Road Trips in Virginia
A road trip is a fun, affordable way to explore the best of nature. Especially in Virginia, road trips help you absorb almost everything from beautiful landscapes to the history of quaint old towns and exciting urban centers. Also, there are a lot of fun cute towns around, making a road trip from Virginia a must-do activity. The drives are full of scenic views and fresh air. The best part is that you can cut your trips as short as you want them to be or make them as long as your calendar allows.
Mentioned below are some Virginia road trip suggestions to help you have an epic trip!
1. The Blue Ridge Parkway
Nicknamed as “America’s favorite drive,” this scenic motor road connects Shenandoah National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The road trip from Virginia is quite scenic with its incredible views of the Blue Ridge mountains. To stretch your legs, along the way there are hundreds of miles of hiking trails and some of them even lead to spectacular waterfalls.
The Virginia portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway is 217 miles long and much of it travels through the George Washington and Jefferson national forests. Also, it is the most visited unit of the National Park System. James River, Peaks of Otter, Rocky Knob Mabry Mill, and the Blue Ridge Music Center are some of the unmissable spots. Apart from beautiful scenery, it also has several museums. Museum of North Carolina Minerals is the most famous one. A lot of mountain towns are also at a short distance. Banner Elk has some of the best ski resorts.
If you want to camp, this one is for you. Numerous campgrounds in spectacular settings are available here.
2. Presidential Homes Tour
Virginia is home to seven Presidents and that’s more than any other state. Visiting all of these epic homes together makes for a great idea for road trips in Virginia. Your first stop can be in Mount Vernon. Here, you can explore George Washington’s historic home and his birthplace in Colonial Beach. Don’t miss out on the living history exhibits. To see his boyhood home, head to Ferry Farm, Fredericksburg. It is also home to The James Monroe Museum which has the nation’s largest collection of memorabilia related to Monroe’s life and presidency.
Then you can drive towards Richmond and along the James River, stop at Berkeley Plantation which is William Henry Harrison’s birthplace. John Tyler’s estate, Sherwood Forest is also just a few minutes away.
Another stop can be at Thomas Jefferson’s boyhood home i.e. Tuckahoe Plantation. After that, you can visit his “crown jewel”, Monticello. Ashland-Highlands, the famous home, and estate of James Monroe is a good option to spend time at.
For your second last stop, you can consider James Madison’s Montpelier. The museum and the mountain views are definitely worth the stop. Finally, your last stop can be in Staunton at Woodrow Wilson’s birthplace. If you’re there, to learn more about his life you can visit the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library.
3. Virginia Wine Trails
Virginia is home to over 200 wineries, and what’s better than exploring the best of them in your own way. This might sound absurd but it definitely makes an adventurous option for road trips in Virginia. Wine trails are located everywhere, you just have to choose what suits you the best. The best time to plan this trip is Virginia Wine Month – October. Throughout the month you’ll get beautiful wine festivals and even great packages.
Here are a few options you can consider. Beginning with Northwest Virginia. The drive is full of gorgeous views, making it a scenic one. You can take Route 211 as it offers seven wineries and a distillery.
For a route with more wineries along with some historical sites, Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail is the one. It offers a total of nine wineries each in a unique setting with charming courtyards, vineyard views, and picnic areas. Vear Warrenton, the Fauquier Wine Trail can definitely keep you entertained with twenty-three wineries and some really fine dining options.
Last, but not least is the Monticello Wine Trail in central Virginia. Being home to 30 wineries, it is the G.O.A.T when it comes to wine trails. With the largest concentration of wineries in Virginia, it even has the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
4. Shenandoah Valley
With no shortage of beautiful sights, adventure, and memorable experiences, this one should definitely make it to the list of road trips in Virginia. Being true to its nickname “the Big Valley,” it includes a lot of places like Lexington, Harrisonburg, Staunton, Natural Bridge, Luray, Winchester, and many other exotic cities and cute towns. Along the way, you’ll also find a lot of museums, some of which are the Frontier Culture Museum, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum, and Virginia Military Institute and Museum.
Shenandoah Valley is also the wine country of Virginia. It also includes one of the world’s natural wonders, Natural Bridge. It’s a must-visit and has a lot of fun things to be a part of.
For the younger road trippers, Dinosaurland is a major attraction. The Virginia Safari Park is quite a fun for a family activity.
Shenandoah National Park is home to some of the most famous hikes in Virginia. The Appalachian Trail, with beautiful views and even including waterfall is considered the best here. It is a perfect place for adventure enthusiasts as it offers plenty of fun activities. It is also a great place to relax because it offers very soothing and some of the best views in the state.
5. Skyline Drive
Since we just talked about Shenandoah National Park, it’s worth mentioning the only public roadway through the park. It’s also one of the most picturesque drives in the country and hence one of the best road trips in Virginia. From beginning to end, the scenic drive takes around three hours and is quite relaxing. To experience all the colors of nature, Spring is the best time to take this trip.
It has 75 overlooks, connecting major campgrounds, lodges, picnic areas, and most trailheads. Hogback Overlook is the longest overlook in the park and Elkwallow Wayside is the one with picnic areas. To spot deers, Big Meadows is the one. It even includes a lodge, campground, and some dining options. Doyles River and Moormans River can be viewed through the trails of the Big Run area and are worth it. Major waterfalls can be accessed via one loop hike from Browns Gap. Two of them are on Doyles River and one on Jones Run.
You can also visit the Luray Caverns. They are the largest caverns in the eastern United States and are quite famous for experiencing the history of transportation as it is home to 140 cars, carriages, coaches, and costumes from 1725.
Trips are meant for some self-pampering. To do that, Skyland Resort, Shenandoah National Park’s largest lodge is perfect. Along with beautiful units, for some adventure, it offers horseback riding.
Even if you don’t want to make stops, the drive itself is worth a trip.
6. The Crooked Road
For music lovers, The Crooked Road is perfect for a road trip in Virginia. It is a 300-mile journey through the heart of the Appalachian Mountain, beginning from the Blue Ridge Mountains all the way across the state to Franklin County. Being true to its alternate name, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, the drive is full of traditional country, folk, and bluegrass music.
This trip will cover some of the major music venues all at once. Blue Ridge Music Center, located on the campus of Ferrum College will enlighten you about the region’s special connection to its bluegrass roots. You can stop at Birthplace of Country Music in Bristol. In Galax, the Old Fiddlers’ Convention and Rex Theater are also worth some time. Some other attractions include the Ralph Stanley Museum in Clintwood, The Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, and Heartwood in Abingdon.
In the charming town of Floyd, The Floyd Country Store is a major attraction. It has an incredible collection of musicians. It is also famous for its Appalachian music, classic cafe, Virginia-made products, unique craft, flatfoot dancers, and cloggers. If you’re visiting on Friday, don’t miss out on Friday Night Jamboree, one of the region’s most popular traditions. Fun is guaranteed in this celebration of music.
There are a lot of rentals along the way, so you don’t have to worry about late-night performances and spending some good relaxing time.
7. Roadtrip along the Seaside
Virginia’s beaches are one of a kind and the best way to explore them is via a drive. For water adventure enthusiasts, this one makes for a great option for road trips in Virginia.
Owing to its 35 miles of coastline to explore, you can easily spend days at Virginia beach itself. It is the longest stretch of pleasure beach anywhere. Here you can find tons of outdoor activities and adventures. For walking, running, biking, skateboarding or simply enjoying some alone time, the Virginia Beach Boardwalk is perfect. Then, to see some marine life, the Virginia Aquarium is home to sharks, seals, sea turtles, otters, rays, and many other sea animals. It is also a great area to enjoy the view of the ocean.
The Adventure Park, located in the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center is perfect for family or group activities. It offers challenging aerial walks, swinging stairs, zipline, climbing adventures, and much more. You can also book them in advance. There is a lot more to do in Virginia Beach, check out all the fun things to do in Virginia Beach.
When you get done with Virginia beach, you can head east towards the 18-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. If you want to spend some alone time, it’s a gem for you.
If you have more time, definitely pay a visit to Assoteague and Chincoteague Islands. Herds of wild ponies are a common site here. The area offers some amazing oysters, fish, and other seafood.
Please also read Best Things to do in Gaspe
8. The Colonial Parkway
This 23 miles long parkway, connects the historic sites of Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg, and Yorktown. For history buffs, this historic triangle is a must-consider option for road trips in Virginia. Though in total it just takes fifty minutes to drive, you can definitely spend a day or two exploring the archaeological sites, living history attractions, monuments, and battlefields.
In Colonial Williamsburg, you’ll find recreations of sites from the 1700s and some of the original ones too. The town also offers fun Candlelight tours and carriage rides. To explore history in its own way. It even has some active taverns which were used as a dining option in the 18th century.
On Jamestown Island, you’ll find Jamestown Settlement which is a living history museum. It also has a number of interactive exhibits.
If you need a break from history, you can head to nearby Water Country, a water park. It offers various rides, miniature golf, and a. ride on the Hubba Hubba Highway.
The parkway also includes guided tours and some activities like hiking and biking and nature watching.
A road trip to the capital city of the Commonwealth of Virginia is a very interesting option with tons to do. You might even want to make a checklist for this one. It is particularly famous for being a hub of outdoor activities and hence is also known as a big outdoor playground. The Virginia Capital Trail is famous for bike riding. For activities like fishing, swimming or simply just resting in nature’s company, Deep Bottom Park is the spot.
It is also home to a bunch of museums. the Edgar Allan Poe Museum, housed in the Old Stone House, the oldest building in Richmond is a must-visit. It has stored all kinds of fantastic items from Poe’s life, the most famous being all kinds of original written works. American Civil War Museum is another great museum to spend some time at. Virginia Aviation Museum is also located in Richmond itself. For art enthusiasts, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has some of the best pieces of artists like Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Henri Matisse, and many more.
The city is also home to several historical homes. John Marshall House is one of the most famous ones as it is filled with the largest collection of Richmond Federal period furnishings. White House of the Confederacy is another house you can spend to get more knowledge on the history of the city.
If you’re still unsure about considering Richmond as an option for road trips in Virginia, check this article out.
10. Luray Caverns
The best part about visiting Caverns in Virginia is that they offer tons of activities besides the tours below ground. Hence, gaining a spot on the list of road trips in Virginia. With the most expensive underground matrix of tunnels in all of the eastern United States, Luray is a designated National Landmark.
It’s particularly known for its massive chambers and some of them are even 10 stories high. Other than these massive chambers, it is also home to lakes and small waterways. In Luray Caverns the most notable formation is is the world’s only known “Stalacpipe Organ.” Some other famous formations are Titania’s Veil and the Frozen Fountain.
For automotive buffs, The Luray Car and Carriage Caravan Museum have a notable collection of vintage cars like the 1908 Baker Electric.
For kids, the property has a rope adventure park, gem mining, a grand garden maze, and many other fun activities.
Please also read Best Hotels in Toronto.