. The first is history, which the "Old Dominion" state is steeped in. And the second is nature, which that classic "Virginia is for lovers" slogan embodies—this is one of the most beautiful states in the country, with stunning views tucked behind every corner.
From the breathtaking splendor of the Cumberland Gap and the Shenandoah Skyline Drive to one of America’s most incredible engineering marvels spanning the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia is a state worthy of putting your odometer through its paces.
Of course, you don’t want to have a flat tire, dead car battery, or pesky check engine light ruining any of your adventures in Virginia. That’s why the
Virginia is an incredibly beautiful state to explore in your car. But to really enjoy the majesty of the Old Dominion, you might want to stretch your legs with hiking adventures, taking in amazing landscapes from one trail to the next.
Why you should go on a hike through Virginia
Virginia is home to excellent hiking trails that are accessible to adventurers at every experience level. And even if you aren’t big on hiking, this route makes for a fantastic scenic drive through some of Virginia’s most awe-inspiring regions.
: From the Cumberland Gap, take The Wilderness Road (highway 58), all the way down to the Natural Tunnel State Park. From there, head north to The Devil’s Bathtub, a gorgeous drive ending in an excellent hike.
Since America’s earliest settlers founded Jamestown, the state of Virginia has played an integral role in shaping American history at every pass. Virginia’s historical sites attract huge swaths of tourists each year, and a Virginia historical road trip is quite beautiful, too.
Why you should go on an American history tour of Virigina
There are countless historical sites throughout Virginia, including numerous Revolutionary War and Civil War battlefields and estates belonging to the Founding Fathers.
Amateur historians (and Hamilton: An American Musical fans), start your engines!
Where you should go for an American History Tour of Virginia
This ten-hour historical road trip takes you to the biggest American history spots in Virginia. You may want to split it up into a few days to give yourself some time to explore.
: Then drive to Mount Vernon, the colonial estate of George and Martha Washington. Mount Vernon is just on the outskirts of Washington DC, so consider stopping in for a visit to the nation’s capital, too.
: Next, go to Richmond and visit the American Civil War Museum before driving to the Petersburg National Battlefield.
You won’t want to miss Colonial Williamsburg, a world-famous town where reenactors showcase colonial life in a living, breathing museum. You might be able to visit Yorktown on the same day, including the
The final stop on this historic Virginia tour is Norfolk, home to a massive US Navy base. You can take a tour of the naval harbor and see modern-day warships as they prepare to head out overseas. And you can wrap up your trip with some R&R at
With a reputation as one of the most beautiful roads in North America, the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park easily deserves a spot on your American road trip bucket list.
Whether you drive this 105-mile road in one shot or make camp somewhere along the way, the famed Skyline Drive is arguably the #1 destination in Virginia for serious road trippers.
Why you should go to Shenandoah Skyline Drive
The Shenandoah National Park is one of the prettiest areas in all of Virginia, and the Skyline Drive takes you on a jaw-dropping tour along its most scenic path. Most of this road lines up with the Appalachian Trail, so hardcore hikers could attempt this lengthy path on foot.
With nearly 70 scenic overlooks, a plethora of great hiking trails, and loads of picnic spots, Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive is an easy contender for one of the most beautiful scenic routes in the US.
costs $20 per vehicle and expires after seven full days, giving you plenty of time to explore everything Shenandoah has to offer. Make sure to pack everything you need and fill up your gas tank before you head in.
will take you about four hours to drive from one end to the other. The park’s speed limit is 35 MPH in most places, and you don’t want to exceed that, as there are countless wild animals that call Shenandoah National Park their home.
is a true spectacle that offers a gorgeous oceanic view from above (and below) the Chesapeake Bay.
On the southern end of this impressive construction feat is one of Virginia’s most popular tourist destinations, Virginia Beach. It’s a fantastic place to enjoy some fun in the sun, and it’s usually less hectic than Ocean City,
Why you should go to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
It’s difficult to put into words just how incredible the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is. You climb up over the Chesapeake Bay with nothing but ocean all around you. That view alone is worth a visit in and of itself.
But then, in two different intervals, the bridge dips down beneath the sea into tunnels that allow ships to pass overhead. Don’t worry though: it’s perfectly safe. The tunnels enter and exit through man-made islands with plenty of safety between you and the Bay.
Virginia Beach itself is an incredible town with a beautiful, clean beach. Fighter jets buzz overhead constantly as they go to and from military bases in the area. And you’re just a short drive from Norfolk, where you can look at and even tour epic warships.
What you should do
It goes without saying that the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is easily worth a visit on its own. The only real complaint you might have is that there’s nowhere to stop along the bridge to gaze out over the water. But hey, you can always drive it two or three (or nineteen) times, right?
: It’s easy to spend a whole week in the Virginia Beach and Norfolk area and still have things left on your itinerary. Cruising around the boardwalk can keep just about anyone occupied for a whole day. Just make sure you bring a bag for all the souvenirs.
Museums to hit: Want to get out of the sun for a while? Bring the kids to see the cool airplanes at the
: If you enjoy seafood, don’t even question this next bit: go to Waterman’s Surfside Grill and drop $40 on their Ultimate Just Seafood dinner. You’re welcome! Waterman’s is a fantastic restaurant with amazing food for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike.
That being said, there are great wineries throughout the Old Dominion state, so you may want to stop by them while completing some of the best road trips in Virginia listed here.
Why you should go on a Virginia wine tour
Virginia is home to some of America’s finest vineyards, with wine tastings and wine tours scattered all through the state. If you’re a lover of fine wines, you won’t want to miss this Virginia vineyard road trip.
What you should do on a Virginia wine tour
Let’s start with arguably the eight best wineries in Virginia’s northern wine country. This route takes about five hours to complete if you drive nonstop. You could always add more wineries to the list too—there are several in this region worth exploring!
Here’s a list to visit in order, from first to last:
Blue Valley Vineyard and Winery
Sunset Hills Vineyard
Stone Tower Winery
The Winery at Bull Run
Paradise Springs Winery
Potomac Point Winery and Vineyard
There are several other wineries you might want to visit that are a bit further out in Virginia, but they certainly belong on any list of the best wineries in Virginia. These wineries include:
The Williamsburg Winery
James River Cellars Winery
Chateau Morrisette Winery
Virginia Mountain Vineyards
Again, this is by no means a definitive list of the only wineries you should visit in Virginia. There are too many great wineries for us to list.
But these wineries represent some of the very best options in Virginia, and they’re close enough to the rest of the top contenders that you might end up stopping along the way.
This part should go without saying, but please don’t drink and drive.
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While you’re out enjoying the sightseeing, absorbing the history, and sampling the food, keep in mind that your car is getting exposed to a lot of stress. This stress can quickly shift from the car to you in a roadside emergency.
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