Experience the beauty of national parks and 400 years of history on an unforgettable East Coast-road trip along one of Virginia’s National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads.
Scenic Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park
One of the most popular ways to explore Virginia is along Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park. The 105-mile stretch winds along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains from Front Royal heading south to Waynesboro, where it meets the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Shenandoah National Park is a national treasure with 70 scenic overlooks. Numerous pull-off points encourage you to get out and see wildlife, the Shenandoah River, and rolling foothills. Enjoy camping or stay at Skyland or Big Meadows Lodge, both of which offer on-site dining and a wide variety of activities.
Fall is a popular time to travel along Skyline Drive, with its colorful foliage from late September to mid-November. But spring offers the most colorful wildflowers along the drive, as well as blooming azaleas and mountain laurel.
Not to miss – a hike to Mary’s Rock (above) – with its 360-degree vistas from an outcrop it is among the most popular lookouts in Shenandoah National Park. Or a hike to Stony Man, the highest spot on the world-famous Appalachian Trail within the Park.
To stay – The Inn at Willow Grove. Located just 30 miles from the Park, set amidst the lush, scenic landscapes of Virginia Wine Country, The Inn at Willow Grove blends the timeless elegance and charm of a beautifully restored 1770s historic house with modern luxury and gourmet cuisine. Plan Your Trip
Blue Ridge Parkway
Known as “America’s Favorite Drive,” the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway meanders from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.
The parkway follows the Appalachian Mountain chain and provides some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, ranging from 650 to 6,000 feet in elevation. Scenic overlooks, historic structures, walking trails, and waterfalls are just some of the highlights along the parkway.
A hundred species of trees, a variety of flowering shrubs and wildflowers as well 54 different mammals and 59 species of birds live along the Parkway – more than the entire European continent!
Not to miss – Mabry Mill (above), one of the most photographed spots on the Parkway, and The Blue Ridge Music Center which offers a unique opportunity to enjoy mountain sounds echoing through Virginia’s Appalachians. During the season you can enjoy free music every afternoon. Combine an evening concert with daytime activities, stretching out the fun.
To stay – Primland Resort, Auberge Resorts Collection . At the heart of the Blue Ridge, Primland Resort awaits on its own 12,000-acre mountain estate. From the regal Lodge with its skirt of emerald fairways to its romantic log cabins and treehouses perched above the Dan River Gorge, winding trails lead to a myriad of fresh discoveries. At Primland Resort every moment is one to savor. Plan Your Trip
The 23-mile Colonial Parkway connects important historical sites within Virginia’s Historic Triangle. Free of commercial development, the Parkway is designed to provide an immersive experience as you drive through more than 400 years of American colonial history.
Not to miss – the historic sites and attractions in the Greater Williamsburg area including Historic Jamestown, Jamestown Settlement, Yorktown Battlefield and American Revolution Museum, and Colonial Williamsburg.
To stay – Williamsburg Inn. Experience Forbes Five-Star, AAA Five Diamond luxury at the iconic Williamsburg Inn. Regarded among the world’s great hotels, the Williamsburg Inn is the crown jewel of Colonial Williamsburg hotels. Plan Your Trip
George Washington Memorial Parkway
Just across the Potomac River from downtown Washington, D.C., is a Northern Virginia oasis in the heart of the nation’s capital – the George Washington Memorial Parkway. It offers walking and biking trails set amid lush vegetation and a rolling landscape. Take the pedestrian bridge to Theodore Roosevelt Island, an 88-acre memorial to our 26th president.
Not to miss – Just one mile north is Old Town Alexandria, a delightful historic town with unforgettable restaurants, shops, and attractions including Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, where George Washington socialized frequently, and The Torpedo Factory Art Center, where professional artists create, display, and sell their work.
To stay – Morrison House. Tucked neatly in Alexandria’s Old Town, sits Morrison House, the city’s only AAA four-diamond hotel. Guests of the charming Federalist-style 45 room Autograph Collection hotel come to be inspired by historic Alexandria while surrounded by the vibrancy of the people and décor of Morrison House. Plan Your Trip
Explore countless scenic vistas along 3,600 miles of Virginia’s Scenic Byways. Plan your trip at virginia.org/united to discover some of the best lesser-known routes for yourself!