Top 10 Places To Visit in Virginia
Virginia State is one of the oldest states in the country combining unparalleled historical sites with magnificent natural sceneries and burgeoning food and wine scene. The Old Dominion State has such a dense concentration of historical attractions, important events that took place on its territory ranging from first European colonization in the 17th century, Revolution and Civil War that it’s a pure pleasure to explore for true lovers of American history.
Virginia has been labeled so many things that we do not even know where to start, perhaps you should find out on your own what “The Switzerland of America”, “The Land of Lovers” has to offer. And then there are Atlantic Ocean beaches, Appalachian chain glimmering in the view and gorgeous forested hills creating some of the best place to visit in Virginia.
Please refer to our Virginia travel guide list below where we have compiled 10 best places to visit in Virginia.
1. Williamsburg – One of the top places to visit in Virginia from Historic triangle cities (accompanied by #2 and #3 in our list), this place is simply the most amazing open air historical museum in itself. Williamsburg was once the capital of the state for 80 straight years in the 18th century so if you want your children to learn the history not through the books but in real life, head to the Colonial Williamsburg where the whole family will enjoy immersing in the atmosphere of the 17th-18th century Virginia. You will meet villagers dressed in traditional attire of the time carrying on everyday tasks and trades common at the time. Busch Gardens Williamsburg amusement park and zoo provides a nice break between historical explorations.
2. Yorktown – Once a seaport created for the mere purpose of supplying Europe with tobacco grown on the new lands in the 17th century that later became the grounds for one of the largest battles in the American Revolution history in 1781 holds plenty of sites for you to see. The Yorktown Victory Center is one of the best places to explore the remaining relics, objects and paraphernalia from the famous battle along with an educational film which prepare visitors for the tour around the historical battlefield. Yorktown National Cemetery is the final resting place for thousands of soldiers who bravely fell during one of the most fateful battles in the history of the US.
3. Jamestown – In 1607 Captain John Smith disembarked for the first time on the North American land and founded the very first British settlement on the land of Native Indians. Visit the Jamestown Settlement to see the remaining foundation of a church that first British settlers worshiped at; adjacent museum holds a wealth of information and objects witnessing the events of the time. The Powhatan Village is a great example of the typical village of the time and the Statue of the Pocahontas is another reminder that this young woman helped bring peace between Native Americans and European colonists.
4. Norfolk – The largest in the world naval base sets the tone for the Norfolk’s atmosphere. One of the best places to visit in Virginia for single ladies in hopes to meet one of good looking off duty Navy officers or simply enjoy lovely beach scenes, attractions and nightlife venues. Nauticus National Maritime Center is definitely the top landmark here allowing you to explore the science behind battleships, submarines through interactive exhibits, shows and flight simulators.
5. Richmond – Once the capital of the Confederacy, now Richmond is one of the most diverse places to visit in Virginia combining nice Southern roots with Eastern hip flair. The city boasts a wide museum and performing arts scene, Richmond National Battlefield Park which is a nice tribute to the Civil War history and Museum of the Confederacy showcasing the very first White House in the country along with documents, objects and memorabilia devoted to this time period. Virginia State Capitol holds historical importance because it was designed by the US Founding Father and third US President Thomas Jefferson.
6. Shenandoah National Park – It is a place of breathtakingly beautiful sceneries set at the backdrop of Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River, Valley and Piedmont hills. The park offers over 500 miles of hiking trails to last you a lifetime, a myriad of fishing and camping areas, a number of lookout points. But the iconic attraction of this National Park is definitely the Shenandoah Skyline Drive stretching along 100 miles of unparalleled views. The flora and fauna of the park is distinctly mountainous and you can see many typical to this climate species. Among notable flora species you will find oak, chestnut and pine trees along with mountain flowers. As to wildlife you can frequently spot fox, black bear, coyote, white tailed deer and many others. There are also a series of easily or harder to access waterfalls and one of the most popular of them being 70 ft high Dark Hollow Falls located within a short hike from the Skyline Drive.
7. Virginia Beach – For many years the city has been one of the greatest places to visit in Virginia for family beach getaways combining beach activities during the day, fun nightlife and historical and natural attractions to explore. See the First Landing Cross marking the area where the first group of English settlers arrived at in the 17th century. Continuing the tradition of “American First’s”, here you will also be able to see the first Lighthouse built by the federal government, Cape Henry Lighthouse. Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is a great place to see marine wildlife and also book some dolphin or whale watching tours. Virginia Beach Boardwalk is one of the top attractions of the city allowing you to soak up the atmosphere of this resort and visit some of the hottest sites in town like the 15th street amusement park, museums and great restaurants.
8. Luray Caverns – One of the best places to visit in Virginia for true speleology buffs encompassing a complex underground caves system showcasing unbelievable rock formations. Some of the formations are so well known, they have become the attractions in themselves like Great Stalacpipe Organ, Saracens Tent, “Fried Eggs” and others. Walk through cathedral height well lit rooms and hallways jam packed with rock formations giving off spooky sounds and luring visitors to keep exploring. The Caverns have been receiving over 500,000 visitors annually for 130 years in a row.
9. Virginia Living Museum – Located in Newport News, VA, the Living Museum is a perfect place to explore the natural wonders of the State through interactive and living exhibits. Explore the marine inhabitants of the Chesapeake Bay, endangered species of animals who call Virginia forests their home, take a look at the unique plants and trees at the gardens. Both inside and outside exhibits, Abbitt Planetarium and Discovery Centers are intended to make learning fun for you and your children. In addition a busy schedule of daily activities ranging from crocodile feedings to scuba programs and animals encounters will keeps visitors entertained for hours.
10. Virginia Wineries – Despite state’s very humid summers, grapes for wines have been grown here since early colonization times of the 17th century. Virginia cultivated both Native American and European grape varieties to produce complex and rich wines you will not come by anywhere else in the country such as Cabernet Franc, Viognier and Petit Verdot. Virginia is home to over 140 distinct wineries scattered across its territory and is ranked the 7th largest wine producer in the US. To experience Virginia’s unique old style wines visit several wineries and learn what makes Old Dominion State’s wines stand above the rest. Join over 1 million visitors who come here and sample the best crafted wines at the largest wineries including, Williamsburg Winery, Barboursville Vineyards and Prince Michelle in Leon which also has a wine museum on its grounds.