While there are plenty of recreational activities in the waters of Virginia to cool you off during the hot days of summer, we have an even better alternative; enjoy the Great Outdoors at night to skip the blistering heat that often comes with the sunniest days. Make plans to attend these eight evening activities this summer and discover what makes Virginia’s outdoors so unforgettable.
When: August 12, August 18-21, September 22, October 20, 2017
Photo Credit: Greg Redfern
Held in the Big Meadows area of Shenandoah National Park, Night Skies draws amateur astronomers and romance-seeking stargazers to catch a glimpse of the stunning starlight. Pack a blanket, chair, and a flashlight for some of the most uninterrupted views of Virginia’s night skies. For an overnight trip, book a room at Big Meadows Lodge or bring along your camping gear and stay at the nearby Lewis Mountain Campgrounds. A special presentation of the Night Skies Festival will be held August 18-21, with constellation tours, solar scope viewings, telescope viewings, hands-on activities, and will culminate in the much-anticipated 2017 Solar Eclipse. This monthly event is dependent on the weather, and will be rescheduled in the case of rain or heavy clouds.
Adventure Kayak Tours—Chesapeake
When: By Appointment Only
Adventure Kayak Tours offers night paddling trip by reservation request, creating a custom evening out on the water for your group. In addition to a “Paddle Under the Stars” package, they also have a “Full Moon Paddle” trip to correspond with the lunar calendar. Call to inquire about dates and availability for your starlit paddling excursion.
Movie Night at Veramar Vineyard—Berryville
When: Friday August 18, 2017
Pack a picnic and head to Veramar Vineyard for their Movie Night, featuring lovely Virginia wines and a great movie in a romantic setting. This event is the perfect date night idea, with the movie starting around 9pm and only costing $8 per person. The vineyard will be screening “Born to be Blue” for the August movie showing.
When: August 7 and September 6, 2017
The Once in a Full Moon Paddle Trips with Mountain2Island Paddleboarding on Smith Mountain Lake includes the paddleboard rental, glow lights, and a guided tour of the lake for just $39 per person. The tour starts at around 10pm and lasts for about an hour and a half as you’ll traverse the quiet moonlit waters. This paddling adventure is best suited for intermediate level paddleboarders ages 16 and up, and reservations are required in advance as the tour books up quickly.
Starry Nights at Veritas Vineyards & Winery—Afton
When: August 12 and September 9, 2017
Photo Credit: Kate Magee Joyce
Veritas Vineyards & Winery hosts Starry Nights, a summer outdoor concert series held on the lush lawns of the vineyard. Bring picnic blankets or lawn chairs to relax under the stars and sip on fine wines, all while enjoying live music performances. See the Legwarmers, an 80’s cover band, play on August 12, followed by Chamomile & Whiskey with special guests Jim Waive & the Young Divorcees on September 9th. Call in advance to reserve your spot at the vineyard for these live concerts under the stars.
Twilight Polo at Great Meadow—The Plains
When: Every Saturday through September
Saturday evenings, visit Great Meadow for their Twilight Polo series, presented by Greenhill Winery & Vineyards. Pack a picnic basket and blanket, then nab a seat on the grass or reserve a railside box, which fits up to six people. Children are welcome to attend and at half time, they gather on the field for a tug of war game followed by a race around the track led by the mascot, the Polo Bear. The weekly event runs to 11pm, so make sure your kids are up for a late evening if you plan on bringing them along. Wine is available for purchase at the field and after the match, a live DJ plays music at the pavilion.
Night Ride on the Virginia Creeper Trail—Damascus
When: Every Friday night through October
Join Sundog Outfitters in Damascus every Friday evening through October for a night ride on the famous Virginia Creeper Trail. Bring your own bike, headlamp, and helmet, then catch a shuttle up to Whitetop Station to ride 17 miles of downhill mountain trails. Cyclists pay $15 per person for the shuttle ride and access to the trail.
Fall Harvest Festival and Night 5K Trail Run—Gladstone
When: October 21, 2017
While the Fall Harvest Festival occurs during the day in Gladstone with pumpkin carving, wagon rides, and activities for the kids, the fun continues as the sun goes down with a Night 5K Trail Run. Sign up to participate in this short but scenic night route through James River State Park.
What are your favorite events under the stars to attend in Virginia? Tell us below!