When you're visiting the Old Dominion, you need to make sure that your plan shows off the best the state has to offer. What's best is subjective, of course, so you'll need to consider the kinds of attractions that your family will specifically enjoy. Catering to unique interests in Virginia is easy considering the vast amount of things to do available here. All you need to do is consider your options and plan around which part of Virginia would work best. Take a look at some of the top destinations for your vacation that could be the perfect answer to your ideal family vacation in Virginia.
The town of Williamsburg is the perfect destination if your family is interested in the historical aspect of the state. Colonial Williamsburg is a special area of the city that makes visitors feel like they've been transported back to the 18th century. You'll find historic buildings and shops offering antique wares and homemade crafts. Several interpreters can be found around town as well who work to make the historical atmosphere feel much more lifelike, period-appropriate clothing included. Of course, if your kids aren't all that interested in the local history, you can always check out the theme parks in town as well.
2. Shenandoah National Park
Families who are interested in outdoor adventure may want to book their family vacation in Virginia around the Shenandoah National Park area. Encompassing almost 200,000 acres of land, this park is one of the best places in the state if you're looking for fun hikes. You'll find numerous trails in the area including beginner trails that are perfect for young kids. Several bike trails are available as well, and just about all the trails offer stunning views of the area at certain points. Consider visiting during the fall if you book your stay by the park as the colorful leaves can truly be a sight to behold.
Virginia's capital of Richmond is packed full of adventure that the whole family can enjoy, especially if they're interested in local history. You'll find iconic sites from the American Revolution like St. John's Church. The American Civil War Museum is located here as well. If your kids are more interested in high-speed thrills, however, you can visit Kings Dominion and ride the rides at this popular amusement park. For a more serene experience, however, you'll find that Richmond is home to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden with its vibrant blooms and expansive variety of plant species on display.
Chincoteague is an island located off the coast of Virginia that's perfect for families looking for a relaxing vacation experience outdoors. Animal lovers will especially be impressed, as the main attraction here is the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. At the refuge, you can see a variety of birds and waterfowl in addition to the wild horses the island is known for. Keep in mind that you can't interact directly with these animals. Additionally, you'll find plenty of biking trails on the island along with fishing spots. Boating is a popular pastime here as well with options for boat rentals to take advantage of.
Most people visit Charlottesville for the wineries, but if you're traveling with young kids, you'll have to find other things to do. Fortunately, you'll still find plenty of fun including historic sites like Thomas Jefferson's former home. The Downtown Mall is quite popular as well making this an ideal choice for travelers who are interested in doing a bit of shopping. More than 150 shops and restaurants have made their home here offering a wide variety of fascinating items you won't be able to find anywhere else.
When most people think of Jamestown, they consider the historical importance of the 17th century Jamestown settlement. While your family can enjoy plenty of historical sites and attractions, that's just the beginning of what this area has to offer. You'll also find significant outdoor adventure like the Greensprings Interpretive Trail with its 3.5 miles of hiking paths, though you're free to trek through on a bike as well. Additionally, Jamestown is home to a glasshouse that offers live glass blowing demonstrations that are sure to wow your little ones. They can even get a glass-blown souvenir to bring home.
7. Virginia Beach
Virginia Beach is, by far, one of the most popular places to visit in the state, and that's no accident. As the name suggests, this community is home to a prominent beachfront that's family-friendly with gentle waves and soft sands. The boardwalk is fun with plenty of delicious restaurants, arcades, and theme parks. Extensive shopping opportunities are available in the area as well. More adventurous families may prefer to head to the Sandbridge area of town where they can take a kayak adventure through the local waters. You don't need to bring your own kayak either, as plenty are available for rental.
8. Mount Vernon
When you visit Mount Vernon, you'll find yourself at a place of legendary historical importance. This is where you'll find the home of George Washington, which is open for tours. Not only is this old plantation home absolutely fascinating in its own right, but it comes complete with a museum area highlighting important artifacts. Additionally, the surrounding gardens are immaculately well-maintained offering the opportunity for a relaxing stroll.
Middleburg is known as one of the more high-end areas of the state with popular pastimes being horseback riding and fox hunting. If you're looking for a taste of the high life while simultaneously enjoying the countryside, this is the perfect destination for your family. Extensive horseback riding opportunities are available that even your little ones can enjoy with no prior experience on a horse. Additionally, this area offers several spas that let all your stresses simply melt away. If you're planning on booking one of the Virginia family resorts, Middleburg is home to some of the best.
Families who are looking for some outdoor adventure may want to consider booking their stay around Luray. Here, you can explore the legendary Luray Caverns, which is one of the largest cave systems this side of the Mississippi. The natural stone formations draw in visitors from around the world, so you know they're a sight to behold. For something a bit more active, your family can visit the Rope Adventure Park, which offers obstacles situated in the treetops for that extra bit of excitement. Visitors are secured to a safety harness at all times, so you're never in any danger if you lose your footing. Plus, you'll find easier difficulty courses for younger kids.
When you visit Norfolk, you'll find that the city is heavily influenced by its local naval base. If your family is interested in military history, there's no better place in the state to learn more about how the navy functions in both the past and present day. You can take a tour of the naval base that lets you and your little ones see massive ships and aircraft up close. Additionally, Norfolk is home to Nauticus, which is a science and technology museum packed full of interactive activities that your children will love. It's also home to the legendary Battleship Wisconsin Display, so don't forget to put that in your itinerary.
The town of Abingdon is a favored destination for families who love the theater. Barter Theatre is among the most famous landmarks here, as it's one of the longest-running theaters in the history of the United States. You'll find a variety of performances held here throughout the year, and most of them are family-friendly and entertaining enough to keep a kid seated for a few hours. Be sure to check their schedule to see what'll be playing during your visit. Of course, you can also embark on thrilling outdoor activities since Abingdon is surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Virginia Creeper Trail.
In Fredericksburg, you'll find a wealth of valuable history among its 4 major Civil War battlefields. They're all set up within the National Military Park, which comes complete with several exhibitions, guides, and film showings that offer valuable insight into the conflict. Several house museums are in town as well including Ferry Farm, which was the place George Washington grew up in. Families interested in a more educational vacation experience will want to book their stay here, as no other place in Virginia can offer quite as much insight into the Civil War.
Whether your family is looking to enjoy the city or the country, Roanoke has it all. This is the ideal destination for families who want a diverse array of things to do. You'll find art galleries and live music venues, but you should always check to see what's playing before bringing your kids along. Guaranteed family-friendly fun here includes hiking and biking trails along with river paths you can traverse via kayak. Several museums are available in town as well along with the legendary Blue Ridge Parkway, which offers scenic views of the mountains.
Alexandria is known for its old-world charm with extensive historical architecture throughout its shops, restaurants, and homes. While the typical historical offerings are here, you'll also find several ghost tours available, which are particularly enjoyable if your family is more interested in spooky experiences. Additionally, you can take a day trip to the nation's capital from here or simply take in the scenic views from a riverboat tour on the Potomac River. Much of the rental options in the area are fairly high-end as well, so you can enjoy convenient modern comforts among the historic splendor.