Summer is the height of tourism season for Virginia Beach. Yes, it can get crowded, particularly on weekends, but the city rolls out the red carpet for its visitors. Fireworks are launched from a barge off 20th Street at least twice a week, and you can find free live music on oceanfront stages along the boardwalk every night, as well as street performers and artists on the sidewalks of Atlantic Avenue. While smaller waves during the summer can be frustrating for seasoned surfers, the conditions are just right for beginners. The East Coast Surf Championships are held here every August, attracting the best short- and longboarders on the “right coast.” The American Music Festival signals the end of summer, with three days of music on multiple stages along the beach during Labor Day weekend.
In addition to off-season rates, fall brings milder temperatures, migratory birds, and a bevy of events. During the Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon in September, 20,000 athletes run the boardwalk and finish their 13.1 miles on the beach. Check out the masterful sandcastles at the North American Sand Sculpting Competition, part of the Neptune Festival Boardwalk Weekend in September. Later in October, the Craft Beer Festival showcases concoctions from 25 breweries. Head to the wild First Landing State Park with your binoculars to spy the influx of migrating birds, including 10,000 snow geese that visit every fall. And thanks to winds from the nor’easters, this is the best time of year for surfing.
From November to January, the boardwalk is illuminated by a 30-block display of holiday lights, but winter can be legitimately cold in Virginia Beach, with frequently freezing temps. But it doesn’t stop 3,000 people from taking a dip in the Atlantic Ocean in February for the Polar Plunge Winter Festival.