Must-see tourist attractions in Virginia

By Stef Zisovska
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Must-see tourist attractions in Virginia

Stef Zisovska
 
Assateague Island horses - Author: Notyourbroom - CC BY 3.0
Assateague Island horses - Author: Notyourbroom - CC BY 3.0
 
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Virginia is a state at the heart of the most significant historical events in the country. Civil War battlefields, birthplaces of four of the first five American presidents, and places where the Revolution and the Civil War ended. Besides its historical significance, Virginia is also famous for its natural wonders such as Shenandoah National Park, the Luray Caverns, the Natural Bridge, and the islands of Chincoteague and Assateague. All of these places attract tourists throughout the year. The mountains of Virginia are popular among the hiking enthusiasts, while the sandy beaches are an attractive summer destination. Here’s a list of cool places to visit while in the “Mother of Presidents” State.

Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg – Tasma3197 – CC BY-SA 3.0
Colonial Williamsburg – Tasma3197 – CC BY-SA 3.0

Williamsburg was the capital of the Colony of Virginia from 1699 to 1780 and was an important center during the Revolution. The final battle of the Revolution was fought near Williamsburg, so every history fan should come and walk the streets where Thomas Jefferson once walked. The colonial buildings are still standing as they were before the revolution and many of them have been rebuilt on the original foundations. Also, you can visit museums of folk and decorative arts and plenty of outstanding re-created colonial gardens.

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is a popular and crowded town with a long stretch of sand on the Atlantic Ocean Coast. If the water is not warm enough for swimming, you can take your kids to Ocean Breeze Waterpark where they can enjoy the wave pool, the water slides, and the water playgrounds. Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Museum is another place you can visit and see the 800,000-gallon aquarium. There are marshlands, an aviary, nature trails, and an adventure park.

Bird lovers should go to Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge where 10,000 birds visit annually. The 9000 acres of protected coastline is also a perfect place for hikers, offering walking and hiking trails and picnic facilities.

Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive

Shenandoah National Park at one of its many scenic overlooks – Author: Wallygva – CC BY-SA 2.5
Shenandoah National Park at one of its many scenic overlooks – Author: Wallygva – CC BY-SA 2.5

The Shenandoah National Park is home to parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the heart of Virginia. The Blue Ridge altitude varies between 2,000 and 4,000 feet. Along the length of the park runs the scenic Skyline Drive with plenty of stops and viewpoints from where you can admire the stunning surroundings. There are various entrances to the park and a network of hiking trails which makes it a paradise for keen hikers. You can see flowering trees in spring and summer, but the national park is best known for its fall colors in October. After a short drive from the Skyline Drive on Highway 211, you can visit the Luray Caverns, a cave system full of stalactites and stalagmites.

Jamestown 

Jamestown is the first British settlement on American territory, founded in 1607 by Captain John Smith. Nowadays, only the church tower, the churchyard and a few original buildings still stand. The Jamestown settlement is a living history museum where you can visit the exposition hall where there are statues of Pocahontas and Captain John Smith. The reconstructed village will take you back to the time of the British colonization and the Powhatans culture.

Chincoteague and Assateague Islands

Swimming from Assateague for Pony Penning Day on Chincoteague – Author: Bonnie U. Gruenberg – CC BY-SA 3.0
Swimming from Assateague for Pony Penning Day on Chincoteague – Author: Bonnie U. Gruenberg – CC BY-SA 3.0

The two barrier islands in the Atlantic Ocean are famous for their residents, the wild ponies. The Assateague Islands have one of the most beautiful beaches on the Atlantic coast, and this attracts a big number of tourists each year. Apart of the coastline, there are fresh and saltwater marshes, wetlands, and a forest with more than 320 species of shorebirds. Besides watching the wild ponies, you can swim, visit the lighthouse, take a boat or bus on wildlife tours, watch birds, collect seashells,  kayak, go fishing or go crabbing.

Chose which place you want to visit this autumn and start planning your trip. Virginia is waiting for you! Good luck!

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