Kids all grown and flown? The empty nest can be a bit melancholy, but it definitely has its bright side. After all, now you can finally take that romantic second honeymoon – just the two of you, far from the hustle-bustle. Or, if you prefer, you can opt for a fun group getaway with other couples you know – a golden opportunity to reconnect with old friends you haven’t seen in years.
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.
See Back Bay From the Water
There’s something special about seeing Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge from the water. Fall is quiet — the right time to enjoy watersports and tours. Always wanted to learn to paddleboard or surf? Come on down.
Kayak the Tributaries
Rent a canoe or kayak from Surf & Adventure Co. and take their two-hour guided tour of the quiet tributaries that run through the refuge to the Atlantic Ocean. Your guide will help you identify all the magnificent birds and wildlife that become active in cooler temperatures.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, take an ocean kayak tour. You’ll likely spot dolphins and pelagic birds as you cruise the quiet waters of the coast. For a special treat, book the Blue Pete’s kayak tour. This one-way paddle begins in Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and ends at Blue Pete’s restaurant around sunset. Have dinner, then catch your ride back to your car at the refuge.
Learn to Surf or Paddleboard
Waters around Sandbridge Beach are still warm enough in early fall to surf or paddleboard, though you might want to rent a thin wetsuit. Sandbridge Beach has gentle waves and a sandy bottom, making it the ideal place for beginning paddleboarders or surfers. You can rent surfboards and paddleboards by the day or week, and some outfitters even deliver right to your cottage.
Hike Off the Beaten Path
Hike or Camp False Cape State Park
The East and West Dike Trail to False Cape State Park is open until October 31. False Cape State Park is accessible only by foot or by boat, so this is a truly special bucket list trip. There are a few primitive campsites in the park, and staying overnight allows visitors to experience the absolute quiet and stunning starlight displays that day visitors miss. False Cape also features the ruins of a church and cemetery that are worth exploring.
Prefer a bed to a sleeping bag? Day hikers who take the 7.6-mile coastal trail hike in Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge can see white-tailed deer, multiple species of birds, migrating waterfowl, foxes, rabbits, and the occasional sea turtle. This hike will take you through diverse ecologies such as beaches, sand dunes, fields, marshes, and woodlands so you can kiss boredom goodbye.
Go Offshore Fishing
Think getaways to the beach only happen during spring and summer? Not at all! Fall is a fabulous time because school is in session, crowds are thinning out, the weather is cooler and interesting events are in full swing.
What’s more, escaping to Sandbridge Beach offers the unique opportunity to reunite with friends that you may have been too busy for when your children were at home. It’s also a delightful way to rekindle the romance with your significant other and fall in love all over again.
Fall Shows Another Side of Coastal Life
Cuddling up with a loved one on the porch on a cool evening, sipping coffee with a friend while watching a glorious sunrise, or taking a brisk morning jog are all made better with the crisp fall weather. While the scorching sun can sometimes catapult Sandbridge Beach into triple-digit temperatures during the summer, autumn highs are typically mild and in the 60s and 70s.
Many of our rentals include electric fireplaces to take the bite out of the cooler fall nights. Others offer fire pits. Bring your friends and gather ’round for a much-needed evening of life, laughter and fun. The distinct aroma of the fire, the coastal breeze and the soothing scent of saltwater combine to make fall nights on the ocean a one-of-a-kind experience.
A Peaceful and Uncrowded Atmosphere
As soon as kids head off to school, beaches become much less crowded and more accessible. Because you don’t have to wait until summer to take vacations — you’re free to take advantage of the off-season rental rates at Sandbridge Beach as well.
Relieve Stress and Stay Active With Outdoor Recreation
Tired of frantically keeping pace with your kids’ schedules? Have you been forfeiting your exercise routine due to lack of time? Now’s the time to rein in your life with a bit of stress relief and outdoor fun.
One of the best features about Sandbridge Beach is the wide variety of outdoor recreation nearby. Whether you and your significant other are avid golfers or runners who enjoy new scenery, or you just like to get out and about, Virginia’s versions of the Outer Banks offer plenty of options for empty nesters who want to stay active.