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15 Best Things To Do In Virginia

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Things To Do In Virginia

Virginia is a US state facing the Atlantic seaboard. Virginia is famous for its cuisine which is unique and also its cultural heritage preserved in its many festivals and fairs. It is a well known fact that Virginia was one of the original colonies and that four of the first five US presidents were from Virginia.

If you’re into American history then you’d be glad to know that Virginia has the most number of historic battlefields. The geographical setting of the state makes it a hothouse of various wildlife and consequently among the things to do in Virginia feature outdoor pursuits.

If you’re planning on taking a trip to Virginia then read more below to check out our list of the best things to do in the state while you’re here.

1.Colonial Williamsburg

Things to do in Virginina
Courthouse – Colonial Williamsburg | Photo Credit – Paul McCarthy

Williamsburg was the capital of Virginia during the American revolution. The last battle of the American War of Independence was fought near the place so if you are a traveller with history on your mind, be sure to visit Williamsburg.

Many buildings that once stood during the 18th century are still up on their feet today and as such you can truly recreate the essence of history while you’re in Williamsburg. Walk the colonial streets of Williamsburg and witness people in costume walking around as they will recreate the war for you. Visit the museums while you’re here too.

2.Virginia Beach

Things to do in Virginia
Virginia Beach | Photo Credit – Nicolas Henderson

The coastal city of Virginia Beach is known for its beaches (from where it gets its name) and its diverse inland areas. You would find yourself relaxing at the beach here and getting lost amid the crowded boardwalk. There is a lot on offer you’d find here at Virginia Beach from museums and beaches to hiking trails and bird watching.

Visit the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Museum to get in touch with the significance of the Virginia Coastline. Hike, jog, walk or picnik at the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge where you can look at thousands of different birds in their natural habitat. Pass through a check at the Fort Story Military Base to visit the Old Cape Henry Lighthouse and the New Lighthouse built in 1791 and 1881 respectively.

3.Mount Vernon

Things to do in Virginina
Mount Vernon | Photo Credit – Roger W

George Washington, the first president of the US called Mount Vernon his home for 45 years. During this time, he personally saw to the development of the property including its gardens and surrounding grounds. The building is naturally a historic landmark with many visitors flocking to it to catch a piece of historical architecture. There are a number of personal items belonging to the former president in the house.

The Potomac river runs close to the building and the gardens and walkways are lined with native species of trees and shrubs. The plantation’s outbuildings have been reconstructed and visitors here are demonstrated to the various aspects of plantation life. Sign up for a trip up to Mount Vernon while you’re here in Virginia.

4.Natural Bridge of Virginia

Things to do in Virginia
Natural Bridge of Virginia | Photo Credit – Ben Schumin

This bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic places and is visited by tourists every year. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the bridge was on par with Niagara Falls for being the most visited destination in the US. Legend has it that George Washington surveyed the bridge for Lord Fairfax.

The legend only grew stronger after a rock with his surveying marks was discovered in 1927. This place has become a state park and plays host to many attractions such as the Natural Bridge Caverns and the Natural Bridge zoo.

5.Manassas National Battlefield

Things to do in Virginia
Manassas battlefield | Photo Credit – Rob Shenk

This Virginia battle site has been preserved as a historical landmark ever since the battles taking place in the civil war in 1861 and 1862. The second battle marked a solid confederate win marking their dominance during the time.

The park has been preserved so that visitors can accurately recreate the battle with guides telling you all there is to know about it. Also, a little side action, this place is also home to a large number of migratory birds so no one can really blame you if you have binoculars in your backpack as opposed to a notepad.

6. Richmond

Things to do in Virginina
Richmond, Virginia | Photo Credit – Doug Kerr

Virginia’s capital has always been a significant historical site for both the wars of American independence and the civil war. The State Capitol building is a testament to the past of Richmond among its modern skyscrapers. It was designed by Thomas Jefferson. Just in close proximity is the start of the Canal Walk. Make sure you are able to visit these places. If you want to take a look at what Richmond looked during and before the Civil War, be sure to visit the Church Hill Historic Area.

Linked to many historical figures such as Patrick Henry and Edgar Allan Poe. Check out the museum of the latter built in the Old Stone House. There are more things for you to see while you are at Richmond: the Richmond National Battlefield Park and the White House of the Confederacy. Be sure to take a look at the John Marshall House while you’re at it.

7.Busch Gardens

Things to do in Virginia
Busch Garden | Photo Credit – Donald West

This theme park recreates Europe and as such is filled with attractions such as dancers in costume and traditional Bavarian music. There are a lot of rides here for both children and adults, and yeah, you guessed it, themed after Europe.

Take a look at the Loch Ness Monster coaster and delve yourself into Europe in America by looking at the Alps and the ruins of Pompeii. Other European themed attractions include watching the Border Collies herd sheep.

8. Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center

Things to do in Virginia
Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center | Photo Credit – Rain0975

Being a coastal city, Virginia Beach is known for its sea themed wonders. Foremost among them is the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. Housing various exotic species of turtles, sharks, seals and lizards, the center is an informative and exotic location to pass the time while in Virginia.

Not many places can boast a six storey theatre showing 3D nature documentaries. Delve into nature with the zipline adventure park along with boating expeditions to catch wildlife in their natural habitat.

9. Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center

Things to do in Virginia
Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center | Photo Credit – Thad Zajdowicz

You must be aware of the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum in Washington DC. The Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center is an extension of the same. Catch the space shuttle discovery, one of the most prized exhibits of the center. The development of aviation is the focus here, with showcase highlighting the transition from early planes to modern ones.

There are artifacts related to the Vietnam war as well as WWII. Filled with interactive demonstrations and exhibits, a trip to the Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center is a must on your itinerary when you visiting Virginia. For those of you who are interested in the aviatory field, a trip here is worth your time as you would certainly learn a lot and also have fun during your trip.

10.Luray Caverns

Things to do in Virginia
Luray Caverns | Photo Credit – soomness

Virginia is a place full of natural beauty. An extensive underground system that has been restored for visitors, Luray Caverns is breathtakingly beautiful to go through as you see calcite formations built over thousands and thousands of years. A place that feels out of the world, Luray Caverns is worth the trip you will take to get here.

Certain landmark formations have been given names here such as the Double Column, and a natural musical instrument known as the Great Stalacpipe Organ. Once you’re done visiting the cavern, take time to get to the Luray Valley Museum. Other attractions here include the Car & Carriage Caravan Museum and the Toy Town Junction.

11.Chincoteague and Assateague Islands

Things to do in Virginia
Assateague Island at Chincoteague | Photo Credit – Mike Boswell

The island of Assateague is a wildlife sanctuary existing in both Virginia and Maryland. It is a barrier island which is around 40 miles long. Chincoteague island, lying east of Assateague, is also protected by the National Wildlife Refuge program that protects its shoreline composed of wetlands, marshes and forests that are home to hundreds of species of birds.

One attraction that these islands are known for are their wild ponies. These islands receive a large number of visitors due to this one of kind attraction and the most gorgeous beaches. Run across the shore with the ponies before you decide to swim, kayak or fish. There is lighthouse nearby along with natural trails for you to explore, making this part of your trip a wholesome delight.

12.Monticello

Monticello | Photo Credit – L. Allen Brewer

Charlottesville is a one of a kind place in Virginia. It houses the Monticello designed by Thomas Jefferson which he spent over 40 years improving. There are gardens and a family cemetery that marks Jefferson’s grave. There is an exhibit here named the Landscape of Slavery: Mulberry Row at Monticello that talks about the lives of the workers of the plantation. There are many historical items for display along with exhibits at the Monticello.

13.Colonial National Historic Park at Jamestown and Yorktown

This area is famous for being the place where the Revolution ended. Being one of the oldest British Settlements, Jamestown has historical value and there are still a number of foundation stones and settlement buildings here, including a recreated Powhatan village. Find the replicas of three English settler ships here: the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery.

At the Yorktown Battlefield, the English army surrendered. The battle here has been well documented and as such Yorktown is one of the most visited historical sites in the country. Sign up for one of many tours while you’re here.

14.Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery | Photo Credit – Arlington National Cemetery

This is the place where many important US figures have been laid to rest. This cemetery is spread across 600 acres and is covered with fallen yellow leaves dotted with white tombstones. The most visited places here are the tomb of JFK with his gravestone carved in marble.

A white marble monument here is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier that has a guard watching over it literally all the time. The tomb is an honour for soldiers who have lost their lives in the many wars of the 20th century.

15.Shenandoah National Park and Skyine Drive

Shenandoah National Park | Photo Credit – John Brighenti

The Blue Ridge mountains make the Shenandoah National Park. The Skyline Drive is a roadway that borders the park and is filled with gorgeous locations where you can stop and take in the natural beauty of the place. Attractions here include the residence of President Hoover and a cave cemetery.

Hiking trails make up a lot of the park with some attraction to draw you here no matter what time of the year. Make it here in October for lovely Autumn Colours. A short drive away are the Luray Caverns.

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