia Beach.
Then, we’ll explain what it’s like throughout the year. Read about the best time to visit, uncover everything you need to know about Virginia Beach’s seasons, and get answers to your lingering questions. Let us be your guide!
Why You Should Visit Virginia Beach
There are many terrific reasons to make Virginia Beach your family’s next vacation destination. One of the best is right in the name of the city: the beach! Virginia Beach has many miles of coastline and tons to do along it.
The most popular place to catch waves and rays is the Boardwalk beach. Spanning three whole miles, Virginia Beach’s Boardwalk rivals any on the Jersey Shore.
It’s lined with restaurants, shops, hotels, and other businesses that cater to visitors and locals. There’s even a bike path that runs alongside it. The beach here tends to get the most waves, so it’s perfect for older children and anyone wanting to learn how to surf.
Several other beaches are in the region, including the quiet and secluded North End Beach. Don’t forget to visit nearby Sandbridge Beach for some of the best kayaking and fishing!
Overall Best Time to Visit Virginia Beach
The overall best time to visit Virginia Beach is in the summer, from mid-May through September.
More specifically, if you want low crowds and less rain, visit in May, early June, and September. One of the main reasons is the weather. Virginia Beach isn’t far enough south to avoid cold winters.
While you probably won’t see snow, it’s far too cold to lay out on the beach or enjoy the rest of the outdoors. While the large military base contributes most to the economy, Virginia Beach recognizes the importance of tourism, especially to the waterfront area.
Therefore, they actively promote and welcome the summer throngs, leading to several fun events. These include the Stars and Stripes Explosion (July), Virginia Beach FunkFest Beach Party (August), and Beach Music Weekend (September).
The city comes alive in the summer. You’ll find storefronts with open doors, restaurants with tables on the sidewalks, and hundreds of locals and visitors enjoying the great outdoors.
It’s also a very pedestrian and bike-friendly city, but only when it’s warm enough. There are some downsides to visiting in summer’s peak weeks.
That’s why we especially recommend mid-May through early June and September if you’re looking to avoid heavy crowds and want the best chance to get a vacancy at the accommodation you want.
Cheapest Time to Visit Virginia Beach
The cheapest time to visit Virginia Beach is during the off-season, in winter, especially in January and February.
Winter in Virginia
Winters in southern Virginia aren’t brutal. Daily temperatures almost always reach the 40s, and sunny days in the 50s and 60s are expected. Still, that’s certainly too cold to lay out on the beach or engage in water activities without a wetsuit and some serious tolerance for the chills.
The good news is that you can score some fantastic deals on beachfront hotels. These establishments see a drop in visitors because of the cold but also because the focal center of activity shifts from the water to other parts of town.
In addition, there are several local events during the winter designed to draw visitors during the off-season and bring residents out in the cold.
Winter Happenings and Events
Whale watching is one of the best things to do in Virginia Beach in the winter. It’s strictly seasonal, so you can’t even do it during the summer. That’s because whales migrate and are only in the waters off the Virginia coast in early winter.
Speaking of early winter, Virginia Beach goes all out for the festive season. One of the main attractions is Holiday Lights at the Beach, a dazzling display of luminescent decorations along all 30 blocks of the Boardwalk.
Perhaps most importantly, many year-round events can be experienced during this magical period. These include weekly farmers and craft markets and meet-ups for families and kids.
Believe it or not, a lot of people camp during the winter months. First Landing State Park is stunning this time of year, with warm, cozy cabins available for rent.
Least Busy Time to Visit Virginia Beach
The least busy time to visit Virginia Beach is in the winter. However, consider a fall or spring visit if you want to enjoy some of the nice weather with fewer other tourists.
Spring in Virginia Beach
As the weather warms, the city comes alive with events and activity. Before it gets too hot, enjoy the East Coast She Crab Soup Classic in April. At the end of the month, the Something in the Water Music Festival is held, symbolizing the unofficial start of beach season.
Then in May, continue celebrating sound by attending the Virginia International PANfest, a celebration of Caribbean music and culture. Keep in mind that the weather starts to get warm early.
Though the ocean may still be a bit chilly, most days will reach the 70s by mid-April, while it’s frequently in the 60s, even in March. You don’t have to wait for summer to enjoy Virginia Beach’s outdoor activities.
Autumn in Virginia Beach
Even after the crowds depart throughout September, there are more fall events for intrepid travelers. Fortunately, the weather stays beautiful during this period. Temperatures fall through the season, but only from the 80s and 90s to the 60s and 70s.
It doesn’t get cold until mid-November. The ocean water also stays warm from its exposure to summer’s strong sun rays, making it more comfortable to swim or try other fun water activities.
If you visit in September, check out the Beach Music Festival and Cruise-In, which features headline performers and a car show. In October, celebrate local brewmasters and their sudsy sips at the Virginia Beach Craft Beer Festival, which coincides perfectly with Oktoberfest.
Worst Time to Visit Virginia Beach
Most locals agree that winter is the worst time to visit Virginia Beach. It’s a city on the ocean, meaning many of the best things to do here require you to be outdoors.
While you can manage some of them in the cold, it’s not going to be as fun. Still, Virginia Beach has a lot to offer during the off-season, as we’ve already seen. Let’s look at other things to do indoors throughout the city.
Indoor Activities in Virginia Beach
Even if you plan to visit during the summer, you might run into a rainy day, so it’s a wise idea to have a backup plan. The attractions below are all ideal for when you need to move inside.
Besides the aquarium (discussed above), the ViBE district also houses the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art. If you like museums, check out the Military Aviation Museum or the Virginia Beach Surf and Rescue Museum.
If you have antsy kiddos, take them to the spectacular Children’s Museum of Virginia in nearby Portsmouth. In addition, the city has several recreation centers with indoor pools and gyms.
Finally, as a large metropolitan area and major tourist destination, Virginia Beach has many excellent venues, such as an indoor trampoline park, escape rooms, indoor skydiving, arcades, and movie theaters.
Things to Consider
There are still several factors to consider before you book your vacation to Virginia Beach. Use these tips to help your family make memories that will last a lifetime:
- Virginia Beach is much more than just a beach, with historic locations like Fort Story and Cape Henry Lighthouse being popular tourist attractions.
- Hotel and other rental prices are especially steep in July and August.
- Take advantage of Virginia Beach’s bike rentals, as they’re an excellent way to experience the surroundings and get exploring.
- Atlantic Avenue is a must-visit, as this bustling area is filled with restaurants, shopping, and beach essentials.
- Check the schedule, as Virginia Beach hosts many events, meaning you should avoid the busiest season if you don’t want crowds.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s answer some common questions people pose while planning their Virginia Beach getaways.
How big is Virginia Beach?
It’s bigger than you might think. The Virginia Beach-Norfolk metropolitan region is the second largest in Virginia, only behind the Washington, D.C. area in Northern Virginia.
Does Virginia Beach hold a Guinness World Record?
Yes, the the famed organization lists Virginia Beach as being the world’s longest pleasure beach. It comes in at 28 miles and extends to Sandbridge Bay and Chesapeake Bay Beach.
What’s the best way to get to Virginia Beach?
If you can’t drive, Norfolk International Airport (ORF) is the closest airport. Interstate 64 runs directly to Virginia Beach and connects to Interstate 95 in Richmond.
Is Virginia Beach part of the craft beer movement?
Yes! Virginia Beach was an early convert to the craft beer movement. There are tons of breweries in the area that produce unique, award-winning beers. Best of all, many are family-friendly, with outdoor play spaces for kids.
Do I need a car in Virginia Beach?
Virginia Beach doesn’t have a robust public transportation center, but it is pedestrian-friendly. You may not need a car if you stay close to the beach and utilize ride shares for one or two destinations.
Is Virginia Beach safe?
Like all cities, Virginia Beach sees its share of crime. However, rates are relatively low, and the tourist areas especially are well-policed.
What are other popular places close to Virginia Beach?
Virginia Beach is part of the Chesapeake Bay, which encompasses most of coastal Maryland and Virginia. There are many other large and small cities with tourist draws in this region.
In addition, Colonial Williamsburg is only about an hour’s drive, and many families take a day trip from Virginia Beach.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Virginia Beach?
So, when’s the best time to visit Virginia Beach? The best time to visit Virginia Beach is from May-September. But it’s fun all year, with beaches beckoning during the warmer months and southern hospitality waiting to be enjoyed when it’s chilly.
However, regardless of the time in which you choose to visit, Virginia Beach is a great destination for all types of travelers and budgets. So what are you waiting for — book your trip today!