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Best Time to Visit Virginia | When to Go & Travel Tips

Best Time to Visit Virginia | When to Go & Travel Tips

From the soothing waters of the Chesapeake Bay to the Virginia Mountains region, Virginia has picturesque landscapes to satisfy all travelers’ preferences within the state.

You can explore lesser-known areas, marvel at enchanting small towns, spend the day visiting kids’ attractions, unwind at a local festival, or simply unplug from the daily stress by basking in the sun on a secluded beach.

Let us help with planning your Virginia getaway.

Continue on for the best time to visit Virginia, more tips to consider before planning your trip, and frequently asked questions to help you make an informed decision.

Let’s get into it!

Why You Should Visit Virginia

Aerial view of the endless beach in Virginia Beach pictured on a nice day with few people on the coast for a piece on the best time to visit Virginia state

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Known as the “birthplace of a nation,” Virginia is worth visiting due to many reasons.

Below we discuss the most important ones:

  • Beaches. With its spectacular coastline, Virginia boasts a plethora of delightful beaches. Some great ones include Virginia Beach, Sandbridge Beach, Colonial Beach, Cape Charles Beach, Buckroe Beach, Ocean View Beach, and Jamestown Beach.
  • A sailing oasis. Virginia takes pride in its fantastic lakes where people can paddle or sail. Some notable lakes include Lake Anna, Claytor Lake State Park, and Lake Gaston. Not only do they allow visitors to engage in their favorite water-based activity, but they’re stunning to simply look at too!
  • Nature. Virginia isn’t just the coastline and its lakes — its mountain ranges, parks, and phenomenal forests too! Nature lovers should head to the Shenandoah National Park and enjoy waterfalls, wildflowers, and unheard-of nature views.
  • Historic sites and major attractions. From incredible museums to memorable historic sites, each location in the state can teach you an important history lesson.
  • Street art. If you take a stroll in downtown Richmond, you’ll come across unique murals and unusual street art culture. Both local and national artists have “stolen” Richmond’s streets and used them as their canvas.
  • Food & wine. Virginia is a foodie destination, and we prove this in the FAQ section. Here, we’ll just share that fans of seafood are in for a treat. However, you can’t fully experience Virginia’s cuisine without a good vintage, and the state has more than a few award-winning wineries.
  • Caverns. Thought Virgina’s beauty lies only in what you see aboveground? Wait till you take a trip underground and explore some of the state’s remarkable caverns, such as Luray Caverns, Skyline Caverns, Grand Caverns, Natural Bridge Caverns, and Gap Caverns.

With so much to see and explore in Virginia, the only remaining question is when you should do it.

So let’s help you out!

Overall Best Time to Visit Virginia

Clear day with the Cape Henry lighthouse in full view against a blue sky for a piece on the best time to go to Virginia

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The best time to visit Virginia is from April through early October, with the exception of July and August.

April is a pleasant spring month in the capital city, with temperatures ranging from an average low of 49.3°F and an average high of 68.4°F. It’s also the last month when you may encounter snowfall.

April isn’t a beach month, but travelers can enjoy trekking the trails at First Landing State Park or reaching the top of Cape Henry Lighthouse without fighting intense heat.

May is a warm month, with average temperatures varying between 58.1°F and 78.3°F. It’s also when the country prepares for its upcoming summer season.

Audiophiles can attend the Virginia International PAN Fest in May and celebrate Caribbean music and watch world-class performers.

Being hands-down one of the best music-focused events in Virginia, this spectacular show offers calming rhythmic sounds of drum music, an easy-going atmosphere, and mouth-watering food.

In essence, Memorial Day (May) all the way to Labor Day (September) is the peak season, so expect both higher prices and large crowds. However, this is the only time travelers can enjoy the waterfront the way they should, so going during this period is absolutely worth it.

June marks the beginning of this busy season and welcomes travelers with average temperatures fluctuating between 65.5F and 85.6F.

In June, both locals and travelers are equally excited about the North American Sand Soccer Championships taking place in the beautiful Virginia Beach. To take part, gather ten friends, form a team, create some fun shirts, and make sure everyone’s sand-ready!

Finally, October is a pleasant autumn month with average temperatures running between 52°F and 69.8°F. For October travelers, we recommend the Virginia Beach Craft Beer Festival.

With more than 80 craft beers from over 50 breweries, this festival features live entertainment for those who want to have fun, unlimited sampling for avid beer lovers, and a commemorative cup for memorabilia collectors.

Cheapest Time to Visit Virginia

If you’re trying to shave a few dollars off your Virginia itinerary, visit in the September–November or the December–February period.

September is the month with the least rainfall. It’s also a moderately hot month, with average temperatures varying between 81.3°F and 63.1°F.

As fall progresses, prices tend to fall more and more, so price-travelers should take advantage of it. Note that the autumn months aren’t ideal for sunbathing or enjoying the beach. Also, if you wish to stick to a tight budget as much as possible, plan your trip after Labor Day.

An event that stands out in September is the Beach Music Weekend. It’s days filled with bands on the beach, live entertainment, and awesome food and beverages. The atmosphere is accompanied by ocean waves and hot tunes.

If you decide to go in winter, however, prepare for frosty winter months. Being the coldest month of the year, January sees average temperatures fluctuating between 44.6°F and 29.7°F. It’s also the month with the most snowfall, so if you visit, then pack accordingly.

February, the last winter month, is a chilly month, with temperatures in the range of an average low of 31.8°F and an average high of 49.3°F.

And while these months are the coldest time of the year, they’re the most affordable ones too, which is why looking for indoor events is a good idea. Our suggestion is the International Wine Festival in January.

Visitors can sample over 40 wines from the entire world while getting immersed in live music sounds and exquisite desserts. Between bold red and fancy, bubbly sparklings, there’s a taste for everyone.

Least Busy Time to Visit Virginia

Empty boardwalk with an empty beach in the winter during the least busy time to visit Virginia

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Virginia tends to be less busy in November and December. You’ll likely find fewer tourists, as well as fewer queues at major attractions.

November is a moderate month in Richmond, with the average temperature fluctuating between 40.8°F and 57°F.

December is a chilly month, with average temperatures varying between 49.1F and 35.1F. December is also one of the most humid months in Richmond. It’s also the month with the least sunshine.

You can probably see why December is one of the least busy months now! That said, this doesn’t have to negatively impact your Virginia visit. As major sights and attractions provide more “elbow room,” you get to experience more of the country than you would in other months of the year.

Also, events and festivals tend to be less people-packed. If you want some beach months during your winter travels, our top suggestion for a December event is the Holiday Parade at the Beach.

Approximately 90 parade units arrive at Atlantic Avenue for a playful celebration of the holiday season.

Expect marching bands, fire trucks, huge balloons, dance groups, performers, lighted boats, and motorcycles to usher in the holiday season! And the best part is that Santa himself makes an appearance to greet everyone and contribute to an already amazing event.

Worst Time to Visit Virginia

Although the “worst time to visit Virginia” (or anywhere else really) is entirely subjective and depends on your travel expectations, we believe you should avoid going there in July or August.

July is truly the definition of a tropical summer month, with average temperatures fluctuating between 90.9°F and 70.2°F. August, although the last summer month, is still a hot month, with the average temperature ranging between 88.3°F and 68.5°F.

However, not only are these two months the hottest in the entire year, but they’re the months with the most rainfall too! Namely, in July, rain falls for about 15.3 days and aggregates up to 64 mm of precipitation. August sees rain for 15.6 days, and there’s 73 mm of precipitation.

That said, visiting Virginia in these two months can still be an enjoyable experience — you just need to find the right events and places to go!

In July, you have to go to the Stars & Stripes Explosion for the Independence Day celebration. There are multiple oceanfront stages, live performances, and tens of thousands of attendees.

The evening wraps up with memorable fireworks. The Virginia Beach FunkFest Beach Party is a popular August event. There’s food, dance contests, merchandise, and funky vibes all over the place! While the event is free, capacity is limited.

Those desiring a more intimate viewing experience can opt for the ticketed “Preferred Viewing section” instead. If you’re traveling with kids, you’ll be thrilled to learn about the Atlantic Coast Kite Festival (August).

It’s a cool weekend filled with family fun and high-flying kites. The festival features kite demonstrations, kite-building workshops, and unique sights of even more unique kite flights. Kite-flying lessons are included too!

Things to Consider

Low exposure image of cars driving by the camera on the main street during the best time to visit Virginia

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What else is there to know before making your way to lovely Virginia?

Here are some extra things worth considering:

  • If you’re planning on driving in the US, make sure to check the relevant state rules.
  • Bear in mind the heat, especially if you travel in some of the hottest months. For instance, in July, the average heat index is a blistering 107.6°F; in August, it’s 102.2°F. Heat exhaustion is possible, so take all the precautions you can, such as staying hydrated and avoiding spending too much time outdoors when it’s boiling hot. Also, don’t forget to reapply an SPF cream regularly.
  • Check out the weather conditions before you travel. We dive deeper into Virginia’s natural hazards in the FAQ section.
  • If you drive during your stay note that under no circumstances should you drive more than 85 miles per hour (regardless of the maximum speed limit) or go over the speed limit by more than 20 miles per hour. This is perceived as “reckless driving,” and it may result in harsh punishment such as a $2,500 fine, a 12-month prison sentence, license suspension (up to six months), or six points on a Virginia DMV record.
  • Virginia has a myriad of accommodation options. From hotels or self-catering alternatives to cottages and comfortable farmhouses, Virginia has something for everyone. It’s worth sharing that there are many camping options throughout the entire state too.
  • Consider doing some shopping, particularly in outlets and discounted shops. You can find many stores in the malls across Virginia, such as the Potomac Mills outlet, the Fashion Center at Pentagon City, as well as the Tysons Corner Center.
  • Virginia has a diverse nightlife. From rock venues and comedy clubs to pubs and jazz gigs, you can visit a different venue each night during your stay in the state.
  • You can drink tap water in Virginia.
  • Credit cards, particularly MasterCard and Visa are accepted across the entire state. With that said, it’s always a good idea to carry a bit of cash with you in cases of emergency or smaller expenses.
  • Don’t forget to get travel insurance before you go!

Frequently Asked Questions

Buoys hanging on a wooden dock above some rocks during the least busy time to visit Virginia

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Is Virginia expensive to visit?

This depends on where you’re coming from and what your definition of an “expensive country” is. In general, the average cost of living in Virginia is only 1% higher than in the average US state.

That means that living in Virginia is more expensive than a country such as Tennessee, the same as Florida, but cheaper than living in a state like California. That said, if you aren’t familiar with the costs of living in US countries, this won’t mean much to you as a traveler.

That’s why we broke down your Virginia trip by category:

  • $56 (for those on a budget);
  • $134 (for those with mid-range budgets);
  • $306  (for those with no budget at all).

Is Virginia safe to visit?

Being ranked the fourth country with the lowest violent crime rate and thirteenth with the lowest property crime rate, Virginia is one of the safest US states. In essence, all cities in the state have a violent crime rate below the national average.

That said, as with any other place in the world, we urge you to be cautious and apply at least some basic safety measures (especially when you visit a country for the first time).

What is Virginia’s famous food?

Besides being known for its beaches, mountain ranges, and overall history, Virginia is also famous for its amazing cuisine. It’s a blend of local ingredients and Southern cuisine.

To eat like a Virginia local, you should look for:

  • Oysters;
  • Country ham;
  • Apples;
  • Peanuts;
  • Mountain trout;
  • Blue crabs;
  • Brunswick stew;
  • and Appalachian food.

Whether you’re craving baked oysters, soft-shell crabs, a peanut pie or peanut soap, here’s where you can make your taste buds happy:

  • Fried pies, regular on the menu at The Shack;
  • Rappahannock Oysters, one of the special dishes served at Merroir;  
  • A melt-in-your-mouth peanut pie, a must at the Virginia Diner;
  • Brunswick Stew, paired beautifully with a side of biscuits, and best enjoyed at the Grey Goose;
  • And peanut soup, a cool food suggestion for peanut lovers at 1776 Log House Restaurant, a family-run business.  

What are the top five biggest cities in Virginia?

Here are the top five biggest cities in Virginia:

  1. Virginia Beach, with a population of 457,684;
  2. Chesapeake, with a population of  247,172;
  3. Arlington, with a population of approximately ​​240,000;
  4. Norfolk, with a population of 236,000;
  5. Richmond, with a population of 226,604.

What are five interesting facts about Virginia?

Here are five interesting facts about Virginia:

  • Virginia used to have eight shires (hello Tolkien lovers!).
    • The Accomac Shire was later transformed into Northampton and Accomack Counties;
    • The Charles City Shire later became the Charles City County;
    • The Elizabeth City Shire merged with the City of Hampton;
    • The James City Shire later became the James City County;
    • The Warrosquyoake Shire later became the Isle of Wight County;
    • the Henrico Shire is now known as Henrico County;
    • Finally, the Warwick River Shire is now integrated with the City of Newport News.
  • The first Thanksgiving celebration took place in Virginia. It occurred in 1610, right after Jamestown-based colonists received a ship with an English food supply.
  • Virginia is home to the world’s one and only Oyster Museum (Museum of Chincoteague Island) founded in 1965.
  • Virginia is the “birth mother” of eight US presidents, including: George Washington, James Monroe, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, William Harrison, Woodrow Wilson, John Tyler, and Zachary Taylor.
  • The world’s largest naval station, Naval Station Norfolk, is located in Virginia. It features 75 ships and 134 aircraft, together with 11 aircraft hangars and 14 piers.

Is Virginia a friendly state?

Yes, Virginia is considered to be a friendly state. With its southern charm and welcoming residents, Virginia radiates warmth and hospitality. Whether you’re staying in a beach town or a much more urban area, you’ll get an instant feel for the amiability.

What natural disasters does Virginia get?

Some of Virginia’s most common natural disasters are tropical storms, wildfires, winter storms (snow and ice), tornadoes, floods, extreme heat (drought), power outages, and landslides.

Earthquakes also occur from time to time. More specifically, Virginia dealt with 67 major natural disasters in the period between 1953 and 2019. Finally, flooding is considered the most frequent natural hazard in the country.

Not only can it be caused by tropical storms or hurricanes, but also northeasters, tropical depressions, or any other scenario, including heavy rain.

How do I spend a weekend in Richmond?

There are many ways to spend your Richmond getaway. Here are our suggestions:

  • Located in the renowned Church Hill neighborhood, the Sub Rosa Bakery is — without a doubt — a Richmond favorite, perfect for a laid-back breakfast followed by a stroll in the neighborhood.
  • Go for a stroll along the James River. Loved by both locals and travelers alike, the river is hands down one of the city’s most iconic sites.
  • Check whether there are any interesting festivals/events during the weekend. Virginian festivals are a must!
  • Visit the Virginia Holocaust Museum.
  • Grab lunch at Millie’s Diner.
  • Wrap up your Saturday afternoon with an exciting visit to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
  • Check out the Edgar Allan Poe Museum and get close to the man behind the memorable “Tales of Terror.”  
  • Add some authentic Greek foodie vibes to your trip with dinner at Stella’s.
  • Anthophiles should add the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden to your Richmond list. Being one of the top US-based gardens, the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden features a library, a conservatory, themed gardens, and a café as a final stop for the day.
  • Round up your weekend by watching a fantastic sunset at Libby Hill Park, a seven-acre park.

Is Virginia Beach walkable?

Being the 45th most walkable US city, it’s safe to conclude that Virginia Beach is a highly walkable town. It has neither a lot of bike lanes nor a large public transportation system, both of which help its “walkability” factor.

Three of the most walkable neighborhoods include: Green Run, Lake Smith Terrace, and Point O’Woods.

So, When Should You Travel to Virginia?

On the whole, the best time to visit Virginia is from April through early October (with July and August being excluded). There’s a myriad of festivals and events for everyone’s taste, and the weather is pleasant.

If you want to visit Virginia on a budget, go either in the September-November or in the December-February period.

As these months aren’t the best for spending time at the Virginia waterfront, prices go down, airfare deals increase, and there’s an abundance of accommodation options. The least busy time to visit Virginia is November and December.

These two months are good for visitors who want to avoid big queues and bigger crowds. Unsurprisingly, the worst time to visit Virginia is in July or August.

These really are the dog days of summer. In fact, it’s so devastatingly hot that you may find it difficult to partake in plenty of activities. All in all, the best time to visit is up to you and what you hope to get out of this journey.

We hope our detailed guide helped you not only make up your mind about when to go but also provided other valuable Virginia-related insights. Just pick your travel dates, mark your calendar, and make this a trip to remember!