Despite Charlottesville having a reputation for overly hot and humid summers, our charming city is in fact home to a number of activities that will keep you busy during the summer months. Whether you’re floating down the James River on a raft, breaking a sweat on a hike to Humpback Rock, or sipping on a glass of Virginia’s finest Cab Franc — Charlottesville is the place to be this summer.
Here are our top 5 suggestions for your C’ville visit:
1.) Tube the James River
A refreshing way to beat the heat this summer is to tube the James River. Pack a cooler with an assortment of drinks and snacks, throw some tubes in the water, and enjoy a peaceful float down this four-mile stretch of water. Looking for something more active? Not to worry — kayaking and canoeing are options as well.
Check out our favorite tubing experts for a seamless experience including shuttle services to your car, rentals, changing rooms, and picnic areas.
2.) Explore the Corner & Picnic on the Lawn at
Another signature Charlottesvillian day can be spent visiting the Historic “Corner” at The University of Virginia. And as Alice Cooper sings, “Schools out for Summer,” so enjoy a peaceful stroll without the hustle and bustle of the UVA students.
Stumble upon a number of burger bars and candlelit Mediterranean Restaurants, or grab a sandwich to go from our favorite gourmet sandwich shop, Take it Away. Walk across the street to Thomas Jefferson’s Rotunda, considered the centerpiece to the University. Reserve an official tour or enjoy a private picnic on “The Lawn,” just behind the rotunda.
Whatever you decide… pick a sunny day and enjoy TJ’s pocket of the world.
3.) Hike Humpack Rock
If you are looking for something adventurous, pull on your hiking boots and head to the Blue Ridge Mountains for a Hike to Humpback Rock. Although it is an admittedly steep incline, the trail is a 2 mile loop which can be conquered in a 1.5 to 2 hour time frame depending on how long you spend at the top…and let us just say, you may find yourself stretching out and soaking up some serious R&R atop this mountain.
The peak is at 3,080 feet with a rocky base and boasting a 360 degree view of our tree-covered valley. The hike is a local favorite and the perfect trek to a view that will take your breath away.
4.) Experience Live Music at Friday’s After Five
For the musically inclined, Friday’s After Five is a live music series every Friday night on Charlottesville’s historic Downtown Mall. Kicking off early-April and rocking out through mid-September, every performance showcases local talent in an outdoor, casual setting. The best part? Every concert is free!
Arrive early or stay late and enjoy several restaurant options…
Savor in Italian inspired cuisine at our Red Pump Tuscan Kitchen projected to open mid-June, or cool off with a scoop of homemade gourmet ice cream at our local favorite, Chaps.
Our only advice: Bring a lounge chair or blanket for when your dancin’ shoes are worn!
5.) Embark on a Wine Tour Excursion
Last but certainly not least, visit Charlottesville and partake in an afternoon wine tour excursion! Bustling with a number of wineries, Charlottesville is your Napa Valley here on the East Coast. Though we may be a little biased to our Pippin Hill, there are a number of wineries you will not want to miss!
Book a wine tour through Blue Ridge Wine Excursions or Monticello Wine Tour & Coach Company and make your way through some of Virginia’s finest wineries. Start at Dave Matthew’s Bleinheim Vineyards, join us at Pippin Hill for a seasonal lunch menu and wine tasting, and finish off in Crozet at the beautiful, Veritas Vineyard.
first photo credit to The Schumin Web
second photo credit to Vironeveah
third photo credit to Malcolm McGregor Group
fourth photo taken from Piedmont Council for the Arts
fifth photo by Patricia Lyons