There's no denying that summer is one of the best times of year to be in the great outdoors, especially in a recreational haven like Virginia. But you don't need warm temperatures or clear skies to enjoy all that the commonwealth has to offer. In fact, many of the activities that you enjoy in July and August you can do in January and February. Meanwhile, other can't-miss experiences in Virginia are only available when the cold temps arrive at your doorstep.
The following are but a small handful of what Virginia has in store for you and your family to avoid feeling cabin fever this winter:
1. Hit the slopes
From the Wintergreen Resort in the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountain Range, to the Omni Homestead in Hot Springs, there's an array of opportunities to ski, snowboard, or tube Virginia's powdered slopes. Skiing and snowboarding takes a lot of practice to master, but if you're looking for something simple and quick, look no further than tubing. The Wintergreen Resort, for instance, features a 900-foot trail. Be sure to hold on to those handles, as on a good day, you can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.
2. Watch for whales
Unless you're a member of the Polar Bear Club, it's far too cold to take a dip in the ocean during wintertime. But it's not the case for whales, even though they do prefer warmer waters. You can see the world's largest mammals seek out more comfortable confines on a winter wildlife whale watch at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center. Summer is the busy season for whale watching, so it can be difficult to book a time that fits with your schedule. That's usually not the case during the cold weather months, though. Additionally, there are often some up close and personal sightings that make a winter venture unique.
3. Shop 'til you drop
There's no denying that the holiday season is the peak time of year for shopping, evidenced by the packed parking lots at Short Pump Towne Center in Richmond or Merchants Square in Williamsburg. But the deals, discounts, and diversity of stores makes shopping in Virginia a year-round experience. For instance, at Williamsburg Premium Outlets, you have more than 135 name-brand stores to choose from, each offering deep discounts on a variety of merchandise.
4. Rent a cabin
Snowbound Virginians know what it's like to feel cabin fever, where mounds of snow brings travel to a virtual standstill. But you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who feels this way in the private, comfortable cabin retreats the Old Dominion State is teeming with, like Cabin Spring Farm in Lexington, Historic Rosemont Manor in Berryville, or the Massanutten Springs Retreat in Luray. In these truly magnificent nature escapes, being snowbound is highly desirable.
5. Reach the beach for gourmet greatness
The Virginia Beach boardwalk is pretty bare when the cold winds blow. That's a different story during Virginia Beach Restaurant Week. Running from Feb. 22-28, the annual feast fest draws hordes of people, making the strip look like it's the dog days of summer rather than the dead of winter. This year's Restaurant Week has over 90 restaurants participating.
There's lots to see and do in Virginia this winter. Now bundle up, and get down to the business of having fun.