Planning a trip to Virginia this November? You’ll always find plenty to do in Virginia’s cities, such as Richmond, Alexandria, and Charlottesville, but this is an excellent time to explore the smaller coastal towns and sample one of Virginia’s most unique (and delicious) draws: the oyster. And as November is Virginia Oyster Month, there are dozens of festivals and special events in and around the eight distinct oyster regions that honor this beautiful bivalve.
Photo Credit: Jim Stewart
If you prefer the buttery, sweet oysters harvested from the waters of the upper Chesapeake Bay or the rivers that empty into this renowned waterway, plan your November vacation to the Northern Neck/River Realm area, staying in charming small towns like Irvington, Kilmarnock, and Urbanna.
Photo Credit: Erica Jackson Curran, @capecharlesescapes
For the oyster enthusiasts that love the briny, salty oysters found in the Atlantic Ocean waters, the Eastern Shore makes for a fantastic home base during your November getaway.
The Newest Attractions in Coastal Virginia
Camp Irvington in the Northern Neck is designed as a place to unwind and relax, with fire pits, live music, snacks made on-site as well as local food trucks, and delicious craft beer and wine to sip on while lounging in the Adirondack chairs.
Image Courtesy of Iron Pony Adventure Park
On Virginia’s Eastern Shore, Iron Pony Adventure Park is a family-friendly attraction that allows visitors to climb to new heights and tackle over 30 aerial obstacles on two courses. Don’t miss the Pony Plunge, a 26-foot high leap of faith that will test even the most daring adrenaline lovers.
Photo Credit: Heather Williamson, @heathernwilliamson
Chincoteague’s Key West Cottages officially opened in the summer of 2022, but will add several new cottages to their lodging this fall. In the future, they are working to open an additional 33 cottages, pool, bayfront beach, and an expansive lobby, as well as providing boat docking, kayaking, paddle boarding, yoga, and event packages for retreats or weddings.
Where to Stay
Photo Courtesy of the Tides Inn
A luxury retreat in the Northern Neck’s town of Irvington, The Tides Inn is a private waterfront resort that has been welcoming guests for more than 75 years. The property offers peaceful tranquility in the natural landscape of the cove, with the landscaped areas utilizing native plants to seamlessly blend the lush property grounds with the surrounding coastline.
There is plenty to do on-site at the Tides Inn, from guided cruises and boating trips to golfing and pampering treatments at the spa, but if you’re looking to learn more about Virginia’s oysters, book the Chesapeake Gold experience. This guided tour will take you out onto the Chesapeake Bay to an oyster farm, where you’ll hear all about the importance of oysters in keeping the Bay waters clean and how these marine creatures are harvested. Afterwards, you’ll return to the Inn, where you can watch a waterman grill oysters to perfection and enjoy these locally-sourced delicacies with a glass of Virginia wine.
On the southern tip of the Eastern Shore, Sunset Beach Resort is right off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and is an affordable option for lodging near Cape Charles. The resort’s private beach provides a prime spot to take in a sunset (as the resort name suggests), and as a pet-friendly hotel, you’re welcome to bring the entire family, even the four-legged family members, to Sunset Beach Resort.
Photo Credit: Scott Thomas
Continue your drive up the Shore and stop in Onancock to stay at the Charlotte Hotel, a boutique retreat in this pristine coastal town, head up to Chincoteague and stay at the vibrant Key West Cottages, or opt for a romantic B&B getaway at the Channel Bass Inn.
Where to Eat
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Dine on fresh oysters and other seafood at Merroir, a waterfront restaurant owned by Rappahannock Oyster Company. While you’ll find a casual, laid-back ambiance at the restaurant, expect only the highest quality of seafood served with a side of incredible views of the Rappahannock River.
Take the bridge across the river into Irvington and head to the Tides Inn’s Fish Hawk Oyster Bar for lunch or dinner. Another waterfront spot offering locally-sourced seafood as well as burgers and specialty sandwiches, Fish Hawk is open daily from 11am-9pm, and food can either be enjoyed inside the watermen-themed restaurant, on the patio overlooking the water, or by the luxurious pool if the weather allows.
If you’re searching for upscale dining options in the Northern Neck, make reservations at Adrift in White Stone. Helmed by a husband and wife duo that both trained at the Michelin-star Inn at Little Washington restaurant, Adrift utilizes partnerships with the local watermen and farmers to create a seasonally-inspired menu that highlights the flavors of the Chesapeake Bay.
There are many delicious seafood dining destinations on the Eastern Shore; in Cape Charles, The Shanty’s seasonal menu includes all your raw and steamed favorites, such as clams, shrimp, and oysters, a rotation of fresh catch seafood entrees, and options like burgers, tacos, and sandwiches for the “land lover” diners. Pair your meal with one of their signature “crushes”, a vodka cocktail mixed with colorful fruit juices.
Located on Sunset Beach Resort’s private beach, the Jackspot’s incredible waterfront views make for a memorable dining experience when in the Cape Charles area.
In Wachapreague, the Island House Restaurant & Marina overlooks the Eastern Shore’s wildly beautiful Barrier Islands and is a local favorite spot for seafood.
Photo Credit: John Park, @hungryasianrke
Chincoteague’s Pico Taqueria is a must for taco fans, and with the motto, “You can put anything in a taco”, the unique spins on the Mexican classics will have you craving their tasty tacos long after you leave the shore.
What to Do
As oysters are on the agenda for November, map out an itinerary along the Virginia Oyster Trail to dine on oysters from the eight distinct oyster regions, book a guided tour at an oyster farm, or pick up a bushel of oysters to take home after your vacation.
While coastal outdoor activities like kayaking slow down during the cooler months, the chilly weather is ideal for warming up with a glass of wine at a Virginia vineyard. Visit Chatham Vineyards on the Eastern Shore, or if you’re planning a trip to the Northern Neck area, check out Good Luck Cellars, the Hague Winery, and General’s Ridge Vineyard.
Photo Credit: Christopher Hunter Photography
A can’t-miss oyster experience in November for the Northern Neck is the Urbanna Oyster Festival. Held the first weekend in November, this free culinary festival is in its 65th year and offers a pay-as-you-go approach, giving you the chance to sample whatever tasty culinary delights you come across as you walk around the grounds. In addition to food and drink, the festival features an oyster shucking competition, a parade and car show, and live music performances throughout the weekend.
Photo Credit: Mike Deep, @mikedeepphoto
The Eastern Shore may be known for the sleepy coastal towns and the abundance of fresh seafood, but the peninsula has yet another hidden gem: NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. Visit the area on the first weekend of November to witness the Antares rocket launch, when the rocket will resupply the International Space Station with scientific equipment and supplies. The launch will take place right before dawn on Sunday, November 6th, so consider booking an overnight stay at a property along the shore on Saturday evening to prepare for the early rise. The NASA Visitor Center at Wallops will be open for this launch, with gates opening at 3:30 a.m. EST. Note: That Sunday marks the end of Daylight Savings Time, so clocks will go back an hour!
More Virginia Vacation Ideas for November
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Spend Veteran’s Day at a historic site, such as the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, to honor the brave men and women who have served our country.
Photo Credit: Rachel DeBusk, @racheldebuskphoto
As temperatures drop, skies become clearer, and stargazing events offer incredible views of the night skies above. While you can stargaze in any rural area free of light pollution, some areas offer organized stargazing experiences, such as Nelson County’s Dark Skies events.
Photo Credit: Creative Dog Media, @creativedogmedia
Sample some of the best Virginia wines and hear from the winemakers at the first annual Homestead Epicurean Classic, held at the luxurious Omni Home Resort & Spa in the Virginia Mountains. The two-day event occurs November 11-12th, spotlighting over a dozen of the Commonwealth’s most award-winning wineries. This weekend wine celebration includes an exclusive 2022 Governor’s Cup Case Tasting, a Virginia Chef’s Table dinner, and master classes with the winemakers.
For a coastal wine experience, get tickets to the Yorktown Wine Festival on November 13th. Held at Riverwalk Landing, the festival brings together wines from Virginia and beyond, allowing you to compare Virginia’s finest vintages to wines from around the world. The festival also features live music, food from local restaurants, and an array of artisan-made goods.
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