Some events know no end and we LOVE them! Annually occurring festivals are marked on our calendars a year ahead of time. They’re something to look forward to and yet another opportunity to make memories with the ones we love. Here are five upcoming “late” summer events that you can’t miss. Start a new tradition or chime in via the comments to tell us your favorite parts of these five.
Assateague Island Pony Watching from the Assateague Channel
1. The Chincoteague Pony Swim from Assateague to Chincoteague Island has been happening at the end of July for nearly 90 years. That’s quite the tradition, and there are families who never miss it, making an annual pilgrimage to see the crossing, the parading, and the auctioning of the years’ foals. While you’re in town, be sure to visit Island Creamery, hailed the #1 ice cream parlor in America by TripAdvisor users.
2. The Shenandoah Valley Music Festival is one of the mid-Atlantic’s longest running outdoor music festivals. This year’s session began on July 18 and continues with dates through August 31. Remaining on the schedule are acts like United States Air Force Strings, Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, The Oak Ridge Boys and Eddie from Ohio. Centered around Shenandoah County’s Orkney Springs, the setting is bucolic with the Allegheny Mountains as a backdrop. Buy Tickets
Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts. Image by CameronDavidson@CameronDavidson.com.
3. The Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna is the place for summer concerts and family performances! This summer has included Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Ben Folds, Diana Ross, Pilobolus, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Sara Bareilles, The Fray and Lionel Richie with CeeLo Green. Yet to come (and tickets available for!) are Sarah McLachlan, Darius Rucker, Heart, Wynton Marsalis, Yo-Yo Ma, Boney James and Eric Benet, YANNI, The Band Perry, Cirque Dreams – Jungle Fantasy and Colbie Caillat. Every summer season brings great acts that you won’t want to miss. Buy Tickets
4. The still new but ever growing Virginia Craft Brewers Festival is held each August at Devils Backbone Brewing Company against Wintergreen Mountain in Roseland. Now in its third year, more than 40 of Virginia’s craft brewers have signed on to offer tastings and tout their upcoming flavors. You won’t want to miss the awarding of the Virginia Craft Brewers Cup. Devils Backbone has taken home the cup each year so far. Their Smokehaus Lager won in 2013 and their Schwartz Bier won in 2012. Buy Tickets and/or Reserve a Campsite
Morven Park is the setting for Epicurience Virginia in Leesburg.
5. Epicurience Virginia took by storm the culinary and wine scenes of Virginia, DC and environs when it debuted last year. Held at the beautiful, historic Morven Park in Leesburg, this event brings together the best tastes Virginia has to offer in an opulent atmosphere across three days at the end of August. The Grand Tasting is the second day and it’s the event you don’t want to miss with chef demonstrations and opportunities to meet Virginia winemakers and tastemakers. The rest of the weekend includes a Fabulous 1940s Party at Oatlands Plantation and various fine dining experiences. Buy Tickets
Virginia’s lakes are excellent summer destinations for families, couples, friends, reunions … you name it! Take a few-day getaway to enjoy everything lakes have to offer. Tuck away into a private cove in a rental home, hit the water on jet skis, or swing the hours away in a waterside hammock. It’s your playground, find your fun!
1. Forty-eight hours fly by when you’re having fun at Virginia’s second largest lake, Smith Mountain Lake. With 500 miles of shoreline, SML has many access points from the three counties that share it. Here’s just an example of a way to while away a weekend.
Bridgewater Marina, Moneta
Check into “Rustic Cottage” in Moneta. Sitting up on a bank, the view of the deep water cove is fantastic. Amenities include a paddle boat, swimming pool, ping pong, and more. Four bedrooms. Located between lake markers R26 and R27.
If you’re bringing the whole family or just want to stay in luxury, check out the Wind Family Compound in Moneta. At 7,000 square feet, “spacious” is an understatement. Amenities include two master suites, two docks, 320′ of waterfront, game room, two kitchens, large playroom, huge screened porch, and tons more. Located near lake marker R19.
2. Virginia’s largest lake is Kerr Lake, stretching from Scottsburg to Boydton and down into North Carolina, and includes three counties in each state. Fifty thousand acres of fresh water and more than 800 miles of shoreline make it an outdoor enthusiasts paradise. Fishermen especially love Kerr Lake, and In-Fisherman magazine has hailed it as the number one Crappie fishing lake. In fact, numerous fishing tournaments are held at Kerr Lake annually.
There are numerous wildlife management areas bordering Kerr Lake. If you love wildlife photography or birding, this is a great destination for you.
3. Lake Anna is Virginia’s third largest lake with 200 miles of shoreline and 13,000 acres of water, yet it remains fairly private.
Kindred Spirits, Spotsylvania
You won’t want to leave “Kindred Spirits” once you check in. Located in a quiet deep water cove, this home sits on nearly two acres and has 250′ of waterfront for you to enjoy. A boat slip, jet ski lift, and fantastic water views are just a few of the great features this vacation home offers.
5. Lake Moomaw is tucked away in the Alleghany Mountains in Covington. It’s 2,530 acres are abundant with a variety of fish species while the wildlife around it are plentiful, too. The 43 miles of shoreline are wooded and undeveloped. True outdoorsmen will find the peace they long for when they choose a camping location on this lake.
Pump up the tires and secure your helmet for great biking around Virginia. Whether you’re into the challenges of mountainous terrain or are more of a bike path easy rider, these resources will help you roll out for the day.
Looking to get out on the bike this weekend? Check out the Bike Virginia Tour traveling from Chesterfield to Williamsburg June 20-25. The Tour takes a different route each year, offering you a laid back way to experience the beauty of the Commonwealth. Registration required.
Got an adrenaline junkie on your hands? Give them an experience like no other through Virginia’s many zip line, canopy and ropes course tours. Whether you’re just starting out or a self-proclaimed expert, these adventures feature an exhilarating experience for those who are up to the challenge!
Virginia Aquarium Adventure Park
VIRGINIA AQUARIUM ADVENTURE PARK – Virginia Beach, Va.
The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium is an eco-friendly zip line and aerial adventure experience in the trees above the scenic Owls Creek, where kids, teens and adults can all enjoy the Adventure Park. Perfect for families or groups, participants will soar through the trees of the Owls Creek Path and will see wooden platforms at different heights. They are connected either by zip lines that climbers “zip” across or fun challenge bridges that climbers navigate in order to get from one platform to the next. The Adventure Park has zip lines for the beginner to expert, as well as an impressive jungle gym, perfect for parties.
BEAR MOUNTAIN – Luray, Va.
Go ahead, get carried away…at Bear Mountain Zip Lines. The Mama Bear zip line tour includes 7 zip lines, for a total of 2,700 ft. line racing through the forest canopy at up to 35 miles per hour. Perfect for all ages, Bear Mountain offers safety gear, training and procedures. Looking to give the kids a challenge? The Baby Bear High Ropes course is designed for children 5+ that will guarantee a fun and safe adventure. And while you’re there, don’t forget about the Bear Scramble climbing wall!
MASSANUTTEN RESORT – Rockingham, Va.
Nestled within Massanutten Resort, lies one of the most thrilling adventures on the property. Located at the Family Adventure Park and Peaked Mountain Express Tube Park, the Zip Line/Canopy Tour boasts a Burma bridge, hanging vines crossing and four zip lines ranging from 90 to 450 feet long. Race down the mountain on a 750 foot-long Mega Zip Line with a friend or family member and experience high-flying on this rope’s course adventure! Located at the Family Adventure Park, Massanutten Resort’s Kids’ Adventure Course and Zip Line features a Burma plank, log crossing, swinging vine bridge, missing plank bridge, net traverse and a 100’ zip line that is sure to thrill!
ADVENTURE PARK AT SANDY RIVER RETREAT – Rice, Va.
The Adventure Park at Sandy River Retreat’s ropes course & zip line park is designed with family fun in mind. The park is built on a 16-acre, self-sufficient farm in the town of Rice, just outside Farmville. The Park’s mission is for its guests to enjoy their time, laugh, scream, cheer and build confidence on their challenging course obstacles, while enjoying the exhilarating ride on the zip lines. The Adventure Park includes 16 zip lines and 52 obstacle high ropes.
Go Ape Treetop Adventure
GO APE TREETOP ADVENTURE – James City, Va.
Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course is an outdoor experience that provides participants 2-3 hours of outdoor fun and exercise. The course allows participants to explore the park from an otherwise unobtainable vantage point, while navigating through the treetops using zip lines, obstacles and Tarzan swings. Located just minutes from downtown Williamsburg in the historic Freedom Park, Go Ape is a unique and highly interactive treetop adventure.
RIVERSIDE OUTFITTERS – Richmond, Va.
Choose from high-ropes challenges like vertical climbs into the tree canopy, limb walks, high-elevation zip lines, canopy rope bridges, plunging tree swings and much more! The level of challenge can easily be fit to climbers from ages 5 to adult, and from the beginner to the expert. Riverside Outfitters’ mission is to significantly and responsibly increase recreational use of Richmond’s natural landscape by guiding outdoor experiences and inspiring a return to natural fun.
VIRGINIA CANOPY TOURS – Bentonville, Va.
During the Zip the Park tour, participants will enjoy stunning views of the Massanutten Mountains and the gorgeous hardwood forest of the Shenandoah Valley. Guests will learn the rich history of the Shenandoah Valley, native plant species and the wild inhabitants who make the woods their home. Participants will soar through the Shenandoah hardwood forest at speeds which can exceed 40 miles per hour and at heights reaching 90 feet above the forest floor– all while attached to two steel cables. The Tour finale is an adrenaline-pumping 1,035’ zip down the face of the ridge to their rappel.
TREETOP ZOOFARI ZIP LINE & ADVENTURE PARK – Moseley, Va.
The Treetop Zoofari at the Richmond Zoo is designed for the entire family. As you traverse the canopy walk, plus multiple high stakes challenges and large zip lines at 40 feet above the ground, there will be choices given along the route. These choices are the difference between easier and more challenging routes. Fly more than 600 feet across the zoo’s lake and zip by tapirs, rheas, and toucans. Those afraid of heights, balanced challenged and younger kids can enjoy the Junior Explorer course. Participants will be pushed to the limits as they pass over tightropes and Indiana Jones bridges, through barrels and nets, only to top off their adventure with a 60-foot zip line. The challenges are all tree to tree and range from 5-12 feet in the air.
Zip Line at Bryce Resort
BRYCE MOUNTAIN ZIP LINE ADVENTURE – Basye, Va.
Bryce Resort offers an exciting ride, consisting of 10 zip line platform stations, connected by more than 3,500 feet of cable traversing down the ski slopes and through the woods. With speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, riders will experience the thrill of flying through the trees and sailing across the open ski slopes, as high as 80 feet above the ground, as they work their way from the top to the bottom of the mountain. The resort’s adventure features 10 different zip lines. While you’re there, be sure to take an evening cruise down the lines to take in some of the most breathtaking views Virginia has to offer.
LURAY CAVERNS ROPE ADVENTURE PARK – Luray, Va.
This is your invitation to strap on a harness, step out of your comfort zone, and soar to new heights. The Rope Adventure Park at Luray Caverns includes three different levels of ropes course challenges. While fun is always the main focus, Luray’s Adventure Park also wants you to have complete peace of mind by using a sophisticated safety system of belay devices and harnesses, with trained personnel supervising every participant.
MOUNTAIN LAKE TREETOP ADVENTURE – Pembroke, Va.
Ready for an adrenaline kick? Virginia’s newest ropes adventure course is located in the forest canopy at Mountain Lake. Mountain Lake Treetop Adventures is a fun way to get outside, challenge yourself, and experience the exhilaration of climbing through the tree canopy and riding zip lines through the forest. Sky bridges, swings, rope ladders and zip lines offer a range of challenges that are fun for both the novice, the super adventure seeker and everyone in between. The Adventure Park offers a kids course and two adult courses, all varying in height and challenge levels.
Harpers Ferry Adventure Center
HARPERS FERRY ADVENTURE CENTER – Loudoun, Va.
Harpers Ferry Adventure Center has been introduced as the best zip lining in Northern Virginia! Located near Harpers Ferry, W.Va., and only one hour from Washington DC and Baltimore metro regions, this tour boasts the best views in the area! This 1.5-2-hour tour is complete with 7 zips and a Sky Bridge! You’ll fly through the tree tops along the Potomac River. Experience 8 elements: Stairway to Heaven, One and Done, Pucker Up, Blue Ridge Bridge, Dew Drop In, Geronimo, Last Stand, and Hunter’s Landing. With heights up to 40 feet, zips up to 425 ft, and a 100 ft Sky Bridge, this is an experience you won’t want to miss!
No need to grab the passport for tours of the Seven Wonders of the World. We’ve got you covered. Virginia is home to many of the most well-known and sought-after outdoor landmarks in the country. So pack up the car and discover some of the Commonwealth’s eight natural wonders.
LURAY CAVERNS – Luray, Va.
Looking for the ultimate underground experience? Known as “Geology’s Hall of Fame,” Luray Caverns is the largest and one of the most popular caverns in Eastern America. Founded in 1878, the Registered Natural Landmark reaches peaks up to 10 stories high and has more natural wonders within its caverns than any other in Virginia. Check out Giant’s Hall, filled with towering columns and crystal clear pools or The Stalagpipe Organ, home to the world’s largest instrument. There’s always more to discover from the state’s eight caverns.
VIRGINIA NATURAL BRIDGE – Natural Bridge, Va.
The Natural Bridge
The Virginia Natural Bridge has been included in several “Seven Natural Wonders of the World” lists. Although mostly on the lists from the 19th and early 20th centuries, its natural wonders still remain today. Formed when a cavern collapsed, legend holds that a young George Washington surveyed the Natural Bridge site for Lord Fairfax. Today, landmarks remain of the work and on the wall of the bridge where he carved his initials. Just before the American Revolution, Thomas Jefferson purchased 157 acres of land, including the Natural Bridge, from King George, III of England for 20 shillings. Today it is privately owned. At the end of the day, unwind to view the Drama of Creation show, created in 1927 by then-president, Calvin Coolidge.
NATURAL TUNNEL STATE PARK – Duffield, Va.
Natural Tunnel was once described as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” The tunnel, which was naturally carved through a limestone ridge for more than a thousand years, is more than 850 feet long and reaches a height of up to 10 stories. One of Virginia’s 36 state parks, Natural Tunnel offers cave tours and canoe trips on the Clinch River.
WESTMORELAND STATE PARK – Montross, Va.
Head to the northern neck of the Potomac River and you’ll find Westmoreland State Park. Take in the breathtaking views atop Horse Head Cliffs or stroll along the river’s shore and hunt ancient shark teeth. The park’s amenities include something for everyone in the family to enjoy, from the Olympic-sized pool to boating and fishing. Take in the great outdoors by doing some bird watching; the region is widely known for spotting American bald eagles, kingfishers, great blue herons, ospreys and more.
BURKE’S GARDEN – Tazewell, Va.
Burke’s Garden is the Commonwealth’s highest valley and largest rural historic district. Described as “God’s Thumbprint,” the bowl-shaped valley will take visitors back to a simpler time when agriculture, religion and education were the main focuses of its settlers. Today, the Garden offers breathtaking scenery, peaceful hiking and biking, bird watching, and more. Head to the cemetery at the Central Lutheran Church to discover gravestones dating back to the 1700s or follow the Appalachian Trail for scenic overlooks into the Garden.
BREAKS INTERSTATE PARK – Breaks, Va.
Head west to the state border and you’ll find the “Grand Canyon of the South.” Historic Breaks Interstate Park was discovered in 1767 by Daniel Boone and offers all the beauty you’d expect from the mountainous land, where you can take a tranquil hike or bike ride. Go for a canoe ride on Laurel Lake or take the family out for a day of geocaching. The park is open year-round and boasts motel, cottage and cabin accommodations.
Lake Drummond at the Great Dismal Swamp
GREAT DISMAL SWAMP – Suffolk, Va.
The National Wildlife Refuge is the largest remnant of a habitat that spanned more than one million acres over southern Virginia and northern North Carolina. In 1973, the Great Dismal Swamp was donated to The Nature Conservancy, making it a National Wildlife Refuge in 1974. If you’re looking to hunt or just take in the beauty of the habitat, the Great Dismal Swamp has activities from hunting and fishing, to photography and environmental education classes.
GREAT FALLS PARK – McLean, Va.
Just 15 miles from DC sits one of the most historic natural wonders in the U.S.: Great Falls Park, located on the Potomac River. A unit of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, the park’s origins date back to 10,500 BC. Today, the Patowmack Canal and Carousels of Great Falls Park are two of the most notable natural landmarks in the country, where visitors can stroll along the river and take in the sights of the falls, and its abundant wildlife. For the little ones, children 5 and older can attend the Junior Ranger Program to explore, learn and protect the park.