Virginia Vacation Ideas #1: Bristol City - The theme is country music. The Birthplace of Country Music Alliance Museum in Bristol City, Virginia, is dedicated to two weeks in August 1927 when recordings were made that would change country music forever.
Johnny Cash, Ernest "Pop" Stoneman, Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family were all part of "the most important event in the history of country music." While visiting Bristol you can stop in at Tennessee Ernie Ford’s birthplace which is now the Bristol Historical Association.
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#2: Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania Military Park - For a look back at the Civil War in Virginia try a visit to Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania Military Park.
The four major battles fought here were so fierce that it is known as the bloodiest ground on the North American continent. It is also one of the largest military parks in the world.
There are four separate battlefields and a good way to view them is a self-guided driving tour.
For an overview stop in at one of the two visitor centers and watch a short film that walks you through the events that took place here. A visit to Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania Military Park is a great way to learn about an important part of our history and to honor the brave men who died here.
#3: Kings Dominion is a wildly popular theme park that scores extremely high with the kids. This is a top-rated park conveniently located just a short drive from Richmond, Virginia. They have everything from 12 different thrilling roller coaster rides to waterslides and kiddy rides.
There are the antics of SpongeBob SquarePants and a nostalgic Carousal ride. Take an elevator to the top of the 275 foot high replica of the Eiffel Tower. There is plenty to do for all ages at Kings Dominion Park .
#4: The birthplace of George Washington is memorialized at the George Washington Birthplace National Monument. This 550-acre park is located in Colonial Beach, and has become a pilgrimage for people from all over the world.
The brick foundation is all that remains of the house where he was born. There is much to see at the Visitor Center including the Washington family cemetery where George's father, grandfather, and great-grandfather are buried and the Memorial House. Picnic and walk the nature trails.
Virginia Vacation Ideas #5: Thistle Cove Farm - It's Sheep Shearing Day at the Thistle Cove Farm in Tazwell County, Virginia. The thick winter fleece must come off and you can watch the actual shearing take place.
And it's not just the rare Shetland and Jacobs sheep or the horned Dorset, Suffolks.
The Angora goats get a haircut too! You can also see demonstrations of spinning, weaving, knitting, and felting as well as fleece and finished products for sale.
Thistle Cove Farm an active wool producing farm that dates back to the Civil War era. For a fun, relaxing getaway bring the family to Thistle Cove Farm.
#6: Natural Tunnel State Park is centered around an 850-foot long tunnel carved about a million years ago. It is a natural rock formation that has been called by some the "Eighth Wonder of the World." A chairlift takes you down the 230 feet to the floor of the Tunnel's natural amphitheater. Other activities here at Natural Tunnel State Park include fishing, swimming, cave tours, and Interpretive Programs.
#7: Shenandoah National Park - A trip to Shenandoah National Park is all about mountains and trees and 500 miles of trails including a large portion of the Appalachian Trail. In the fall go to see the leaves change color. Wild flowers bloom all spring, summer and fall. Many of the trails lead to scenic waterfalls. The photo to the right was taken from the Appalachian Trail. What a wonderful place to enjoy the outdoors.
#8: Visit the National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, Virginia. Get a look at a real space capsule. The IMAX Theater will have you feeling weightless with their film recreation of a space flight.
On display are over 100 aircraft and space artifacts. You can see the Space Shuttle "Enterprise", an SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft (photo to the left), the Dash 80 prototype of the Boeing 707, and the B-29 Superfortress "Enola Gay".
Virginia Vacation Ideas #9: Enjoy a backpacking festival in Virginia. Appalachian Trail Days is a great reason to vacation in Damascus, Virginia during the month of May. This is where you will find the largest annual backpackers' festival in the US. Backpacking the famous Appalachian Trail is the center of attention but the surrounding area's mountains and forests also make an excellent playground for hiking, mountain biking, rafting and climbing.
There are plenty of outfitters who can help set you up. A few of them are Brown Dog Adventure Tours, Sundog Outfitter, ClimbMax Climbing Center and Nantahala Climbing Center.
#10: African American Heritage Park - A historical spot to visit in Virginia is The African American Heritage Park. Located in Alexandria, The African American Heritage Park is a preserved 19th-century African American Baptist cemetery. At the center of the nine acre park is the memorial sculpture, "Truths that Rise from the Roots Remembered" which commemorates the contributions of African Americans to the growth of Alexandria.
Virginia Vacation Ideas #11: The Petersburg National Battlefield is a 2,700-acre park that commemorates the critical Civil War battles that took place around Petersburg, Virginia. You can take a 16 stop driving tour that highlights the important spots in the nine and one-half month long siege of Petersburg.
At the Eastern Front Visitor Center You can see exhibits and audio-visual programs which tell the story of how the siege resulted in the collapse of Richmond and the Southern army of General Lee.
The Petersburg National Battlefield also makes a great horseback riding vacation idea. Run by the National Park Service, the park has over nine miles of multi-use trails that are excellent for horseback riding.
Nearby Pocahontas State Park also has about nine miles of trails for horseback riding. This is actually Virginia’s largest state park and offers many outdoor activities like camping, boating and lake fishing.
Virginia Vacation Ideas #12: The Artisan Trails of Southwest Virginia offer a chance to explore the shops and galleries of local artisans while enjoying the scenic mountains, valleys and byways of Virginia.
There are numerous community trails that make up the Artisan Trails. To tell you about them all is beyond the scope of this little vacation ideas blurb. Round the Mountain: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan is a non-profit organization that sponsors the Artisan Trails.
The community artisan trails are created to highlight local creative points of interest like craft studios, farms and farmers markets, historic sites and recreational spots. Unique lodging and eateries are featured to give you the opportunity to discover local cuisine and culture.
Virginia Vacation Ideas #13: Fredericksburg is Virginia’s most historic city and an excellent vacation idea is a camping adventure at the Fredericksburg KOA Kampground. Here you can enjoy all the comforts of home in a “Kamping Kabin” with air-conditioning and free cable and WiFi. There are also tent pads and level, shady pull thrus. You will be camping under the stars among the tall Virginian trees.
Go fishing in the stocked fishing pond or cruise around on a paddle boat. Other onsite camp activities include funbikes, playground, horseshoes, volleyball, heated pool and rec hall.
While camping here you can head out and visit the many tourist spots in the area; King’s Dominion Theme Park, George Washington’s Birthplace, Mt. Vernon, Gunston Hall, Montpelier. You also have easy access to major shopping areas and over 100 antique shops.
Virginia Vacation Ideas #14: Appomattox Court House State Park is in the very center, the “Heart of Virginia” and is the site of General Lee’s surrender to the North ending the Civil War. There is much to see and do in the park and the small town of Appomattox.
You can watch Civil War reenactments. Various Food, Music and Historic Festivals are held throughout the year. In December there’s the Christmas Parade and Community of Candles celebration.
Clover Hill Village is a six acre living history village where you can browse historic buildings from the period 1840 – 1920. Steins Unlimited has a huge collection of antique steins dating back as far as 1594. Explore Appomattox on a self-guided Turn of the Century Walking Tour of 50 historical buildings and landmarks.
Virginia Vacation Ideas #11: Take a scenic and historic drive along the Crooked Road; also known as Virginia’s "Heritage Music Trail". This 250-mile route takes through an area that holds the roots of American music as well as being some of the most beautiful countryside anywhere in the country.
Along the Crooked Road you will find hundreds of music sites and venues such as the World’s Capital of Old Time Mountain Music and the Birthplace of Country Music. There are loads of annual festivals, weekly concerts, radio shows and jam sessions.
It’s not uncommon for visitors to bring a musical instrument and join in a jam session. An example of a major venue along the Crooked Road is Blue Ridge Institute & Museum in Ferrum, VA. Along with musical galleries and artifacts it’s the site of Virginia’s largest folk festival; Blue Ridge Folklife Festival.