The Best Places to Visit in Virginia

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Virginia is a scenic Mid-Atlantic state with natural beauty and outdoor activities, history and more to attract travelers. There are more than 125 wineries and vineyards in Virginia, there are beaches and coastal areas, and there’s history to in places like Arlington National Cemetery and Colonial Williamsburg.

If you’re thinking about a trip to Virginia, the following are some places to consider.

Williamsburg

Williamsburg is one of the country’s top travel destinations, and it’s a hub of American Colonial history. Williamsburg as well as Jamestown and Yorktown, and dedicated to telling the history of America’s founding fathers.

Colonial Williamsburg is an amazing living history museum. You can see real craftspeople and skilled trades people working, or enjoy a meal in a tavern. Guided tours are available including themed garden or ghost tours.

When you’ve gotten your fill of history, there’s more to Williamsburg. For example, there’s the Water Country USA Water Park and Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Other sites include the Williamsburg Winery, the Yorktown Battlefield, and the living museum at Jamestown.

Old Town Alexandria

Old Town Alexandria was named as the Best Value U.S. Travel Destination by Money magazine in 2018. It was also named as one of the Top 5 Best Small Cities in the U.S. by the Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards, and one of the South’s Prettiest Cities by Southern Living.

Old Town Alexandria is a nationally designated historic district, founded in 1749. Today it’s home to more than 200 restaurants and boutiques, and a scenic waterfront at King Street. You can see well-preserved examples of both 18th and 19th-century architecture, cobblestone streets, and you can take a ride on the King Street Trolley, which is free.

There are sightseeing cruises and water taxis to take you along the river, and you can visit historic sites like the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum or Gadsby’s Tavern Museum.

Old Town Alexandria is home to the oldest farmer’s market in the country also, which is held on Saturday mornings year-round. For 260 years the Old Town Farmers’ Market has sold produce, and George Washington sent produce from Mount Vernon to be sold at this market.

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is a charming, laid back coastal area. There’s a relaxed feeling here, as you walk along the Virginia Beach Boardwalk with bike paths, rides, and entertainment. The boardwalk also hosts live musical acts in the summer months.

First State Landing Park is the most-visited state park in the area, and it was named after the original English colonists of 1607.

The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center includes the Bay & Ocean Pavilion and the Marsh Pavilion.

If you want a quiet reprieve, visit False Cape State Park, which is one of the few undeveloped areas along the entire Atlantic coast.

Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park is around 75 miles outside of Washington D.C. There are 500 miles of trails running through the park and of these, over 100 miles are part of the Appalachian Trail. You can drive Skyline Drive to see the park, which goes for 105 miles along the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Fall is a popular time to see the park because of the changing of the leaves, and spring is also a peak time.

While Skyline Drive is the most popular way to see the park, you can also hike it, and it’s one of the few national parks in the country that are dog-friendly. Some of the popular trails include Traces Trail, Corbin Cabin Cutoff Trail, and Stony Man Nature Trail.

Charlottesville

Charlottesville is perhaps best known as being home of The University of Virginia. The campus lends to a thriving downtown area with bars, restaurants, shops, and entertainment. The colonial-area buildings and architecture are beautiful as well. If you go during fall, you’ll be there for the excitement of students returning to UVA, and UVA football games.

Things to see in and around Charlottesville includes the James Monroe residence at Ash Lawn-Highland and Monticello, which was Thomas Jefferson’s home. To the west of Charlottesville are wineries and horse farms, and you can visit Michie Tavern, with a history going back to 1784.

Richmond

Finally, Richmond is a good place to go if you enjoy history as well, although modern Richmond is a bustling urban area. Some of the things to see in Richmond include the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, The Virginia State Capitol, and the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. You can sample oysters from the Chesapeake Bay, or visit St. Johns Episcopal Church to see a re-enactment of Patrick Henry’s famous speech.

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