things to do in virginia

Top Virginia Attractions & Activities | Explore Now

Are you looking for the perfect destination that combines history, natural wonders, and outdoor adventures? Look no further than Virginia! With its rich historical sites, breathtaking landscapes, and diverse range of activities, Virginia has something for everyone. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or thrill-seeker, this state has it all. Get ready to explore the top attractions and activities in Virginia that will leave you amazed and wanting more.

Key Takeaways:

  • Discover the historical wonders of Colonial Williamsburg and learn about the American Revolution.
  • Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Shenandoah National Park and hike along its scenic trails.
  • Relax on the golden beaches of Virginia Beach and explore its vibrant boardwalk.
  • Pay tribute to the nation’s heroes at Arlington National Cemetery and witness the changing of the guard.
  • Step into the past at Mount Vernon, the historic home of George Washington, and explore its scenic grounds.

Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive

Experience the natural beauty of Virginia at Shenandoah National Park, where you’ll find yourself surrounded by the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains. As you drive along Skyline Drive, a scenic road that winds through the park, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views at every turn. The park offers a wide range of outdoor activities, from hiking along picturesque trails to picnicking in tranquil meadows.

For hiking enthusiasts, Shenandoah National Park boasts an extensive network of trails catering to all skill levels. One not-to-be-missed hike is the Old Rag Circuit, which showcases stunning rock scrambles and rewards hikers with panoramic vistas of the park and beyond.

“The views from Skyline Drive are absolutely incredible. It’s like being on top of the world.” – Amy, avid hiker

If you’re looking to explore the underground wonders of Virginia, make sure to visit the nearby Luray Caverns. These magnificent caverns are home to mesmerizing stalactites and stalagmites, creating a surreal and otherworldly experience. Marvel at the intricate formations as you venture through the caverns and learn about their fascinating geological history.

With its stunning landscapes, thrilling hiking trails, and enchanting caverns, Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive are truly a nature lover’s paradise.

Colonial Williamsburg

Step back in time at Colonial Williamsburg, a living history museum that recreates life in the 18th century. Explore the authentic colonial buildings, interact with costumed interpreters, and learn about the American Revolution. The site also houses museums showcasing folk and decorative arts, as well as beautifully recreated colonial gardens. Colonial Williamsburg is a must-see for history enthusiasts and those interested in experiencing the charm of the past.

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach, located on the southeastern coast of Virginia, is a top destination for beach lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. With its stunning oceanfront, lively boardwalk, and diverse wildlife, Virginia Beach offers something for everyone.

The highlight of a visit to Virginia Beach is undoubtedly its beautiful beaches. The expansive golden sands and clear blue waters make it the perfect spot for sunbathing, swimming, and beach activities. Whether you prefer to relax on the shore or take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean, Virginia Beach has it all.

The iconic boardwalk is another must-see attraction in Virginia Beach. Stretching for three miles along the oceanfront, the boardwalk is lined with shops, restaurants, and entertainment options. Take a leisurely stroll or rent a bike to explore the vibrant atmosphere, and don’t miss the opportunity to snap a photo with the famous King Neptune statue.

For families, the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is a must-visit. Located just a short distance from the beach, this world-class aquarium offers an immersive experience where visitors can learn about marine life through interactive exhibits and live animal displays. From sharks to sea turtles, there is a fascinating variety of creatures to discover.

Nature enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. This protected area is a haven for wildlife, particularly migratory birds, making it a paradise for bird watchers. Explore the refuge’s walking trails and experience the tranquility of the marshes, dunes, and forests that make up this unique ecosystem.

Virginia BeachExpansive golden beaches and crystal-clear waters for sunbathing, swimming, and beach activities.
BoardwalkA vibrant three-mile boardwalk lined with shops, restaurants, and entertainment options.
Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science CenterWorld-class aquarium offering interactive exhibits and live animal displays.
Back Bay National Wildlife RefugeA protected area with walking trails and abundant birdlife.

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery

Pay tribute to the nation’s heroes at Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place of many notable individuals, including presidents and soldiers. Located in Arlington, Virginia, this historic cemetery spans over 600 acres and serves as a solemn reminder of the sacrifices made by those who have served in the United States military.

The cemetery is home to several iconic landmarks, including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Guarded by the prestigious 3rd Infantry Regiment, also known as the “Old Guard,” the tomb is a powerful symbol of honor and respect for unidentified soldiers who have given their lives for their country.

Another significant site within Arlington National Cemetery is the Iwo Jima Memorial. This striking monument depicts the iconic raising of the U.S. flag on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II. The memorial serves as a tribute to all U.S. Marine Corps members who have sacrificed their lives in defense of the nation.

Visitors to Arlington National Cemetery can also explore the gravesites of several U.S. presidents, including President John F. Kennedy. His gravesite, marked by the Eternal Flame, is a place of reverence and remembrance.

A visit to Arlington National Cemetery offers a somber and reflective experience, allowing visitors to pay their respects to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. The serene atmosphere and profound history of this hallowed ground make it a must-visit destination for those seeking to honor the brave men and women who have served their country.

Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon Gardens

Discover the home of George Washington at Mount Vernon, a historic estate overlooking the Potomac River. This beautifully preserved mansion was George Washington’s residence for over four decades and offers a glimpse into the life of the first president.

Explore the 21-room plantation house, filled with personal belongings and vivid historical details. Don’t miss the stunning gardens and grounds, which were personally designed by Washington himself.

“I can never be contented to view a garden without the farm or to be pleased with a farm without the garden.” – George Washington

Mount Vernon is a testament to the legacy of George Washington and provides a unique opportunity to step back in time and immerse yourself in American history.

The Estate

The Mount Vernon estate encompasses 500 acres of land, including the mansion, outbuildings, and gardens. The mansion itself showcases the refined style of the late 18th century and is filled with original furnishings, artwork, and artifacts.

Visitors can stroll through the beautiful gardens, which feature a variety of flowers, herbs, and vegetables. Washington was an avid gardener and took great pride in his vast garden, which supplied his household and guests with fresh produce.

George Washington’s Legacy

George Washington, the first president of the United States, played a vital role in shaping the nation. His leadership during the American Revolutionary War and his contributions to the drafting of the U.S. Constitution have left an indelible mark on American history.

“Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected.” – George Washington

By visiting Mount Vernon, you can gain a deeper understanding of Washington’s life and accomplishments, while also experiencing the beauty of his beloved estate.

Monticello and Charlottesville

historic gardens

Immerse yourself in the legacy of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, his iconic neoclassical estate near Charlottesville. Located in the rolling hills of Virginia, Monticello is a testament to Jefferson’s architectural brilliance and his contributions to American history.

Step into the meticulously designed mansion and explore the rooms where Jefferson lived and worked. Marvel at the intricate details and innovative features that Jefferson incorporated into the house, including hidden doors and skylights.

“Monticello is truly a masterpiece of architecture and design. It reflects Jefferson’s understanding of classical principles and his vision for a new nation. Every corner of the house tells a story of Jefferson’s intellect and creativity.”

As you wander through the expansive gardens surrounding Monticello, you’ll be captivated by the beauty and tranquility of the landscape. With over 2,400 acres of historic gardens, orchards, and vineyards, it’s the perfect place to relax and take in the panoramic views of the Virginia countryside.

After visiting Monticello, make your way to Charlottesville, a vibrant city that is home to the University of Virginia, which Jefferson founded. Explore the grounds of the university and admire the historic Rotunda, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a symbol of Jefferson’s vision for higher education.

Notable Features:

  • Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s neoclassical estate
  • Meticulously designed mansion showcasing Jefferson’s architectural brilliance
  • Expansive gardens offering panoramic views of the Virginia countryside
  • University of Virginia, founded by Jefferson
  • Historic Rotunda and Edgar Allan Poe’s room

Visiting Monticello and Charlottesville is a journey into the life and mind of Thomas Jefferson, a founding father and one of America’s most influential figures. Experience the rich history, stunning architecture, and beautiful gardens that make this destination truly exceptional.


Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Richmond, the capital city of Virginia, offers a captivating mix of cultural treasures, historical landmarks, and exciting outdoor activities. Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a history buff, or an adventure seeker, Richmond has something for everyone.

Cultural Delights at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Explore the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, a gem that showcases a diverse collection of American, European, and Asian art. Marvel at masterpieces by renowned artists and immerse yourself in the world of creativity and expression. From classical sculptures to contemporary paintings, the museum offers a captivating journey through the realms of artistic beauty. With its thought-provoking exhibitions and engaging programs, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is a haven for art lovers.

A Glimpse into Richmond’s Rich History

Dive into Richmond’s fascinating history by visiting its numerous history museums. The Black History Museum and Cultural Center sheds light on the African American experience in Virginia, while the Poe Museum delves into the life and works of the legendary writer Edgar Allan Poe. For a poignant reminder of the past, the Virginia Holocaust Museum offers a sobering exploration of the Holocaust and its impact. Each museum provides unique insights into different aspects of Richmond’s history and cultural heritage.

Outdoor Adventures on the James River

Escape into nature and enjoy the beauty of the James River, which winds its way through Richmond. Outdoor enthusiasts can engage in a variety of activities, including kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of the river’s waters as you explore the scenic surroundings. For those seeking land adventures, Belle Isle Park offers hiking and biking trails that meander through lush forests and provide stunning views of the river.

Visit the capital city of Virginia and discover a captivating blend of art, history, and outdoor adventure. Richmond invites you to explore its cultural treasures, delve into its rich history, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the James River.

Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens

Experience thrills and entertainment at Busch Gardens, a popular theme park located near Colonial Williamsburg. This European-themed park features thrilling roller coasters, shows, and attractions inspired by different countries. From the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland to the Griffon in France, there are rides for all levels of thrill-seekers. Don’t forget to visit Water Country USA, a neighboring water park, for more refreshing fun in the summer months.

Roller Coasters at Busch Gardens

Get your adrenaline pumping on Busch Gardens’ world-class roller coasters. Featuring twists, turns, and drops, these exhilarating rides provide an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages. Here are some of the top roller coasters you can enjoy:

Roller CoasterHeight RequirementMaximum SpeedNumber of Inversions
Griffon54 inches71 mph2
Alpengeist54 inches67 mph6
Verbolten48 inches53 mph2
Apollo’s Chariot52 inches73 mph0
Tempesto54 inches63 mph3

Embark on these thrilling roller coasters and experience the adrenaline rush as you soar through the air. You’ll be amazed by the speed, twists, and inversions that these roller coasters offer.

European Countries Themed Zones

Busch Gardens takes you on a journey through Europe with its themed zones. Each zone showcases the unique culture, architecture, and cuisine of different European countries. Here are some of the themed zones you can explore:

  1. Italy: Immerse yourself in the charm of Italy, with its picturesque streets, Renaissance-inspired architecture, and authentic Italian cuisine.
  2. Germany: Experience the festive atmosphere of a German village, complete with traditional timber-framed houses and delicious Bavarian treats.
  3. France: Transport yourself to the romantic streets of Paris, adorned with iconic landmarks and serving delectable French delicacies.
  4. Scotland: Discover the mystique of Scotland, with its rolling hills, ancient castles, and traditional Scottish fare.
  5. Ireland: Step into the magical world of Ireland, with its lush landscapes, charming cottages, and lively Irish music.
  6. England: Explore the elegance of England, with its regal architecture, beautiful gardens, and classic British cuisine.

With each themed zone offering a unique experience, you’ll feel like you’ve traveled across Europe without leaving the park.


Virginia is a treasure trove of attractions and activities that cater to various interests and preferences. Whether you’re fascinated by history, captivated by nature, or seeking exhilarating experiences, this beautiful state has it all. From exploring the historical sites of Colonial Williamsburg and Monticello to embarking on outdoor adventures in Shenandoah National Park and Virginia Beach, there is no shortage of things to do and places to see in Virginia.

For history buffs, Virginia’s rich historical heritage comes alive through living museums like Colonial Williamsburg and the iconic Arlington National Cemetery, where you can pay homage to the nation’s heroes. Nature enthusiasts can indulge in the breathtaking vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains along Skyline Drive or immerse themselves in the gardens and grounds of Mount Vernon.

For a thrilling escapade, Busch Gardens promises adrenaline-pumping roller coasters and captivating shows. And for art and culture lovers, Richmond is home to excellent museums, including the renowned Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

So, plan your visit to Virginia and immerse yourself in its fascinating history, explore its natural wonders, and enjoy a fun-filled holiday. With its diverse range of attractions and activities, Virginia is a destination that will leave you with unforgettable memories. Experience the best of Virginia’s attractions and activities, and discover why this state is a top choice for travelers from around the world.


What are some must-visit attractions in Virginia?

Some must-visit attractions in Virginia include Shenandoah National Park, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia Beach, Arlington National Cemetery, Mount Vernon, Monticello, Richmond, and Busch Gardens.

What can I expect to see and do at Shenandoah National Park?

Shenandoah National Park offers breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and a variety of outdoor activities. Visitors can drive along the scenic Skyline Drive, hike on the park’s extensive network of trails, and explore the stunning Luray Caverns nearby.

What is there to see and do at Colonial Williamsburg?

At Colonial Williamsburg, visitors can step back in time and experience life in the 18th century. They can explore authentic colonial buildings, interact with costumed interpreters, and learn about the American Revolution. The site also features museums and beautifully recreated colonial gardens.

What attractions and activities does Virginia Beach offer?

Virginia Beach is known for its expansive golden beaches and vibrant boardwalk. Visitors can enjoy sunbathing, swimming, and beach activities, as well as explore the lively boardwalk with its shops, restaurants, and statues. Families can also visit the Virginia Aquarium and explore the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

What can I see and experience at Arlington National Cemetery?

At Arlington National Cemetery, visitors can pay tribute to notable individuals and soldiers, including presidents. Highlights include the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where the changing of the guard ceremony takes place, and the gravesites of President John F. Kennedy and the Iwo Jima Memorial.

What is there to do at Mount Vernon?

Mount Vernon is the historical home of George Washington and overlooks the Potomac River. Visitors can explore the beautifully preserved mansion, filled with personal belongings and historical details. The estate also features stunning gardens and grounds designed by Washington himself.

What can I see and do at Monticello and Charlottesville?

Monticello is Thomas Jefferson’s iconic neoclassical estate near Charlottesville. Visitors can tour the meticulously designed mansion, explore the gardens, and enjoy panoramic views of the countryside. While in Charlottesville, they can also visit the University of Virginia and see the historic Rotunda and Edgar Allan Poe’s room.

What attractions and outdoor activities are available in Richmond?

Richmond offers a treasure trove of art and history. Visitors can explore the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, various history museums, and enjoy outdoor activities such as kayaking on the James River and hiking and biking trails at Belle Isle.

What can I expect at Busch Gardens?

Busch Gardens is a popular theme park located near Colonial Williamsburg. It features thrilling roller coasters, shows, and attractions inspired by different European countries. Visitors can enjoy rides like the Loch Ness Monster and the Griffon. Water Country USA, a neighboring water park, offers refreshing fun in the summer months.

What attractions and activities does Virginia offer?

Virginia offers a diverse range of attractions and activities, including historic sites, outdoor adventures, and theme parks. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or thrills, Virginia has something for everyone to enjoy.

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