Fall events in Virginia are especially enjoyable, thanks to cooler temps, fewer crowds, and beautiful fall foliage.
A sandcastle at the Neptune Festival, one of our favorite Virginia Beach fall events.
Verizon Wireless American Music Festival
Aug. 31-Sept. 2
Virginia Beach Oceanfront
This annual Virginia Beach event is a great combination of free and paid musical acts, including local musicians and pop acts from yesteryear. This year's bands include: O.A.R. on Friday, Cheap Trick on Saturday, and Train on Sunday.
Performances are free, except for the headliner acts on the 5th Street Main Stage and the 24th Street stage. You'll need tickets for these, and they run from $15-$25 in advance, and $20-$30 on the day of the show (the Sunday acts are the most expensive ones). Kids 12 and under are free with a paying adult.
Buy a Passport Pin for $35 and get admission to all three shows.For more details, go to www.beachstreetus.com.
17th Street Park
A three-day fall events celebration of all things Italian AND Greek, including pizza, pasta, Italian wine and beer, Greek food, entertainment, and family-friendly activities (like grape stomping!).
Italian lovers will enjoy "Peroni's Festa Italiana," at the 17th Street park on Sept. 14-15, while Greek lovers should head to "My 2nd Big Fat Greek Party" at the 24th Street park on Sept. 14-16. Go to www.beachstreetusa.com or call (800) 822-3224 for details.
Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show
Oceana Naval Air Station
See jets--including the US Navy Blue Angels, FA-18c Hornets, Hawkeyes, and more--perform thrilling acrobatic air stunts, plus get a look around this amazing air station. And yes, it's free! Go to http://www.oceanaairshow.com/schedule for the schedule.
Virginia Beach Neptune Festival
Virginia Beach Boardwalk
This is the grand-daddy of Virginia Beach events at the boardwalk, with bands, crafts, food, entertainment and more...but the highlight is the famous sand castle building competition. In fact, Virginia Beach and Myrtle Beach, SC continue to fiercely duke it out in nabbing this top world record...
The best thing about this festival? It's free! For details, go to http://www.neptunefestival.com.
Free Museum Admission on Smithsonian Day
Hundreds of museums in the US
Generally held the last Saturday of September, Smithsonian Day offers free admission for you and a guest to one of hundreds of museums across the US. Participating museums vary by year, but currently include Cape Henry Lighthouse, the Childrens Museum of Virginia, the Museum of the Confederacy, Bacon's Castle, and the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.
To download your free ticket to one of these fall events spots, go to http://www.smithsonianmag.com/museumday/.
Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens
September 14 - Oct. 28
Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Come fall, experience spine-tingling chills at the park's annual Howl-O-Scream event, featuring six haunted houses and five frightening shows, including Movies of the Macabre, Frankenfest, Monsters Stomp Revamped, Jack is Back, and The Count's Halloween Spooktacular. Click here for more on Howl-O-Scream...
Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens is one of the state's top Halloween attractions.
Halloween Haunt at Kings Dominion
Sept. 28 - Oct. 28
Paramounts Kings Dominion, Doswell near Richmond
If you prefer Paramounts Kings Dominion, check out their "Halloween Haunt," which offers "scare zones" including Carn Eval, the Ruins, the Harvest, Central Stalkway, and Feary Tales. They also nine horrifying mazes, and six frightening shows, including Disturbia, Elvira's Superstition, and Fangs. Click here for more on Halloween Haunt...
Don't miss a holiday light show!.
Holiday Lights at the Beach
November 16- January 1
Ever wanted to cruise the Virginia Beach oceanfront boardwalk in your car? Now's your chance! Plus, you'll be dazzled by jumping fish, surfing Santas, and playful mermaids...all in lights! It's a do-not-miss tradition among Virginia Beach events. Click here for details.
Norfolk Botanical Garden "Garden of Lights"
End of November - December 31
Nightly - 5:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Our family had a great time visiting this winter wonderland of lights last year! Located next to Norfolk International Airport, it's a much quieter and less crowded alternative to the Holiday Parade of Lights on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. And it's one of the cheaper fall events, at just $10 per car.
(Tip: have dinner at nearby Baker's Crust (yum!) then top off your evening cruising the holiday lights!)