There’s no shortage of beautiful places to see in Virginia. From the Appalachian Mountains in the west to the Chesapeake Bay in the east, the state is teeming with natural beauty. And that’s not even including the man-made wonders, like the state capitol building in Richmond or the picturesque campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
No matter what kind of scenery you’re looking for, you’ll find it in Virginia. Here are 10 of the most stunning sights to see in the state.
1. The Blue Ridge Mountains
The Blue Ridge Mountains run along the western edge of Virginia, and they’re absolutely stunning. The best way to experience them is by driving the Blue Ridge Parkway, which winds its way through the mountains for 469 miles. Along the way, you’ll find overlooks where you can stop and take in the sweeping views.
2. Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park is another great spot for taking in the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The park stretches for over 200 miles, and it’s home to hiking trails, waterfalls, and scenic drives. Don’t miss the chance to drive Skyline Drive, a 105-mile road that runs the length of the park and offers stunning views of the Shenandoah Valley.
Monticello is the historic home of Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States. The estate is located just outside of Charlottesville, and it’s a must-see for anyone interested in American history. Take a tour of the house to see where Jefferson lived and worked, and then explore the grounds, which include a vineyard, formal gardens, and a grove of trees planted by Jefferson himself.
4. Luray Caverns
Luray Caverns are the largest caverns in the eastern United States, and they’re truly a sight to behold. The caverns are located in the Shenandoah Valley, and they’re home to an impressive array of stalactites and stalagmites. Take a guided tour to learn all about the caverns, and then stop by the on-site museum to see a collection of artifacts found in the caverns.
5. Old Town Alexandria
Old Town Alexandria is a historic district located just outside of Washington, D.C. The area is filled with 18th and 19th-century architecture, and it’s a great place to spend a day exploring. Stroll down King Street, the main thoroughfare, and pop into the shops and restaurants. Then, take a walk along the waterfront to see the Potomac River.
6. The Historic Triangle
The Historic Triangle is a group of three historic sites located in southeastern Virginia. The sites are Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown, and they’re all connected by the Colonial Parkway. Jamestown is the site of the first English settlement in North America, Williamsburg was the capital of colonial Virginia, and Yorktown is where the British surrendered during the Revolutionary War.
7. Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is a nature lover’s paradise. The refuge spans 14,000 acres of land and water, and it’s home to a variety of wildlife, including birds, deer, and ponies. Take a drive down Beach Road to see the ponies grazing on the beach, and then stop at one of the many hiking trails to explore the island.
Richmond, the state capital, is a great place to see a mix of old and new. Start your visit with a tour of the Capitol building, which dates back to 1788. Then, head to the Fan District to see the historic homes, or to Carytown to shop and eat your way down the main street. For a taste of the outdoors, head to the James River Park System, which offers miles of trails and scenic views of the city.
9. Colonial Williamsburg
Colonial Williamsburg is a living history museum that brings the 18th century to life. The town is filled with historic buildings, and costumed interpreters offer a glimpse into what life was like in colonial America. Take a walking tour to learn about the town’s history, or sign up for a hands-on workshop to try your hand at traditional trades like blacksmithing and pottery.
10. Virginia Beach
Last but not least, Virginia Beach is a must-see for any beach lover. The 3-mile boardwalk is a great place to take a stroll, and the beach itself is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing. For a different perspective, take a ride on the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier, which extends 1,000 feet into the Atlantic Ocean.