While summer may be the time of year most people think to go on a beach vacation, Sandbridge Beach in the fall has an allure of its own. The intense heat of summer has faded, there’s a soft breeze in the air, and the little bit of crowd Sandbridge does attract has dwindled. If you ask me, this is the recipe for a perfect, relaxing vacation.
Enjoy Oyster Season
The rule of thumb for eating oysters is to only eat them in months with the letter “r”, aka September – April, when the water is coldest, and the oysters stay fresh longer. Which means, fall is the perfect time to get your oyster grub on right in Sandbridge beach where they are the freshest. The Chesapeake Bay region is known to have delicious oysters and you can’t get any fresher than that!
Along the same note as oyster season, cooler water means good fishing. Whether you plan to fish from the surf, pier, or even a kayak, there’s always fish to be caught in Virginia Beach or the Bay. Some theorize that the fish are “stocking up” for the upcoming cold weather or that the water mixing gives them a reason to get moving. Either way, that means more activity and the better chance of catching a full feast for dinner.
Another reason fishing in the “off season” is great, is less interruptions. You don’t have to worry about your line getting tangled up with another angler because there’s no room left on the pier and there won’t be many people swimming this time of year so your line is free to drift the surf without fear of hooking the wrong thing.
When the temperatures drop, it’s time to take dinner outside. Several restaurants on Sandbridge Beach have outdoor patios or screened outdoor patios. Try Baja Restaurant, Sandbridge Island Restaurant, Lago Mar Italian Restaurant, Margie & Ray’s Crabhouse, Pungo Pizza, and Blue Pete’s for fabulous outdoor dining.
Browse the Breweries
Virginia Beach is an up and coming hotspot for local breweries. Whether you fancy a good seasonal IPA, Hefeweizen or any other style, there are plenty to try in the area. A fun group activity for the adults would be Brewery Bingo. Create a bingo sheet with different styles and flavors or other categories, and the first one to get “bingo” has their dinner paid for by the rest of the group! A little creativity goes a long way but when you have a day full of delicious beer and good friends, it’s bound to be a good time.
No matter the season, The Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is beautiful, but there’s something about fall that makes it just that much more peaceful. With over 300 species of migratory birds and a variety of other cute critters like river otters, white-tailed deer, foxes and turtles, Back Bay is the nature lover’s paradise.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, rent some kayaks from Surf and Adventure Company to explore the waterways up close and personal. Go on a guided tour or solo, either way there’s plenty to see and you’ll feel at one with nature!
Bike or Hike to the Park
False Cape State Park is one of the only places left where you can camp right on the beach. It’s also one of the few places where you’ll likely find yourself utterly secluded. The only trick is figuring out how to there. False Cape State Park lies in front of The Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, which does not allow motor vehicles.
Park at Little Island Recreation Area (you will need a permit), and then complete the last five miles to the campsites through Back Bay on foot, by bike, or by canoe. You’ll need a reservation and a permit to camp. Fall is great weather for camping on False Cape, plus the park is home to migrating birds, deer, feral horses, and pigs.
Holiday Lights at the Beach
This is a little later in the season, but from November through January you can take in McDonald’s Holiday Lights at the Beach on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. The darkness of the Atlantic Ocean provides the perfect backdrop for thousands of twinkling lights. These aren’t just any holiday lights either — you’ll see 30 blocks of nautically themed displays such as dolphins, boats, mermaids, sharks, surfing Santa, and more.
Go to the Beach
This last one seems obvious, but still worth mentioning! The water may not be swimmable, but the beach is always a great place for a long walk to restore the soul. Go by yourself for a much needed respite from the daily hustle and bustle, or even make a date out of it by bringing along a bottle of wine and starting up a bonfire by the ocean. If you’ve ever considered a beach vacation once summer has passed, you won’t regret it! There are plenty of reasons to love every season in Sandbridge and if you need one more…weekly rentals are at their lowest during the cooler months!