17 Reasons Why Virginia Should Be On Your Travel Bucket List
Virginia, in spite of its catchy tourism slogan “Virginia is for lovers”, isn’t just a romantic destination hardwired for amorous lovebirds. From the sprawling VA state parks to the incredibly famous Virginia Beach, this American state has, after all, a plethora of diversions and attractions to offer to its locals and visitors. Believe it or not, you won’t run out of fun and exciting things to do in Virginia, even if you’re not traveling with your loved one.
Wondering where to go in Virginia? Looking for a good reason to visit Virginia? Whether you’re traveling alone or with your adventure buddies, Virginia is a fascinating hub that will never cease to amaze you. Here are a few reasons why should visit and explore VA, USA.
1. The lovely wineries of Virginia State
Are you a bona fide wine lover? Then, you’ll surely enjoy your stay in VA, USA! Spanning from the Heart of Appalachia to the Eastern Shore, Virginia is home to over 125 wineries. Wherever you are traveling in Virginia, there’s likely a winery for you drop by nearby.
Furthermore, there are plenty of wine trails within the state that make visiting its wineries fun and easy. To make things even better, there are wine events statewide offering wine tastings, art, music, shopping, food as well as activities like hot air balloon rides and grape stomping.
One of the largest and must-visit vineyards in the commonwealth is Breaux, which has 18 varietals and produces award-winning reds, like an exceptional Merlot Reserve. Likewise, it hosts regular events, such as a big Cajun festival in June.
2. Virginia Beach, Virginia
They don’t call Virginia Beach as one the finest family-friendly oceanfront resorts for nothing. Offering a classic beach escape, Virginia Beach, VA boasts a pleasant mild-climate year-round and a charming 3-mile concrete ocean Boardwalk. What’s more, it features a bunch of hotels, museums and sweat-inducing adventures, like biking, kayaking and hiking. And, did I mention that it also has wildlife refuges and a water park?
3. Arlington National Cemetery
The Arlington National Cemetery is an American icon that rightfully deserves a spot on your list of places to visit in Virginia. An important, historical military cemetery, it is the final resting place of some of the most important people in the history of the United States, including former presidents and war veterans. In addition, it serves as graveyard to countless of medical pioneers, explorers, important scientific figures as well as artistic and literary figures.
This is a cemetery with a rich and long history, so take a guided tour to know about the Arlington National Cemetery. Also, don’t forget to drop by the Memorial Amphitheater and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, to make you visit even more memorable.
4. The “living museum” at Williamsburg
Very few places can exude an American Revolution period feel as well as Williamsburg. Historic and wondrous, it’s a place where the original structures in the 18th century are either still standing or have been reproduced faithfully on their original foundations. A visit here lets you stroll on the streets where Thomas Jefferson walked, and stand on the place where Patrick Henry gave his moving speech. Of course, you may also enjoy tasty crab cabs wherein George Washington savored seafood dinners.
And, that’s not all! Costumed interpreters, coupled with their frequent re-enactments, not only add life and color to the place, but they can also give you a glimpse of what America looked liked during the revolution. Moreover, there are a couple of outstanding museums in the area with authentically recreated colonial gardens and dozens of decorative arts.
5. Luray Caverns
See a completely different side of Virginia state by going on an underground adventure at Luray Caverns. Known as the largest series of caverns in the east side, these uniquely beautiful caves have been outfitted with lighting and walkways to accommodate visitors. With a visit to the Luray Caverns, you’ll get to catch sight of amazing rock formations and the dazzling Dream Lake, which reflects the stalactites hanging above, creating a mirror image.
6. Alexandria’s Old Town
The Old Town of Alexandria is, as far as I’m concerned, a marvelously beautiful place of historic taverns, stars and stripes flags, and red brick buildings. The waterfront’s aesthetic has improved immensely from when it was still a major port, and the former torpedo factory was transformed into a massive arts center in which heaps of local artists have their studios. The undisputed star of the town, however, is King Street, lined with seemingly hundreds of boutiques, restaurants and pubs.
7. Mount Vernon
When it comes to historic attractions in Virginia, only a handful can rival the charm and significance of Mount Vernon. Not only is it a National Historic Landmark, but it also once served as a home to George Washington. Built in 1735 by Washington’s father, this then-simple house was expanded and turned into a majestic 21-room mansion.
Make sure to spend time exploring its 6-acre estate grounds and four lush gardens. In addition, keep an eye for the charming animals housed here, including cows, hogs and sheep.
8. Natural Bridge of Virginia
Spanning 90 feet and towering over 200 feet, the Natural Bridge is easily a can’t-miss natural attraction in Virginia. Inscribed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is also an old and celebrated attraction in America that has been wowing and luring people for more than 200 years. As a matter of fact, it is one of the most popular sights during the 18th and 19th centuries for European visitors, sharing the spotlight with the likes of the Niagara Falls.
9. Historic hotels
Most hotels strive for one cushy and great lobby, but Richmond’s Jefferson ups the ante with its striking pair. One has a gigantic Thomas Jefferson statue in the middle, while the other is surrounded wonderfully by colored marble-effect columns. Alexandria’s Monaco, meanwhile, has a similar stalwart status, but goes for a more flamboyantly theatrical and quirky bent.
10. Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
Voted as the 2nd best public garden in the US, this floral paradise covers an impressive land area of 50 acres, and flaunts a smorgasbord of stunning plants and flowers. Not to mention, it has a historical domed conservatory and is jam-packed with remarkable sights.
11. Busch Gardens
Busch Gardens can be a great place to turn to, for those who are looking to indulge in some adventure activities and entertainment. Famed for its extraordinary European-inspired atmosphere, this theme park offers ample opportunities to enjoy exciting fun rides, like roller coasters, water rides and simulators. If, however, you can’t channel your inner child, the park also offers a wide array of shopping and dining experiences. Additionally, you may enjoy catching live stage shows inside Busch Gardens.
12. Wintergreen Resort
Just because Virginia isn’t known for handling snow fairly well, it doesn’t mean the state doesn’t do winter sports. Thanks to Nelson County’s Wintergreen Resort, locals and travelers can enjoy 130 acres of skiing, during winter. And, make no mistake about it – Wintergreen Resort isn’t a bad place to check out during the off-season either, with summer tubing, zip lining and golf courses.
13. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
During its lifetime, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has hosted works from some of the world’s most well-known artists, including Picasso. As an added plus, it has a beautiful and relaxed outdoor seating area, and a couple of great places to dine.
14. Virginia Aquarium
The Virginia Aquarium is the epitome of a world-class aquarium. Billed as one of the best in the US, this aquatic museum has more than 800,000 gallons of water housing hundreds of habitats and exhibits. And for an extra fee, you’ll get a chance to swim with the seals or observe the elusive sea turtle.
15. Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
The National Air and Space Museum is a fascinating, educational experience for people doing a quick tour of the National Mall. However, it doesn’t hold a candle to Chantilly’s Udvar-Hazy Center. The two humungous hangars of the center are home to some of the human flight’s most storied artifacts, from the 1903 Wright Flyer to the space shuttle Discovery. The addition of flight simulations and full IMAX theaters doesn’t hurt anything either.
16. Shenandoah National Park
Are you an outdoor enthusiast? Shenandoah National Park provides plenty of opportunities for horseback riding, fishing and hiking, including a portion of the well-known Appalachian Trail.
17. George Washington Masonic National Memorial
For many, Alexandria’s George Washington Masonic National Memorial is as enigmatic as the Freemasons running it. But in reality, it’s not as mysterious as you might think since there are tours offered that may even take you to the top of the tower, for an awesome postcard view.