Come September, Coastal Virginia is in its prime. We are passed the sweltering heat of mid-summer, but not quite in the blistering winds of winter. Our autumn is temperate and flush with fall foliage, thus making it the perfect time to explore the bounty of our region’s outdoor spaces.
Both the Southside and Peninsula are rich with walking trails. Feel the ocean breeze while walking the Virginia Beach Boardwalk or meandering the miles of canopied trails in First Landing State Park. Norfolk’s Elizabeth River Trail is a destination for walkers, joggers and bikers alike as it wanders the river’s edge and navigates around the city’s most famous landmarks. The Peninsula boasts similar paths, but with more historic slants. Consider Williamsburg’s Duke of Gloucester Street or the 550-acre nature retreat at The Mariners’ Museum and Park in Newport News.
Bikers also flock to the historic triangle to travel the 51.7 miles of the famed Virginia Capital Trail, which spans four counties from Williamsburg to Richmond.
Mountain bikers swap the pavement for the dirt paths of two Williamsburg parks—New Quarter Park and Freedom Park. Families can blaze new trails at Virginia Beach’s recently installed off-road paths at Marshview Park, too.
Over the years, our Parks & Recreation departments have put forth a major effort to revitalize local play spaces. Children now have access to newer, safer equipment while parents, caregivers and the like can take advantage of outdoor gyms. Virginia Beach’s Mountain Trashmore Park is home to 10 open-air fitness stations, all of which are unique in their design and are outfitted with panels illustrating exercises and targeted muscle groups.
The city’s newest outdoor exercise space at Williams Farm Park is also the first of its kind in Virginia. The park’s FitLot, sponsored by AARP, touts workout equipment for everyone in the family. Looking to burn calories and enjoy the beach? Head over to Hillier Ignite Fitness Park on 36th Street where kids can try their hand at high bars, ring climbers and more.
The cooler months also set in motion a host of fitness-focused, family-friendly happenings. Local race organizer J&A Racing sponsors many of Coastal Virginia’s renowned events such as the Crawlin’ Crab in Hampton (October 1-2) and Wicked 10K in Virginia Beach (October 28 – 29). Kid-friendly races are offered for both October events including a Crawlin’ Crab Kids 1K and Mini Monster 1K.