The Best Vacation Destinations in Virginia

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A winding road through Virginia's Shenandoah Valley

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They say “Virginia is for Lovers,” but did you know that this serene slice of the South is so much more? From the banks of the Chesapeake Bay to the orchards in the Shenandoah Valley, stretching to the tops of the Appalachian Mountains, you will never run out of incredible experiences. This diverse state has many things to do (and see) for not just lovers – but also for history buffs and sightseers, adventurers and explorers, and those who simply want to kick off their shoes and relax.

What kind of a Virginia vacation will you take?

Top Historical Sites for Sightseers and History Buffs

Any history buffs out there? As one of the original American Colonies, Virginia has monuments marking important moments from U.S. history at nearly every corner. Treat yourself to some of the top experiences from the list below.

Colonial Williamsburg

Travel back in time to Colonial Williamsburg, where you can walk the streets of the largest living history museum in the world. Take time to chat with interpreters who remain in character, sharing details of their daily lives in Colonial America. This historic spot is one of the best destinations for families because it is both fun and educational. But the best part? No two experiences are quite the same! With an ever-changing staff, new conversations to have, and exhibits to experience, you will be delighted at each of your encounters in Colonial Williamsburg.

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Bus & train prices are based on the average cost of a one-way ticket for the respective route available on Wanderu over a 30-day period.

Historic Jamestown and Yorktown

Historic Jamestown

Journey through the first colony where Englishmen settled in North America. After you have toured the historical remains of the Jamestown settlement, travel 20 miles to nearby Yorktown, where The Battle of Yorktown took place (the final battle of the Revolutionary War, as we’re sure you know from Hamilton). Want to see a reenactment of the war in action? Check out one of the Living History programs and watch the battle come to life.

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Monticello and Charlottesville

Take time to tour the home of Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States and the author of the American Declaration of Independence. Monticello, located in Charlottesville, is Jefferson’s plantation home and truly an architectural delight. After making your way through Monticello, head to nearby Charlottesville and hit the historic streets. With the University of Virginia, museums, shopping, and hot restaurants to try—there is never a shortage of things to do in Charlottesville.

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Bus & train prices are based on the average cost of a one-way ticket for the respective route available on Wanderu over a 30-day period.

Arlington National Cemetery

Experience America’s most hallowed ground at Arlington National Cemetery, right across the Potomac from Washington, D.C. Wander through the rows of national heroes’ graves and honor those who fought for their country. Experience the Memorial Arboretum, a living tribute made of beautiful vegetation. Finally, take some time to pay your respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a monument erected for those men and women whose remains were never found, guarded 24/7 by members of the United States Marine Corps.

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Bus & train prices are based on the average cost of a one-way ticket for the respective route available on Wanderu over a 30-day period.

Top Experiences for Adventurers and Explorers

While history is at the forefront of many Virginian towns, there is a lot to do and see for everyday adventurers and explorers. So bring your binoculars to experience some beautiful wildlife, your hiking books to hit some of the local trails, and your sense of outdoor adventure to make memories at Virginia’s natural wonders.

Shenandoah National Park

Escape the hustle and bustle of Virginia’s cities by traveling to nearby Shenandoah National Park. Hike through forests to waterfalls, and explore the rural backcountry as you take in the amazing outdoors. Need to rest your legs? Travel down the 105-mile-long Skyline Drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains and experience some of the most incredible mountain beauty in the country—purple mountains majesties if we’ve ever seen them. Be sure to make a pit stop at the popular Luray Caverns, where you can wander among the geological wonders deep below the earth’s surface.

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Great Falls State Park

Great Falls Park

Now that we’ve got “America the Beautiful” stuck in your head, see another example of American beauty at Great Falls State Park in McLean. Check out where the Potomac River explodes in force over the narrow Mather Gorge, painting a picturesque waterfall only a few miles from Washington, D.C. This remarkable setting is the perfect place to hike, bike, fish, and even go horseback riding through the park’s trails.

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Natural Bridge

Explore Natural Bridge State Park in Lexington, where the 215-foot-tall natural bridge formed of limestone towers tall over the Cedar Creek below. Take time to travel over 7 miles of hiking trails, especially the Cedar Creek Trail, which leads you under the bridge to the beautiful Monacan Village. This replica village introduces the lives and culture of the region’s indigenous people, and interpreters share information about what life was like 300 years ago. Even farther down the trail, you will be greeted by a 30-foot flowing waterfall, Lace Falls.

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Top Virginia Spots for Relaxation

Vacation does not always have to be an action-packed experience. For those of us who enjoy peaceful trips to wind down, this section is for you:

Virginia Beach

What better place to kick off your flip-flops and take a load off than the beach? Head to where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean and take some time to experience all that Virginia Beach has to offer. Bake on the banks near First Landing State Park, where the Jamestown colonists arrived in the early 1600s from England. Bask in the beauty of the 3-mile long boardwalk, where there are always things to do and people to meet. Snap a selfie with King Neptune, the 20-foot bronze statue guarding the gateway to Neptune Festival Park. When you’re done having your fun in the sun, check out the local shops and restaurants, and pair some of the local seafood with your favorite cocktail to truly unwind.

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Bus & train prices are based on the average cost of a one-way ticket for the respective route available on Wanderu over a 30-day period.

Busch Gardens

While a theme park is not the most conventional way to relax, it is certainly a nice place to escape the monotony of day-to-day life. Busch Gardens has something for everyone: awesome eats, eight daring coasters, entertaining shows, and seasonal offerings! Enjoy 130 acres of this Euro-centric adventure park in Williamsburg, winner of the “World’s Most Beautiful Amusement Park” winner since 1990. If it’s truly relaxation you’re going for, maybe stick to the scenic Busch Gardens Railway instead of braving the Loch Ness Monster or Tempesto roller coasters! 

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Bus & train prices are based on the average cost of a one-way ticket for the respective route available on Wanderu over a 30-day period.

Tour a Winery

Blacksburg, in the heart of Virginia's wine country
Dying to unwind with your girlfriends, or looking for the perfect way to wine and dine that special someone? Look no further than one of Virginia’s many wineries for an upscale experience and some world-class wine. Want to enjoy your wine a bit off the beaten path? Check out Ankida Ridge Vineyards, tall on a mountaintop near Amherst. Fan of the Dave Matthews Band? Visit the Blenheim Vineyards, owned by musician Dave Matthews. Hoping for an elite experience? Check out Boxwood Estate in Middleburg’s horse country. With these locations or our full East Coast Wine Tour, you have several places to wet your whistle with some of the finest wine this side of the Mississippi. 

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Staunton

Nestled in the Shenandoah Valley, discover the serene town of Staunton. Walk past the charming storefronts in the town’s historic downtown, experience the local art scene, and attend one of its small-town festivals. Seriously, Staunton’s Main Street gives Disneyland a run for its money. Culture snobs can hit up the American Shakespeare Center, and history buffs can check out the Frontier Culture Museum.

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Bus & train prices are based on the average cost of a one-way ticket for the respective route available on Wanderu over a 30-day period.

Whether you are looking to hit the historic sites, explore the great outdoors, or relax with your loved ones – there is certainly something for everyone in the vast state of Virginia. 

And Wanderu can help you get there! Download the Wanderu app to find the cheapest bus or train to your dream Virginia destination.

Travel Safely

At Wanderu, we want to make sure you are equipped with all the information you need to plan a safe trip. Please visit our COVID-19 Travel Guide for the latest tips & advisories.

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