Guide to Summer Fun in Coastal Virginia
Ideas and Activities to Celebrate the Sunniest Season
Let’s face it. Summers tend to fly by quicker than a fiddler crab dancing across the sand. Oftentimes, we’ll get to the end of the season and realize we hadn’t accomplished all the exciting activities we’d set out to do. Make this the summer of soaking it all in by creating a specific list of all the fun adventures you want to experience with your family. Below are some ideas to get you started. From cruising on the water in a batteau boat to being immersed in art, maritime culture or equestrian life, there’s no greater time to get set for summer fun.
Newport News Park
Newport News Park is home to a variety of native wildlife all found in a natural setting of lush woodlands, flowering meadows and shimmering lakes. Its unique natural beauty makes this park a favorite destination for campers and outdoor enthusiasts looking for a perfect retreat for hiking or bicycling on the park’s many trails; picnicking in shelters with outdoor grills; fishing, boating and canoeing on the park’s scenic lakes and inlets; enjoying sports such as archery, golf and disc golf; and camping in the 188-site campground. 13560 Jefferson Ave., Newport News; 757-888-3333 or 800-203-8322; NNVa.gov
Located on the Downtown Norfolk waterfront, Nauticus is a maritime science museum that explores the economic, naval and natural power of the sea. Nauticus features hands-on exhibits, marine life, 3D movies, a Stewards of the Sea exhibit that explores the Navy's environmental efforts, the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, the awe-inspiring Battleship Wisconsin—one of the largest and last battleships built by the U.S. Navy—and the Banana Pier Gift Shop. Nauticus is also home to the Sail Nauticus Sailing Center, the Decker Half Moone Center and the Victory Rover Naval Base Cruises. Start planning at Nauticus.org.
Photo by Samson Xayasinel Photography
Triple R Ranch is Southern Virginia’s premier residential summer camp and retreat facility offering horsemanship, archery, climbing walls, a water slide, laser tag, escape room and much more! In the summer, they offer week-long overnight and day camps for ages 7–14. In the fall, winter and spring they welcome a variety of different guest groups. They also offer guided trail rides and horseback riding lessons all year round! More information at TripleRRanch.org.
Photo courtesy of Justin Hankins Photography
Artwork by 10 celebrated and internationally acclaimed contemporary artists will be on view both inside and out at the Hermitage Museum & Gardens this summer for Conversations | Contemporary Asian Art. The exhibition features work by Zhang Huan, Hung Yi, Ran Hwang, Yoshitomo Nara, Wang Guangle, Zhang Xiaogang, Kohei Nawa, Jae Yong Kim, Momoyo Torimitsu and Kiyoma Iwata and has been organized with the help of several national galleries. View new works by artists you’ve already come to love or discover them for the first time at the gorgeous waterfront estate. Learn more at TheHermitageMuseum.org.
Suffolk Farmers’ Market
A popular outlet for locally grown fruits and vegetables, baked goods, organically raised meats, fresh eggs and milk, honey and a variety of artisan-crafted goods. Learn more at VisitSuffolkVa.com.
James River Association
James River Adventures offers a new perspective on the scenic James River. Group and individual excursions are offered for paddleboards, canoes, kayaks, inner tubes and even a historic batteau boat. Knowledgeable and skilled guides provide insight into the river’s history, ecology and transformative impact on riverfront communities. With prices as low as $15—and hourly, half-day and full-day options available—all skill levels are welcome.
James River Adventures is operated by the James River Association, supporting ongoing efforts to improve the river’s health, forge personal connections with the river and change local communities. Since 1976, the James River Association has taken the river from a D- to a B- in terms of overall health. And the work is paying off, with sturgeon populations surging and increases in the populations of bald eagles, oysters and more. But there’s much work still to be done to reach the goal of a grade A James River, and your help is needed. Support the James River Association by becoming a member. Change the James, and see how the James can change you. Learn more at BeaJamesChanger.org.
This summer, you can enjoy a fun day on the James and help keep the comeback coming with James River Adventures. To book an excursion, visit Riveredge Park in Madison Heights just across from Historic Downtown Lynchburg, or learn more at JamesRiverAdventures.org.
Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum
This charming 1885 passenger station boasts a two-room HO-scale model depicting Suffolk in 1907, a kid’s area, railroad memorabilia, caboose and a peanut exhibit. SuffolkTrainStation.com for more info.
Mountains of Summer Fun at Wintergreen Resort
This summer, beat the heat on top of the mountain, where playing outside is just plain cool. Imagine lush greenery, refreshing breezes and spectacular mountain vistas, comfortable accommodations with room to spread out, fabulous recreation, fun and relaxation. Wintergreen Resort—a world away, but only a short drive—where you can be as active as you want to be or as relaxed as you need to be. Plan your stay at WintergreenResort.com.