Hello, my name is Shuaib Kaleem. A few days back, I went to the USA for work. I haven’t traveled much yet. But I have been able to roam California and Virginia till now. I will share my experience with you as I travel around this country. Tell me by writing in the comment box how you felt after reading it.
Virginia should be on the list of every travel enthusiast, along with exquisite locales, beautiful sandy beaches, and rich blue mountains. Thus, here we shall discuss some of the best places to go in Virginia, and the list is endless.
No one can ignore its contribution as the birthplace of some of the beloved Presidents of the United States. Besides, Virginia played a significant role in America’s civil war. This is reflected in a host of memorials and plaques dotting every nook and corner of the state.
Hence let us confine ourselves to popular tourist destinations, including Charlottes Ville and Williamsburg. Not to mention the lofty Appalachian and the vast Atlantic shoreline. With a host of natural and manmade places, Virginia is a treat for nature lovers and adventure tourists.
Best Places to go in Virginia
The quiet, beautiful city of Roanoke is set in the middle of the valley with the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding it. The city is also proudly referred to as the Star City of the South for its majestic star set atop the Mill mountain that casts a shining light on the beloved city and the surrounding neighborhood.
Ideally located in the South Western part of Virginia, the city has witnessed tremendous growth in terms of art and culture. Besides, there are many a museum and music venues worth exploring. Among the most prominent ones is the Taubman Museum of art, which proudly displays colorful artworks.
In addition, the Virginia Museum of Transportation is the place to be to understand the working of the Roanoke railway.
Apart from being the main naval base in America, the city has a lot to offer. Museums and beautiful parks are some of the notable attractions of this town. Norfolk lies in the southeastern part of the state, bordered by the major cities of Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach.
Since the town lies at the Chesapeake Bay and Elizabeth river confluence, much of its history has revolved around its waters. Norfolk has come a long way from being a rowdy town.
The city is home to the Chrysler Museum of Art, Nauticus, and the maritime center. With phenomenal art centers scattered around the town, the city is worth visiting.
This has top the list of some of the best places to reside in America. Apart from holding the University of Virginia, it acts as a cultural capital of this region.
The city dots many beautiful buildings and interesting architectural pieces belonging to yesteryears. Moreover, it is the home of James Monroe and Thomas Jefferson, a few former Presidents of America.
The prime attraction of the city is the University of Virginia. The University bears a striking resemblance to the Greek and Roman style of architecture. Thanks to the sizeable number of students who attend this prestigious University, many young people lend a youthful vibe to this otherwise quiet place.
Lying to the Northeast of Virginia is Mount Vernon. This happens to be the former plantation home of George Washington. As we all know, George Washington was the first president of the USA.
The residents overlook the scenic Potomac River. Washington occupied it from the years 1754 to 1799. Visitors have frequented the Grand residence and estate.
History tells us that this mighty mansion was designed by George Washington himself. Visitors are treated to the former President’s furnishings, portraits, and artifacts. With over 20 rooms to explore, the travelers get incredible insights into the life of the President and its invaluable contribution.
If interested, you can spend a few moments at George and Martha Washington Memorial.
Best Historical Places in Virginia
As we have stated earlier, Virginia is a treat for history lovers. They will have plenty to rave about after visiting this place. Deemed to be the first of the United States Colony, Virginia goes by the popular nickname “Mother of Presidents.”
Its historic sites reflect the years of glorious history and culture behind it. Let’s take you on a whirlwind tour of its famous historic spots without wasting any further time.
Tomb of the unknown
This is a referral to a monument built in the memory of the deceased U.S. soldiers whose identity remains a mystery. The tomb is located at the center of Arlington National Cemetery.
The Unknown Soldier was conferred numerous medals, including the Victoria Cross and medal of honor. The idea behind it was taken from the ceremonies held in the memory of the unknown soldiers. They died in World War 1 in Paris and Landon.
Thus out of the 4soldiers, one was selected to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery as the Unknown Soldier. The tomb is a fitting tribute to many American soldiers who died while fighting for the things they loved, like valor and dedication to one’s country.
Special days are set aside for commemorative events and ceremonies in memory of these die-hard martyrs.
Colonial Williamsburg is a must-visit for history buffs interested in the early colonial history of America. Famed the largest living memorial, it is ideal for families and couples. If you are interested in American history, we suggest spending a few days here.
Williamsburg was the former capital of the Virginia colony during the year 1699 to 1780. A ticket is essential to enter Colonial Williamsburg. The ticket includes the permit to attend various functions and events.
Set in the middle of 301 acres, the site has many reconstructed buildings and shops dating back to the 1700s. These buildings are manned by costumed interpreters who re-enact the story of the American Revolution.
The foremost amongst these builds is the Capitol building. This building is the epic center of the political power of Virginia. There are candlelight tours and carriage rides to attend to. The Duke of Gloucester Street and many a tavern are lit in the evening to welcome the visitor.
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery is the final burial site for thousands of military personnel. It is a military cemetery located in Arlington County, Virginia.
The cemetery dating back to the American civil war, is the final resting place of some of the prominent figures of American history, for instance, John F Kennedy. Inside the cemetery lies the Unknown Soldier’s tomb and the Iwo-Jima memorial. Besides, visitors see the Arlington House and the Pentagon, which lie a short distance away.
National Parks to Visit in Virginia
Blue ridge parkway
Following the trail of the Appalachian Mountains for about 450 miles covering the states of Virginia and North Carolina lies the breathtaking Blue Ridge parkway.
The Parkway covers some of the awestruck views, especially during autumn. The bright red flora and fauna on the other side turn into a mess of stunning red, yellow, and orange. Travelers often get out of their moving vehicles to capture the surrounding landscapes.
The Parkway provides shelter to a divergent group of plants and animals that have made it their natural habitat. There are several stops en route like Mabrybil.
Location: Virginia, North Carolina.
Timings: 24 hours
Fee: no fee
Manassas National battlefield park
This should be your first stop if you genuinely want to learn about the American civil war. This park is situated on the outskirts of Washington DC in the beautiful landscape of Prince William.
The battlefield serves as a witness for both the first battle of Manassas (Bull Run) and the second battle of Manassas ( Bullrun). This battlefield also served in giving Confederate General Thomas J.Jacksonhis nickname (Stonewall Jackson)
The park covers a total area of 5000 acres. Several historic sites and walking trails are designed to give the visitor a firsthand experience of walking through history. Starting with the Henry Hill visitor center, travelers are treated to an orientation film dealing with both the battles.
Location: 6511 Sudley Road, Manassas, VA 20109, United States
Timings: 8.30 am – 5 pm
The fee is $1 for an individual and $3 for a family.
Shenandoah National Park
Over 75 miles from the heart of Washington DC lies Shenandoah National Park. The park is spectacular, with cascading waterfalls, panoramic views, and feels of blooming wildflowers.
The park covers about 200000 acres of land. It provides a natural habitat to a wide array of animals, including black bears, deer, and various birds. The park covers a great feel of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the hills of Virginia’s piedmont.
There are plenty of camping sites and lodges inside the park for the convenience of visitors.
Location: Virginia, United States.
Fee: $30 for each vehicle, $25 for a motorcycle
Timings: 9 am -5 pm.
Natural Places to Visit in Virginia
Beaches in Virginia
Talking about the fantastic beaches in Virginia. The first name that comes to our mind is Virginia beach. The beach is close to the Chesapeake Bay and offers visitors many activities and mouth-watering slaveries.
The divergent activities, including surfing and live music shows, make it highly popular among travelers. People prefer snorkeling or simply exploring the waterfront cafes and restaurants. The entire shoreline is dotted with many accommodations, which is easy for travelers hoping to spend some time on the beach.
If you prefer to spend some quiet moments with your loved ones away from the hustle and bustle of famous beaches, try sand bridge beach. Although a part of Virginia Beach, it is relatively less crowded.
It is a small beach running for about 4.5 miles. There are fewer hotels and restaurants here. Nevertheless, the visitors love to watch the spectacular sunsets while lazing about or taking part in Kayaking and fishing to beat their boredom.
Lakes to Visit in Virginia
Smith mountain lake
This huge reservoir lies at the base of Blueridge mountains in the middle of a vast valley. The reservoir draws water from the Roanoke River.
The picturesque lake forms a major tourist draw. Being the largest lake in the state of Virginia, the area surrounding it has been fully commercialized with luxurious building sand retails. The lake allows visitors to develop their waterskiing, boating, and swimming skills.
Lakeanna, Louisa, Spotsylvania, and orange counties
This is the biggest freshwater lake in Virginia. Harnassing Singh built it along the waters of the North Ana river. The lake is located at a convenient distance from Washington DC, Richmond, and Charlottesville. Thus making it a popular tourist spot.
The 53000 hector lake has been bifurcated into two divisions. One side is reserved for the public, and the other is private. The public portion is dotted with several boat ramps.
Lake Ana state park lies on the public side of the lake. It has numerous picnic spots, hiking trails, and cafes.
Kerr lake, Mecklenburg
With an area covering 20000 hectares, the reservoir turned lake was created after the construction of the John J.Kerr dam. The lake stands beside the Roanoke River.
The lake owes its name to Congressman John H.Kerr. Since the lake lies at the boundary of Virginia and North Carolina, it is frequented by tourists from both states. There are provisions for practicing waterskiing and jet skiing on the lake. The U.S. army corps of Engineers look after the lake.
Mountains to visit in Virginia
The Blue Ridge Mountains
The Blue Ridge, or Blue Ridge as it is popularly called, forms a part of the Appalachian range. The Mountain extends for over 615 miles and covers parts of Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina.
Mount Rogers is the highest peak in Virginia. Several rivers have crisscrossed the entire area anted streams; among them, Roanoke, James, and Potomac all flow through Virginia. The Blue Ridge pathway runs through the mountains. The motor route is famous for its overall scenic appeal.
This happens to be the highest Mountain in Virginia. With an elevated height of 5729 ft. The summit is utterly lonely and desolate, with no proper trails or roads leading to it.
The Mountain provides two popular hiking trails, Massie gap, and Elk Garden. The Mountain is dotted with spruce Fir trees, generally found at 5500 ft. Besides, the area looks spectacular with thickets of Rhododendron, which bloomed during the summer season.
Apple orchard mountains
Despite its name, no apple trees are found here. Parched at the height of 4225 ft, the area is heavily forested with Northern red oaks. The oaks are severely pored due to the strong winds, thereby taking the shape of an apple orchard.
A naval radar station occupies the summit strictly off bounds. Several hiking trails passed through virgin forests full of wild animals.
Rivers to Visit in Virginia
The Potomac river flows through the states of Maryland and Virginia. It originates in the Appalachian mountains and ends in the Chesapeake Bay. Moreover, it acts as a natural boundary between the states of Maryland and Virginia.
The river gained immense fame during the colonial period since it was used as an invaluable navigation route. Moreover, during the years of the American civil war, the river formed the natural barrier between the confederacy and the union.
This swift flowing river runs over several white water rapids and is the longest river in the state. The river site provides spectacular views.
However, the river flows past several small islands and huge boulders, providing ideal tourist picnic grounds. The height of the water is sufficient for cannoning and paddling.
The river originates in the Appalachian Mountains and flows directly into Chesapeake bay. The river is fondly called the founding river since the first English colony, James town, came on its banks.
Jackson river is the main tributary of the James River. The river is famed for its abundance of troubles. Thus fishing forms a significant activity along the banks of the river.
The river originates in the Highland country. It flows for some distance before merging with Cow pasture to form the James River. The river takes its name from William Jackson, who settles on its banks. The river banks provide4 spectacular views and are ideal for Kayaking and fishing.
Dog-Friendly Places in Virginia
You may have come across the same that Virginia is for lovers. Here lovers include pet lovers too. Several places in Virginia encourage visitors to take their pets along with them. We will discuss some of these places.
Barrel oak winery Delaplane
The Barrel oak winery allows visitors to enjoy the outdoors with the furry animals while sipping on some finest wines.
The owners of this winery were so fond of their pets that they named their wine collection after them. Travelers can schedule an appointment to visit the winery with their dogs personally.
Sandy bottom nature park
Sandy bottom nature park in Hampton is another place where visitors are allowed to spend some time with their pets. This beautiful park has certain areas that have been secluded for animals.
Visitors can partake in innumerable activities inside the park with their pets. These include fishing, camping as well as hiking. Travelers can also dine with their pets in Joe’s crab shack.
Stony point fashion park
Want to spend a day shopping for your beloved pets? Then try stony point fashion park. The mall has stores exclusively designed to cater to your pet’s fashion accessories.
Besides, the pets will love to visit three dog bakeries. This bakery serves goodies for pets to enjoy. What’s more, there are restrooms exclusively for pets as well. After all, if you are still hungry, are sure to enter Roy’s Big Burger for a burger snack.
Haunted Places to visit in Virginia
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Alexzandria
This was initially built as a tavern for tired travelers. Now it has acquired different fame of its own. The tavern has become the site of many haunted stories.
The legend goes that in 1816 young woman accompanied her husband on a journey to Alexandria. However, on this journey, she contracted an illness for which she was brought to the tavern to recover. However, instead of getting better, she ultimately died and was buried in St Paul’s cemetery.
Visitors to this Traven claimed to have seen the ghost of this mystery woman from time to time.
Martha Hotel and Spa
Martha hotel and spa rooms can be booked for an all-night spooky experience. Initially, the hotel was dev iced as a building to cater to the wounded soldiers during the civil war.
However, many soldiers failed to recover and breathed their last in this hotel. Now some of this hotel’s rooms are said to be haunted by the spirit of these soldiers. Visitors frequent this hotel and talk about the Yankee sweetheart, fantom horse, and vanishing blood stains.
This beautiful mansion dates back to 1912. It was built by James H. Dooley, who participated in the civil war. James Dooley built this building for his beloved wife and him to reside in.
But over time, the mansion began to deteriorate. It changed hands several times after James’s death. Today it is owned by James Dulaney. The mansion doors are open to the public for photo shoots and weddings. But the mansion is said to be haunted by the ghost of Sallie Dooley.
People who visited this building swear to have seen the spirit of Sallie Dooley wandering about in the hallways.
Virginia has been an underrated state for a long time. But now the time has come to change the mindset of the average tourist looking for fun and adventure. A careful reading of this article will give you a fair idea do some of the best things to do in Virginia.
With a wealth of activities, including Zip lining, rock climbing, and hiking, Virginia is a one-stop destination for nature lovers and adventure tourists. Moreover, the state’s invaluable contribution to producing some of the finest Presidents of the U.S. and its sacrifice during the civil war is hard to ignore.
Thus, in John Denver’s words, we shall end this article by saying, “take me home, country roads.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is skyline drive in Virginia?
Skyline Drive is 105 miles north and south of the Blue Ridge mountains. It is a public road that cuts through Shenandoah National park.
Are Luray caverns worth it?
Luray caverns have been judged to be the best taverns in Virginia. The taverns are famous for their mammoth rock columns and huge underground lakes.
Does Virginia beach accept dogs?
Yes, Virginia is a state for dog lovers. Dogs are allowed to enter the beaches. However, specific dates are set aside for pets, for instance, before memorial day and only after labor day weekend.
What is the no. 1 attraction in Virginia?
The No. 1 attraction in Virginia is undoubtedly Virginia beach. This place lures millions of visitors every year. Events are planned exclusively to cater to tourists.
How many national parks are there in Virginia?
There are 212 national parks in Virginia. The most prominent parks are Shenandoah National park and the Blueridge parkway.
What is Virginia’s most visited park?
The most visited park in Virginia is First landing. This park spreads over 2,888 acres.
What is the largest national park in Virginia?
Pocahontas is the largest park in Virginia, encompassing 8001 acres.
What are the most important rivers in Virginia?
The most important river in Virginia is the James River. It rises in the Appalachian mountains before draining into the Chesapeake Bay.
What are the cleanest rivers in Virginia?
Cow pasture and James river are the cleanest rivers in Virginia.