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Your guide to Virginia travel: From theme parks to national parks

Virginia’s motto, “Virginia is for lovers,” captures only part of its charm.

The state offers a wide range of activities to suit the needs of solo travelers, groups of friends, and families.

Virginia is home to historical treasures such as Colonial Williamsburg, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, and George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

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The state’s scenic and family-friendly theme parks provide a wealth of entertainment for those seeking a fun outdoor adventure.

Let me explain in more detail.

“Virginia is for lovers” has been Virginia’s slogan since 1969. (Joe Soum/Visions of America/Universal Images Group)

Virginia Historic Sites for Educational Trips

Virginia offers a glimpse into America’s past. Visitors can journey through the story of this country’s history. The state encapsulates an important part of Civil War history, as the Confederacy moved its capital to Richmond and saw more battles than any other state.

This rich historical landscape in Virginia offers a rich learning experience for families and history buffs.

Among the notable destinations is Richmond’s Jackson Ward neighborhood, once known as the “Harlem of the South” and celebrated as the birthplace of black entrepreneurship. It stands as a monument to the important contributions and vibrant culture of the African American community.

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Colonial Williamsburg offers an immersive experience that transports visitors back to the colonial era. This historic park features actors reenacting colonial life on 301 acres, set against a backdrop of reconstructed stores, homes, and other buildings modeled after their original forms, and depicting the period. Contains live performances.

Soldiers walking through Arlington National Cemetery

The Changing of the Guard is a ceremony held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. (Kevin Carter)

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery is known as the final resting place of many of America’s revered heroes and is the most famous cemetery in the world. The cemetery has hosted more than 300,000 veterans of his service in America’s conflicts, from the Revolutionary War to recent combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has been a solemn sanctuary since 1864.

This allows visitors to pay homage to the sacrifices of U.S. military personnel.

The cemetery has been a solemn sanctuary since 1864.

Arlington National Cemetery offers free admission year-round and welcomes tours of the grounds. The Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier takes place every hour from October to March, and every 30 minutes from April to September, and is enjoyed by many.

President John F. Kennedy’s grave stands among many other important graves that you can visit.

Places like historic Jamestown

Virginia is home to many famous American landmarks, including historic Jamestown, recognized as North America’s first permanent British settlement. Explorers from the Virginia Company arrived on the shores of Virginia in search of precious metals and established British colonies in the New World.

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A visit to this historic island typically lasts from a few hours to half a day, during which guests can explore a variety of historic buildings. Historic Jamestown offers a variety of educational activities for families of all ages.

Virginia Theme Parks and Water Parks

There’s more to Virginia than historic buildings. Virginia’s thrilling theme parks, including Massanutten Waterpark, Ocean Breeze Waterpark, and Water Country USA, offer a variety of adventures for travelers looking for fun and excitement.

kings dominion

Families, friends, and loved ones can experience world-class rides at Kings Dominion, a 400-acre combined theme park and water park. The park has over 60 rides and attractions, making it the largest on the East Coast. Admission includes access to Soak City, the park’s expansive 20-acre waterpark.

Kings Dominion Amusement and Water Park in Virginia on a sunny day with clouds in the sky

Virginia is home to many theme parks and water parks, including Kings Dominion. You can also enjoy our sister water park, Soak City, which is included in your admission price. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)

Busch Gardens

Hailed by visitors as the most beautiful theme park in the world, Busch Gardens offers visitors a European-themed experience. As guests travel through the park, they witness cultural highlights from England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany and Italy through cuisine, roller coasters, live shows and other attractions.

Great Wolf Lodge

Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg is a 55,000-square-foot, premier indoor and outdoor family attraction. It features a lazy river, a children’s pool and a tube slide suitable for the young and the young at heart.

outdoor activities

Virginia is a mecca for those who enjoy outdoor living. From hiking in Shenandoah National Park to exploring the Grand Caverns, this state has outdoor adventures for everyone.

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Kayaking on the Potomac River

Adventurers of all ages will enjoy a trip down the Potomac River, which George Washington called “the highway to the western country.” More than 300 miles are designated as National Recreation Trails, with many sections perfect for day or weekend trips. The Potomac River connects four states and the District of Columbia.

View of the Potomac River on a sunny day

The Potomac River is approximately 605 miles long and is the fourth largest river on the Atlantic Coast.

shenandoah national park

As Virginia’s first national park, Shenandoah offers all kinds of attractions to visit. Cascading waterfalls, scenic views, and majestic fields of wildflowers will satisfy any nature lover’s insatiable desire to explore.

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Shenandoah National Park offers hikes for all levels starting at 4.1 miles. Visitors can take advantage of these trails and hiking trails to see all that the Shenandoah Valley has to offer.

natural bridge

One of the must-see attractions is Natural Bridges State Park in the Shenandoah Valley. Natural Bridge is a natural geological formation designated as a National Historic Landmark and a Virginia Historic Landmark. Visitors can pass under the bridge and descend 34 floors to explore the deepest cave on the East Coast.

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Grand Caverns

As stated on the park’s official website, Grand Cavern was discovered by Bernard Weyer in 1804 and is the oldest continuously operated show cave in the United States.

Visitors can explore rock formations, Civil War-era treasures, and above-ground adventures such as fitness trails and a miniature golf course.

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