We’ve collected Virginia’s top outdoor experiences that are all waiting for your next adventure. Now’s the time to book your long-awaited trip to Virginia and take in the picturesque scenery, so what are you waiting for!?
Virginia State Parks
Consistently rated the best in America, Virginia’s 41 state parks have been the scenic backdrop for perfect holidays for more than 85 years. Offering experiences as diverse as the state’s landscape itself, parks can be found along the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay, on historic sites, in the Blue Ridge Mountains and just outside of major cities. The parks have thousands of campsites, hundreds of cabins, more than 500 miles of trails, and convenient access to Virginia’s major waterways.
A tiny fishing town off Virginia’s Eastern Shore, Chincoteague Island is steps away from the Atlantic Ocean and famous for the Chincoteague ponies that live in the 37-mile-long Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on nearby Assateague Island. Each July the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company’s Pony Swim and Auction brings scores of spectators to the island town as the saltwater cowboys round up ponies and swim them across the channel.
Golf Courses Galore
Fore! Get ready for some of the country’s best classic course designs and modern layouts. Virginia offers some of the world’s top-ranked golf, with courses spanning from the mountain tops to the coastal shores. Adding the wonderful year-round weather to the legendary scenic landscape creates a golf destination that is as alluring and accessible as anywhere in eastern North America, with 220 public courses to choose from.
Kayak with Dolphins
Enjoy the thrill of a close encounter with Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins in the Chesapeake Bay. Ideal water temperatures make Virginia Beach a year-round playground for these curious mammals, guaranteeing you a stand-out adventure. While easily spotted even from shore, one of the best ways to see them is on the water from a kayak, with tour company Chesapean Outdoors.
Skyline Drive is Shenandoah National Park’s linear conduit, 105 miles long with 75 overlooks connecting travelers to all the major visitor centers, campgrounds, lodges, picnic areas and most trailheads. Concrete posts numbered every mile keep you apprised of your whereabouts. Fall is the most popular time to travel the Drive, with its colorful foliage from late September to mid-November. Spring offers colorful wildflowers as well as blooming azaleas and mountain laurel.
Eastern America’s largest caverns are a U.S. Natural Landmark noted for their profuse variety of formations and unsurpassed natural colors. From well-lighted, paved walkways explore cathedral-sized rooms with ceilings 10 stories high, filled with towering stone columns and crystal-clear pools. Also hear the sounds of the world’s only Stalacpipe Organ, played from a regular-size organ but with organ pipes that are stalactites themselves, spreading over three underground acres and wired with little rubber mallets. Below-ground temperatures hover around 56 degrees, so the caverns are a great place to escape summer’s heat and perhaps even warm up on a chilly winter day.
Chefs Table at Pleasure House Oysters
Set out on the Lynnhaven River and discover how oysters are harvested. Boat tours provide a behind-the-scenes look through various oyster farms along the river. Don’t miss the Chef’s Table Tour experience, dining on fresh oysters pulled straight from the water as you stand tableside and knees-deep in the river at the Pleasure House Oyster Farm enjoying their legendary flavors.
Great Falls National Park
The whitewater wonder is a natural highlight of Virginia where the historic Potomac River crashes over ragged rock at this 800-acre park. George Washington himself commissioned a system of canals and locks to allow barge traffic to navigate around this extensive whitewater froth working its way through Mather Gorge. After visiting the remarkable falls, enjoy 15 miles of hiking trails and five miles of horseback riding and biking trails, perfect for an exciting day trip.
Paddle to a Winery
There’s more than one way to visit a winery in Virginia! Join SouthEast Expeditions for their Paddle Your Glass Off Tour on the Eastern Shore for a unique kayak adventure. Discover wildlife and aquaculture along the way to a winery, complete with tour, tasting and cheese tray on arrival and a bottle of wine to enjoy as you relax in the vineyard and rest up for the paddle back.
Hiking the Appalachian Trail
Virginia is home to 544 miles of the Appalachian Trail, making it easy to sample a section of the world-famous path through America’s untamed wilderness. Over 100 miles lie in Shenandoah National Park, after which the trail parallels the famous Blue Ridge Parkway on its way through the state, ending in Damascus, known as Trail Town USA, where it follows the town’s main thoroughfare and connects with numerous other legendary American trails.