Last Minute Summer Fun in Hampton Roads (Without Breaking the Bank)



Summer is winding down; you’ve taken your vacations and spent your summer savings, but there’s still another month or so of perfect outdoor weather ahead. Here are a few fun ideas for continuing the summer fun in Hampton Roads without dipping into next summer’s vacation money.

Newport News Park

Newport News Park (Newport News)

Get away from the commotion of life at the quaint, serene Newport News Park. Made up of 8,000 acres of lush forests and quiet lakes, this park is the perfect place to relax and enjoy nature. Hike or rent a bike to explore the 30 miles of trails, rent a canoe or paddleboat, or even check out the archery range. Park admission is free with small fees for bike and boat rentals.

Cape Henry Lighthouse

Cape Henry Lighthouse (Fort Story)

Take a trip back to 1792 at the beautiful Cape Henry Lighthouse. Climb to the top of the lighthouse for a majestic view of the Chesapeake Bay. Guided tours are available, and you can also enjoy the surrounding dunes or check out the museum store. General admission is $5 for adults and $3 for kids 12 and under.

Great Bridge Lock Park

Great Bridge Lock Park (Chesapeake)

Lock Park is situated between the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, a canal through which thousands of boats voyage to different destinations, and the Elizabeth River. The park is a fun place to come to watch the yachts that frequently transit the canal along the Intracoastal Waterway, which runs from Maine to Florida. Lock Park is also a local favorite spot for fishing and crabbing. Playgrounds and picnic shelters are also available. Admission is free.

York River State Park

York River State Park (Williamsburg)

This park is home to a unique estuarine environment, host to fossil beds and colonial artifacts. There are 30 miles of trails for hiking, biking or horseback riding, as well as a boat ramp where you can rent a canoe or kayak and tour the waterways. Freshwater fishing is available in Woodstock Pond and Taskinas Creek, and saltwater fishing is allowed in the York River. Valid fishing licenses required. Admission is free. Rental fees separate.

Great Dismal Swamp

Great Dismal Swamp (Suffolk)

Despite its grim title, the Great Dismal Swamp is an exciting wildlife refuge, home to 112,000 acres of forest, a 6,300-acre marsh and hundreds of species of plants and animals. It is common to encounter the white tailed deer along the trails of the forest; less commonly seen residents include the bobcat, river otter, black bear, southern flying squirrel and ground hog. Whether you want to bird watch, fish, hike the trails or drive the auto tour route, the swamp provides a beautiful outdoor experience for the whole family. Admission is free. Rentals and tours separate.