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HomeTravelExplore Virginia: What to do, tour and see on your next vacation

Explore Virginia: What to do, tour and see on your next vacation

Virginia’s motto, “Virginia is for lovers,” captures only a fraction of its allure.

The state boasts a wide range of activities that cater to solo travelers, groups of friends and families alike.

Virginia has historical treasures like Colonial Williamsburg, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and George Washington’s Mount Vernon. 

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The state’s landscapes and family-friendly theme parks offer ample entertainment for those looking for fun and outdoor adventures.

Here’s much more. 

Virginia is for Lovers sign

“Virginia is for Lovers” has been the slogan of Virginia since 1969. (Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group)

Historical sites in Virginia for an educational trip

Virginia offers a view into America’s past; visitors can journey through the nation’s historical narrative. The state encapsulates a significant part of Civil War history because the Confederacy moved its capital to Richmond, and the state witnessed more battles than any other. 

This rich historical landscape of Virginia offers abundant learning experiences for families and history buffs.

Among the notable destinations is the district of Jackson Ward in Richmond, once heralded as the “Harlem of the South” and celebrated as a cradle of Black entrepreneurship. It stands as a monument to African American communities’ vital contributions and vibrant culture.

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Colonial Williamsburg is an immersive experience that allows visitors to travel back to the Colonial era. The historic park includes a living rendition of this period as actors re-enact Colonial life on a 301-acre backdrop of reconstructed shops, homes and other structures modeled after their original forms. 

Soldier walks at Arlington National Cemetery

The changing of the guard is a ceremony held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. (Kevin Carter)

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery, renowned as a final resting place for many of the nation’s esteemed heroes, is the most famous cemetery in the world. Hosting more than 300,000 veterans who served in American conflicts spanning from the Revolutionary War to recent engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan, the cemetery has been a solemn sanctuary since 1864. 

It allows visitors to pay respect to the sacrifices of the United States’ servicemen and women.

The cemetery has been a solemn sanctuary since 1864. 

Arlington National Cemetery is accessible every day of the year without charge and welcomes guests to tour the grounds. The changing of the guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, occurring hourly from October to March and at 30-minute intervals from April to September, is an intricate observance many enjoy.

The grave of President John F. Kennedy stands among a host of other significant tombs available to visit.

Sites such as Historic Jamestowne

Virginia houses many prominent American landmarks, including Historic Jamestowne, which was recognized as North America’s initial permanent English settlement. Sent by the Virginia Company, explorers reached Virginia’s shores in quest of precious metals and to found an English colony in the New World.

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A visit to this historic island typically lasts several hours to half a day, during which guests can explore the various historical landmarks. Historic Jamestowne offers a range of educational activities that family members of all ages can enjoy.

Theme parks and water parks in Virginia

Virginia offers much more than historical monuments. Virginia’s thrilling theme parks, including Massanutten WaterPark, Ocean Breeze Waterpark and Water Country USA, offer an array of adventures for travelers seeking fun and excitement.

Kings Dominion

Families, friends and lovers can experience world-class rides at Kings Dominion, a 400-acre combination theme and water park. The park features over 60 rides and attractions, boasting some of the largest on the East Coast. Admission includes access to Soak City, the park’s expansive 20-acre waterpark.

Kings Dominion Amusement and Water Park in Virginia on a clear day with clouds in the sky

Virginia is home to numerous theme and water parks, including Kings Dominion. Visitors can also enjoy the sister water park, Soak City, which is included in the admission price. (Linda Davidson/Washington Post)

Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens, acclaimed by visitors as the world’s most beautiful theme park, indulges visitors with a European-themed experience. As guests travel through the park, they witness the cultural highlights of England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany and Italy through cuisine, roller coasters, live shows and other attractions.

Great Wolf Lodge

The Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg spans 55,000 square feet and is a premier indoor and outdoor family fun attraction. It features a lazy river, a children’s pool, and tube slides suitable for the young and the young at heart.

Outdoor activities

Virginia is a mecca for those who enjoy living life outdoors. From hiking in Shenandoah National Park to exploring the Grand Caverns, the state has an outdoor adventure for everyone. 

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Kayaking on the Potomac River

Adventurers of all ages will enjoy traveling down the Potomac River, which George Washington called the “Great Avenue into the Western Country.” With more than 300 miles designated as a National Recreation Trail, many sections exist for day or weekend trips. The Potomac River connects four states and the District of Columbia. 

View of Potomac River on a clear day

The Potomac River is around 405 miles long, making it the fourth-largest river along the Atlantic coast.

Shenandoah National Park 

Shenandoah, the first of Virginia’s national parks, offers visitors sights of all varieties. With cascading waterfalls, scenic vistas and majestic fields of wildflowers, the nature enthusiast will have no unsatiated appetite for exploration. 

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Shenandoah National Park offers hikes for all levels, starting at 2.5 miles. Visitors can take advantage of these walking paths and hiking trails to see all that the Shenandoah Valley has to offer.

The Natural Bridge

One sight that can’t be missed is Natural Bridge State Park, located in the Shenandoah Valley. The Natural Bridge is a natural geological formation that has been designated as a National Historic Landmark and Virginia Historic Landmark. Visitors can traverse under the bridge and then travel down 34 stories to explore the deepest caves on the East Coast.

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The Grand Caverns

Discovered in 1804 by Bernard Weyer, the Grand Caverns are the United States’ oldest show cave in continuous operation, as stated on the park’s official website. 

Visitors can explore rock formations, Civil War-era treasures and above-ground adventures like a fitness trail and miniature golf course. 

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.

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