A Summer Escape to Albemarle County and Charlottesville: Wineries and Outdoor Adventures Without the Crowds

In Partnership With Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau
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When the beaches are packed and summer airport travel overwhelms, there’s a summer getaway alternative just a car ride away. At less than a 5-hour drive north of Charlotte, Albemarle County and Charlottesville offer a spectacular haven from the summer crowds for wine lovers, foodies, history buffs, and outdoor enthusiasts.

And with the University of Virginia students gone for summer break, visitors to Albemarle County have the chance to explore with fewer crowds and great deals on accommodations.

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Whether a novice or amateur sommelier, wine lovers alike will love the down-to-earth approachability of the Charlottesville area’s Monticello Wine Trail. The trail boasts over 40 wineries of all sizes, many of which showcase beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Make it a full vineyard vacation and stay at one of these ten wineries that offer onsite accommodations.

Traveling with kids doesn’t mean you have to skip the trail. Many of the wineries throughout Albemarle County are family-friendly, offering food trucks, live music, and firepit s’mores.

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Outdoor Recreation

For those who love the great outdoors, Charlottesville and Albemarle County offer a robust itinerary of hiking, biking, and golf. With both the Rivanna and James Rivers flowing throughout the region, visitors can enjoy canoeing, kayaking, fishing, tubing, and rafting. If you still haven’t had enough nature, take a short drive to nearby Shenandoah National Park where you can explore more than 500 miles of trails.

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Live Music

Charlottesville’s vibrant local music scene has continued to thrive since Dave Matthews started his band while bartending on the Downtown Mall. One of the longest pedestrian malls in the nation, the historic Downtown Mall hosts restaurants, art galleries, shops, and more. Throughout the summer, visitors can catch live music outdoors at popular venues like The Ting Pavilion, or the Thursday evenings Sunset Series at Carter Mountain Orchard. Bring your lawn chairs or a blanket and enjoy a live music, food trucks, wine and spectacular sunset views.

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Farmers Markets are a huge part of the Charlottesville area food scene. Stop by one of the popular open-air markets to pick up provisions for a picnic, or visit one of the area’s many orchards and pick your own peaches during the warm summer months.

Make a trip to the Dairy Market – a food hall with over a dozen diverse food merchants located in the historic Monticello Dairy Building in downtown Charlottesville.

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History & Museums

Set foot inside the homes of three of our early presidents. Within the Charlottesville area, history lovers can visit Monticello, home to Thomas Jefferson; James Monroe’s Highland; and Montpelier, home to James Madison. You can even dine historically when you visit Michie Tavern for lunch – a historic landmark located near Monticello where servers offer southern fare dressed in period attire.

The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center offers a permanent historical exhibit and rotating modern art gallery. Nearby, the University of Virginia Historic District includes the Academical Village, with the school’s Rotunda designed by founder Thomas Jefferson. East of the Rotunda, you’ll find the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, built in 2020 and honoring the enslaved African Americans who built and worked at the college.

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Check out VisitCharlottesville.org to see all that Albemarle County has to offer and build your itinerary for the perfect summer getaway. Need a place to stay? Find the perfect hotel, resort, B&B, or vineyard stay for your long weekend.