Entertainment around RVA

Virginia’s Enchanting Rooftop Restaurants & Bars

Virginia’s Enchanting Rooftop Restaurants & Bars

quirk rooftop bar

Looking for great food at even greater heights? Combine Virginia’s flair for award-winning culinary masterpieces and creative craft cocktails with breathtaking scenery when you check out one of these stunning rooftop restaurants and bars!


Q Rooftop Bar at Quirk Hotel—Richmond


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Found on top of the mod-upscale Quirk Hotel, Q Rooftop Bar offers views of Richmond’s downtown skyline from its 2,800-square-foot location. Grab a cocktail, a glass of wine, or a craft beer from the ever-changing rooftop bar drink menu as you take in the gorgeous views. Craft beer fans should try the QUIRK beer, made by Hardywood Park Craft Brewery just a few miles from the hotel. For food, the rooftop bar offers what they refer to as “elevated street fare”; this means small snacks and finger foods, so if you’re in need of a full meal, book a table at the restaurant in the hotel’s stylish lobby, Maple & Pine.


Catbird at Hotel Weyanoke—Farmville


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The renovated Hotel Weyanoke is a luxury retreat in the heart of downtown Farmville, a few miles from Hampden Sydney College and across the street from the Longwood University campus. Head up to the Weyanoke’s rooftop bar and lounge, Catbird, for seasonal hand-crafted cocktails, craft brews or wines, and panoramic views of Farmville and the surrounding landscape. Pair your beverages with a selection of small plates and tapas served on the rooftop, or visit one of the hotel’s several noteworthy restaurants; dine on wood-fired artisan pizzas at the casual eatery Effingham’s for lunch or dinner, or enjoy an upscale supper at Campagna, the hotel’s sophisticated Italian restaurant. If you’re staying overnight, grab a quick bite for breakfast at Sassafras, a coffee shop serving pastries and other fresh treats made in-house daily.


Kabana Rooftop—Richmond


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Perched 20 floors above Richmond’s towering financial district, Kabana Rooftop Bar & Lounge is the highest rooftop bar in the capital city. They offer small snack plates as well as a curated list of cocktails, craft beer, and wines for those hot summer days. For a taste of local flavors, we recommend the Sunset Margarita, made with Richmond-based Belle Isle Honey Habanero Moonshine, or the RVA Sour, which combines Reservoir Rye Whiskey, another Richmond spirit, with simple syrup, fresh lemon juice, and red wine.


Sky Bar at the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront—Virginia Beach


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You’ve never seen the Virginia Beach shoreline like this before! On the rooftop of the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel, Sky Bar is 21 floors up from the sandy beachfront, with magnificent 360-degree views that include Virginia’s Eastern Shore, the North Carolina border, downtown Norfolk, and of course, the dazzling Atlantic Ocean. The rooftop bar and club often hosts live DJs for their dance parties, and the cocktail menu blends traditional recipes with coastal ingredients to create inventive and summer-inspired drinks. The hotel features two award-winning restaurants, Catch 31 and Salacia, on the lower levels where you can get dinner during your visit.


The Skyline Grill at the Virginian Hotel—Lynchburg


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Lynchburg’s first and currently only rooftop dining destination The Skyline Grill at the Virginian Hotel has both indoor and outdoor dining options in the rooftop restaurant, separated by glass garage doors left open during sunnier days. You can order a charcuterie platter or a few appetizers to share with friends, but if you’re in the mood for a hearty meal, they also offer a full entree menu, featuring dishes like pork belly wrapped cod, pan seared hanger steak with a wild mushroom demi-glace, and goat cheese crusted pork medallions topped with a sweet onion sauce, apple butter, and roasted brussel sprouts. Try one of the libations from their seasonally-inspired drink menu, from craft cocktails and draft brews to a wide variety of internationally sourced wines. Snuggle by the fire pits during chillier nights as you take in the surrounding scenery from the perfect vantage point of the rooftop couches.


Grain Rooftop Beer Garden at the Hilton Norfolk Main—Norfolk


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The Grain Rooftop Beer Garden at the Hilton Norfolk Main Hotel has one of the best selections of craft beer in Norfolk, and that is saying something in a city that is known for its impressive collection of craft breweries and brewpubs. Not a craft beer drinker? The drink menu also features a selection of specialty cocktails and wines. The beer garden’s terraced patio provides views of the Elizabeth River and downtown Norfolk, and is decorated with landscaped trees, twinkling lights, and a stylish yet cozy gas fire pit. Play a game of pool with friends in the upscale billiards room or sharpen your wits during a round of lawn chess in the patio’s backyard “garden” area. Before leaving snap a picture in the restaurant’s free photo booth to commemorate a memorable evening.


The Byrd House at the Graduate Richmond—Richmond


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On the top level of Richmond’s Graduate Hotel, The Byrd House is a brilliant pun on the city’s founder, William Byrd II, as well as a play on words for the bar’s sky-high perch. In addition to the bar and restaurant, the Byrd House also features a sleek poolside area for sunbathing and swimming. Cocktails, craft beers, and wines, including a refreshing frosé (frozen rosé slushies!) make up the drink list, while the “Byrd Food” consists of chips, dips, and larger fare like burgers and chicken sandwiches.


Arlington Rooftop Bar & Grill—Arlington


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If you’re in search of epic views near Washington, D.C., visit Arlington Rooftop Bar & Grill, an outdoor bar, restaurant, and lounge that overlooks downtown Arlington. The decor has a distinctly natural vibe, comprised mainly of stone slabs and natural woods that cover the walls, floors, tables, chairs, and even the bar. Strings of lights illuminate the patio area after dark, but try to arrive before dusk to catch a stunning sunset over the city. Snack on appetizers like crab dip and chips, fried calamari, chicken wings, or bacon-wrapped shrimp, then choose from their wide array of sandwiches, salads, or signature entrees if you’re still hungry. The cocktail menu is fairly small, consisting of only a few signature drink options, but they have over a dozen beers and ciders on draft and a decent selection of sparkling, white, red, and rosé wines.


Camp Ten Four at the Graduate Hotel—Charlottesville


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Charlottesville’s highest rooftop bar Camp Ten Four is located atop the stylish Graduate Hotel, nine floors above the city’s historic Main Street. The vibe is distinctly lighthearted and carefree, inviting you to remember the fun of childhood summer camps while enjoying an array of adult beverages, including a selection of cocktails cleverly contained in pouches that resemble Capri Suns. Food options maintain the casual atmosphere and include easy eats like nachos, cheeseburgers, and crinkle-cut fries.


Other Rooftop Restaurants & Bars Around Virginia:

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Historic Tours & Tea During Garden Week in Virginia

Historic Tours & Tea During Garden Week in Virginia

Enjoy tours, tea and visit to four plantations during Historic Garden Week in Virginia April 27 – May 4, 2019

If you are interested in hidden gems, you must visit Hopewell’s Weston Plantation (1789), the only plantation house remaining on the Appomattox River. This year, Weston Plantation will open Garden Week and its spring season with a tea sponsored by the Appomattox Garden Club on Sunday, April 28. Members of the Appomattox Garden Club decorate the three floors of the house with seasonal arrangements, chosen to complement the decor of each room. The arrangements will remain in place through May 4 for Garden Week in Virginia.

Weston Plantation– Weston Plantation –

“Southern ladies know how to entertain!” says Chesterfield resident Sherry Conklin. “This lovely tea is as nice as any event I have attended. The food is homemade by the ladies of the garden club – from cucumber sandwiches, ham biscuits, chicken salad puffs and cheese sticks to cookies and candies, along with a traditional fruit punch. Once you have been to the Weston tea, you’ll want to go back again.”

It’s not easy to find Weston. If you’re not careful, you might miss the small sign at on the right side of Rt. 10, which points to Weston. The sign is just after Rt. 10 crosses the Appomattox River, heading south from Richmond. From the sign, you follow a narrow winding road leading to Weston Lane and the Manor House.


Plantations on the James River

Berkeley, Shirley and Westover Plantations on the James River in Charles City are offering a special $45 combination ticket through the Garden Club of Virginia on April 28, 29 and 30. The combo ticket allows access to the grounds and gardens, outbuildings and interiors of all three historic sites as well as Westover Episcopal Church (1730), which is offering a lunch by advanced reservation.

The visitor will find the plantations on historic Rt. 5 just outside Richmond. Here you step back in time, driving through quiet, undisturbed woodlands and farms, where early landowners established their plantations on grants from the British crown in the 1600 and 1700s.

Shirley Plantation, founded in 1613 as Virginia’s first plantation, is located on 700 acres above the James River about 30 miles outside of Richmond and 35 miles from Williamsburg. The 11th generation of direct Carter descendants live in the plantation house and manage the farm.

Shirley Plantation– Shirley Plantation –

The grounds are open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily, with tours on the hour. On Sunday, April 28, Shirley Plantation is offering Afternoon Tea with Mrs. Carter. Upper Shirley Vineyards, located near the Plantation, offers visitors wine tastings, lunch, and appetizers.

Berkeley Plantation, where early settlers observed the first Thanksgiving in 1619, is ancestral home of the Harrison family – Benjamin Harrison V, signer of the Declaration of Independence; William Henry Harrison, 9th U.S. President; and Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd president. Tours are conducted daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Westover, the grandest of the James River Plantations was built by William Byrd II in the mid-18th century. Byrd, the founder of Richmond, is known for his early explorations and diaries of his life in Virginia. His library at Westover consisted of 4000 volumes.

Westover Plantation– Westover Plantation –

Westover’s grounds and gardens are open daily, 10am – 5pm, and interior house tours can be scheduled by appointment. The grounds include three 18th-century English wrought-iron gates. The pillars of the iron gate on the north side of the house, now abandoned, give testament to the grandeur of the plantation.

Nearby, Westover Episcopal Church includes burial plots of a number of prominent Virginians, including the first Benjamin Harrison of Berkeley and his wife as well as William Byrd I and his wife and William Byrd II’s daughter, Evelyn Byrd, often seen as a friendly ghost at Westover.

The nation’s only statewide house and garden tour, Historic Garden Week allows visitors to see Virginia’s gardens at the peak of spring color. Homes and manor houses on the tour are decorated with more than 2,300 flower arrangements created by members of the Garden Club of Virginia. For more information on the plantation tours and other Garden Week activities and to purchase combination tickets, visit www.vagardenweek.org. Tour proceeds fund the restoration and preservation of gardens throughout Virginia.

For information on the Appomattox Garden Club tea at Weston Manor, contact the Hopewell and Prince George Visitor Center at http://www.visithpg.com/visitor-center or call Carolyn Hoagland at 804-334-2684.


Written by Hopewell / Prince George for Hopewell/Prince George Chamber of Commerce.
Featured image provided by Hopewell / Prince George

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STEM/STEAM Activities and Exhibits for Students

STEM/STEAM Activities and Exhibits for Students

STEM is an educational curriculum that combines science, technology, engineering, and math. STEAM is adding art into the mix. Many Virginia museums and attractions offer educators and students the chance to get inspired, explore and learn in a setting outside of the traditional classroom. Below are a few museums and attractions and the exciting programs they offer.


The NASA Wallops Flight Facility Visitor Center, Wallops Island

Wallops Flight Facility and Visitor Center

The NASA Wallops Flight Facility Visitor Center offers exhibits about aeronautics, rockets, scientific balloons, current missions, and the history of Wallops Flight Facility. Numerous free public programs, field trip opportunities, events, and group tours of the facility are also available. The Visitor Center also serves as the viewing site for rockets that launch from Wallops Island.  The Virginia Space Flight Academy offers middle school students day and overnight programs with a mixture of excitement and fun.


Kings Dominion, Doswell

Kings Dominion’s lively, interactive setting is the ultimate venue for a greater understanding of the basics of STEM. Working with educators throughout the state, they have designed engaging educational programs with companion tools, including teacher-student workbooks, educator guides and pre-trip classroom activities – all made to align with Virginia courses of study as well as National Science Standards. Meal deals are also available.


Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Museum, Virginia Beach

Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center

The Virginia Aquarium is home to over 10,000 animals representing over 300 species. Self-guided visits, 3D films, an interactive boat trip and standards-based programs help bring science to life for your students. Live animals encounters are sure to engage students of all ages. Scout overnights, workshops and summer camps are also available.


Children’s Science Center Lab, Fairfax

The Lab features four experience zones with changing exhibits as well as a flex-space “Garage” for camps, classes, workshops, parties and mini expositions to showcase regional STEM talent in-action. Special animal encounters can be arranged on certain days. STEM educators are on-site to help facilitate activities.


Science Museum of Virginia, Richmond

Science Museum of Virginia
-Photo Credit: Science Museum of Virginia –

Visitors can get up close and personal with science while watching an amazing live demonstration or show their creativity by mixing art and science in Art Lab. The museum features touring exhibits from around the world and allows students to learn the science behind their favorite feast. Groups can attend a rat basketball game or watch live astronomy presentations, cosmic expeditions or a giant screen movie on the most technologically advanced digital dome theater in the world, The Dome.


Chincoteague Bay Field Station, Wallops Island

Located on the Eastern Shore, between the Atlantic Ocean and ecologically important Chesapeake Bay, the Chincoteague Bay Field Station introduces students to a variety of concepts in the biological, chemical, and physical sciences. Their summer camp activities include all of their traditional marine science topics as well as arts, sports and team building.


Virginia Living Museum, Newport News

Virginia Living Museum

At the Virginia Living Museum, nature and science come alive where visitors are connected to nature every day! Discover how pH can affect our ecosystems by testing different aquatic environments. Learn about plastic pollution and then upcycle some in their Shrinky Dinks activity and save it from ending up in a local landfill. On a sunny day, observe the sun in the rooftop observatory and race solar cars on the outdoor trail. These are just a few STEAM activities you may encounter during your visit at the Virginia Living Museum.


Explore More Discovery Museum, Harrisonburg

Over a dozen community-inspired exhibits are designed to engage young minds through interactive and multi-sensory learning. Students can design balloon-powered cars in Maker City or use simple circuits to light up their drawings. Master Summer Camps allow children to learn the science behind super heroes or create culinary masterpieces from around the world. The museum also offers special programs and workshops and SOL-guided field trips.


Virginia Museum of Natural History, Martinsville

Virginia Museum of Natural History

The Virginia Museum of Natural History has award-winning exhibits, ground-breaking scientific research and collections, and innovative educational programs for all ages. Students can participate in mock digs for dinosaur bones, build and race LEGO cars, explore iconic paintings and drawings using a math lens, conduct a variety of experiments and much more.


Virginia Transportation Museum, Roanoke

Explore the museum’s extensive collection of steam, diesel and electric locomotives, rail cars and model trains. Their student programming is aligned with the Virginia Standards of Learning in multiple disciplines and supports STEM education. Programs can be modified, developed, and crafted for individual groups. A playground, picnic area and lunch room is also available for your group.


Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Fairfax

Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center

Home to two enormous hangars housing thousands of flight artifacts, including the Space Shuttle Discovery, the Steven F. Udvar Hazy center offers educational programs and activities for all ages. Portable carts called Discovery Stations, allow visitors to make a stop-motion animated film with space toys. Catch a science demo, learn about the forces of flight or fly a combat sortie in a simulator while doing 360-degree barrel rolls in a P-51 Mustang or F-4 Phantom II.


See more…

Student Group Itineraries

Family and Student-Friendly Activities

Virginia Museums


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Spring Break (and Summer) Survival in Staunton

Spring Break (and Summer) Survival in Staunton

With spring break ahead, summer travels, and impromptu days off here and there often leave parents looking for things to do. We’ve rounded up a list—worthy of a day trip or overnight stay—that won’t break the bank, making parents happy and keeping kids entertained. Pin, Facebook, bookmark, or print this for future reference; we’re sure you’ll look to it as a resource over the next few months.


Teenagers and Tweens

One of the coolest demonstrations you’ll ever see is glassblowing, and you can see it every day in Staunton at Sunspots Studios! Watch the masters seemingly turn glass into wax as they form big bubbles bound for a life of beauty. If you get inspired, try “Blowing Your Own Ornament” where you work alongside a trained artist to create a unique ornament which will provide a lifetime of memories.

Escape to Crack the Code where you must solve puzzles in order to escape the room. You have 60 minutes to find the clues, solve the puzzles and make your way to freedom. Choose from two different themed rooms: DaVinci’s Office and The Asylum. This group activity is perfect for large families or a group of friends (6 people max).

For parents of Pokémon Go fans, we’ve got the fix. Explore by foot using the free app, Traipse! Traipse takes you on an adventure that is half historic tour and half scavenger hunt. You can Traipse anytime, with whomever you want, in places like downtown Staunton or Gypsy Hill Park. And with the newest version of the app you can now build your own tour based on your interests, time and even level of difficulty.

Montgomery Hall Park is one of Staunton’s best kept secrets with its rolling hills and quiet woodlands. Its a perfect escape for those looking to get outdoors with 148 acres of nature hiking and mountain biking trails. The park is also equipped with a disc golf course, basketball courts, tennis courts and much more!


For history buffs visit the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Museum where you can discover the life and legacy of our 28th President or learn about the Valley’s earliest settlers at the Frontier Culture Museum. Theater enthusiasts will fall in love with the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse where selfies and Snapchat are encouraged as you can go behind, under, and even on stage!

The Younger Set

Discover Staunton by Trolley! Take a ride on the green trolley for just 25 cents per rider. Hop on and off as you visit area attractions like the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum and Gypsy Hill Park. Parents and Grand Parents can sit back and enjoy the architecture and scenery of several of Staunton’s historic districts. MUST SEE stops include Gypsy Hill Park to feed the ducks and stretch your legs; Split Banana for handmade gelato; and Pufferbellies to play with the latest toys. The Green route runs every 30 minutes from the Visitors Center located at 35 S. New Street.

Speaking of toys, did you know Staunton has a toy store that lets your kids play while you shop? “Don’t touch” is not a phrase you’ll hear at Pufferbellies. Pop in to play at the largest independently owned toy store in the Shenandoah Valley, and you can help your kids build their Christmas wish list while you’re at it!

Montgomery Hall Park is 148 acres and is home to the natural playground, Nature Ridge. Designed for imaginative play, Nature Ridge has a mud kitchen, rock quarry, pirate ship, ball drop, chimes, and an elevated sand pit accessible to children of all ages and abilities.

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For train obsessed kiddos we have the historic train station. Take a walk across Sears Hill Bridge for great City views and to explore the tracks from overhead. On the weekends, don’t miss the Gypsy Express Mini-Train running Saturdays and Sundays from May to October. Another kid hot spot is the Staunton Fire Station where you can see JUMBO, the oldest motorized fire engine in Virginia and the only remaining 1911 Robinson fire engine.

Pack a picnic and bring a stroller or rent a wagon for a day of exploration at the Frontier Culture Museum. Walking shoes recommended as you make your way from the Old World to the New, visiting farmsteads with costumed interpreters complete with farm animals.


Staunton has no shortage of music and art festivals during the warmer months and for other special events and weekly happenings check out Staunton On Tap, our schedule of events with all the latest happenings.


Written by Visit Staunton for Staunton.
Featured image provided by Staunton Tourism

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Your Complete Norfolk Spring Bucket List

Your Complete Norfolk Spring Bucket List

Spring is here, and with it comes warmer weather and these top 10 things to do outdoors. We’ve put together some local favorites and recommendations for your ultimate spring bucket list!

 1. Pack a Picnic

Norfolk is surrounded by water on three sides, which makes for many parks with waterfront views. Grab sandwiches from Pendulum Fine Meats’ Luncheonette, some of the most sustainably sourced meat in town, and make your way to a relaxing picnic at Norfolk’s Plum Point Park to watch the sailboats glide by.


2. Watch a Sunrise at the Beach

The sun rises in the east, and we’re blessed in Norfolk with soft sand and beautiful sites of the sunrise on two of our beaches, East Beach and Ocean View. Grab a coffee to-go from Sandfiddler Café and make your way to either location for a gorgeous sunrise over the water. Bring the pup! Dogs are allowed on both beaches until 10 am.

 3. Have a Tea Party

What’s springtime without a tea party in the garden? Norfolk’s hidden gem, the Pagoda & Oriental Garden now houses local favorite, Hummingbird Macarons & Desserts. Choose from specialty macaron flavors like Raspberry Berret or Cookies n’ Cream, then cleanse your palate with loose leaf teas in the garden outside.


4. Gather Fresh Produce at a Farmer’s Market

There’s nothing better than snacking on fresh berries and organic veggies. Peruse The Markets Fare at East Beach or Riverview Village Days at Lafayette Park and find some sun-soaked produce and fun souvenirs like handmade soap and local honey.

Farmers Market - Visit Norfolk
Visit Norfolk –


5. Catch a Butterfly

Spring is a time for new beginnings, and no creature represents it better than the butterfly! Observe them among the flowers at the Norfolk Botanical Garden’s Wildflower Meadow and Bristow Butterfly Garden, a 2.5-acre habitat with plants that attract and support this wildlife in all stages of their life cycle. The enclosed Butterfly House opens later in spring, where you can have an up-close experience with a variety of butterflies.


6. Enjoy a Rainy Day

Yes, we said it… ENJOY your rainy day. With spring comes showers, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit inside! Explore our abundance of museums, including the Chrysler Museum of Art, Nauticus Maritime Museum, Hermitage Museum & Gardens, and the Hunter House Victorian Museum. Be sure to splash in a rain puddle on your way in! For more museums, click here.

Museum - Visit Norfolk 
Visit Norfolk –


7. Attend a Festival

Norfolk is known for its many festivals and spring means it’s officially festival season! Explore the tall ships at Harborfest, America’s largest and longest running free maritime festival, join in the battle between red and white at the Spring Town Point Virginia Wine Festival, and meet local artists at the Stockley Gardens Art Festival. Find more of our locals’ favorite festivals here.


8. Read on a Rooftop

The gorgeous Slover Library in Downtown Norfolk offers rooftop patios where you can relax and read in the beautiful weather outside, all for free!

Patio Reading 
@dsullivan32, Instagram


9. Dine on the Patio

Located in the south, Norfolk boasts a warm spring. What better way to soak up the sun than to dine and sip outside? Check out Longboards for a surf shack vibe and marina views, or grab a bite of comfort food on a rooftop patio with garden lights at Supper Southern Morsels. Check out more patio dining here.


10. Walk Among Animals at the Zoo

The Virginia Zoo is located in the heart of the city, and their animals will take your heart! During select days of the week, you can walk through the Australian Walkabout among wallabies and emus. Afterward, head over to the ZooFarm exhibit, where you can play with goats and interact with alpacas, cows and pigs.

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I goat myself a new kid 🐐

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Written by Visit Norfolk for VisitNorfolk.
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We Asked, You Shared: Your Favorite Things to Do in Virginia

We Asked, You Shared: Your Favorite Things to Do in Virginia

We asked our Instagram followers to share their favorite things to do in Virginia (and who they most wanted to take along for the ride) and we LOVED every single one of the dozens of responses we received. We’ve narrowed down our own favorites to these twelve incredible destinations that showcase some of the best activities that Virginia has to offer. Read on to see if your response made the cut!


Set Out on the Rappahannock RiverRappahannock River


Between the Northern Neck and the Middle Peninsula of Virginia, the Rappahannock is one of Virginia’s most scenic rivers, running almost 200 miles from its narrow source in the Shenandoah Valley to its final destination along Virginia’s eastern coast, where it empties into the Chesapeake Bay. If you don’t have your own boat or water sport equipment, you can rent them from River Rock Outfitter in Fredericksburg, which sits on the banks of the Rappahannock River about an hour north of Richmond. The outdoor shop provides an array of kayaks and paddle boards for hourly, daily, or weekend rates, allowing you to spend as much time as you want out on the river. Closer to the river’s mouth, The Tides Inn in Irvington offers all sorts of waterfront fun, including kayak, canoe, and paddleboat rentals, fishing excursions, riverfront cruises, boat charters, sailing classes, and jet ski eco-tours of the Rappahannock River.


Explore the Wondrous Luray CavernsLuray Caverns

Virginia is home to eight distinct cavern systems, but Luray Caverns are the largest in the Eastern United States and are also a U.S. National Landmark. Noted for the variety of distinct formations and the unparalleled natural colors, the caverns open to cathedral-sized rooms that reach up to ten stories high and contain crystal-clear pools that reflect massive stone columns. When visiting Luray Caverns, don’t miss seeing the world’s first and only Stalacpipe Organ, which creates distinct music from the existing stone formations, and after touring the caverns, check out The Garden Maze on the complex grounds, one of the largest hedge mazes in the Mid-Atlantic United States.


Discover the Historic Sites of Northern VirginiaGeorge Washington's Mount Vernon

This Virginia lover couldn’t pick one favorite thing to do, but instead highlighted three of the most notable historic sites in Northern Virginia. Start your journey about 15 miles south of Washington, D.C. at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the immaculate riverfront estate of the first President of the United States. The jewel of the property is the restored home of the Founding Father, but you’ll also enjoy touring a host of colonial outbuildings, beautiful gardens, a working distillery and gristmill, and the lush lawns surrounding the home. Learn about the history of the era in the museum and education center, which features 25 galleries and theaters, over 700 artifacts, and interactive displays that let you get to know the real George Washington.

Next, travel west towards Chantilly to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, the companion facility of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. Within the museum’s two capacious hangars, you’ll get a peek at thousands of historically-significant aviation and space artifacts, including a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, a Concorde airliner, and the Space Shuttle Discovery.

After your tour, head to one of the nearby Civil War National Battlefield Parks in Northern Virginia to walk the hallowed grounds of American history. Manassas National Battlefield Park and Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park are both just a short drive from the Udvar-Hazy Center, allowing you to fit all this epic history into a single (albeit long) day!


Find Small Town Charm in Every Corner of the CommonwealthDowntown Staunton

No matter what part of Virginia you’re visiting, you’ll find the irresistible allure of a quaint yet cozy small town. From waterfront communities like Cape Charles and Chincoteague on the Eastern Shore to the historic streets of Lexington and Staunton at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia’s small towns are hidden gems packed with amazing farm-to-table restaurants, warm hospitality, and historic preserved Main Streets. Embark on a leisurely road trip through Virginia’s scenic countryside and end the journey in one of these stunning small towns, where you’ll learn the true meaning of the phrase “Southern Charm”.


Enjoy Luxury With Your (Four-Legged) Best Friend at Salamander ResortSalamander Resort & Spa

Just 30 minutes west of the Dulles Airport and about an hour west of Washington, D.C., the pet-friendly Salamander Resort is a luxurious rural retreat set on 340 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. If traveling with your pet, book one of their upscale terrace level accommodations, which provide easy access to the grounds and come with loads of upscale amenities for both you and your pet, including plush dog beds, food and water bowls, organic treats made daily by the pastry team, a special toy, and waste bags. The grounds contain miles of trails for you and your dog to explore; grab a trail map from the front desk and take your pooch for a stroll through some of Virginia’s most breathtaking countryside. Before leaving the resort, stop at the “dog walk” in front of the pet step-and-repeat for a photo opp.


Take a Leisurely Bike Ride Along The Virginia Creeper TrailVirginia Creeper Trail

Named for the steam engines that once climbed the rails into the Iron Mountains, as well as the native plant that grew along the tracks, The Virginia Creeper Trail is a 34.3-mile maintained rails-to-trails route open to hikers, bicyclists, and horseback riders. Rent bikes from one of the outfitters in Damascus or Abingdon and opt for the cycling route length that suits your level of difficulty; the outfitters provide shuttles to or from their location, allowing you an easy one-way ride along this famed Southwest Virginia trail.


Savor Award-Winning Treats at Red Truck BakeryRed Truck Bakery

Red Truck Bakery is not only beloved by Virginians, but has gained international acclaim for their incredible baked goods, with outlets like the Washingtonian, The New York Times, Southern Living, and Esquire Magazine writing about the rural bakery. Additionally, celebrities like Oprah and former President Barack Obama have raved about the bakery’s sweet treats. With so many ringing endorsements, you’re sure to love the pastries, pies, cakes, and other baked goods made fresh each day at the Red Truck Bakery.


Craft Brewery Hop in the Scott’s Addition Neighborhood of RichmondThe Veil Brewing Company in Scott's Addition

In the past decade, Virginia has exploded onto the craft beer scene, and the historic Scott’s Addition neighborhood in Richmond is a prime example of this brewing movement. This craft beverage mecca is home to over a dozen breweries, cideries, distilleries, and meaderies within six square blocks of each other, allowing you to easily visit them all on foot. Breweries to visit include The Veil Brewing Company, Ardent Craft Ales, and Vasen Brewing Company, while cider lovers will enjoy sipping seasonal offerings on the patio of Blue Bee Cider, or in the case of inclement weather, sampling ciders in the cozy warehouse tasting room of Buskey Cider. Make an appointment at Reservoir Distillery to try some of Virginia’s finest whiskies, and if you’ve never tasted mead before, be sure to stop into Black Heath Meadery.


Catch Aquatic Wildlife at the Virginia AquariumVirginia Aquarium

Containing more than 10,000 animals representing 300+ species, the Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach is fun for all ages. While you’ll spot all types of aquatic creatures swimming in the enormous glass tanks, you can also get an up-close look (and feel!) at animals like stingrays and horseshoe crabs in the aquarium touch pools. Get out on the water with the aquarium’s boat tours; depending on the time of year, you’ll spot dolphins, whales, or other local wildlife in their natural habitat during the tours.


Camp Under the Stars in Shenandoah National ParkStargazing in Shenandoah National Park

One of the most significant natural landmarks in the United States, Shenandoah National Park contains countless hiking trails, including over 100 miles of the famed Appalachian Trail, which winds through the shaded peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains. But the beauty of the park is even more apparent under an expansive night sky. Plan a weekend trip with friends to hike the park, then stay overnight in one of the four campgrounds within Shenandoah National Park. You’ll always remember the epic experience of sleeping under a bright blanket of stars in the park, away from the noise and daily distractions of modern day living.


Relax and Unwind at Virginia’s Scenic BeachesSunrise on the Boardwalk in Virginia Beach

Virginia’s pristine beaches are a popular spot for family getaways. Whether you’re looking for a quiet coastal retreat (stay at Cape Charles on Virginia’s Eastern Shore), an oceanfront destination for a large family reunion (book a rental home in Sandbridge Beach), or exciting nightlife and luxury lodging by the Atlantic (plan a trip to Virginia Beach), the beaches in Virginia welcome every traveler to see what the shores are all about! Don’t miss out on sampling the local seafood, including fresh Virginia oysters pulled straight from the Chesapeake Bay.


These are just a few of the awesome responses we received from our Instagram fans. Where is your favorite place to go when visiting Virginia? Share your top destinations with us in the comments below!

The post We Asked, You Shared: Your Favorite Things to Do in Virginia appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in May 2019

Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in May 2019

Music festival season is in full swing and many big name musicians will be coming to Virginia during the month of May. From major country acts to the biggest names in rock and pop, catch your favorite artists and discover new ones all over the Commonwealth.

On May 9-12, the East Coast Music Conference will be bringing nearly thousands of fans and artists together in Norfolk for four days of industry speakers, parties, and more than 100 live performances.The East Coast Music Conference offers dozens of showcase performances for music fans of all genres, industry seminars and networking for musicians and industry personnel, and much more.

Richmond’s outdoor sports and music festival Dominion Riverrock will brings thousands to the riverside Brown’s Island on May 17-19 with live music performances from Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Billy Strings, Turkuaz, South Hill Banks, Palm Palm, Skydog, The Big Payback, and more.

Running through May and June, the Virginia Arts Festival will be bringing hundreds of world-class performing arts in venues throughout Hampton Roads. Major performances include Béla Fleck & Chick Corea (May 11), Michael Feinstein, Great American Songbook (May 19), I’m With Her (May 23) and many more.

The Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival will feature nearly 50 bands just outside of Martinsville May 23-26. The lineup includes Galactic, Sam Bush Band, Shovels & Rope, Marcus King Band, Billy Strings, Steep Canyon Rangers, and many more.

Dr. Ralph Stanley’s Hills of Home Music Festival is located in the beautiful mountains of Southwest Virginia at Dr. Ralph Stanley’s “home place” in McClure. The three day festival, taking place May 23-25, is a great opportunity to see traditional bluegrass bands.

Head to Floyd for the Chantilly Farm Bluegrass and BBQ Festival May 24-25 to celebrate the summer with some of the biggest bands in bluegrass and mountain music.

The Virginia Beach Patriotic Festival celebrates the military at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront May 31-June 2 and features performances from Old Dominion, Luke Combs, and Kane Brown.

Over at Virginia’s many live music venues:

The National in Richmond will be bringing a number of big name artists throughout the month including Tyler Farr (May 2), Black Label Society (May 12), Tank and the Bangas (May 22), Stone Temple Pilots (May 28), and more.

At Richmond Raceway’s Virginia Credit Union Live!, Juice Wrld and The 1975 will be performing on May 14 and May 22, respectively.

Richmond’s summer concert series, Friday Cheers, brings some of the nation’s hottest touring acts, along with some regional favorites to Brown’s Island every Friday night in May. Thousands of people will come to relax after the work week to meet friends and hear music from Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Chicano Batman, Illiterate Light, and Colter Wall.

Elsewhere in Richmond, Son Volt will perform at the Broadberry on May 7, while Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds will be there on May 23, along with many other shows. India.Arie will be at the Dominion Energy Center on May 7.

Just outside Richmond, the Innsbrook After Hours concert series at the Servpro Pavilion in Glen Allen will host Lady Antebellum on May 4, 311 on May 18, and Kane Brown on May 31.

The Beacon Theatre in Hopewell will host Firehouse on May 3, LeAnn Rimes on May 4, The LACS on May 30, and more.

In Charlottesville, shows at the the Jefferson Theater will include Todd Snider (May 2), Tallest Man on Earth (May 11), Josh Ritter (May 18), and more.

The Norva

The NorVa in Norfolk will be hosting acts like Japanese Breakfast (May 2), Tom Morello (May 15), The Struts (May 16), and more.

The Hampton Coliseum will be hosting Tool on May 10.

On May 5, the Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater at Virginia Beach will host FM99’s Lunatic Luau featuring Shinedown, Bush, In This Moment, Fozzy, P.O.D., and more. Hootie & the Blowfish will perform there on May 30.

Over in Rocky Mount at the Harvester Performance Center, performances this month include The Dustbowl Revival (May 3), Here Come the Mummies (May 9), Sister Hazel (May 18), Cracker (May 26), and more.

The Berglund Center in Roanoke will have Home Free on May 7, Alan Jackson on May 11, Styx on May 24, and Randy Houser on May 31.

The Thursday Jams concert series at the Abingdon Market Pavilion will welcome Morgan Wade on May 9, Town Mountain on May 16, Nora Jane Struthers on May 23, and Flow Tribe on May 30.

Phase 2 Club in Lynchburg will be bringing in acts such as Motionless In White & Atreyu (May 8), The 80s vs. 90s Party featuring Biz Markie (May 11), P.O.D. (May 18), and more.

The Lime Kiln Theater in Lexington will host The Infamous Stringdusters on May 10 and I’m With Her on May 24.

The Blue Ridge Summer Concert Series at the Blue Ridge Music Center in Galax will host Po’ Ramblin’ Boys and Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno on May 25.

Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow will be hosting The Who on May 11, Chris Young on May 18, and Bob Seger on May 25.

Alexandria music hall The Birchmere will host David Allan Coe on May 4, Gordon Lightfoot on May 13, Maceo Parker on May 18, and more.

At Wolf Trap National Park for Performing Arts in Vienna, shows will include The Avett Brothers (May 23) and Sammy Hagar (May 31), among others.

The Tally Ho Theatre in Leesburg will be hosting Julian Marley on May 9, Danny Worsnop of Asking Alexandria on May 17, and The Black Lillies on May 24, among many other shows.


For more big names coming to Virginia this month, go to virginia.org/bignamesinconcert. At a Virginia concert this month? Share your photos with @VisitVirginia on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags #vamusic and #vaisformusiclovers.

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The Top Events & Festivals Happening in Virginia This May

The Top Events & Festivals Happening in Virginia This May

The month of May is full of fun and exciting events happening all across the Commonwealth. Whether you are an adventure seeker, a foodie, or a music lover, you have an enjoyable month ahead. Pick your favorites and mark your calendar!


Appalachian Trail Days—Damascus

When: May 17-19, 2019Adventure Damascus Bicycle and Outdoor Co.

Each year in May, hikers from all over gather in Damascus during Appalachian Trail Days to celebrate the Appalachian Trail. This three day, family friendly outing is one of the most popular small-town events. Visitors are welcome to enjoy live music, an auction, parade, presentations and workshops, hikes, movies, great food, and a hiker’s talent show.


Virginia Hyperfest—Afton

When: May 17-19, 2019

Plan on attending Virginia Hyperfest, the east coast’s largest motorsports event! Pack your cooler, grab some friends, and experience some of the many activities featured. Check out the SpeedTrendSociety Car Show, then experience the thrill yourself when you sign up for HyperDRIVES, where participants can drive their own car on the track with an expert instructor. Take a helicopter ride or a race car ride-along, or if you’re coming with children, visit the kids zone and see live music performances. Take part in the PRS Air Guitar Contest and several different spectator games. This is an adventure filled weekend that you will not want to miss.


Dominion Riverrock—Richmond

When: May 17-19, 2019riverrock festival

This event was created to showcase what makes Richmond stand out as an up-and-coming city. Riverrock features several outdoor and adventure activities with Richmond’s urban riverfront as the backdrop. Experience the largest outdoor sports and music festival in the country while participating in activities such as standup paddle boarding or kayaking on class III & IV rapids, biking and running on one of the many trails, and bouldering and slacklining, to name a few.


Virginia Gold Cup—Fauquier

When: May 4, 2019

land rover great meadow international

Experience the world-famous Virginia Gold Cup steeplechase race at Great Meadow this May. This highly anticipated spring event has been a tradition in Fauquier since 1922 and is usually attended by over 50,000 spectators. Race day festivities include six hurdle and timber horse races, Jack Russell Terrier races, a hat contest and a tailgate decorating contest, in addition to special food and drink offerings.


Rosie’s Gaming Emporium—New Kent

When: Throughout May

Although they are officially opening on April 23, Rosie’s Gaming Emporium at Colonial Down’s will be in full swing in Virginia this May. With 600 historical horse racing machines, you’ll find plenty of fun gaming action throughout Rosie’s, and have endless chances to win huge jackpots while sipping on cocktails in the gaming lounge.


Spring Wine Festival—Mount Vernon

When: May 17-19, 2019Mount Vernon

Celebrate Virginia’s rich wine history at the Spring Wine Festival, held on the grounds of George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Take an exclusive mansion tour and explore the wine cellar, and during this festival, visitors are invited to pack a blanket and relax on the east lawn with a view of the Potomac River as the backdrop. Listen to live music, purchase some fruit and cheese to snack on, and sample a variety of Virginia wines.


Gordonsville’s Famous Fried Chicken Festival—Gordonsville

When: May 18, 2019

Gordonsville’s claim to fame is their delicious fried chicken, which was served by local women to passengers on trains as they passed through the town. Visitors are welcome to savor this tasty and comforting culinary treat at the town’s Famous Fried Chicken Festival. The day will be full of activities and events including a cook-off contest, where participants will have their special fried chicken and pie recipes judged. Expect to find great entertainment and specialty vendors, in addition to local cideries and wineries that will be offering tastings and goods for sale.


Annual Chincoteague Seafood Festival—Chincoteague

When: May 4, 2019chincoteague seafood festival

The Chincoteague Seafood Festival is held annually to promote Virginia’s Eastern Shore and its vibrant seafood industry. Seafood lovers are invited to try the fresh local fare, like little neck clams, clam fritters, chowder and strips, raw and fried oysters, and steamed shrimp. Several non-seafood offerings are available, such as the ever-popular hushpuppies and sweet potato fries. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks will also be available for purchase. Festival goers can participate in the extravaganza raffle for a chance to win t-shirts, gift certificates, and lots of other prizes. This is an advance ticketed event that is usually sold out prior to the event.


Annual Rooster Walk Music & Food Festival—Martinsville

When: May 23-26, 2019

If you are looking to spend your Memorial Day weekend immersed in music and culture, you’ll want to be at the 11th annual Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival. This event features musical performances across several different genres, including bluegrass, rock, reggae, jazz, country, and Americana, all in a family friendly environment. In addition to music, explore several vendor booths to partake in arts and crafts. Take the kids to the Kid’s Coop where they can participate in constant events and activities like open mic sessions, slip n’ slides, treasure hunts, and so much more.


Patriotic Fest—Virginia Beach

When: May 31- June 2, 2019

Visit Virginia Beach on the last weekend of May for Patriotic Fest, an annual event that celebrates our military. The Patriotic Fest is a three-day-long event featuring concerts, military expos, and displays. This year visitors can expect to see talented headliners like Old Dominion, Luke Combs, and Kane Brown.


Virginia NHRA Nationals—Dinwiddie

When: May 17-19, 2019

Virginia Motorsports Park will be hosting the 2019 Virginia NHRA Nationals. After hosting a sellout crowd at the 2018 event where records were set in almost every category, fans are awaiting what’s to come this year. Tickets for the event are on sale along with the addition of two VIP experiences for the only national event happening in the state of Virginia.


More notable events happening around Virginia this May:

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LOVEworks Family Adventures

LOVEworks Family Adventures

Bealeton Lovework Travel Guide

Meet one family creating lifelong memories as they capture their Virginia LOVEworks travels on Instagram.

Known affectionately by friends and family as the “FloYos,” the Flowers-Yost family, comprised of Mandi and Matthew, their daughters Lili and Savannah, and their dog Zoe Jane, takes every opportunity to travel to Virginia’s more than 100 giant LOVE signs, dubbed “LOVEworks.”

The fun first began when the FloYos traveled home from a family vacation. They stopped at a rest area and saw their first LOVE sign, and the rest was history. Their Instagram page boasts more than 300 posts of LOVEworks – which, according to Mandi, has been the best way to document their journey and “a great way to share the love with others.”

Abingdon lovework travel guide

Mandi acts as the primary photographer, though occasionally, 8-year-old Savannah takes over. Their eldest, Lili, is a senior at college, and prefers being behind the camera to capture the family moments. The FloYos enjoy building trips around their LOVEworks destinations, finding plenty of other spots to see while in the area thanks in part to social media.

“I use the location of the town and search TripAdvisor for things to do, and then I also hashtag the area on Instagram to see what the locals see,” Mandi says. “We usually find a local place nearby to eat and also seek out any roadside America attractions nearby – you’d be surprised how many there are!”

Norfolk Airport Lovework Travel Guide

Other stops include museums and forts for a dose of Virginia history. When Mandi and Matt travel solo, they also enjoy trying out the numerous local wineries and breweries. One of Mandi’s favorite areas to visit is the NEON arts district in Norfolk, with “absolutely amazing” street art and murals.

With 75 locations now checked off the list, it’s difficult for the FloYos to narrow down their list of favorites, as each has its own unique charms. But Mandi’s favorite LOVEwork is located at Airlie in Warrenton, as it was one of the first they encountered and uniquely offers visitors a chance to impart some love of their own. 

“We put our first lovelock of our marriage on the sign at Airlie,” she says. “The sign is so picturesque and the grounds are simply beautiful. It just has an all-around good vibe, and is so tranquil and relaxing to visit.”

Their second favorite LOVEwork destination is the Virginia Beach area. “I love the fact that there was so much art to be seen! There were several love signs, [and] the street art and murals are absolutely amazing … I have seen the newest LOVEwork recently unveiled there [in the ViBe Creative District] by a local artist, and we can’t wait to get back to visit and check that one out!”

The FloYos know Virginia offers something for everyone and appreciate all the state does to promote inclusivity. From wineries, breweries, art districts and music festivals, to small historic towns, family activities and outdoor recreation, friends and family will always find ways to enjoy quality time together.

“Virginia holds true to their slogan [Virginia is for Lovers],” Mandi says. “Whether it’s music, wine, love, beer, art or something else, there is nothing not to love!”

Washington Lovework Travel Guide

Mandi and Matt hope Virginia continues to add LOVEworks to every town so they always have one more reason to visit. For them, it’s important to keep creating and sharing the love, because “you never know who you will inspire to get out and see the state.” They have made friends with other Instagram users and families who share and support each other’s LOVEwork adventures.

While the trips are fun and educational, they’re ultimately about making memories. Mandi didn’t get to see much of the country when she was a child, so it’s important that their daughters see the beauty of nature, experience history, and see and appreciate the beauty of art.

“The most important thing we want to teach our beautiful daughters is that there is so much more to life than ‘stuff.’ We would rather collect memories than things,” Mandi says. “Spending time together and creating memories is at the top of our priority list, and we hope that they share that with their families someday.”

“Make memories, have laughs and see something new at every chance you get, because ultimately, life is just too short. We can’t wait to find more LOVE!”Orange Lovework Travel Guide

Read more incredible Virginia stories when you order a copy of the 2019 Virginia Travel Guide. Follow along with the FloYos on Instagram @MattAndMandiKindOfLove, then start planning your own LOVEwork adventure at Virginia.org/love.


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Best Outdoor Things to Do in Norfolk, VA

Best Outdoor Things to Do in Norfolk, VA

With an abundance of outdoor activities, Norfolk is the perfect destination to enjoy some sunshine. From exploring our gardens to dancing in the street to live music at First Fridays, there is a variety for you to explore. You won’t want to miss these unique ways to get outside!

Parks and Gardens

Elizabeth River Trail

The Elizabeth River Trail or as locals call it, the ERT, is a 10.5-mile biking and pedestrian urban trail that will satisfy the highly active. Rental bikes ( Pace bike share) are scattered throughout the city so you don’t even have to worry about having a bike!


Visit Norfolk

Poplar Hall Park

Poplar Hall Park Disc Golf Course is one of Norfolk’s several public parks. Friends and family can enjoy the park with a picnic and toss the frisbee, but if you’re ready to get competitive the frisbee course awaits.

Botanical Garden

The beautiful Norfolk Botanical Garden has over 60 themed gardens on the property and there is always something to explore. Most blooms can be spotted during the spring and summer months, but make sure to check out their year-round gardens too. The Sensory Garden is year-round and filled with plants that will please all of your senses. Visitors are encouraged to enjoy the sights, textures and smells of this space.

Hermitage Museum and Gardens

The Hermitage Museum and Gardens offer visitors a dose of history, art and horticulture all in one spot. With the Hermitage sitting right on the Lafayette River it’s a perfect backdrop for a day spent outdoors! During the warmer months, be sure to check out their “Sunsets on the River” event, for an evening of outdoor entertainment including local music, food trucks, art, local craft beer and wine. Best part yet, they allow your well- behaved dog to join in on the fun!

Outdoor Entertainment

Party on the Pier

A hidden gem in Norfolk, the Nauticus pier which hosts a monthly affair offering food trucks, live music, local brews and more. It’s the perfect spot to watch the sunset and the best way to end your day after exploring Norfolk.


Visit Norfolk

Ocean View Concerts

End your Friday and Sunday evenings sitting in a beach chair a few feet from the water, while Ocean View’s concert series plays the soundtrack to your evening. Local and regional bands will perform as the sun sets along the Chesapeake Bay. Lawn games, children’s activities, food and drinks will be at your fingertips while you enjoy your beachside evening.


Wine, food and children’s festivals are a few of Norfolk’s highly anticipated waterfront events. Check out Norfolk’s must-attend festivals here!

Eat and Drink

The mild weather in Norfolk allows foodies to enjoy patios and rooftops from March to November. Breweries are equipped with patios and beer gardens that make for the perfect afternoon outing.

On the Water

Norfolk has 144 miles of shoreline! Needless to say, there is no shortage of water access. Click here to check out the top 8 ways to get out on the water!


Visit Norfolk

Written by Visit Norfolk for VisitNorfolk.

Featured image provided by @anastasiau , Instagram

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About FunRVA

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A Guide to Green Travel: Eco-Friendly Vacations in Virginia

A Guide to Green Travel: Eco-Friendly Vacations in Virginia

Scenic Farm in the Charlottesville area. Photo by John Hulburt.

While there are countless Virginia businesses committed to practices that reduce their impacts on the environment, some go above and beyond, making huge strides towards bettering Virginia’s beautiful landscapes. Visit these eco-friendly destinations or book a tour to learn about how they implement sustainable practices in their businesses.


Polyface Farms—SwoopePolyface Farm

Polyface Farms is a prime example of eco-friendly agricultural practices, raising animals and growing produce using only the most sustainable, environmentally-sound methods. For a casual view behind the scenes, the farm offers a self-guided tour Monday-Saturday during business hours, but if you want to hear from the staff, you can sign up for their Grass Stains tour, a two-hour educational walking tour of the farm, or the Lunatic Tours, which are limited to 100 people and are given from the casual pace of a hayride.


The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center—Virginia BeachVirginia Beach Aquarium

In addition to displaying a wide array of unique sea creatures in safe, natural habitats within the aquarium, the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center operates the Stranding Response Program, a statewide effort to provide aid to all stranded marine mammals and sea turtles. The program examines distressed animals and offers the most humane treatment courses based on the diagnosis. Over the years, the aquarium has helped thousands of stranded, sick, and injured animals return to their homes off the coast of Virginia. Additionally, the aquarium facilitates visitor science programs, works on conservation projects like restoring coral reefs and rebuilding local osprey populations, and studies ocean trends to help marine life thrive in areas where human activities have damaged their ecosystem. To contribute to the important work done by the Virginia Aquarium, you can make a donation online, plan a visit to the aquarium, or book one of their whale and dolphin watching boat trips, where a portion of your ticket sales will support the aquarium’s education, research, and conservation efforts.


Williamsburg Winery—WilliamsburgThe Williamsburg Winery Oysters

Virginia oysters are a delicious, flavorful treat, but they are also one of the most environmentally-friendly foods out there. These plump bivalves clean the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding waterways, filtering the waters and creating clean water wherever they live. Once harvested, they are taken to restaurants all over Virginia, like Gabriel Archer Tavern at The Williamsburg Winery, where they are served on the half-shell, fried, grilled, or in other savory dishes. Paired with the wines made on-site, these oysters are the perfect way to practice ecotourism while enjoying one of Virginia’s most popular foods. And after your meal, the restaurant recycles the shells with the VCU Rice Rivers Center Oyster Shell Recycling program, which are returned to Virginia waters to act as reefs for new generations of oysters.


Wild Wolf Brewing Company—NellysfordWild Wolf Brewing Company

Wild Wolf Brewing Company received the Green Brewery of the Year Award from the Virginia Green Travel Alliance for three consecutive years (2015-2017). Recycling, composting, and water and energy conservation are the main focal points for sustainable practices at Wild Wolf. A careful composting process is used for the restaurant’s on-site garden, creating rich soil to grow their own vegetables and herbs. They also grown their own hops, keeping resident chickens and ducks in the fields to eat the bugs and keep down the weeds, avoiding the use of harmful chemical pesticides. Like many Virginia breweries, Wild Wolf sends most of their spent grains to local beef farmers for feed, who then provide beef for Wild Wolf’s restaurant, creating a sustainable loop of eco-friendly business practices. Additionally, the brewery side uses recycled materials for their six pack carriers and uses cans rather than bottles for their beers, which are lighter and easier to recycle.


The Sustainable Homestead Institute—Ridgewaythe sustainable homestead institute

Focusing on sustainable development, nature reliance education, and ecological land design, The Sustainable Homestead Institute is a non-profit organization that provides an immersive experience in the skills that were used by earlier peoples to survive off the land. Sign up for courses ranging from one to five days to learn valuable outdoor skills, including how to build shelters, start fires, and create safe drinking water. Additionally, this educational facility has transformed hay fields into a research farm that produces honey, grazed beef and mutton, free-range eggs, heirloom apples, timber products, and biodynamic vegetables in a large commercial greenhouse.


The Bunny Hutch—Virginia BeachThe Bunny Hutch Lord Roland, Official Easter Bunny of Virginia

Visit The Bunny Hutch in Virginia Beach, where almost every animal you meet is available for adoption! The Bunny Hutch operates as both an exotic animal rescue and an educational facility that teaches visitors about the care of exotic animals. To date, the crew at the Bunny Hutch have rescued over 220 animals, often saving them from homes where owners did not have the knowledge or equipment to care for specialty animals. The Bunny Hutch allows you to meet all sorts of animals, but the biggest star is definitely Lord Roland Watson Beldon Maxwell VIII, AKA Junior. The son of the world’s largest rabbit, this Continental Giant Rabbit is also the official Easter Bunny of Virginia. Stop by the Bunny Hutch to say hello to Junior and meet all the other interesting animals that call this animal rescue home!


Plan Your Own Clean Up Day To Help Local CommunitiesVirginia is for Lovers Team Cleans up The James River Richmond Virginia

If you’re looking to do your own part in keeping the local communities clean, consider signing up for a self-guided cleanup program in Virginia. There are many different organizations that provide the tools and information for cleaning up throughout the Commonwealth, including the James River Association, Keep Virginia Beautiful, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, which hosts a Clean the Bay Day on the first Saturday in June, bringing together thousands of Virginians to help clean dozens of watershed areas that feed into the Chesapeake Bay.


Looking for more eco-friendly businesses and things to do in Virginia? Here are a few more destinations worth a visit to learn about sustainable practices:


The post A Guide to Green Travel: Eco-Friendly Vacations in Virginia appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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Bike, Run, Paddle, Swim, Repeat…in the 2019 Adventure Series

Bike, Run, Paddle, Swim, Repeat…in the 2019 Adventure Series

Virginia State Parks and Appalachian Power are pleased to announce exciting news for the 2019 Adventure Series.

The series in an eclectic mix of races in Virginia State Parks that offers competitors of all levels a chance to win and earn great prizes, cash and Virginia State Parks annual passes and gift certificates.

Now in our third year, we’ve listened to your suggestions and made some exciting changes to the 2019 season with new races, new scoring system and new ways to win for competitors of all levels.

Check out this year’s exciting line-up

Smith Mountain Lake Triathlon.

Virginia State Parks

Races range from Cyclocross, running events, mountain biking, adventure races to Sprint Tri’s like the Appalachian Power Smith Mountain Lake Triathlon.

This year’s dynamic point system combines the difficulty of each race and the finishing place of each competitor. Details can be found on the website and in the rules and scoring system (PDF).

Wanna win? You have to get by these two. Ed Ross-Clunis 2017 runner up and 2018 Champion on the left and Carrie Parker who’s taken home the gold both years on the right.

Virginia State Parks

Ed Ross-Clunis 2017 runner up and 2018 Champion on the left and Carrie Parker who’s taken home the gold both years on the right.

We’re also pleased to offer an expanded “Achievement Awards” categories to include more ways to win Virginia State Parks annual passes and Gift Certificates. Categories range from he most total points, down to awards for completing four Adventure Series races.[

New for 2019 is the “Five for Fun” category in which a competitor can complete any five races of any type in Virginia State Parks and receive an annual pass and entry into a drawing for $150 Gift Certificate.

Please join our Facebook page for updates, reminders and important information concerning the series. If you have any questions please contact Steve Boyd here. We hope to see you out there!

Written by Steve Boyd for Virginia State Parks.

Featured image provided by Virginia State Parks

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Where to Catch (and Sometimes Pick!) Colorful Spring Flowers in Bloom

Where to Catch (and Sometimes Pick!) Colorful Spring Flowers in Bloom


Welcome to the season of renewal in Virginia! It is the best time of year to explore the beautiful blossoms that are making the Commonwealth so colorful this spring. While it’s easy to go outdoors and discover wildflowers in almost every corner, find sanctuary in one of these gorgeous gardens to see the vibrant blooming flora all throughout Virginia this spring.


Historic Garden Week—Locations Throughout VirginiaTuckahoe Plantation: Garden Week

This year marks the 86th annual historic garden week in Virginia. This week-long event offers a great opportunity to visit more than 250 different gardens across the state of Virginia. Experience spring blooms at their peak and visit historic homes with colorful arrangements created by the Garden Club of Virginia.


Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens—RichmondLewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Situated minutes away from Downtown Richmond on a historic property, the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens is one of the most incredible spots in Central Virginia to see a variety of spring flowers. Fifty acres of gardens include a conservatory with hundreds of orchids and several themed gardens, including a children’s garden that offers a treehouse and an adventure pathway. Whether you are visiting for a day of family fun or to bask in the beauty and charm, this year-round garden is particularly sweet in the spring. It is no surprise that Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens is a top attraction in the Richmond region.



Another gorgeous Richmond attraction, Maymont is a 100-acre property was gifted to the community by Mr. James and Mrs. Sallie Dooley, who resided in the estate from 1893-1925. Maymont features several themed gardens including an Italian Garden made up of geometric flower beds, sculptures, and fountains that are reminiscent of the Villa Torlonia near Rome. Maymont’s Japanese Garden transports visitors with fragrant cherry blossoms in full bloom, water irises, and intricate stonework surrounding a tumbling waterfall. Stroll through their Arboretum or visit one of several specialty gardens to experience the beauty of the spring season.


Burnside Farms—NokesvilleBurnside Farms

Head over to Burnside Farms in Nokesville, Virginia for their annual Festival of Spring. This is the perfect colorful backdrop for a new family photo to display in your home or as your newest screensaver. At the opening of each spring season, visitors are welcomed onto the grounds, filled with over one million spring blooms. Fifty varieties of tulips are bursting with color in their fields. This family friendly event allows visitors to pick daffodils (2 for $1), and tulips ($1 per stem). For an additional dollar, you can take the bulb home to plant in your own garden. Admission includes games, activities, live music and vendors on weekends.


Edith J. Carrier Arboretum & Botanical Gardens— Harrisonburg

Situated on the campus of James Madison University, the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum & Botanical Gardens showcases the natural beauty that the spring season promises. Visitors are invited to walk the trails and pathways brushed with Virginia native plants, landscaped gardens and lush lawns perfect for a picnic or an afternoon of relaxation. Offering a number of cultural and educational programs throughout the year, guests can leave with a newfound appreciation for environmental preservation.


Colonial Williamsburg—WilliamsburgColonial Williamsburg

Take a trip back in time with a visit to Colonial Williamsburg, where you’ll enjoy 90+ gardens spanning over more than 100 acres of colonial era public buildings, homes, shops, and exhibits. Partake in a guided stroll through Rockefellers’ Bassett Garden, where an expert will share family stories and explain the design of the garden. If you have ever wondered about gardening techniques used back in colonial days, pick a date and visit the “Meet the Gardener” program. Explore the ornamental garden at the governor’s palace, or visit the vegetable gardens behind private homes on Duke of Gloucester Street.


Gloucester Daffodil Festival—Gloucester

Scenic Gloucester

Take part in what has been a Gloucester tradition since 1987. Each year, the town of Gloucester hosts a Daffodil Festival to welcome the new spring season. This event offers fun for the entire family, with a parade, face painting, games, activities, and live music. Participate in the daffodil show, attend the History of Bulbs and Blooms presented by Brent Heath, or tour the farms at Brent and Becky’s bulbs.


Norfolk Botanical Gardens—NorfolkNorfolk Botanical Gardens

The Norfolk Botanical Gardens offer an experience that is unique to Norfolk. Surrounded by Whitehurst Lake, guests have the unique ability to tour the gardens on foot or by boat as well as by tram. During the spring season, there are 15 gardens open to visitors, including one garden entirely dedicated to showcasing native Virginia plants. Visit one of the largest, most diverse collections of roses, azaleas and rhododendrons on the East Coast.


Meadowlark Botanical Gardens—Vienna

With 95 acres to explore, spring is an excellent time of year to enjoy the unique and elegant Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, which contain a wide collection of native perennials. The gardens boast over twenty different varieties of cherry blossom trees, along with irises, peonies and colorful tulips. Experience the spring foliage while walking along one of several maintained trails within the gardens. The sunniest spring days offer the opportunity to visit the shade garden, home to many birds, butterflies and blooming wildflowers. Learn more about horticulture and gardening at a workshop, or partake in a tour of the grounds, while discovering all that there is to know about conservation.


George Washington’s Mount Vernon—Mount VernonMount Vernon

George Washington’s Mount Vernon is the perfect place to view spring flowers if you are a history lover. Displaying a variety of colonial-era buildings, including a functioning gristmill and distillery at the historic estate, Mount Vernon also boasts unforgettable gardens and landscapes. Originally overseen by George Washington himself, the gardens surrounding his mansion and were naturally designed with hundreds of plants, many native to Virginia, and trees, twelve of which are still alive today.


Netherlands Carillon—ArlingtonNetherlands Carillon

Netherlands Carillon offers a truly unique experience to visitors. Gifted to the United States by the Netherlands after World War ll, the bell tower is comprised of 50 bronze alloy bells, each delicately engraved. The bell is a symbol of the Netherlands’ friendship and gratitude towards the United States. Located next to the “Iwo Jima” Memorial and the Arlington National Cemetery, the tower offers an excellent view of the D.C. skyline and several monuments. The tower is surrounded by a colorful collection of tulips, all of which bloom during the spring season.



The gardens at Monticello have been acclaimed as a botanic showpiece. The gardens were more than just ornamental; during Jefferson’s lifetime, they acted as a source of food for the estate. Documented evidence suggests that Thomas Jefferson grew more than 105 species of herbaceous plants. The estate boasts several gardens, including the winding flower border that outlines the west lawn and twenty oval gardens within proximity to the house. The grove, originally housing Jefferson’s ‘pet trees’, offers visitors the opportunity to take a trip back in time, while exploring the spring blossoms and colors.


The post Where to Catch (and Sometimes Pick!) Colorful Spring Flowers in Bloom appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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Something in the Water: Virginia-Born Musicians Return for an Epic Music Festival

Something in the Water: Virginia-Born Musicians Return for an Epic Music Festival


Pharrell’s new music and culture festival in Virginia Beach, Something in the Water, features a bevy of homegrown talent. Here are some Virginia artists you can catch on the beach April 26-28th!


Dave Matthews Band


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Matthews moved to Charlottesville, Virginia from South Africa after he graduated high school and settled in as a bartender at a local jazz club called Miller’s where he decided to start his own band. After playing local fraternities and clubs, The Dave Matthews Band developed a devoted following in the college community – and the rest is history; Nine studio albums, more than a dozen Grammy nominations and the highest earnings of any act in North America from 2000-2010. Matthews purchased Blenheim farm in 2009, which is located less than half an hour from downtown Charlottesville, and opened Blenheim Vineyards the following year.




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From Hampton’s Coliseum Mall to Coachella and everywhere in between – D.R.A.M.’s success story is anything but conventional. Born Shelley Marshaun Massenburg-Smith in Germany, D.R.A.M. and his mother moved to the United States before his first birthday and settled in Hampton, Virginia. After graduating high school in 2005, he spent four years working at a local call center before deciding to focus on a career in music. With a $100 mic, the exploratory artist churned out nearly one hundred hip-hop singles while supporting himself as a member of the Geek Squad at the Best Buy outlet in Newport News. His first taste of success came with “Cha Cha,” which went viral after Beyonce posted a video of herself singing and dancing to the hit single. He scored another hit with the single “Broccoli,” which peaked at number five on the US Billboard Hot 100.




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We don’t know much about the personal life of Leikeli47, who has been very private about her background since making her hip hop debut in 2010. Growing up she split her time between Brooklyn, NY and Virginia, and you can hear the blend of musical stylings in her sound. Performing behind her trademark balaclava, Leikeli’s empowering performances are a blend of southern, city and Caribbean roots that are as infectious as they are raucous.  Her second studio album, Acrylic, was released in 2018 to critical acclaim. The record is the second part of a planned music trilogy she’s dubbed the “Beauty Series.”




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Singer, rapper, beatboxer, saxophonist, drummer, pianist, guitarist, bassist, cellist, trumpeter, trombonist… the resume of Micah Davis stretches on longer than his lanky 6’5” frame. Born in Kingston, Jamaica to a military family, Davis settled in Newport News, Virginia at an early age. As both of his parents were pastors, he developed his musical talent performing in the church band. After dropping out of Old Dominion University to focus on music, he pioneered the musical style known as “trap house jazz”, which has gone on to receive international acclaim. Deeply connected to his African-roots, he took on the stage name Masego, which means “blessings” in Setswana.


Missy Elliott


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Missy Elliott is one of the entertaining musical performers in the game today. Born in Portsmouth, Virginia, the future Grammy Award-winner kicked off her career writing and producing with childhood friend and neighbor Timothy Mosley, better known by his moniker Timbaland. After a couple false starts with groups like Sista and Swing Mob, the songwriting duo gained some traction with their work on Aaliyah’s 1996 album One in a Million. But the tandem really broke through with the platinum-selling album Supa Dupa Fly, which launched Missy’s solo career and vaulted her into hip hop and R&B royalty. A true pioneer within the industry, Missy became the first female rapper inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and is the best-selling female rapper of all time.


Pharrell Williams


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Few artists have the list of accolades and accomplishments that Pharrell Williams has to his name. A native of Virginia Beach, Virginia, Williams and his childhood friends Chad Hugo, Shay Haley and Mike Etheridge formed a four piece hip hop group which they called The Neptunes. Soon after, Williams and Hugo established themselves as a production duo with the same name, and would go on to work with artists like Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Jay-Z, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke and Usher. The tandem reunited with Haley in 1999 to form the hip hop/rock band N*E*R*D, and the group has gone on to release five studio albums. In addition to a successful solo career that includes the critically-acclaimed and commercial juggernaut album Girl, Williams has earned 10 Grammy Awards and is a two-time Academy Award nominee for “Happy” and his work on Hidden Figures.


Pusha T


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Born in the Bronx but raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Terrance Thornton was a force in the area’s hip hop scene. Alongside his brother Gene, who took the stage name Malice, the two formed the hip-hop duo Clipse and quickly caught the attention of local producer Pharrell Williams in 1997. Over the next decade, the group went on to release four studio albums to a great deal of critical approval. Going solo in 2010, Pusha signed on with Kanye West’s GOOD Music label with whom he’s released three albums to universal praise. His most recent studio release, Daytona, was nominated for “Best Rap Album” at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards and is widely considered among the best albums of 2018.

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The Top Events & Festivals Happening in Virginia This April

The Top Events & Festivals Happening in Virginia This April

Agecroft Hall

Spring has arrived in Virginia, bringing blossoming flowers, fresh local fare, and lots of exciting events to keep you busy! Welcome spring in Virginia this April with a few of these festivals and seasonal celebrations.


The Daffodil Festival—Gloucester

When: April 6-7, 2019Scenic Gloucester during the Daffodil Festival

Since 1987, the Annual Daffodil Festival has drawn thousands of visitors to the charming small town of Gloucester, just one hour east of Richmond The event begins with a parade through the streets, followed by live performances from storytellers, magicians, and local bands. The family-friendly festival has carnival games, pony rides, face painting, and much more for the kids. You can also bring your four-legged friends along for the “Fabulous Mutt Show”, which includes a pet/person lookalike contest, a “Daffo-dog” costume contest, and a pet tricks performance contest. Peruse handmade crafts and daffodil-inspired goods from Virginia artisans, then indulge in some fresh seafood, barbecue, and beverages in the festival food court.


Shuckapalooza—Virginia’s River Realm

When: April 12, 2019Merroir

Virginia’s River Realm hosts the first annual Shuckapalooza, a full day of immersive oyster experiences at seven amazing locations. This self-paced tour features behind-the-scenes looks at oyster-centric venues along the shores of the picturesque Rappahannock River. Visit private oyster farms to learn about harvesting methods, the oyster ecosystem, and the history of oysters in Virginia. Sample oysters served every way imaginable, including raw, grilled, baked, and fried at some of the region’s best restaurants, where you’ll also get instructions from master chefs on how to prepare them at home. Learn about ongoing conservation efforts and the eco-friendly effects of oysters on the Chesapeake Bay from local watermen. Shuckapalooza combines all these incredible experiences into a once-in-a-lifetime Virginia oyster event.


Tom Tom Festival—Charlottesville

When: April 8-14, 2019

A weeklong event in Charlottesville, the Tom Tom Festival turns the city into a collaborative and creative space for the world’s leading innovators, artists, and visionaries. The festival schedule is jam-packed with over 60 bands, 300 speakers, and 400 community organizations coming together in Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall throughout the week. During the days, attend lectures and workshops about a wide scope of topics, including entrepreneurship, science, and technology, then head to mixers at local restaurants and bars during the evening to mingle and unwind.


Southern Gap UTV Takeover—Grundy

When: April 11-14, 2019Spearhead Trails

The Southern Gap UTV Takeover is a three-day, family-friendly event that brings together ATV and UTV enthusiasts. Bring your own ATV or UTV or rent vehicles through Southern Gap Outdoor Adventure to take on the famed Spearhead Trails, a rugged mountain trail system that winds through hundreds of miles in Southwest Virginia. During the event, riders can participate in group rides, night rides, mud bogs, and all sorts of activities that the whole family will love, from tire toss competitions to an Easter Egg Mud Run. Camp on the event grounds during the takeover or rent one of their rustic cabins for a memorable mountain experience.


Toyota Owners Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race—Richmond

When: April 13, 2019Richmond Raceway LOVEwork

Attend Central Virginia’s biggest spring racing event, the Toyota Owners Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race, held at the newly renovated Richmond Raceway. Upgrade your tickets for infield access to get a behind-the-scenes peek at the driver’s cars; we recommend the  Virginia is for Racing Lovers Ticket Package, which includes a limited edition Virginia is for Racing Lovers hat and access to the DC Solar FanGrounds. Arrive early to the raceway to attend the Craft Beer Festival, which will feature over 25 Virginia craft breweries serving four ounce pours of some of their best brews.


Virginia Pride Festival Season Begins—Various Virginia Cities

When: Select Dates Throughout 2019VA PrideFest

Pride season in Virginia kicks off with the Hill City Pride Festival in Lynchburg on April 13 and the Roanoke Pride Festival, a two-day event on April 13-14. Celebrate and support local diversity with LGBT and Allied Virginians. Enjoy the best in local food, drink and live entertainment, and much more, at these exciting pride events happening throughout Virginia in 2019!


The Festival of Spring at Burnside Farms—Nokesville

When: April 15-May 5, 2019Burnside Farms

Each year, Burnside Farms brings Holland to Northern Virginia during the Festival of Spring, one of the largest pick-your-own flower events in North America. Lasting throughout the peak tulip season, the festival allows visitors to walk through nearly eight acres of colorful tulip fields, picking their favorites at only $1 per stem. In addition to vivid floral arrangements, the flowers create a stunning background for informal spring photos with your family, and after you finish picking and posing, you can spread a blanket near the flower fields for an idyllic picnic lunch.


NASA Rocket Launch—Wallops Island

When: April 17, 2019wallops island rocket launch

Watch Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft launch on the Antares rocket from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility Visitor Center on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The spacecraft is on a resupply mission, carrying necessary equipment and gear to the International Space Station. Be sure to arrive at the launch at least 3 hours prior to the event.


Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival—Winchester

When: April 26-May 5, 2019The Annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival takes place in May. The famous from around the world can be seen in attendance.

Spread over two weeks in April and May, the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival has been a spring celebration in Winchester for the past 92 years. The long-standing festival features a two-day Wine Fest, multiple concerts and live performances, a grand parade through Downtown Winchester, arts & crafts vendors, an impressive fireworks display, and over 30 additional events for the entire family.


Virginia International Tattoo—Norfolk

When: April 25-28, 2019Virginia International Tattoo

The largest event of the annual Virginia Arts Festival, the Virginia International Tattoo pays tribute to the United States Military. This year’s theme is “Courage & Commitment: A Salute to Women in the Military”, and the celebration features inspirational military music, show-stopping drill team maneuvers, colorful dance performances, and much more.


Virginia’s Historic Garden Week—Locations Throughout Virginia

When: April 27-May 4, 2019Tuckahoe Plantation: Garden Week

In its 86th year, Virginia’s Historic Garden Week allows visitors to get a peek at more than 250 of the most gorgeous gardens, homes, and historic landmarks throughout the state. The eight-day event showcases spring blooms during their peak season, as well as over 2,300 flower arrangements created by local chapters of the Garden Club of Virginia.


Something in the Water Festival—Virginia Beach

When: April 26-28, 2019pharrell

The first ever Something in the Water Festival, a passion project for internationally-renowned musical artist Pharrell Williams, is a three-day music festival and cultural experience held in the coastal city of Virginia Beach. Some of the biggest names in music are joining Pharrell on stage over the April weekend, including Dave Matthews Band, Gwen Stefani, Snoop Dogg, Ferg, Janelle Monae, Maggie Rogers, Missy Elliot, Pusha T, Diplo, Travis Scott, Usher, and many, many more. With tickets starting at just $150 for the entire weekend, the festival is a budget-friendly way to see several Grammy-winning artists all in one place.


More Notable Events Happening Around Virginia This April:


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Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in April 2019

Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in April 2019

Spring is here and many big name musicians will be coming to Virginia during the month of April. From major country acts to the biggest names in rock and pop, catch your favorite artists and discover new ones all over the Commonwealth.


Virginia Music Festivals

On April 8-14, the Tom Tom Founders Festival takes over downtown Charlottesville with more than 60 bands, 300 speakers and 400 community organizations in outdoor spaces, theaters, galleries, concert halls and more.

On April 11-14, the Down by Downtown Music Festival features four days of music, with shows at venues throughout downtown Roanoke. More than 25 acts will take stages throughout the week and at Saturday’s finish festival at Elmwood Park, which will include performances by SPAFFORD, Tank & The Bangas, and Rubblebucket.

Throughout April and running through June, the Virginia Arts Festival will be bringing hundreds of world-class performing arts in venues throughout Hampton Roads. Major performances in April include Kristin Chenoweth (April 12), Olga Kern (April 16), and the Virginia International Tattoo, the largest spectacle of music honoring military from around the world.pharrell

The first ever Something in the Water Festival takes places at the Virginia Beach oceanfront April 26-28 with performances from Pharrell Williams, Dave Matthews Band, Jaden Smith, DRAM, Ferg, Deepak Chopra, Janelle Monae, Maggie Rogers, Missy Elliott, Diddy, Gwen Stefani, Janelle Monáe, Migos, Pusha T, Snoop Dogg, and more.


Over at Virginia’s Many Live Music Venues

The National in Richmond will be bringing a number of big name artists throughout the month. The venue will be hosting Buckethead (April 5), The Infamous Stringdusters (April 6), Papadosio (April 14), Lord Huron (April 16), Mitski (April 18), Phosphorescent (April 19), Elle King (April 20), and others.

The Broadberry will be hosting Of Montreal (April 10), Rubblebucket (April 12), Cris Jacobs (April 19), the RVA All Day Block Party featuring No BS Brass Band (April 27), and more.

The Modlin Center at the University of Richmond will host a performance by legendary saxophonist Maceo Parker on April 27.

Ashland theatre photo credit Diane Stoakley

The Ashland Theatre will bring in Natalie Prass on April 20.

The Beacon Theatre in Hopewell will host Average White Band on April 10, Colt Ford on April 11, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder on April 13, and more.

In Charlottesville, the John Paul Jones Arena will have performances from Lil Yachty and Aminé (April 4) and Alabama (April 6). The Sprint Pavilion on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall will be hosting Leon Bridges on April 10 and the Rockn’ to Lockn’ Finals on April 20.

The Jefferson Theater will hosts artists like Patty Griffin (April 2), Phosphorescent (April 17), Parachute (April 30), and more.

The NorVa in Norfolk will be bringing in Buckethead (April 4), Lord Huron (April 17), Elle King (April 18), SOJA (April 20), and many others. The Constant Center at Old Dominion University will have performances from Young Dolph (April 5) and Soulja Boy (April 28).

Zac Brown Band will perform at the Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater at Virginia Beach on April 12.

Kelsea Ballerini and Brett Young will be performing at the Salem Civic Center on April 17. The Berglund Center in Roanoke will host Travis Tritt on April 14 and NEEDTOBREATHE on April 30.

The Harvester Performance Center in Rocky Mount will host many acts including Ana Popovic (April 20), Rick Springfield (April 26), Tyler Childers (April 27), and more.

At Wolf Trap National Park for Performing Arts in Vienna, shows will include Robyn Hitchcock (April 11), Storm Large (April 12), Stephen Kellogg (April 18), and more.

The Tally Ho Theatre in Leesburg will be hosting Phil Vassar on April 11 and The Mantras on April 25, among many other shows.

Alexandria music hall The Birchmere will host Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives (April 4), Don McLean (April 5), The Bodeans (April 6), Average White Band (April 12-13), Kris Kristofferson & The Strangers (April 25-26), and many more.



For more big names coming to Virginia this month, go to virginia.org/music. At a Virginia concert this month? Share your photos with @VisitVirginia on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags #vamusic and #vaisformusiclovers.

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Two Days of Historic Hikes and Outdoor Adventure in Prince William

Two Days of Historic Hikes and Outdoor Adventure in Prince William

Hike, bike or paddle your way through Prince William at one of the many National, State and Regional parks and forests found here. Stretching from the banks of the Potomac River to the foothills of Bull Run Mountain, visitors can reconnect with nature in DC’s Countryside.



Leesylvania State Park

Leesylvania State Park, Visit Prince William

Start your day off bright and early at Leesylvania State Park watching the sunrise over the sandy shores of the Potomac River. After sunrise, begin your adventure by exploring the park that was once home to Revolutionary War hero Henry Lee III. Fish for trout, catfish, and perch from the 300- foot fishing pier or rent a sailboat from Northern Virginia Sailing School. Observe diverse wildlife including Bald Eagles, Blue Heron, Beavers and more on Penguin Paddling’s guided kayak or stand up paddleboard tour through Neabsco Creek.

Need a break from water activities? Spend some time on land challenging yourself on the two-mile, 20-station fitness trail.




Prince William Forest Park

Prince William Forest Park, Visit Prince William

Keep up the endurance and move to the largest green space in the Washington D.C. region, Prince William Forest Park. Hike or bike , on more than 40 miles of trails and discover some of the 150 historic structures along the way. Spend the night at the park in your own tent, rent a rustic cabin ( that was once used by the OSS for spy training ) or stay nearby in one of the many hotels near I-95.




Occoquan River

Rivershore CruisesRivershore Boating, Visit Prince William

Leave the forest behind on your second day as you cruise down the Occoquan River aboard a Miss Rivershore boat or travel along the waterfront of Historic Occoquan by kayak or paddleboard with Penguin Paddling. Learn the history of the area as you keep an eye out for a variety of birds and other natural wildlife. Afterwards, satisfy your taste buds while enjoying the view at a waterfront dining venue.




Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Canadian Goose Occoquan Bay Wildlife, Visit Prince William

Continue your outdoor adventures by exploring the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge which provides 642 acres of habitat for migrating songbirds, raptors, waterfowl and other wetland animals. Hike the 4 miles of gravel trails by foot or take the 2-mile scenic drive.


Manassas National Battlefield Park

Manassas National Battlefield Park, Visit Prince William

Travel to the other side of the county and cap off your afternoon hiking , fishing or horseback riding in Manassas National Battlefield Park. History buffs can attend one of the multiple ranger-led walking tours or explore the museum exhibits at the Henry Hill Visitor Center.


The Winery at La Grange

Winery at La Grange, Visit Prince William

Savor the moment with a view of the sun setting over the Bull Run Mountains at The Winery at La Grange. Sample a flight of red or white wine in the beautifully restored 1790 Manor House. Ghost hunters will be delighted in the history of the spirits rumored to still roam the halls of the Manor House.


Written by Deena Westenhofer for Prince William County.
Featured image provided by Visit Prince William.

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20+ Pet Friendly Cabins For Your Next Virginia Getaway

20+ Pet Friendly Cabins For Your Next Virginia Getaway

pet friendly cabins fariss farms

A Virginia vacation just isn’t the same without your best friend to share it with, so we’ve rounded up some of the most scenic pet-friendly cabins throughout the Commonwealth. These 20+ charmingly rustic rentals provide the perfect overnight accommodations for you and your four-legged friend.


Occoneechee State Park Cabins—ClarksvilleCabin at Occoneechee State Park. (Photo must be credited: CameronDavidson@CameronDavidson.com)

Photo Credit: Cameron Davidson

Plan a getaway with your pup to the peaceful shores of Buggs Island Lake and stay at the Occoneechee State Park Cabins. The park has eleven pet-friendly cabins and two larger lodges that sleep up to 16 people. Over 18 miles of trails wind through the forests and along the lake shore, allowing you and your dog to get a little exercise while enjoying the peaceful scenery of the park.


Fariss Farms Cabin Rental—Allisoniafariss farms cabins

Located in the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia, the cabins at Fariss Farms make for an ideal vacation spot for you and your pet. In addition to tranquil scenery, the property also has an on-site vineyard and winery where you can relax on the patio with a glass of wine and your furry friend. The farm is close to the New River, Claytor Lake, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and many other outdoor destinations that you can explore with your pet.


Natural Retreats Shepherd’s Cottage—Hot SpringsNatural retreats Shepherd's Cottage

A stunning pet-friendly cabin nestled in the Allegheny Mountains, Natural Retreats Shepherd’s Cottage is just a short walk from the historic Omni Homestead Resort. The expansive living room features a wood-burning fireplace where you and your dog can get cozy on cooler days. The main floor master suite features a king bed and master bath with a claw-foot tub and shower, and the upstairs layout includes a guest room with a king bed, a loft area with a daybed and trundle, and a shared half-bath with a shower. In addition to the upscale accommodations and outdoor patio area, guests have full access to the Old Dairy Community Center, which includes an outdoor pool, a spa with a hot tub and sauna, a fitness center, and a gaming room.


A Buck’s Peak Cabin—Luraya bucks peak cabin luray

Take your pup on an adventure to Shenandoah National Park and stay overnight a few miles off Skyline Drive at A Buck’s Peak Cabin in Luray. The mountain hideaway is ideal for families or groups, with four master bedrooms sleeping a total of ten people. Catch the sunset from the cabin’s deck, where you’ll get an incredible view of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains, and enjoy a relaxing soak with a view from the patio hot tub. Kids (and kids at heart) can find plenty of entertainment in the cabin’s game room, which is outfitted with a shuffleboard table, dartboard, and video game system, complete with games. In addition to being pet-friendly, A Buck’s Peak Cabin is also ADA accessible, and features a handicapped-accessible shower that accommodates a wheelchair.


Lily Ridge Cabin—WhitetopLily Ridge Cabin Whitetop

A luxury cabin that sits on 50 acres of secluded mountain lands, Lily Ridge Cabin is just down the road from the Virginia Creeper Trail and Whitetop Station, making it an ideal lodging option for outdoor enthusiasts looking to travel with their pet.. Although there is enough surrounding acreage to take your pup on a leisurely hike without ever leaving the property,  Grayson Highlands State Park is another pet-friendly outdoor destination just a short drive away. Spend time soaking in the spectacular mountain views from one of the cabin’s three timber porches, with perfect vantage points allowing you to catch the sunrise from one porch and the sunset from another.


Snug Harbor Waterfront Cottages—Chincoteaguesnug harbor cottages chincoteague

There are few greater joys for a dog than running through the sand and surf! Book one of the waterfront cottages at Snug Harbor for an Eastern Shore getaway that both you and your pup will love. The cottages overlook Assateague Island and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge for uninterrupted views of Virginia’s coastal beauty.


Southern Gap Outdoor Adventures—GrundySouthern Gap Outdoor Adventures Cabins Grundy

Discover the great outdoors of Southwest Virginia with your four-legged friend, then stay at the heart of the action when you rent a cabin at Southern Gap Outdoor Adventure. The cabins are located at the starting point of Spearhead Trails’ Coal Canyon Trail System, a 112-mile route for ATVs and Dirt Bikes that winds through 5,600 acres of pristine mountain landscapes. Additionally, there are miles of pet-friendly trails in nearby Breaks Interstate Park.


Cabins at Montfair Resort Farm—CrozetCabins at Montfair Resort

Montfair Resort Farm has eight pet-friendly (and also eco-friendly!) cabins overlooking a small mountain lake in Albemarle County, only 15 miles away from Charlottesville and less than ten from Shenandoah National Park. Take your dog for a walk on the farm’s on-site hiking trails and explore the woodlands and open fields of the property. There are also over a dozen breweries, vineyards, and cideries within a short drive that are pet-friendly, allowing your pup to tag along for the adventures.


A Blue Ridge Cabin—Meadows of DanA Blue Ridge Cabin

Constructed of hand-hewn local lumber, A Blue Ridge Cabin is only a short distance off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Mabry Mill, Rocky Knob, and the small but charming community of Meadows of Dan. This pet-friendly cabin has a master bedroom with queen bed, a loft with queen and twin beds, and a futon in the living room, allowing for groups of up to seven people. After spending the day exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, snuggle up with your pup by the gas fireplace, and in the mornings, you can take in the beauty of the sunrise over the mountains from the back deck.


Indian Creek Cabins—WillisIndian Creek Cabins

There are two pet-friendly rentals available at Indian Creek Cabins, an 80-acre private retreat complete with hiking and horse trails. With expansive covered porches perched 2,700 feet above the surrounding landscape, you’ll have spectacular mountain views available throughout your stay. Each cabin can sleep up to four guests, and with outdoor destinations like the Blue Ridge Parkway, the quaint outdoor town of Floyd, and several pet-friendly wineries, there are a myriad of activities to keep you and your pet entertained during your stay.


Autumn Ridge Cabin—StanleyAutumn Ridge Cabin

A remote getaway sitting high atop the Blue Ridge Mountains, Autumn Ridge Cabin is located close to Shenandoah National Park, making it another ideal spot for travelers and their dogs looking for epic outdoor adventure. The cabin can comfortably sleep up to five, with a queen bed, full bed, and sleeper sofa, and the back deck offers unbelievable views of the mountains. Unwind after your adventures in the rental’s luxurious hot tub and cook up a hearty meal in the cabin’s fully equipped kitchen or on the charcoal grill.


More Pet-Friendly Cabins Around Virginia:


For more pet-friendly travel adventures in Virginia, visit Virginia.org/pets.

The post 20+ Pet Friendly Cabins For Your Next Virginia Getaway appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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15 Group-Friendly Events and Festivals

15 Group-Friendly Events and Festivals

Virginia is host to various types of events throughout the year from music festivals and air shows to garden tours and holiday lights. Many of Virginia’s events welcome groups of all sizes and several have special suggested itineraries developed by Virginia receptive operators. Below is just a sampling of annual group friendly events and festivals for 2019.


– American Evolution, Coastal Virginia – Throughout 2019

Journey through Virginia and experience the region’s past and present, from 1619 to today. Events such as the African American Commemoration, and Fort Monroe dedication include a remembrance ceremony, tours and cultural demonstrations. Read more.


– Dirty Dancing Weekend, Pembroke – April 26, June 21, July 26 & August 23, 2019

Spend a weekend in Johnny and Baby’s dancing shoes! Stay in Mountain Lake Lodge’s Kellerman’s Mountain House for one of their Dirty Dancing Themed Weekends. Enjoy a full itinerary of Dirty Dancing Themed Activities, dance lessons, dance parties in Mary’s Barn and more! Read more.


– Virginia International Tattoo, Norfolk – April 25-28, 2019

Groups from all over the US return year after year to be a part of the pageantry and grandeur of this uniquely inspiring experience. Each year’s Tattoo is different, with new performers from across the globe, new themes of honor and patriotism, and state of the art technical effects that will leave you gasping in awe. View Itinerary.


– Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, Winchester – April 26 – May 5, 2019

A long-standing tradition, the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival features a two-day Wine Fest, a parade through downtown Winchester, multiple concerts, “Weekend in the Park”, an event featuring a wide variety of crafters, a carnival, fireworks display, and over 30 other events with something for everyone. Read more.


– Virginia’s Historic Garden Week, Statewide – April 27 – May 4, 2019

Every spring, more than 250 of Virginia’s most beautiful gardens, homes and historic landmarks are open to visitors during “America’s Largest Open House.” See unforgettable gardens at the peak of Virginia’s springtime color, as well as beautiful houses sparkling with fabulous flower arrangements. Read more.


– Patriotic Festival: A Celebration of our Military, Virginia Beach – May 31 – June 2, 2019

Celebrate the military at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront for three wonderful days. Feast on local foods, shop for hand-crafted items and view military expos while you dance and sing along to tunes by national musical artists. View Itinerary.


– Norfolk’s Annual Harborfest Festival, Norfolk – June 7-9, 2019

Every June, Norfolk celebrates nautical history by displaying tall ships from all over the world, along with maritime events and children’s activities. Enjoy local, regional and national entertainment, delicious food and a spectacular fireworks display all along the downtown waterfront. View Itinerary.


– Mountains of Music Homecoming, Abingdon – June 7-15, 2019

Celebrate the rich traditional music heritage, history and outdoor environment of communities throughout Southwest Virginia. Concerts celebrating old-time, bluegrass, gospel, traditional singing and dance, and many other styles will be presented in over 40 different communities over nine days. Come for the music and stay for a wide variety of cultural experiences, scenic drives, workshops, educational opportunities and much more. Read more.


– Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, Bristol – September 20-22, 2019

Head to historic Downtown Bristol as State Street is amped to the beat of Appalachia’s past, present and future. The Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion offers 22 stages of live music that include outdoor stages, a dance tent, 16 indoor venues and a children’s stage on Saturday for a free event for families. Read more.


– NAS Oceana Air Show, Virginia Beach – September 21-22, 2019

The show is a thrilling spectacle of both military and civilian flight demonstrations, parachute shows and pyrotechnics. The highlight is the United States Navy’s Blue Angels flight demonstration team. The event takes place at Naval Station Oceana- it’s the only time the Master Base is open to the general public. View Itinerary.


– Neptune Festival Boardwalk Weekend, Virginia Beach – September 27-29, 2019

– Neptune, Virginia Beach, © 2004, P. DiPasquale, Sculptor, Photo credit: Virginia Beach CVB –

Declared one of the best festivals in the nation by the Travel Channel, the Neptune Festival is celebrating its 46th anniversary in 2019. Throughout Boardwalk Weekend, daily concerts at festival stages are scattered along 32 blocks of the boardwalk and feature 35 performances from local, regional, and national recording artists. On the boardwalk, you can find over 250 artisans displaying handmade work, at an Art & Craft Show that has been ranked in the Top 20 Fine Art and Design Shows across the country.  See grains of sand being turned into works of art during the International SandSculpting Championship Sept. 27 – Oct. 6. Read more.


– Richmond Folk Festival, Richmond, October 11-13, 2019

Attracting visitors from all over the country, the Richmond Folk Festival features performances from a diverse array of cultural traditions on seven stages throughout three days. Celebrate the roots, richness and variety of culture through music, dance traditional crafts, storytelling and food. The festival has been voted as the best musical festival in Richmond by Style Weekly’s readers over ten years running. Read more.


– Veterans Day, Statewide, November 10-12, 2019

Pay respects and honor America’s Veterans from the American Revolution to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Experience a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. Visit the National Museum of the Marine Corps and the Udvar-Hazy Center National Air & Space Museum and more. View itinerary.


– Christmas in Williamsburg & Holiday Happenings along the Blue Ridge, November 2019 – January 2020

Delight in the millions of glowing lights as you visit Bristol Motor Speedway. Experience how Christmas was celebrated during Thomas Jefferson’s time at Monticello. Experience Busch Gardens’ Christmas Town, Colonial Williamsburg’s holiday celebrations and A Colonial Christmas at Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center. Enjoy fine holiday dining and shopping galore.  The commonwealth comes together with festive holiday décor, special programs and events sure to please all ages. View Itinerary.


– Christmas Illuminations at Mount Vernon, December 20-21, 2019

Explore Northern Virginia during the most wonderful time of the year, featuring a festive holiday evening at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. This colonial inspired event is one to be remembered, as it finishes with fireworks choreographed to holiday music over the Potomac River. View Itinerary.



For more exciting events to experience in Virginia, click here.

See more…

Group Experiences

Group Tour Themes and Itineraries

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Top 6 Reasons to Visit Virginia State Parks for Spring Break

Top 6 Reasons to Visit Virginia State Parks for Spring Break

We’re excited that it’s nearly time for spring break, and that means it’s the perfect time to take the family outdoors after a winter of cold, rain, and flu.

Here are six reasons to visit one or more Virginia State Parks, and take advantage of this time together.


All 38 Virginia State Parks offer self-guided or ranger-led programming to make it easy to get outdoors and enjoy the beginning of spring. Find a list of programs here for the week before and after Easter but if your spring break deviates from that schedule, check the events database for what is available.


Virginia State Parks

“When families and friends spend moments together in Virginia State Parks, those moments become lifetime memories that are cherished forever. Spring break is the perfect time to get outdoors to shed those winter blues and enjoy what parks have to offer.” – Craig Seaver, State Parks Director


With 600 miles of trails to choose from, spend time in the woods or along the major waterways of Virginia walking for pleasure and/or exercise. Spring is a great time to observe wildlife and plants as nature wakes up after its winter sleep. Did you know you can track your visits to different Virginia State Parks and earn pins as you visit more? The Trail Quest program is web-based. You sign up and as you visit new parks you record your visits. Sign up and start logging parks you have already visited now. You’ll be on your way to being a Master Hiker.


Virginia State Parks


If you haven’t tried your hand at geocaching, we have rental units and caches to get you hooked on this family activity. It’s a scavenger hunt using GIS coordinates so it will appeal to your tech dependent family members. We develop an annual game that starts each April with special caches and game-specific cards to collect. Our parks are home to other caches as well.


Bring your smart phone or camera to take pictures. Post to Instagram using #vastateparks to share your spring break experiences. Sometimes the random photos taken in our parks are the best. Remember to save your photos since you never know when we might have a spur-of-the-moment photo contest.


Many libraries in Virginia offer nature backpacks to check out. In addition to some handy tools to investigate the natural world, the backpacks include a parking pass for no cost entrance to the park. Most parks offer the backpacks if you forget to check one out before your visit. Find participating libraries here.


Most Virginia State Parks offer campsites or cabins that can be reserved to make your visit last longer than a day. Contact our customer service center at 800-933-7275 or book online.


Virginia State Parks

Let’s face it…camping means s’mores at Virginia State Parks

You can even stay in one park and visit other state parks in the surrounding area. The communities around our Virginia State Parks also feature attractions to visit during your stay. Each park’s web page has a section that includes ideas of what to do in the local area.

Written by Nancy Heltman for Virginia State Parks.

Featured image provided by Virginia State Parks

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