When to Visit
No matter when your travels bring you to the Fredericksburg region, there’s something special to look forward to. This season-by-season guide will help you plan your visit.
Auto racing enters a new season at Dominion Raceway. Check their calendar for events on the road course and oval track, as well as other entertainment at this unique facility. A 1/8-mile drag strip is expected to open in spring 2017.
In late March, outdoorsmen flock to the Rappahannock River for the annual shad run, as these fascinating fish swim upstream to spawn. This is a prime time for fly fishing, and also for nature photography, as a high number of blue herons and other birds can be seen feasting on the feisty shad. River Rock Outfitter’s fly-fishing experts can help you set your sights on this annual phenomenon, and riverside trails like the Rappahannock River Heritage Trail will help you watch the action.
Fishing enthusiasts will also want to check out the action year-round at Lake Anna in Spotsylvania County, where striped bass and other species are abundant not only in the spring, but also through the winter months.
Late April brings Historic Garden Week in Virginia, and the Fredericksburg region always puts an impressive collection of homes on display for this popular springtime event. Also this month, Earth Day has become a local tradition, as groups gather at Old Mill Park to celebrate the Rappahannock River.
Lace up your shoes in May for the Marine Corps Historic Half marathon. With both a 5-mile and 13.1-mile option, this race has attracted runners from all 50 states and around the world, and features a challenging, hilly course that showcases some of Fredericksburg’s most historic areas.
Memorial Day is a special time in Fredericksburg. The luminaria at Fredericksburg National Cemetery is an annual tradition that will give you pause and bring you back to what this national holiday is all about.
Summer is the time to take in fresh air while enjoying live music. Outdoor concert series abound during this pleasant season in the Fredericksburg region. Another unique outdoor entertainment offering to look for in the summer is Dominion Raceway’s drive-in movie series.
Lake Anna is a floating playground during the summer months. Visit a marina to see how you can get on the water, or explore the many programs and camping opportunities available at Lake Anna State Park.
On Independence Day, head to Ferry Farm for living history demonstrations and a chance to interact with the archaeologists and craftsmen who bring this engaging historical site to life. All summer long, stop by Ferry Farm as its archaeological dig, and construction on a replica of George Washington’s boyhood home, are in progress.
In -downtown Fredericksburg, the annual Heritage Festival on July 4th brings the streets to life with vendors, games and a 5-mile road race. The festival culminates in a fireworks display in Stafford County’s Pratt Park.
The Fredericksburg Agricultural Fair has brought games, rides and agricultural competitions to this region every year since 1738. Look for the fair in late July and early August.
Summer Restaurant Week offers a chance to try new restaurants in Downtown Fredericksburg in August, at a time when local ingredients are at their peak. Locavores will also want to check out the area’s farmer’s markets during this delicious season.
In early September, Yankees in Falmouth brings an engaging living-history event to the historic village of Falmouth. For an entire weekend, you can explore reenactments of the union encampments that were here during the Civil War. It’s a great chance to get your picture made with the region’s Abe Lincoln reenactor, who’s so realistic you’ll look more than twice.
Fall brings a number of popular events to Downtown Fredericksburg. Look for the Fredericksburg Welsh Festival at the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library in September. Art Attack is another September event that brings artists of all kinds onto the streets for a day of creating. Capital Ale House’s Oktoberfest closes Caroline Street for German-themed revelry in late September or early October each year.
The Fredericksburg Wine Festival brings several area wineries to the Spotsylvania Towne Centre in early October. Trolley Tours of Fredericksburg’s wine and history tours run on select Sundays April through November. October is Virginia Wine Month, making this a great time of year to hop on and explore.
At Halloween, look for the Haunted Trail at Wilderness Presidential Resort to give you a good scare, or take the little ones to Downtown Fredericksburg, where Treats on the Streets offers a safe and scenic trick-or-treating opportunity that usually takes place on the Saturday closest to Halloween.
As fall gives way to winter, the annual Downtown Holiday Open House and the Grapes and Grains Trail’s Holiday Spirits Festival in early November herald the start of the holiday shopping season. Small Business Saturday, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, is a chance for Downtown Fredericksburg shoppers to feel like VIPs.
Holidays and history definitely go together in this region.
At George Washington’s Boyhood Home at Ferry Farm, the annual gingerbread house contest and exhibit has been a December tradition for more than 30 years.
Historic homes look spectacular decked out for the season. Be sure to look for Belmont, the Rising Sun Tavern, Mary Washington House, Ellwood and Chatham to hold special holiday events and open houses. In addition, don’t miss the Historic Fredericksburg Foundation’s Candlelight Tour, which opens some of the city’s grandest homes to the public in early December.
Christmas parades in Downtown Fredericksburg and in Spotsylvania Courthouse Village are a treat for kids of all ages during the first weekend in December.
To ring in the new year, check out Downtown 31, a month-long series of events that culminates in a family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration in Downtown Fredericksburg’s Riverfront Park.
In January, find a new favorite dining spot during Downtown Fredericksburg’s annual winter Restaurant Week.