18 Best Places to Visit in Virginia Right Now

Places to Visit in Virginia

Virginia, also known as the “Old Dominion,” is a state full of history, natural beauty, and charming towns. From the stunning landscapes of Shenandoah National Park to the historic sites of Williamsburg and the vibrant oceanfront of Virginia Beach, there is something for everyone in this diverse state. When planning a trip to Virginia, it can be overwhelming to decide where to go and what to do.

To help you plan your itinerary, we have compiled a list of the 18 best places to visit in Virginia. Whether you are a nature lover, a history buff, or simply enjoy exploring new destinations, Virginia has something to offer you.

1. Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah National Park is a nature lover’s paradise. Spanning over 200,000 acres, the park offers breathtaking views, scenic drives, and an extensive network of hiking trails. One of the most iconic drives in the park is the Skyline Drive, which offers stunning vistas of the Shenandoah Valley.

Hike to the top of Hawksbill Mountain, the park’s highest peak, or explore the numerous waterfalls that dot the landscape. With its rich biodiversity and pristine wilderness, Shenandoah National Park is a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

2. Williamsburg

Williamsburg
Williamsburg

Williamsburg is a historic town that takes visitors back in time to the colonial era. At Colonial Williamsburg, you can immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the 18th century. Explore the historic buildings, interact with costumed interpreters, and learn about life during the Revolutionary War.

For a thrilling adventure, visit Busch Gardens, a theme park that offers exciting rides, live entertainment, and a glimpse into European history. With its rich heritage and family-friendly attractions, Williamsburg is a destination that should not be missed.

3. Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach
Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach, located on the Atlantic Ocean, is known for its miles of sandy beaches, lively boardwalk, and vibrant oceanfront. Spend your days soaking up the sun, swimming in the ocean, or enjoying water sports such as surfing, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

The beach stretches along the Chesapeake Bay, providing stunning views and a variety of outdoor activities. Take a stroll on the boardwalk, which is lined with shops, restaurants, and attractions. Whether you are looking for relaxation, adventure, or family-friendly fun, Virginia Beach has it all.

4. Alexandria

Alexandria
Alexandria

Alexandria, located just minutes from Washington, D.C., is a charming town with a rich history and waterfront attractions. Explore Old Town Alexandria, a historic district filled with cobblestone streets, colonial-era buildings, boutiques, and art galleries.

Visit the historic sites, such as the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, where you can learn about the Founding father’s life and legacy. Take a walk along the Potomac River and enjoy the scenic views of the nation’s capital. Alexandria offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.

5. Arlington

Arlington
Arlington

Arlington, located across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., is home to the iconic Arlington National Cemetery. Pay your respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where the Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place.

Explore the cemetery’s hallowed grounds, which serve as the final resting place for many American heroes, including President John F. Kennedy. Visit Arlington House, the former home of Robert E. Lee, which offers panoramic views of the capital city. Arlington’s rich history and solemn beauty make it a memorable destination.

6. Richmond

Richmond
Richmond

Richmond, the capital of Virginia, is known for its rich history, thriving arts scene, and picturesque riverfront. Explore the historic sites, such as St. John’s Church, where Patrick Henry gave his famous “Give me liberty or give me death” speech.

Visit the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, which houses an impressive collection of art from around the world. Take a stroll along the James River, where you can find parks, gardens, and outdoor recreational opportunities. Richmond’s blend of history, culture, and natural beauty will leave you wanting to explore more.

7. Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon
Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon, located on the banks of the Potomac River, is the historic plantation of George Washington, the first President of the United States. Explore the beautifully preserved mansion, gardens, and museum, which provide insights into the life and legacy of the Founding Fathers.

Take a walk along the estate’s trails, offering picturesque views of the river and the surrounding landscapes. Visit the tomb of George Washington, where he and his wife Martha are laid to rest. Mount Vernon is a must-visit destination for history buffs and anyone interested in the birth of the nation.

8. Charlottesville

Charlottesville
Charlottesville

Charlottesville, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a vibrant town known for its historic sites, vineyards, and the prestigious University of Virginia. Explore the historic downtown, which is lined with boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants.

Visit Monticello, the former residence of Thomas Jefferson, and learn about his contributions to American history. Take a drive along the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway, a scenic road that offers breathtaking views of the mountains. With its rich history, natural beauty, and cultural attractions, Charlottesville has something for everyone.

9. Norfolk

Norfolk
Norfolk

Norfolk, located on the Chesapeake Bay, is a vibrant city with a rich maritime history and a thriving arts and culture scene. Explore the historic neighborhoods, such as Ghent and Freemason, which are filled with shops, restaurants, and galleries.

Visit the USS Wisconsin, a battleship that served in World War II, and learn about its role in the nation’s history. Discover the rich marine life of the bay at the Nauticus Museum and the nearby Virginia Zoo. Norfolk’s blend of history, nature, and culture makes it a destination worth exploring.

10. Roanoke

Roanoke
Roanoke

Roanoke, located in the heart of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, offers a combination of arts, culture, and outdoor activities. Explore the historic sites, museums, and vibrant arts community in downtown Roanoke. Visit the famous Mill Mountain Star, the largest man-made illuminated star in the world, which offers stunning views of the city.

Explore the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway, a scenic road that winds through the mountains and offers breathtaking views. Roanoke is the perfect destination for nature lovers, adventure seekers, and anyone looking to immerse themselves in the beauty of the mountains.

11. Yorktown

Yorktown
Yorktown

Located along the York River, Yorktown boasts historic sites, including a battlefield and museums, offering insight into the Revolutionary War. Visitors can explore the American Revolution Museum and unwind at Yorktown Beach for water activities and scenic views. The town also offers diverse dining options, shops, and art galleries to explore, making it a must-visit destination in Virginia.

12. Chincoteague

Chincoteague
Chincoteague

Chincoteague Island is famous for its annual Pony Swim and Auction, allowing visitors to witness the iconic Chincoteague ponies. Explore the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and the unspoiled beaches of Assateague Island.

The island also boasts charming boutiques, antique shops, and local seafood restaurants for a delightful experience. With an abundance of wildlife and scenic nature trails, Chincoteague offers a unique blend of nature and culture.

13. Jamestown

Jamestown
Jamestown

Explore the birthplace of America at Jamestown, the first English settlement. Uncover history at Historic Jamestowne with archaeological exhibits and walking trails. Step into the past at the Jamestown Settlement, featuring the Powhatan Indian village and colonial fort.

Watch skilled artisans at the Jamestown Glasshouse demonstrate the art of glassblowing. Immerse yourself in living history demonstrations and engage with historical interpreters, bringing the colonial era to life.

14. Luray

Luray
Luray

Luray beckons with the awe-inspiring Luray Caverns, a natural wonder below ground. Outdoor enthusiasts relish hiking, canoeing, and fishing. The nearby Skyline Drive presents breathtaking views of the Shenandoah Valley. Moreover, Luray boasts charming wineries, antique shops, and local eateries. Also, the town hosts various events, including the Luray Caverns Car & Carriage Caravan.

15. Middleburg

Middleburg
Middleburg

Middleburg’s picturesque countryside and equestrian culture offer a unique charm. The historic district boasts quaint shops and fine dining. Don’t miss the annual Christmas in Middleburg celebration. Surrounded by vineyards, Middleburg provides delightful wine-tasting experiences. Outdoor enthusiasts can indulge in activities like horseback riding, fox hunting, and nature walks amidst stunning landscapes.

16. Tangier Island

Tangier Island
Tangier Island

Tangier Island offers a peek into Chesapeake Bay’s historic watermen culture. Enjoy fresh seafood and signature crab dishes while taking in stunning sunset views and tranquil beachfront settings. Explore narrow streets, historic homes, and charming bed-and-breakfasts, engaging with the friendly island community to learn about their rich maritime heritage. Visitors can indulge in the island’s unique charm and enriching experiences, making it one of Northern Virginia’s best places to visit.

17. Great Falls Park

Great Falls Park
Great Falls Park

Great Falls Park presents the mesmerizing cascading waterfalls of the Potomac River, offering hiking, picnicking, and wildlife observation opportunities. Visitors can appreciate the rugged beauty of Mather Gorge and the surrounding nature while exploring scenic overlooks and nature trails. Ideal for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts, the park provides a serene escape with its stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife, making it a must-visit destination in Virginia.

18. Natural Bridge State Park

Natural Bridge State Park
Natural Bridge State Park

Experience the iconic natural bridge formation at Natural Bridge State Park, a geological wonder in Virginia. Guided tours offer insights into the bridge and its surroundings. Take in picturesque views on the Cedar Creek Trail and indulge in birdwatching, nature walks, and rock climbing opportunities.

The best places to visit in Virginia, Immerse yourself in history at the Monacan Indian Village and Lace Waterfall. This park offers a blend of natural beauty and historical significance, making it a must-visit while exploring Virginia. Nearby attractions include Assateague Island and the Colonial Parkway.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some must-see attractions in Virginia?

Monticello, the historic plantation of Thomas Jefferson, offers insights into the life of the founding fathers.

Colonial Williamsburg presents the opportunity to step back in time and experience life during the colonial era.

Virginia Beach, with its miles of sandy beaches, offers endless opportunities for relaxation and outdoor activities.

Shenandoah National Park, with its stunning landscapes and miles of hiking trails, is a must-visit destination.

What is the best time of year to visit Virginia?

The best time to visit Virginia is during the fall season, particularly September to November, when the foliage transforms into vibrant colors, especially along the Blue Ridge Parkway. This time of year offers the perfect opportunity for scenic drives, hiking, and photography. However, the beach season, which typically runs from May to September, is also popular, especially for those looking to enjoy the oceanfront destinations like Virginia Beach.

Are there any hidden gem destinations in Virginia that are often overlooked by tourists?

The best places to visit in Virginia, there are hidden gem destinations in Virginia that often go unnoticed by tourists. For wildlife enthusiasts, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which stretches into Virginia, offers the chance to spot black bears and explore the natural beauty of the mountains.

History buffs will enjoy the Freedom House Museum in Alexandria, which tells the story of the domestic slave trade, and the Manassas National Battlefield Park, where two significant Civil War battles took place. These off-the-beaten-path destinations provide unique experiences and a deeper understanding of Virginia’s rich heritage.

Can I plan a budget-friendly trip to Virginia?

The best places to visit in Virginia, It is possible to plan a budget-friendly trip to Virginia. By visiting during the off-season or weekdays, you can find lower prices. Explore free or low-cost activities like hiking, and visiting parks, and historic sites. Consider staying in budget-friendly accommodations such as hostels or camping grounds.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the best places to visit in Virginia offer a diverse range of attractions that cater to every type of traveler. From the scenic landscapes of Shenandoah National Park and the historical charm of Williamsburg to the sandy beaches of Virginia Beach and the cultural hub of Richmond, there is something for everyone in this beautiful state.

Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures, history, and culture, or simply relaxing by the water, Virginia has it all.

Plan your visit according to your interests and make sure to explore some of the hidden gems like Chincoteague and Tangier Island. Don’t forget to check out our Frequently Asked Questions section for more information on planning a budget-friendly trip and the best time to visit.

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