As summer comes to a close, one final getaway may be just what you need to say goodbye to the season. And what better way to wrap up your summertime travels than a trip to a beautiful beach in Virginia?
Photo Credit: Sam Dean, @sdeanphotos
Plan your getaway to Virginia Beach for September, when the temperatures are often in the mid-80s and the water remains warm from the rays of the bright summer sun. This coastal destination has over 35 miles of sandy shoreline that welcome every beach-loving traveler; the Sandbridge section offers pristine family-friendly neighborhoods for those looking for a little peaceful relaxation, while the main Boardwalk area is perfect for the nonstop entertainment seekers, containing a multitude of excellent restaurants, shopping opportunities, and hotels with stunning views of the Atlantic.
Need some ideas for completing a coastal Virginia itinerary for a September getaway? We’ve shared our favorite places to eat, drink, play, and stay while visiting the sandy shores of the Commonwealth!
The Newest Attractions in Coastal Virginia
The Lost Planet Selfie Museum is an immersive museum filled with colorful displays, outrageous props, and unique backdrops, all available for visitors to craft a fun Instagram story to share with friends while visiting Virginia Beach.
In Suffolk, Amedeo’s Ristorante serves Northern Italian fare. Start your meal with the homemade bread, baked right next door, and finish with desserts like cannolis and tiramisu, also made fresh in the adjacent bakery.
Where to Stay
Photo Credit: Bill Crabtree Jr.
There are dozens of waterfront hotels in Virginia Beach and even more private rental options for the Sandbridge area that fit families of every size, from condos to multi-family mansions complete with private swimming pools.
For a luxury retreat on the north end of Virginia Beach, book a room at the historic Cavalier Hotel. Since opening in 1927, this sumptuous shoreline resort has hosted ten U.S. Presidents, musical icons like Frank Sinatra (and more recently Jimmy Buffet), and glamorous movie stars like Judy Garland and Elizabeth Taylor. The accommodations at the Cavalier are first class, from the indoor pool and private beach club with an infinity pool overlooking the ocean to a relaxing spa, upscale restaurants, and even a distillery housed on the lower floor of the hotel.
Right in front of the Cavalier Hotel, the brand-new Oceanfront Marriott Hotel is also part of the Cavalier Resort properties. While this latest addition to the Virginia Beach Boardwalk lodging may not have nearly a century of history, the hotel’s modern rooms still boast plenty of luxurious comforts, as well as unforgettable views of the beach.
Where to Eat
With fresh catches available straight from the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Beach is one of the best Virginia destinations for seafood lovers, but the dining scene is not limited to oysters, fish, and other aquatic fare.
At May’s Parlor, an unparalled assortment of pastries, breads, and other baked goods are served up daily. Be sure to arrive early, as these from-scratch treats tend to sell out quickly, especially on the weekends.
With owner and Chef Wylke besting the namesake challenger on the hit Food Network show Beat Bobby Flay, Aloha Snacks is a can’t-miss stop for foodies vacationing in the Virginia Beach area.
Get a spectacular meal with a view at Orion’s Rooftop, an upscale Asian-fusion restaurant located atop the Marriott Oceanfront Hotel. From the restaurant lobby, a large glass window affords views of the Historic Cavalier Hotel, while the glass-windowed walls of the dining room provides expansive views of the sandy shores, rolling ocean waves, and the surrounding city skyline.
Although a short drive from the beachfront Boardwalk section of the beach, Civil Libation is another noteworthy restaurant worth dining at in Virginia Beach. Known for their handcrafted seasonal cocktails, Civil Libation’s menu blends local fare like fresh seafood with classics like burgers and steaks as well as an abundance of gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options, offering something for everyone at the table.
If you’re looking for a great cup of coffee only a few blocks from the beachfront, either Java Surf or Three Ships Coffee Roasters, both located in the ViBe District, create aromatic brews that will help you start your morning off right.
Speaking of brews, Coastal Virginia’s craft brewery scene is robust, with more than a dozen breweries within Virginia Beach. Grab a flight from a local brewery like Back Bay Brewing Company or Commonwealth Brewing Company to sample refreshing brews. Visit on the weekend, when you’ll often experience live music and tasty fare from local food trucks.
What to Do
Of course, when it comes to Virginia Beach in September, one of the most obvious (and enjoyable) activities is the beach itself. Spread out a blanket and soak up some sun, build sandcastles with the kids, or bodysurf in the warm waters of the Atlantic.
Dolphin watching tours at the Virginia Aquarium wrap up for the season on Labor Day, so if you’re visiting Virginia Beach for the holiday weekend, consider booking a tour to see these playful ocean swimmers. On September 9th, the aquarium will also host their once-monthly sunset and moonrise cruise, allowing visitors to catch a spectacular sunset over the Atlantic Ocean.
Families that include children with sensory issues should head to the Virginia Aquarium the second Saturday of each month and get tickets for the Sensory Friendly Morning event. Featuring soft lighting, limited sounds, and other modifications, the museum opens at 7:30am, giving these families an hour and a half to peruse the exhibits before the general public arrives.
In September, Virginia Beach visitors shouldn’t miss out on the Neptune Festival, an annual festival featuring more than 40 events, including sand sculpture contests, waterfront wine tastings, live music, and athletic competitions.
Photo Credit: Sam Dean, @sdeanphotos
A few feet off the sand, the Virginia Beach Boardwalk is another classic attraction for the region. Rent bikes to peddle along the paved three-mile trail, stopping along the way to browse boutique shops, relax with a cocktail, or dance to the music of live bands playing along the shore.
For the art enthusiasts in your group, stroll through the ViBe District, a walkable neighborhood filled with colorful murals, popular restaurants and bars, and eclectic boutique shops.
To soak in the natural beauty of Virginia Beach and learn a little bit about the region’s history, travel to First Landing State Park. The site commemorates the arrival of the English colonists onto American soil, and over 20 miles of trails wind through the shaded maritime forests, cypress swamps, and peaceful lagoons of the park. First Landing is the most visited state park in Virginia, and also has notable roots in Virginia’s Black history, as it was constructed as part of the Civilian Conservation Corps Company 1371, an all-Black regimen of the Depression-era program.
More Virginia Vacation Ideas for September
Photo Credit: Cora Wagoner
Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion
One of the biggest music festivals in Virginia, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion is a three-day event centered around Bristol’s State Street. Held this year on September 8-10, the festival celebrates Bristol’s rich Appalachian music history with nonstop music performances that pay tribute to the region’s roots filling the air, from local stars to nationally-renowned artists and bands.
If you're heading to Southwest Virginia for Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, plan a detour over to the charming town of Damascus and visit the Damascus Trail Center. With exhibits recognizing the region's history and vast array of outdoor experiences, the trail center is located along the famed Appalachian Trail at the southern end of Virginia's 544 miles of trails, allowing those who enter the Commonwealth on foot to learn about the gorgeous outdoor landscape.
Photo Credit: Joey Wharton, @joey_wharton
Richmond hosts PrideFest on Brown’s Island on September 23rd, welcoming all LGBTQ+ and allies to enjoy live music and an array of craft beverages, wines, and locally-made cuisine while celebrating the diversity and love found within the Commonwealth.
State Fair of Virginia
Another Richmond region event in September is the State Fair of Virginia, held at the Meadow Event Park in Doswell and beginning September 22nd and running until October 1st.
Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival
September is a popular month for festivals; the Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival occurs September 23rd-24th, featuring dozens of Virginia wines and bands like St. Paul & the Broken Bokes and Three Sheets to the Wind.
Stratford Hall Wine & Oyster Festival
On the coastal side of the state, the Stratford Hall Wine & Oyster Festival marries two of Virginia’s best products in a tasty culinary event over the same weekend, September 16-17th. The Harrisonburg International Festival returns to downtown Harrisonburg on September 24th, with international food trucks, artisan booths, interactive pop-ups, and live entertainment.
Dover Hall Craft Beverage Showcase
Sample the craft beers, wines, ciders, and spirits of the Richmond West Craft Beverage Trail all in one place when you attend Dover Hall’s Craft Beverage Showcase on Sunday, September 10th. Held at the impressive 6,400 square-foot mansion located about 15 minutes outside of downtown Richmond, the event is limited to only 500 attendees, giving you the chance to chat with the beverage producers and sample the finest drinks of the region. Want an even more exclusive experience? Snag the VIP passes for special tastings, access to Dover Hall’s first floor, and small bite pairings that complement the drinks, among other special perks.
Photo Credit: Evelyn Woods
Liberty Mill Fall Corn Maze
If you’re the type of person who is already dreaming of fall, don’t miss the opening of the largest corn maze in the country at Liberty Mills Farm on September 9th. The farm also hosts a sunflower festival September 3rd-5th. Guests can pick sunflowers and other wildflowers, take the kids on a hay ride, shop the farm market, and relax surrounded by the fields of flowers during live music performances.
Beaver Dam Sunflower Festival
Another sunflower event in September is the Beaver Dam Sunflower Festival, held September 8th-17th in Buchanan at Beaver Dam Farm. 20 acres of sunflowers are the main attraction of the annual festival, but visitors will also get the chance to peruse over 90 food and craft vendors, ride on the hay wagon, and meet the farm residents in the petting zoo.
Now that you’ve got a few ideas for a September vacation to Virginia, it’s time to start planning! Experience all there is to LOVE about Virginia when you visit Virginia Beach and the coastal areas of the Commonwealth.
Looking for even more seasonal events to get the most out of fall? Find an autumn event or festival to add to your calendar.