Recently, it seems like more and more people are ready to get out of the house and put this pandemic behind us. We are no longer stuck at home wondering what we will do to break up the monotony of streaming movies or finding odds and ends to do around the house. Charlottesville businesses, restaurants, and shops are now open; and it finally feels like we are FREE! Free to do whatever we want. That leaves the question…what are some activities we want to do this summer? We compiled a list of ten fun, outdoor activities around Charlottesville.
1. The newly opened Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel trail is located in…you guessed it, Crozet, just outside of Charlottesville. Completed in 1858, the 4,273 ft. Blue Ridge Tunnel was, at one point, the longest railroad tunnel in North America. Accessible to the public, you can now walk through and admire the work of the industrious laborers that built this masterpiece of engineering. Be sure to bring a headlamp or flashlight!
2. If you’re a local, you might want to break up the busy work week by winding down at Carter Mountain’s Thursday Evening Sunset Series! Enjoy the beautiful sunset view while listening to live music, drinking Carter Mountain Wine, and eating from a local food truck.
3. The Blue Ridge Mountains offer many opportunities for hiking, picnics, and, simply, taking in their breathtaking beauty. A popular trail that is accessible for people of all ages is the Saunders-Monticello Trail. Enjoy a leisurely walk on ramps that ascend at a slight incline toward Monticello with lovely forest views. After you’ve worked up your appetite, take a step back in time and enjoy lunch at the historic Michie Tavern.
4. Let’s face it, the humidity in Charlottesville can make being outside pretty miserable. An all-time favorite cooling-off activity is tubing with James River Runners. Be sure to check the river conditions before heading out.
5. Visit the beautiful scenery at King Family Vineyards and enjoy a tasting of some local, fine, delicious wine. If you happen to be visiting on a Sunday, you can enjoy a free polo match (if you’re feeling adventurous, they also offer lessons!)
6. If you’re looking for a unique Blue Ridge Mountain experience, allow the Indian Summer Guide Service to take you on a guided horseback ride on a trail of your choice. They offer several packages on different types of terrain.
7. Fridays After Five is back at the newly named, Ting Pavilion, on the Downtown Mall! An all-time Charlottesville summer favorite, Fridays offers live and local music, food trucks, drinks, and lots of socializing.
8. Another unique way to experience Charlottesville is with the Blue Ridge Bicycle Tours. Their services include city and campus tours, large group events; or you can customize a tour to your liking.
9. There are no lack of stunning vineyards around Charlottesville, and Veritas is no exception. Visit any day of the week or check out their summer event, Starry Nights, with more live music.
10. Feeling adventurous? Kayak, canoe, paddleboard, or take a tubing trip with Rivanna River Company. Reservations are required; so be sure to book your trip online in advance.