With the state motto ‘Virginia is For Lovers’, it’s no surprise that Virginia is a great place for a romantic weekend getaway. But thanks to some amazing sandy shores and gorgeous summer weather, it’s equally popular with families on a beach vacation. One of the first US states to ratify the Declaration of Independence, Virginia has a rich colonial history. Whether you’re a history buff, beach lover or outdoors enthusiast, vacations in Virginia are for you. Our travel guide will take you on a tour of the best things to see and do.
Miles of sandy beaches, a wealth of historical sites, and galleries showcasing contemporary art – it’s easy to see why Virginia vacations are so popular. Whether you’re looking to find out more about the Civil War and colonial history of the state, relax on the sandy shores of Virginia Beach, or take a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, you’ll soon discover that one just vacation in Virginia is never enough.
Colonial Williamsburg – By far the state’s most popular attraction, this is the largest outdoor city history museum in the USA. Wander around 18th-century shops and see tradesmen and women at work, including the blacksmith shop, apothecary, brickyard, cabinet makers, and the carpenters’ yard. Watch performances at the Charlton Open Air Stage, dine on Colonial favorites at one of the historic taverns, or enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride. In the evenings there are ghost tours and walks, public trials and 18th-century music performances.
Busch Gardens, Williamsburg – This popular theme park near Williamsburg is packed with thrilling roller coasters and rides as well as exhibits and a program of shows and live entertainment for the whole family.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Fairfax County – The former historic home of George and Martha Washington sits on the banks of the Potomac River and is the most visited historic estate in the United States. You can take a guided tour of the estate, gardens, and museum or head for George Washington’s Distillery and Gristmill.
1. Virginia Beach – This family-friendly resort city on the shores of Chesapeake Bay has a 300-foot wide sandy beach and boardwalk packed with attractions. Relax on the sandy shores, see the First Landing Cross where English settlers landed in 1607, go dolphin or whale watching, or take the kids to the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center.
2. Shenandoah National Park –One of the USA’s most popular destinations, Shenandoah National Park is home to the Skyline Drive, a 105-mile long National Scenic Byway that’s at its most beautiful in fall. You’ll also have the chance to explore over 500 miles of hiking trails.
4. Blue Ridge Mountains – Home to ‘America’s Favorite Drive’, the Blue Ridge Parkway, there’s loads to see and do here. Hike the Appalachian Trail, climb to the summit of Sharp Top Mountain, or go rock climbing at Devil’s Marbleyard.
5. Alexandria – One of the most romantic spots in the state, Old Town Alexandria has gas lamp-style street lights, cobbled streets, and open-air cafés. Here you’ll find buildings dating back to the 17th century and plenty of cozy bars and restaurants for a romantic meal.
The hottest month in Virginia is July, when temperatures reach around 90°F, while in winter it often snows. If you’re planning a beach vacation, the best time to visit is from late May to early September. If you’re headed to Williamsburg, the city can often be hot and crowded in the summer months, so spring and fall are better times if you prefer it cooler and quieter.
Car rental is the best way to see everything Virginia has to offer. There are a number of Interstate highways crossing the state: the I-66 connects to Washington DC, the I-81 runs to Tennessee, Maryland and Pennsylvania and the I-95 crosses the state from north to south.