Virginia is a captivating state, boasting stunning beaches, majestic mountains, and intriguing history. No matter if you’re visiting for the first time or have visited before, there are plenty of activities to enjoy.
Shenandoah National Park is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts. This national park offers thrilling hiking trails and breathtaking vistas alike.
Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park protects an iconic slice of southern Appalachian natural history and beauty, offering visitors a vast range of recreational activities. Situated just a short drive away from our nation’s capital, this 200,000-acre park features rolling tree-lined hills, wooded hollows, stunning waterfalls and more.
Skyline Drive, stretching 105 miles through Shenandoah National Park, boasts more than 75 scenic overlooks that allow you to take in the surrounding landscape. Not only does this roadway provide stunning views of Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park, but it’s also home to many trails and hikes within the park itself.
Aside from hiking, the park also features several historic sites to discover. One such location is Rapidan Camp, built by President Herbert Hoover as a presidential retreat in 1926.
Shenandoah National Park’s most popular time to visit is during the fall season, when its trees turn vibrant shades and attract thousands of leaf peepers seeking the ideal Instagram shot. However, it can be quite busy during this busy period; so to avoid traffic on Skyline Drive and fully booked campgrounds and lodges, plan ahead.
Colonial Williamsburg is the world’s largest living history museum, covering 300 acres in Virginia’s 1770s Williamsburg area. Visitors can stroll among tradesmen, shop in historic stores and engage with costumed interpreters as they relive history through interactive experiences.
Colonial Williamsburg tells America’s story through historic architecture, living history, and art. Spread across 300 acres, its major areas are The Visitor Center, Palace Green, Capitol, and Market Square.
The visitor center is the perfect starting point for exploring historic sites. Not only does it have useful information and maps, but it also has a gift shop and shuttle service to all nearby historic sites.
Colonial Williamsburg must-sees include the stunning Bruton Parish Episcopal Church – Virginia’s first cruciform-shaped church which has been beautifully restored.
Colonial Williamsburg also features several museums that you can explore with your admission ticket, such as Public Hospital of 1773 and DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum – home to some of the finest British ceramics and furniture pieces worldwide.
Monticello was the primary plantation and home to Founding Father Thomas Jefferson. Initially a tobacco farm, its use changed to wheat cultivation as the economy changed. Nowadays, Monticello is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Monticello, located a short drive from Charlottesville, should not be missed by history buffs. The plantation offers plenty of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy, such as tours of the house and gardens.
After your tour, stop by the museum shop for a wide range of Thomas Jefferson artifacts and souvenirs. It is also an ideal spot to pick up a copy of The Jefferson Bible or one of many books about his life and legacy.
For a more active outdoor adventure, take a hike along the Saunders-Monticello Trail. This picturesque trail is easy to access and winds its way through wooded paths leading up to an estate.
If you’re looking for a challenging workout or an enjoyable walk, the 2-mile Saunders-Monticello Trail is ideal. It’s well marked and comfortable, offering stunning views of Carter Mountain and its surrounding countryside.
Virginia Beach offers stunning views of the Atlantic, making it an idyllic destination for those seeking to unwind and unwind. But this windswept city also offers plenty of enjoyable activities and attractions suitable for all ages.
Since 1607, this coastal city has been captivating visitors from all over with its stunning natural vistas. From inline skaters zipping along the resort-strewn boardwalk to creative sand castle builders inspired by speckled shores, there’s something here for everyone here.
For some outdoor exploration, head to First Landing State Park (formerly Seashore State Park). This picturesque recreational spot offers numerous hiking and biking trails as well as stunning views over the Chesapeake Bay.
The area’s vibrant history is a major draw for tourists, with landmarks like Ferry Plantation House and Cape Henry Lighthouse serving to educate and entertain visitors alike. Additionally, Chick-fil-A Holiday Lights at the Beach, Stars and Stripes Explosion, and Easter Eggstravaganza are popular seasonal events and celebrations in this coastal community.
Arlington National Cemetery
The 624-acre national cemetery is a peaceful resting place for thousands of veterans, featuring the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and gravesites for many other military heroes.
The cemetery is an invaluable opportunity to learn about our nation’s past. Visitors can explore a number of memorials and monuments, such as the Space Shuttle Challenger Memorial and Cross of Sacrifice commemorating Americans who died while serving in Canadian Forces during World War II.
At The Tomb of the Unknown, you can witness a changing of the guard ceremony every hour from October through March and every half hour from April through September. The sentinels from 3rd US Infantry Regiment perform this ritual every hour during these months.
While at Arlington National Cemetery, you can enjoy a range of other activities. Take the tram tour that departs every half-hour or take an enjoyable walking tour for some outdoor exploration.
Luray Caverns are a national landmark and one of the top attractions in Virginia. Situated near Shenandoah National Park, they boast the largest series of caverns in America.
Since 1878, the caverns have captivated visitors with their natural limestone formations called stalactites and stalagmites that formed over millions of years from acid-charged water seepage.
Tours of this breathtaking site unfold along paved walkways that lead you through cathedral-sized rooms with 10-story high ceilings, towering stone formations and natural wonders alike. Some of its most remarkable features include The Great Stalacpipe Organ, Saracen’s Tent and Giants Hall.
Luray Caverns offers visitors a wealth of attractions in addition to its caverns. Admission includes access to the Car & Carriage Carvan Museum, Shenandoah Heritage Village and Toy Town Junction.
For a day of entertainment or an exciting family outing, the caverns are sure to please everyone. Additionally, Luray Zoo nearby offers visitors a wide variety of animals including primates and birds.
Mount Vernon, George Washington’s plantation on the Potomac River, is a must-visit for anyone visiting the region. This historic estate features an exquisitely restored mansion, four gardens and working farm.
Visitors typically spend between two and three hours exploring the grounds, but you can make the most of your time by adding on one or more attractions or activities on-site. For instance, visit the distillery and gristmill for a glimpse into period whiskey production or take advantage of seasonal narrated boat tours along the Potomac for an insightful perspective.
Mount Vernon boasts 25 engaging galleries and theaters. Near the Ford Orientation Center, the Donald W. Reynolds Museum & Education Center showcases artifacts, original movies and hands-on exhibits that celebrate George Washington’s life and career.
At Mount Vernon, there are various special events and programs to enjoy every day, such as the Premium Mansion Tour or National Treasure Tour. These tours provide an insightful look into George Washington himself – just be sure to book your tickets ahead of time!
Chincoteague Island is a coastal haven with family activities, delectable restaurants and historic charm. It’s ideal for nature enthusiasts, sunbathers and fun-seekers who value an active community atmosphere.
Chincoteague Island offers travelers an array of shopping centers, urban activities and lodging options to suit travelers of all budgets. Hotel options here range from cost-effective capsules in Chincoteague Island to 5-star luxury hotels with shopping in Chincoteague Island; plus there are excellent serviced rooms and hostels as well.
Guests on Chincoteague Island have the unique opportunity to explore its fascinating history through guided tours. These walks take you to surprising spots, telling the captivating tale of Chincoteague Island from Indians and settlers to pirates, ponies and oysters.
Kayaking and boating are popular outdoor activities among both locals and tourists alike. Tour providers such as Assateague Island Explorer offer wildlife cruises and fishing excursions throughout the year. If you want to get closer to the water, Chincoteague Island offers numerous boat rental outlets for even closer proximity to nature.