When do the Leaves Change in Virginia?

October 03, 2023
a forest with changing leaves

Planning a getaway to Virginia is never a bad idea, but if you’re hoping to visit when it’s particularly scenic and magical, fall is the time to go. Between the crisp and cool weather and brilliant orange trees, the autumn setting at the Tides Inn creates the perfect place to kick back and unwind.

In order to catch the hues of the season when they are bright and alive, it’s important to keep tabs on when the leaves change in Virginia. Matt Little, horticulturist at the Tides, says that the peak of fall foliage in Irvington is typically around Halloween.

At the end of October, most residents and visitors can expect to see vibrant varieties of red, yellow, and orange. Here’s what else you should know before planning your trip.

Use Local Resources

Before you book a flight or head on a road trip, be sure to check out the annual fall foliage report. Created by the Virginia Department of Forestry, this report shares a forecast map that displays when the prime leaf peeping time will be in each area of the state.

This year's forecast was recently released and shares that the ideal time to spot foliage in Irvington will likely be in late October to early November. Keep in mind that if you’re traveling along the western side of the state, the peak of fall foliage will occur in early to mid October.

For more details, you can download and save the map here.

fall foliage

Good to Know

If you time your stay in Irvington just right, you’ll be greeted by brilliant orange Maple Trees as you drive up to the Tides. “About half of the trees on our property have leaves that will change color in the fall,” says Little. The other half, like evergreens, will stay lush until the first frost.

Another important factor to keep in mind is that the time the trees become bare can also vary from year to year. “The leaves are sometimes off by mid-November and sometimes they hang on until January,” Little explains. “We are so variable here that it’s hard to pinpoint an exact week.”

Your best bet for spotting the seasonal colors is to follow the guidance listed on the Virginia Department of Forestry fall foliage forecast. Whether the leaves are intact and ready to show off or they’re starting to flake off of their branches, an escape to the Tides Inn is always worth the trek.

fall leaves in the water

Best Leaf Peeping Spots (and their distances from the Tides Inn)

  • Dameron Marsh Natural Area Preserve (14 miles)
  • Hickory Hollow Natural Area Preserve (11 miles)
  • Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge (27 miles)
  • Belle Isle State Park (21 miles)
  • Forest Trail or Garden Tour (at Tides Inn)