Stunning fall colors. Beautiful weather. And plenty of great options for outdoor adventure and family fun, or even adventures of the culinary variety. Welcome to autumn in Chesapeake, Virginia – truly one of life’s pleasures.

Here are just a few of the reasons Chesapeake was selected by Blue Ridge Outdoors readers as “Top Adventure Town”:

The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, where great adventure awaits.

More than 47 mammal species call these 112,000 acres of forested wetlands home, including foxes, bears, snakes, bald eagles, beavers and otters, along with 200 kinds of birds. At the center of the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is beautiful Lake Drummond, where tannin from the cypress trees kills bacteria, making it some of the purest water in the world.

We humans can enjoy the swamp, too. From hiking or biking along the 8.5-mile Dismal Swamp Canal Trail to embarking on a guided kayak tour in Lake Drummond among the cypress trees (available through Adventure Kayak Tours), there are lots of ways to take in the swamp’s otherworldly beauty.

Water, water everywhere.

The sheer number and variety of beautiful, watery locales make Chesapeake a kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding paradise. The 763-acre Northwest River Park and Campground offers an extensive trail system for hiking and biking – and a 6-acre lake stocked with trout and catfish. Other unique venues for your next outdoor adventure along our waterways include Elizabeth River Park, the Intracoastal Waterway at Deep Creek Lock Park, and the Dismal Swamp Canal at the North Trail Gate, just to name a few.

Pumpkin patches, hayrides and corn mazes.

Chesapeake is also known for its working farms that offer a wonderful, family-friendly way to enjoy the season, including:

Great eats, drinks and entertainment.

Had your fill of wildlife and waterways for the day? Chesapeake civilization beckons, including enticing eateries, craft beer and live music. Beer lovers, don’t miss the fun at Big Ugly Brewing Company, where you can sample their “big, bold beer” varieties along with great eats, bands and events. Or visit The Garage Brewery, the city’s newest brewery, offering a tasting room, wraparound bar and patio.

Stay in Chesapeake. Venture to Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

Chesapeake’s location in the heart of Coastal Virginia makes it the perfect headquarters for your vacation or getaway. Take your pick of affordable, pet-friendly accommodations, and from here it’s just a quick 10-minute drive to downtown Norfolk museums, attractions and nightlife, or a 25-minute drive to the Virginia Beach Boardwalk and beaches.

Just don’t be surprised if you wind up spending all your time right here in Chesapeake – and loving every minute of it. Plan your getaway adventure at

Places to Go, Things to See: