10 Great Places You Can Visit in Virginia

Are you planning a vacation or looking for places to visit in Virginia? From beaches and mountains to art and outdoor adventures, Virginia has a …

Are you planning a vacation or looking for places to visit in Virginia? From beaches and mountains to art and outdoor adventures, Virginia has a little something for everyone. Vacationing in Virginia is perfect for families, solo travelers, and anyone else looking to get away! Check out our list of favorite places to visit in Virginia. 


Alexandria, Virginia

Old Town Alexandria

Recommended by Bernadette of Live A Relaxed Life

Alexandria is just a stone’s throw away from Washington DC and much of its history is intertwined with the US capital. 

The city is across the Potomac River on the Virginia side and nearby is the home of George Washington, Mount Vernon. At one point it was a major port city with the largest slave-trading firm and soon after it became a safe haven for many slaves and free blacks. Alexandria is best known for its Old Town and its well-preserved historic buildings.

Old Town Alexandria

Old town is perfect for a day of walking through the cobblestone streets and shopping in boutiques, like the Torpedo Art Factory. The building was once the site of a munitions factory during World War II. Now it is a huge complex that houses more than 80 artist’s studios plus galleries that feature special art exhibitions.

Scattered around Old Town and the waterfront are numerous restaurants and for authentic Vietnamese food, visitors can stop by to try Caphe Banh Mi for traditional banh mi sandwiches, pho soup, and coffee with condensed milk.

Other Places to Visit

Just outside of Old Town is the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, a neoclassical building erected by the Freemasons of the United States in honor of George Washington. A guided tour is the best way to learn about the memorial and its history, it is free with admission.

For Frank Lloyd Wright fans, the Pope–Leighey House is open to visitors. The home is an example of the architect’s Usonian architecture, which he developed for the American middle-class.


Arlington, Virginia

visiting Arlington, Virginia

Recommended by Bernadette of Book Retreats

Arlington County is originally part of the Colony of Virginia, one of the first English colonies in America. Today, within its city limits are numerous war memorials, the Reagan National Airport, the Pentagon, and Arlington Cemetery.

History

Of course, Arlington has deep ties to American history. Arlington National Cemetery was established during the Civil War and since then roughly 400,000 veterans have been buried there. Visitors can also pay their respects at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and see the Changing of the Guard. 

Because of its proximity to Washington DC, many embassies and government workers of foreign countries reside in Arlington. And this has led to a rich and vibrant ethnic food culture. 

Cuisine

Some of the cuisines there are Ethiopian, Egyptian, and Afghan and one restaurant, Myanmar, offers Burmese food where diners can try a tea leaf salad and rich curries. Mark’s Duck House has Hong Kong-style food and a dim sum cart makes the rounds on the weekends. For a one-stop-shop of anything Vietnamese, visitors can head to Eden Center for food, bubble tea, groceries, and even jewelry.

After all that food, visitors can bike from Roosevelt Island to George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate to take in some nature and see Washington DC from across the water.


Chincoteague, Virginia

Ponies of Chincoteague

Recommended by Pamela of Directionally Challenged Traveler

Chincoteague is an incredible small town in Virginia on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Often overlooked for the bigger beach towns of Virginia Beach or Ocean City, Maryland. Chincoteague and its neighbor Assateague Island are much less crowded. 

Things to do in Chincoteague

There are plenty of things to do in Chincoteague, other than relaxing on the over 30 miles of beach, so you don’t have to worry about being bored! You can hike, bike, bird watch, or go fishing at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

Get a bird’s eye view of the area by climbing up the Assateague Lighthouse. It’s a piece of history dating back to 1833! Space fans should visit the NASA Wallops Flight Facility. There are several satellite launches to see; a bonus – admission is free! It’s still cool to explore even if a launch isn’t scheduled during your visit.

Wild Horses of Assateague

No visit to Chincoteague is complete without spotting the local celebrity. The wild horses of Assateague are well known, but most people don’t know much about them. These feral horses are descendants of domestic animals which have reverted to a wild condition. They are tough enough to survive the hot sun, abundant mosquitoes, storminess, and poor quality food found on Assateague Island. It is illegal to pet, touch, or feed the horses.

During your visit, try to settle the debate of who has the best ice cream. Is it the hard ice cream at Island Creamery or the soft ice cream at Mr. Whippys? Calories don’t count on vacation and either way you win! 


Fredericksburg, Virginia

fredericksburg, virginia

Recommended by Maggie of Pink Caddy Travelogue

Fredericksburg, Virginia is directly in between Washington, DC, and Virginia’s capital city, Richmond. It’s often overlooked by its larger and more famous neighboring cities, but that’s a shame because the town is filled with history and charm and well worth a visit.

History Buff

There’s no shortage of things to see for a history buff. Fredericksburg, Virginia was the childhood home of George Washington, after all. Visitors today can tour the farm where he grew up, as well as the house he gave his mother later in life, the plantation his sister and brother-in-law built, and numerous other places around town connected to the Washington family. The city was also the site of two major Civil War battles. You can still see cannonballs lodge in some of the buildings!

Nature & Art Lovers

For nature lovers, the city is located on the banks of the Rappahannock River and offers a plethora of outdoor activities such as canoeing, kayaking, and exploring the many trails along the river. Art lovers can spend time touring the many downtown galleries or take part in a creative workshop at Liberty Town. 

Foodies

And if you’re a foodie, there’s plenty of great places to check out! Sammy T’s has been serving locals amazing vegetarian dishes since the 1980s. At Goolrick’s you’ll find the oldest continuously operating soda fountain in the country. For more modern fare, the chef behind Foode was a final contestant on Top Chef. And Fahrenheit 132 is the go-to place for an upscale night out.

Fredericksburg is an underrated town that should definitely be on your radar.


Lynchburg, Virginia

Lynchburg, Virgini

Recommended by Rebecca of Whatever Packs Your Bag

Lynchburg Virginia is an amazing place to visit, located in Central Virginia. There is a small airport, American flies into airport code is LYH. It was named after John Lynch who started a ferry service across the James River in 1757.

Lynchburg’s rolling hills are famous, and the city is often called the City of Seven Hills. The downtown area is perfectly walkable, and is set up in a grid system, they are refurbishing the area and it is looking better and better. Explore the city and find the seven pianos painted by middle and high school students, to represent the seven hills.

History

Lynchburg is a historic location where President Thomas Jefferson had a neoclassical retreat named Poplar Forest. The town Forest Virginia started to build up around it. You can spend a day touring the property and experiencing some of the historic experiences on the property.

Outdoors

Liberty Mountain Trail System is the perfect way to get out into nature and explore the Blue Ridge Mountains. The trails can be up to 65 miles of trail, or you can make it a much shorter adventure.

If you are looking for a pick me up, you can’t go wrong with coffee and breakfast from The Muse Coffee Co. 


Norfolk, Virginia

Nauticus and Battleship Wisconsin

Recommended by Julia from The Cure for Curiosity

Home to the largest Naval base in the United States, Norfolk is an incredibly picturesque city in Virginia. Situated right on the water and surrounded by many beautiful beaches, you’ll be able to experience the joys of city life and beach relaxation, even if you just have a couple of days to explore Norfolk.

Get the Most Out of Your Visit

To get the most out of your time in Norfolk, start your exploration on its beautiful Elizabeth River Trail. It meanders along 9 miles of waterfront through downtown Norfolk and takes you past some amazing places, like the Waterside District Market, which is packed full of shops and restaurants, and the Nauticus Maritime Center. This Museum is home to the USS Wisconsin Battleship, one of the largest and most iconic battleships of WWII and the Korean War.

Continue Your Adventures

Continue your adventures to the Norfolk Pagoda & Oriental Garden, which will transport you to Asia for a moment, or stop at the Selden Market in downtown for some local shopping. You can also check out one of the many museums in the city, like the Virginia Living Museum, Chrysler Museum, or even the Norfolk Botanical Garden, which also features miles of paved trails. 

Head to the Beach

With many of the best sights in the area within walking distance of downtown, you’ll want to stay centrally at one of the best hotels in Norfolk to take in all of the incredible places. Have extra time? Head to the nearby beaches, like Ocean View Beach and the more famous Virginia Beach.


Richmond, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia Love Mural

Recommended by Erin Gifford of Go Hike Virginia

There’s no denying that Richmond is a must-visit destination in Virginia. This captivating capital city charms with a vibrant public art scene, flavorful dining options, museums, historic landmarks and lots of outdoor adventures, like hiking, kayaking and mountain biking.

Mural Project

The Richmond Mural Project spurred the growth of colorful murals and street art across town, including 11 popular neighborhoods, like The Fan and Carytown. Take a self-guided tour of gram-worthy murals, like the popular LOVE mural on the side of the Reservoir Distillery.

Where to Eat

Hungry? A brand-new food hall is expected to open up this fall in Richmond’s Manchester neighborhood. The Hatch Local Food Hall will have seven food concepts, a market, an outdoor patio, two bars and live music.

Mama J’s Kitchen is tempting too, as well as a top pick for James Beard-nominated soul food. For breakfast, 521 Biscuits & Waffles is a must for buttermilk biscuits and waffles served with organic 100% maple syrup.

Outdoors

For outdoor fun, Richmond wows with urban trails along the gently flowing James River. A favorite hike leads visitors along Texas Beach in James River Park. This shaded hike delights with colorful foliage, a historic gristmill and rock scrambles, even whimsical murals courtesy of the James River Hikers.


Virginia Beach, Virginia

Vacationing in Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach, Virginia is one of the state’s most popular cities to visit and for good reason. From beaches and fresh seafood to museums and outdoor adventure parks, there’s a little something for everyone to enjoy.

Things to Do in VB

If you’re visiting between May and September, you’ll definitely need to hit up the Oceanfront for a little beach time. Head over to 31st Street and snap a photo with the King Neptune Statue or check out the ViBE Creative District on 18th for a few mural pictures. And don’t forget to try an Orange Crush cocktail from Waterman’s Surfside Grille on Atlantic Avenue.

For the Kids

If you’re vacationing in Virginia Beach with the kids, checkout the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center! They have an adventure park which includes a zipline! Right around the corner you can race go-karts at Motorworld and play mini golf. Take a trip over to the Cape Henry Lighthouse or go hiking at First Landing State Park.


Williamsburg, Virginia

colonial williamsburg, virginia

Recommended by Victoria of Southern Trippers

If you are looking for an amazing city to visit in Virginia, look no further than Williamsburg, Virginia! There are so many things to do in Williamsburg that you can return again and again and not get tired.

Things to Do in Williamsburg

Williamsburg is full of charming historical sites, tons of museums, natural wonders and more. If you are a history buff, Colonial Williamsburg and the Jamestown Settlement are the perfect museums for you. However, Williamsburg is more than just history. If you are a foodie, Williamsburg is one of the best places to try Virginia cuisine and there are many local wine tastings that you can attend. The Williamsburg Winery is a particularly popular spot for locals and visitors alike.

Enjoy a Stroll

If you love photography, the architecture in Williamsburg is very photogenic as many of the buildings are from the colonial period. Williamsburg is also quite walkable in many parts, so if you enjoy a stroll around town this is the place for you, especially in the Colonial Williamsburg area! In all, Williamsburg, Virginia is a great little city you shouldn’t miss!


Winchester, Virginia

Winchester, Virginia

Recommended by Lyndsay of The Purposely Lost

Winchester, located just under 100 miles from Washington, D.C., is a lovely town in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. There are so many fantastic things to do in Winchester, VA, from the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, to strolling through the Old Town. 

Downtown Winchester

First, you really should have a look around downtown Winchester. The Old Town area is made up of lovely renovated buildings that have been outfitted with cute boutiques and shops. The Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum is situated in the old Frederick County Court House, nestled in the center of Old Town, and was built in 1840. During the Civil War, the structure served as a hospital, prison, and barracks for both Union and Confederate troops.

Museums

The Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum will keep the whole family entertained for hours with exhibit areas focused on mathematics, science, humanities, and arts. There’s also an artist-in-residence on-site! It’s conveniently situated in downtown Winchester in a renovated furniture building off the historic district.

The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley and Glen Burnie House is another museum that offers permanent galleries and rotating collections, a café, and a museum store.

Winchester is also home to an early office for George Washington, the first President of the United States, a headquarters for Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, and country music legend Patsy Cline’s childhood home.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alexandrea Sumuel

Alexandrea Sumuel is the founder of Wander With Alex, where she provides vacationers and travel enthusiasts with trip ideas, travel guides, news, and itineraries. She travels to experience, eat, and explore-- and, on occasion, escape! Alex’s mission is to help people travel better.

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