Growing up in Virginia Beach, my family never went south of 48th Street in the summer. All those tourists! Of course, out-of-towners are the lifeblood of the city, so we actually appreciate them coming in. But things change a bit after Labor Day. That’s when the locals (anyone who lives in Hampton Roads) tend to head back to the oceanfront. You might not think of September as the best time to go to Virginia Beach, but there are still plenty of fun things going on. During the summer months, we still go to the beach at the north end, from 48th Street up (where finding parking can be an adventure in itself), or to the south at Sandbridge, Virginia Beach’s “mini Outer Banks” area (lots of parking, but not for free).
These beaches are less crowded with tourists and have a local feel to them. In September, though, we like to venture out to the boardwalk to check out what thousands of tourists from as far away as Canada consider one of the best beach resorts around.
Although Virginia Beach has some high-end resort living, for the most part it’s a middle class family vacation spot and a great place to take the kids. The ocean waters warm as the summer goes on and are usually still quite pleasant in September. Surfing is very popular and Virginia Beach hosts the second oldest surfing competition in the world in August. Body surfing was and is the Myers’ sport of choice.
There are plenty of dolphins to watch from the shore and a fair number of Navy jets flying overhead.
The boardwalk really is lovely, with plenty of photo opp locations, like King Neptune’s statue, and lots of space for walkers, bikers and skateboarders. We recently took a stroll, but didn’t get very far before a thunderstorm crept in and forced us indoors.
It felt like any other summer day, but in September. Fortunately we live in nearby Chesapeake and, now that we’re retired, we can visit the beach any September day we want.
There’s still a last gasp for tourists, the upcoming Neptune Festival, with lots going on. It used to be a locals’ festival, but now is geared towards those who can still, in September, get to one of the best beaches on the East Coast.