Want to come visit my beautiful state? Here are 15 places to travel in Virginia from the beach to the mountains. Don’t forget to stop by Charlottesville and say hi to me!
I’ve been living in Virginia for over a decade now – since 2010! While I am not as much of a local as my native-born-and-raised husband, I do consider this my new home state.
There’s a lot to love about Virginia from coast to mountains. The weather is fairly mild year round (we had an 80 degree day this February!) and the landscape is beautiful. From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay, it is a great destination for nature lovers. (I might live in the mts but I am team coastal!)
15 Places To Travel In Virginia
What is Virginia Famous For?
Virginia is a state rich in history, making it one of the most interesting tourist attractions in the country. Whether your hobbies lie in the outdoors or the historical, there is something for everyone here.
It’s not surprising Virginia is actually famous for a lot of things. Among tourists and locals alike, the state is known for its natural landscape, its history (lots of presidents called Virginia home), and its many cool cities, each with their own distinct personality dating back hundreds of years.
Here are some of the best places in the state to plan your next weekend getaway.
Alexandria is a perfect destination spot if you want historic architecture mixed in plenty of shops and restaurants. Located on the Potomac River and just minutes from Washington DC, it gives you the feel of a major city with the charm of historic Virginia.
While in Alexandria, you can stroll the King Street Mile and grab a bite at one of its many restaurants. If you’re looking for something Instagrammable, head on over to the Spite House, the skinniest house in America. Of course, you can always take a sightseeing cruise on the water for a unique view.
Alexandria is great to visit year round. During the warmer months there is plenty to walk to and explore and during the holidays everything is festive and decorated. You’ll likely want to avoid any cruises during the coldest times, however, so keep that in mind when planning.
Blog post: Old Town Visit
Located in Arlington, Virginia, Arlington National Cemetery is one of two military cemeteries operated by the Army in the United States.
Spanning 639 acres, this cemetery is home to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and is the gravesite of President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, as well as several other notable figures.
Many people make the trip here to pay their respects to the nearly 400,000 people buried here. Open daily from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, paid tours are available throughout the duration. General admission is $19.50 for adults and $10.75 for children ages 4 -12 with discounts for Military and Veterans.
If you are planning on exploring the large cemetery, I would advise not going during the hottest times (like August), as that could make walking around challenging.
Virginia has no shortage of Presidential homes, including that of the nation’s first President George Washington. Located in Mount Vernon, Virginia, this historic site is about 22 miles outside of Washington, DC. and you could easily plan a stop here on your way to or from visiting the nation’s capital.
Visiting Washington’s home is by guided tour only. The mansion tour takes around 20 minutes and the grounds another hour, so plan accordingly. It is also recommended to purchase your tickets ahead of time. They are open daily and tickets are $28 for adults, $15 for youths 6 – 11, and free for children under the age of five.
Are you a fan of horses? Middleburg, VA could be the city you never knew you needed to visit. Located less than 50 miles outside of Washington, DC, it’s also a great destination for food and wine.
With more than 20 wineries within 30 minutes of Middleburg, it is one of the wine destinations. Add in the beautiful setting with both the Blue Ridge and the Bull Run Mountains as the backdrop and you have a great option for a lovely weekend getaway.
If you love the holidays, Christmas in Middleburg draws a large crowd each year and is sure to please any horse lover.
Chesapeake, Virginia is a coastal city with over 22 miles of waterways. If you love the outdoors, it’s a perfect place to visit in Virginia. From hiking to fishing, you can enjoy exploring all the Chesapeake Bay area has to offer.
Just north of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Shenandoah National Park boasts over 200,000 acres of protected lands with plenty of hiking options to explore. It’s hard to believe it’s located only 75 miles from Washington, DC!
Whether you’re looking to camp out, glamp out, or simply take a scenic drive on the Skyline Drive, there are plenty of options. Weather can have a big impact on what you do, so be sure and check out their site when planning.
A hidden gem located in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Staunton is a fun spot for a quick getaway. If you are a theater lover, it is home to the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse. Why not catch a play while you’re here?
Staunton is also home to several restaurants, like The Shack, a recipient of two James Beard Award nominations, and a number of breweries. It’s easy to make a weekend out of a visit to Staunton.
Of course, no mention of places to travel in Virginia would be complete without my own town of Charlottesville. It’s so much more than being home to the University of Virginia. There are a variety of amazing restaurants here, as well as countless breweries within walking distance of the historic Downtown. If beer isn’t your thing, you can always venture out to the many nearby wineries with stunning mountain views. It’s really no surprise this is a top destination spot for weddings and bachelorette parties.
While you are in Charlottesville, it’s worth stopping by Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Designed and redesigned over the span of 40 years, the mansion and gardens are a popular destination in the area. There are multiple tours available, like the From Slavery to Freedom Interactive Tour or the Self-Guided Pass of the grounds.
As the weather in Charlottesville is mild, it’s always pretty nice to visit, but I would keep in mind it tends to get busy at the wineries during wedding season, some wineries keep winter hours, and the town itself can book up for UVA events like Graduation and big football or basketball games.
You can also check out my post on the Best Day Trips from Charlottesville if you want to tack on some more items to your Cville visit.
Blog post: Visit to Monticello
Richmond is an incredible city with a ton to offer starting with their many museums. If you are an art lover, check out The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. If you are a literary buff, you’ll probably want to add the Edgar Allan Poe Museum to your list. For those into history, the Virginia Holocaust Museum and the American Civil War Museum (Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War) should go on your list. These are just a few of many offerings!
In addition to their museums, Richmond is also known for its great restaurants (it’s a foodie’s dream), their distilleries, and their many breweries. You can eat and drink your way through this walkable city.
Whether you are looking for family friendly or a romantic weekend getaway, Williamsburg works as a destination city on a few different levels.
Take a step back in time with a Colonial Williamsburg tour complete with costumed interpreters. Learn all about the important role Williamsburg played leading up to and during the Revolutionary War. The Tours vary throughout the year (always worth seeing during the holiday season) so be sure and check out their website for offerings.
If adrenaline is more your thing, hop on over to Busch Gardens for one of their many roller coasters. Park hours vary during certain months so always check their calendar for hours and offerings when planning.
As you’ll notice is a common theme for Virginia, there are also a lot of restaurants, distilleries, wineries, and breweries, like one of my favorites, the Alewerks Brewing Company.
Check out: A Weekend In Colonial Williamsburg
If you are heading to Jamestown, chances are it’s to check out Historic Jamestowne. Jamestowne was the first permanent English settlement in North America way back in 1607. The landscape has changed, but the colony has been preserved and is a popular destination for families and history buffs alike.
Tickets are $30 for anyone 16 and over (15 and under get in free) and include all public tours and programs unless otherwise noted. One of the more interesting aspect to be sure and check out is anything related to the archaeology of the historical site.
Check out this post: Supper at the Settlement
Roanoke is another great Virginia destination if you like the outdoors. The area offers over 1,000 miles of trails for hiking and biking. In fact, it’s known for being one of the best spots for mountain and road biking. The great climate in Virginia makes it especially perfect.
After a day of biking, Roanoke is an easy spot to also grab a beer and relax, as they have several breweries within town.
Who doesn’t love a beach trip? While I often think of the Blue Ridge Mountains when I think of Virginia, this state is also home to Virginia Beach. Sitting on the Atlantic Ocean, this resort city offers a ton of hotels and restaurants.
If you hate crowds and don’t want to swim, the Fall and Winter are your best bets for visiting. However, if you go in May, June, or September you’re likely to hit less of a crowd (though it can still get quite busy).
Check out a trip I took when I was pregnant with Mazen!
Nofolk is known for being home to the world’s largest naval base. Therefore it should come as no surprise that a lot of the attractions have to deal with the water. You can ride your bike along the Elizabeth River Trail, 10.5 miles following along the waterfront. You can also tour the Battleship Wisconsin, one of the largest and last battleships built by the US Navy or you can experience the water yourself with an American Rover Sailing Cruise.
You’ll probably want to try to visit in May, as that is when the weather is at a nice and mild point. If you opt for July or August you can expect it to be very hot.
Chincoteague Island is Virginia’s only resort island. The island is only seven miles long and you aren’t going to be having a wild time while you’re here; in fact, this spot is the definition of a quiet beach town where you can take in a serene setting and relax. Plus…it has ponies.
Yes, Chincoteague is home to the famous Chincoteague Ponies! The ponies live in the wild on the neighboring Assateague Island (also known for its beach) and are worth seeing if you love horses. Of course, there are plenty of outdoor things to do on the Island. From biking and hiking to boating and clamming, you’re sure to have a great time.
As the summers can be muggy and the winters are cold, September is a good time to visit. July and August are the busiest times on the Island.
As you can see, there is no shortage of places to travel to in Virginia. No matter your interests, you’re bound to find something for everyone. I hope you enjoy!
Have you been to Virginia and where did you go?! Team mountains or team coast?