10 Best Places to Visit in Virginia

If you’re planning a trip to Virginia, you’ll want to check out the 10 best places to visit in Virginia. This state offers a variety of attractions that will appeal to all kinds of travelers, from history buffs to outdoor enthusiasts.

Virginia is known for its rich history, natural beauty, and unique culture. Whether you’re interested in exploring Colonial Williamsburg, hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains, or relaxing on the beaches of Virginia Beach, there’s something for everyone.

In this travel guide, we’ll delve into the top tourist destinations in Virginia and provide you with all the information you need to plan the perfect Virginia vacation. Let’s get started!

1. Colonial Williamsburg

Step back in time and immerse yourself in the vibrant history of Colonial Williamsburg, a living museum that showcases life in America’s Colonial era. Take a stroll down Duke of Gloucester Street, where you can admire the meticulously restored buildings and interact with costumed interpreters who bring history to life.

As you explore, you’ll learn about the iconic sites and important events that took place during the Revolutionary War period. Visit the Governor’s Palace and Capitol building, which served as the epicenter of political and social life in Colonial Virginia. Don’t miss the beautifully restored homes and gardens of famous American figures, such as George Wythe and Peyton Randolph.

To fully immerse yourself in the Colonial Williamsburg experience, consider purchasing a multi-day ticket that includes access to guided tours, hands-on experiences, and evening programs. And if you’re feeling hungry, be sure to try some of the authentic colonial cuisine available at the many restaurants and taverns.

“You may depend upon it that there is nothing so bad but that something can be said in favour of it.” – Thomas Jefferson

Colonial Williamsburg Historical Sites

2. Shenandoah National Park

Explore the stunning beauty of Shenandoah National Park, nestled in the heart of Virginia. Shenandoah National Park offers a perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life, boasting breathtaking natural landscapes and unforgettable outdoor experiences.

Hiking enthusiasts will enjoy exploring the park’s scenic trails, weaving through picturesque forests and meadows, dotted with wildflowers. For a bird’s eye view of the stunning landscape, drive along the park’s famous Skyline Drive, a winding road stretching for over 100 miles with panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the surrounding valleys.

Don’t forget to experience the park’s unique flora and fauna. Spot native wildlife such as white-tailed deer and black bears, and marvel at the vibrant fall foliage during autumn. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or simply seeking a relaxing natural getaway, Shenandoah National Park is a must-visit destination in Virginia.

Shenandoah National Park

Why Visit Shenandoah National Park:

  • Hike along picturesque trails
  • Marvel at panoramic views of Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Drive along Skyline Drive for a scenic route
  • Spot native wildlife such as white-tailed deer and black bears

3. Virginia Beach

Relax and have fun at Virginia Beach, a popular coastal destination known for its beautiful sandy beaches and vibrant boardwalk. This beach destination in Virginia is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. Take a stroll along the lively boardwalk, where you can find restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops, and street performers. With its warm temperatures and gentle sea breezes, Virginia Beach is a great place to unwind and recharge.

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beach destinations in Virginia

“Virginia Beach is one of the most exciting and entertaining cities on the East Coast!” – John D. Rockefeller

4. Monticello

When you’re in Virginia, visiting Monticello is a must. This is the historic home of Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers of the United States, and represents a unique piece of American history. Take a guided tour of this magnificent estate, admire its neoclassical architecture, and learn about Jefferson’s life and legacy. The property features beautiful gardens, an art collection, and glimpses into the life of an iconic figure.

Monticello is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a popular destination for history buffs. It’s the perfect place to learn about one of America’s most notable founding fathers and the era in which he lived.


Monticello Estate Features

House ToursGuided tours of the main house offering glimpses into the historical and personal life of Thomas Jefferson.
GardensExplore the beautiful gardens featuring hundreds of plant specimens and meticulously crafted landscape architecture.
Art CollectionAn art collection including works by John Trumbull, Charles Willson Peale, and Gilbert Stuart, among others.

Visiting Monticello is one of the best things to do in Virginia, especially for history enthusiasts. Get an up-close look at what life was like at an iconic estate in Virginia, and learn about the legacy of one of America’s most famous sons.

5. Arlington National Cemetery

As you travel through Virginia, take time to pay your respects at Arlington National Cemetery, one of the most significant military history sites in the country. The cemetery is the final resting place of thousands of soldiers, including prominent figures such as Robert F. Kennedy and freed slaves who fought in the Civil War.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is an iconic site at the cemetery and offers a solemn and moving experience. Witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony, a memorial to all the unidentified soldiers lost in battle. This tradition has taken place every day, even in extreme weather, since 1937.

While you are there, explore other notable grave sites, including those of President John F. Kennedy and his family. The cemetery offers a chance to reflect on the sacrifices of the brave men and women who have served the United States and the country’s rich military history.

Arlington National Cemetery

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

Educational Opportunities

In addition to the solemn experience of paying respects, Arlington National Cemetery offers educational opportunities for you to learn more about the country’s military history. Head to the Welcome Center to watch an educational film, explore the exhibits, and find maps for self-guided tours.

6. Mount Vernon

Discover the grand Mount Vernon estate of George Washington, the first president of the United States. This beautiful mansion is located in Fairfax County, Virginia, and is a perfect place to learn about Washington’s life and legacy. This historic home, located along the banks of the Potomac River, is meticulously restored to highlight its rich history.

Stroll through the beautiful gardens, featuring different styles of English gardens and see the original 16-sided barn that has been restored. The barn highlights the importance of agriculture and farming in Washington’s life. The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association has been preserving this estate for over 160 years.

While you are here, take a guided tour of the mansion and explore its beautiful dining room and spacious rooms. Stand on the piazza, enjoy the stunning view of the river, and imagine Washington and his family enjoying it too.

“There is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a plan adopted for the abolition of slavery,” – George Washington, 1786

Don’t miss this unforgettable experience to step back in time and discover the rich history of this significant home. A visit to Mount Vernon is a must- see attraction for anyone interested in the history of Virginia and the United States.

Mount Vernon

Comparison of Historic Homes in Virginia

Name of HomeLocationSpecial Features
MonticelloCharlottesville, VAHome of Thomas Jefferson, neoclassical architecture, stunning views
Ash Lawn-HighlandCharlottesville, VAHome of James Monroe, historic home and gardens
Stratford HallStratford, VAHome of Robert E Lee, 18th century mansion, gardens
MontpelierMontpelier Station, VAHome of James Madison, stunning gardens, historic home

If you’re interested in exploring more of Virginia’s historic homes, make sure to check out Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, and Ash Lawn-Highland, the home of James Monroe. The Stratford Hall estate, the former home of Robert E Lee, and Montpelier, the home of James Madison, are also important sites to explore to learn about Virginia’s rich history.

7. Luray Caverns

If you’re looking for a unique and awe-inspiring natural wonder, Luray Caverns is a must-visit destination in Virginia. Nestled beneath the earth’s surface, this underground cave system is filled with incredible formations and stunning rock formations, showcasing the power and beauty of nature.

Take a guided tour of Luray Caverns to explore the maze of caverns, admire the towering stalactites and stalagmites, and discover the magic hidden beneath the ground. Marvel at the Mirror Lake, a crystal-clear body of water that reflects the intricate formations on the cavern’s ceiling.

Throughout your tour, you’ll learn about the fascinating history and geology of Luray Caverns, giving you a deeper appreciation for this natural wonder and the secrets it holds.

Luray Caverns

Don’t Miss:

  • The Great Stalacpipe Organ, the world’s largest musical instrument, which uses stalactites to create enchanting music.
  • The Dream Lake, a subterranean lake known for its mesmerizing reflections and dazzling crystal formations.
  • The Garden Maze, an outdoor attraction featuring a hedge maze and beautiful gardens.

8. Chincoteague Island

Escape to the serenity of Chincoteague Island, one of Virginia’s most tranquil locations. This picturesque destination offers a range of outdoor activities, including wildlife watching and kayaking. Explore the island’s natural beauty and take a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

wildlife watching in Virginia

Make your way to Assateague Island, a natural haven home to a variety of wildlife, such as wild ponies, dolphins, and seabirds. Enjoy birdwatching, fishing, and camping on the island, or simply relax on the pristine beaches and soak up the sun.

9. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

When visiting Virginia, make sure to add art museums in Virginia to your itinerary. One of the best museums to visit is the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, located in Richmond, one of Virginia’s top attractions. Renowned for its lovely galleries and premier collections, the museum is a treasure trove of art and culture.

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts boasts more than forty thousand works of art within its collections, representing an array of different artistic periods and styles. From ancient art and artifacts to contemporary pieces, the museum has something for every art lover. Explore the permanent collection, with pieces from all over the world, or check out one of their current exhibits which showcase modern artists and installations.

Visitors are welcome to enjoy the beautiful galleries, featuring highlights from the museum’s world-class holdings in the arts of Africa, Europe, and the Americas. The museum offers a pleasant experience for those who want to see art that took centuries to create and collections from different cultures, all under one roof.

Pro tip: The museum has a wide range of programs and events throughout the year, including docent tours and workshops.

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

“The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is one of the best museums along the east coast, with a vast collection and striking galleries.”

10. Natural Bridge State Park

Embark on an unforgettable journey at Natural Bridge State Park, one of the most treasured natural landmarks in Virginia. The bridge itself is a geological wonder, formed by the forces of nature over thousands of years. The park provides an array of outdoor activities for all ages, including hiking, bird watching, and exploring the caverns. Wander through the enchanting Cedar Creek Trail, admire the Monacan Indian Living History exhibit, and make sure to visit the impressive Lace Falls.

Take a scenic hike to the top of Natural Bridge and witness breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Explore the caves located beneath the bridge, each filled with unique rock formations exhibiting magnificent colors and shapes.

Natural Bridge State Park

This destination is perfect for those who want to reconnect with nature and experience the serenity and peace that the park has to offer. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the beauty of this natural wonder that has been captivating visitors for centuries.

Exploring More of Virginia

Virginia has more than just its top 10 attractions, offering endless possibilities for those looking to explore more of this beautiful state.

Charming Small Towns

Take a break from the hustle and bustle and explore Virginia’s charming small towns. Discover true Southern hospitality in historic towns such as Abingdon, Harrisonburg, and Staunton. Admire the quaint architecture, browse the unique shops, and indulge in local cuisine.

Venture into the Scenic Landscapes

Take in the breathtaking natural beauty of Virginia’s scenic landscapes. Head out to the Blue Ridge Mountains and explore the stunning scenery by hiking, biking, or camping. Don’t forget to check out the famous Skyline Drive, offering panoramic views of the surrounding area.

Virginia landmarks

Virginia Travel Guide

Get a comprehensive understanding of Virginia’s many unique destinations with a Virginia travel guide. Take advantage of local recommendations on the best hidden gems in the state. Take a road trip along Virginia’s scenic byways and experience small towns, charming cities, and picturesque landscapes.

Virginia Vacation Spots

Whether you’re looking to get away from it all or seek adventure, Virginia has something for every type of vacation. Explore coastal Virginia Beach or the tranquil Chincoteague Island. Discover historic sites such as Jamestown or Yorktown, or visit Virginia’s capital city – Richmond.

Virginia Sightseeing

Virginia is filled with notable landmarks, historical sites, and natural wonders. Take in the awe-inspiring beauty of Natural Bridge State Park or explore the depths of the Luray Caverns. Discover the rich history of Colonial Williamsburg or the home of Thomas Jefferson – Monticello. Pay tribute to America’s fallen heroes at Arlington National Cemetery.

Plan Your Trip to Virginia Today

With so many options to choose from, Virginia is the perfect destination for your next adventure. Plan your trip with a Virginia travel guide and explore the endless opportunities that await you in this beautiful state.


Now that you have explored the top 10 must-see destinations in Virginia, it’s time to plan your adventure and discover the best places to visit in this beautiful state. Whether you’re interested in history, natural beauty, or unique attractions, Virginia has something for everyone.

Don’t limit yourself to just the top 10 attractions – there are endless opportunities for exploration, from charming small towns to the vibrant city of Richmond and the scenic landscapes of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Be sure to add some of these hidden gems to your itinerary and create unforgettable memories.

Start planning your Virginia vacation today and experience the perfect blend of history, natural beauty, and unique attractions that this amazing state has to offer.

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