Virginia Travel Guide

Most travelers have heard the slogan, "Virginia Is for Lovers," but as it turns out, Virginia is also for families, groups of friends, girlfriends getaways, and more! Whether you want to jump in the kayak for a white water tour or taste your way from winery to winery, you will be surprised at all the pleasures that Virginia offers.

Make your Virginia vacation even more memorable by skipping hotels. After a day of hiking, return to your own cozy cabin for a romantic night by the fire. VacationRentals.com has tempting options for lovers, families, and just about any combination of travelers. Go ahead, let yourself be seduced by the cabin of your dreams!

What to Do in Virginia

virginia beaches

Beaches and Summer Fun

While Virginia cabins and wineries might come to mind when you first think of the state, there are also many beaches worth visiting. If you’re planning a summer getaway, you will love the wide, free beaches of Virginia. From Virginia Beach to the Eastern Shore to Chesapeake Bay, you can spend your days hiking, biking, or just soaking up the sun in the sand.

There are plenty of ways to cool off during a Virginia vacation as well. If you’re looking for something a little more exciting than a dip in the ocean, be sure to check out the Virginia Beach Oceanfront Water Park. Your kids will find all the thrills they are looking for at this major attraction. At dusk, treat your kids to an ice cream cone and a stroll along the three-mile oceanfront boardwalk.

Are you looking for something on the quieter side? The Virginia coastline is teeming with state parks and wildlife refuges that are begging to be explored. Don’t miss the First Landing State Park (perfect for hiking) or the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge (home to a wide collection of animals). Be sure to bring your camera along!

The Mountains and the Great Outdoors

During your Virginia vacation, don’t miss the chance to go for a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. This stretch of road is truly one of America’s treasures, and it is only the beginning of what you will discover in the Great Outdoors of Virginia. Pack along your mountain bike, schedule your first horseback riding lesson, or work on your golf swing all while taking in the views. Don’t forget your hiking boots and get ready to hit the mountain trails. Virginia contains more than 540 miles of the Appalachian Trail, so if this adventurous activity has always been a dream of yours, make it come true this year! Whether you take in the view from the exhilarating top of Mount Rogers or stick to the tasting room of Virginia wineries, this state will surprise you around every corner.

Virginia cabins are hot commodities all year long. Whether you’re the type of traveler that likes to hit the slopes on a skiing vacation or take the kayak out for a relaxing paddle, there are outdoor activities year round. These landscapes are sure to induce romance, whether you decide to explore caverns, hike under the brilliant fall foliage, or sit back for a scenic drive.

virginia beach love

Virginia Is Perfect for Lovers—The Romantic Side

The beaches, hiking trails, and mountain vistas will all add some heat to a romantic getaway. However, a Virginia vacation has more tricks up its sleeve to get the sparks really flying. From soothing spas that will massage away your worries to Virginia wineries where you can reconnect over a bottle of local wine, this state provides the perfect environment for lovers. After your visit to the winery, bring home a special bottle or two to enjoy at Virginia cabins. Tours, tastings, and open houses will all entice you into Virginia wineries. With over dozens to choose from, it may be difficult to know where to begin, but some local favorites include Oak Crest Vineyard and Winery, West Wind Farm Vineyard and Winery, and Autumn Hill Vineyards. If you prefer lager to wine, Virginia is full of microbreweries as well.

For travelers with sophisticated tastes there is more to see beyond wineries and fine dining. From historic sites such as the colonial settlement of Jamestown to a wide variety of live music (from symphony to jazz to folk) Virginia is a very culturally entertaining state. Explore the museums, be mesmerized by the opera, or visit Civil War Battlefields—it’s all a possibility in Virginia!

A Fun Family Getaway

While Virginia wineries, spas, and live music might be perfect for lovers, there are many opportunities to keep families entertained as well. If you can tear the kids away from the beaches, there are theme parks and zoos that are guaranteed to thrill. From Busch Gardens in Williamsburg to Creation Kingdom Zoo to water parks, there is entertainment in every corner of Virginia!

Festivals, fairs, and parades are also part of summer family fun. From rides and games to shows and finger-licking food, these festivals are the ideal way to spend a day under the summer sun. Whether you attend the Fireman’s Carnival on Chincoteague Island or Madison County Fair, your kids will ask to make this trip an annual event! To add a little education to your vacation, take a look into historical tours. These walking tours aren’t what they used to be, and many of them include fascinating stories told by talented tour guides who are successful at bringing history to life. From the Monticello Plantation tours to the Haunts of Richmond Ghost Tours, your kids will have fun as they are learning.

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What to See in Virginia

virginia museum

History, Museums, and the Performing Arts

The history of Virginia dates back to the first settlement in this country. Complete your Virginia vacation by learning about the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. From the Air Force Memorial in Arlington to Civil War Battlefields, you will discover history around every corner. Museums highlight different moments in history, including the National Air and Space Museum and the Civil War Life Museum in Fredericksburg.

A Virginia vacation is the perfect time to expose your kids to the performing arts. From the Concert Ballet of Virginia in Richmond to Virginia Symphony Orchestra in Norfolk, there are serious arts and culture across the state. From comedic theater for the little ones to opera for your budding musical star, a trip to Virginia will expose your kids to more than just the Great Outdoors.

State Parks and Scenic Drives

Unique landscapes can be encountered across the state of Virginia. Plan some quality family time into your vacation by including a cruise along one of these scenic drives. There are four national scenic byways in Virginia, and there are great reasons to explore each of them. Begin on the Colonial Parkway, a 23-mile stretch that connects important historical sites including historic Jamestown and the Yorktown Battlefield.

Don’t miss the opportunity to sail along Skyline Drive, a 105-mile drive that winds along the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Here can you can stop at any of the 70 scenic outlooks in the Shenandoah National Park for sweeping views. The most famous byway is the Blue Ridge Parkway, stretching to almost 500 miles of natural beauty. The George Washington Memorial Parkway is vibrant during the months of fall foliage, and will lead visitors to Old Town Alexandria and Gatsby’s Tavern Museum where George Washington spent time over ales with friends.

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Where to Shop and Eat in Virginia

virginia shopping

Virginia Is for Shoppers

Beyond Virginia wineries and beaches, shopping is one of the main attractions to this state. Bargain shoppers are lured by factory outlets, antique auctions feature real gems, and flea markets offer bottom-barrel prices. Local artists and craftsmen also attract shoppers who are hunting for gifts or home décor. Be sure to bring a half-empty bag on your Virginia vacation—you might just fill it up before you go home!

If you want to learn about local produce, don’t miss out on the 17th Street Farmers Market in Richmond. For antiques, head to Gloucester Antiques. Discount shoppers will plan an entire day or more to explore Factory Merchants Outlet Mall in Fort Chiswell while the Chesterfield Town Centre is perfect for shoppers who want to browse over a wide selection. For a girlfriends getaway, the many shopping options of Virginia is ideal!

The Tastes of Virginia

After a visit to Virginia wineries, your interest might be piqued in local flavors and cuisine. Get ready to try some traditional regional dishes such as country ham and grits, soul food, and country fried chicken. Some visitors may be surprised to know that Virginia is also developing a reputation for five-star restaurants and elegant atmosphere.

No matter how comfortable you are in Virginia cabins, you must venture out for a night or two to see what local chefs are ready to serve on your plate. Throw on your heels for a night of fine dining and make a reservation at the Inn at Little Washington, Bistrot Lafayette, or Café Renaissance. If you’re traveling on a tighter budget, there are many affordable opportunities to sample barbeque, seafood, and many types of ethnic cuisine.

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When to Visit Virginia

One great characteristic of Virginia cabins and activities is that they can be planned all year long. If you love the crisp air of the mountains during winter, pack along your skis and some hot cocoa to enjoy the snowy wonderland. If you prefer the summer season, be sure to book your vacation rental ahead of time as many families plan ahead during this popular time when kids are out of school.

Savvy travelers will take advantage of the affordable prices and smaller crowds during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall. During the spring, enjoy the first warm days with hikes or horseback rides and hit the spa. The autumn brings beautiful fall foliage, and harvest time at Virginia wineries. If you can’t decide, why not plan four Virginia vacations, one for each season?

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What to Bring to Virginia

A VVirginia vacation is all about reconnecting: with nature, with family, and with your partner. Be sure to bring along whatever helps you relax, from your favorite bubble bath to kitchen supplies that will make your rental feel like home. In the summer months, essentials include sunscreen and insect repellent. Don’t forget your hiking boots if you plan on hitting the trails. Families should also pack along a first-aid kid. If you’re planning an adults-only vacation, bring along those high heels and a black dress for a night on the town. Of course a camera is essential for all of the beautiful views you encounter. You'll definitely want pictures to remember the trip by.

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Local Services in Virginia

Visitors will be satisfied by the local services on offer in Virginia. Over the years, services along the scenic byways and in the state parks have improved dramatically. Whether you are looking for picnic supplies or maps of the area, you will find helpful services. Banks, ATMs, post offices, and grocery stores can all be found easily if you are searching during regular business hours. Don't miss the great farmers markets as well!

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What to Know About Virginia

The map of Virginia can be deceiving, so be sure to give some thought to your itinerary in advance. The scenic drives of Virginia will have many lookout points for photographs or picnic, so try not to bite off more than you can chew in one day. Similarly, you may spend more time at places along the Virginia wine trail than expected, so plan accordingly!

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Getting to Virginia

Virginia is located in the mid-Atlantic region of the country. This state is bordered by Washington DC and Maryland to the north, North Carolina and Tennessee to the south, and West Virginia and Kentucky to the west. Many visitors choose to drive to Virginia as the freedom of a car allows you to really experience the vast pleasures of the Great Outdoors. Alternatively, it is possible to fly into Virginia (major airports include Washington Dulles Airport, Richmond International Airport, and Norfolk International Airport) and rent a car.

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Why Virginia vacation rentals?

azing out at the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the privacy of Virginia cabins, you will wonder how you ever even considered a hotel room. This landscape just begs for the extra space that vacation rentals provide. Give your family the space everyone needs to unwind, or set the mood for a romantic getaway!

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