Across the country, every state has its claims to fame. Florida has its springs, its beaches and its party culture, while California has Hollywood, the Redwood forest and an entirely different set of beaches. Texas has cattle and cowboy hats, New York has baseball and stock trading, and Iowa has… corn, or something? Yeah, some states have a bit more notoriety than others.
When it comes to the state of Virginia, things are no different. This state is well known for a host of different things, but Virginia is best known for its thriving cities, beautiful naturistic vistas and delicious classic comfort foods. But these aren’t what you’re here to see; you want to know what Virginia really has to offer.
Luckily, we’re here to help. In this article, we’re going to be offering you a few suggestions regarding what you absolutely need to see in this state, so your vacation is as great as it possibly can be. There is a whole lot to see here, so we’re not going to beat around the bush; let’s take a look at some of the best places to visit in the state of Virginia!
The majesty of nature
The state of Virginia is a bit different from most others. Where places like Florida and California are characterized by exciting but ultimately hollow consumerist attractions, Virginia is home to a different kind of draw for tourists. This isn’t the kind of place that is constantly trying to sell you on how great it is; it simply exists, letting you make of it what you will.
Once you visit this state, you’ll have little choice but to agree with Virginia’s residents, who almost universally agree that this state is among the greatest places on earth. From its delicious food to its fiery moonshine and breathtaking mountain scenery, this state is unlike any other place in the country and the world, for that matter. Let’s take a look at some places you should visit next time you’re in town!
George Washington’s estate
Of all the figures permanently emblazoned on the pages of America’s history, there are few that can rival the sheer reverence and awe that the name George Washington commands. As the first president of the United States of America and one of the most important actors in its fight for independence, George Washington isn’t likely to be forgotten anytime soon.
As a child attending school, there’s a good chance you learned about Mount Vernon. A sprawling estate covering over eight thousand acres, this parcel of land on the Shenandoah river was one of Washington’s favorite places to retreat to after going head-to-head with his advisors and the members of congress.
Throughout his life, Washington would spend some of his most important moments on the estate. After marrying his wife Martha, the estate would serve as a honeymoon destination. This was the place where he raised his wife’s children from her first marriage, and it was the place where George Washington himself breathed his last breath.
Today, over 500 acres of this estate have been painstakingly preserved, creating an insightful and fully immersive look into the life and times of America’s first president. Whether you have an interest in history or not, it’s hard not to appreciate the beauty and wonder of this phenomenal attraction.
Shenandoah National Park
There are few places on earth that can rival the sheer beauty and majesty that you’ll find in Shenandoah Valley. In this park, gently rolling hills are blanketed with verdant carpets of green grass, as red and gold leaves shade the forest floor far below. It is, as one famous songwriter put it, “almost heaven”.
He wasn’t wrong. This valley of wonder is just about as close as you can get to paradise on earth, with some of the most beautiful scenery you’ll ever see in your life. As you walk through the forests of Shenandoah National Park, you may be rendered speechless as you stare, mouth agape, at the sheer magnificence of this wonderful place.
If you visit Shenandoah by car, you can take a short detour down Skyline Drive, a scenic route through the peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This route will treat you to a number of scenic vistas that can only be seen this easily from skyline drive. With a view that stretches for hundreds of miles, you’ll likely never see anything like it for the rest of your life.
For those wanting to get a bit more up close and personal, Shenandoah National Park also has a wide variety of trails, recreation areas and other places where you can relax and unwind as you connect with nature. If you visit this place in the fall, try taking a walk through the forest; you won’t regret it!
The Chrysler Museum
While Virginia has a lot to offer when it comes to natural beauty, don’t take that to mean it’s lacking in a cultural sense. If you were under this impression, the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk will quickly dissuade you of that notion! With thousands of unique art pieces ranging from the classical period to modern and postmodern works, there’s enough culture here to go around!
Modern and contemporary art take centre stage here at the Chrysler Museum, with pieces from artists such as Walt Khun, Alberto Burri, Miriam Schapiro and many, many others. If you can appreciate art that doesn’t conform to the norms of classical art, you’re sure to love this part of the Chrysler museum.
There’s also a number of impactful and important art pieces in the collection that predate the modern and contemporary movements. Thomas Hill, Mary Cassat, Robert Henri and many more show up in the Chrysler Museum, making it a delightful place to visit for enthusiasts of every predilection.
In addition to conventional paintings, the museum houses a large number of assorted works of art. With art of every kind from every corner of the earth, you’ll find tens of thousands of incredible expressions of human emotion that range from heartwarming to disturbing. The bottom line? If you appreciate art, you’ll appreciate this place!
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Imagine for a moment how different the world would be had the airplane never been invented. Trans-oceanic travel would take months, as would travel between any places far removed by long distances. Shipping would be painfully slow, and communication in general would take far longer than it does today.
Yes, a world without air travel would be a very different place indeed. To appreciate this fully, you need only visit the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Fairfax county Virginia. Every square inch of the grounds at this fascinating historical and scientific attraction is covered by interesting and historical aircraft that will leave you speechless!
There is a tremendously varied amount of aviation history on display here at the museum. Wartime aviation enthusiasts will be awed by the collection of WWI and WWII aircraft on display from the air forces of both the Allies and the Entente and Axis, while commercial and private aviation buffs will no doubt be impressed by the inclusion of the Enola Gay, the plane in which Amelia Earhardt became the first woman to cross the Atlantic by air.
Going further, the museum also houses a number of Cold War and post-Cold War aircraft, such as the McDonnel Douglas F4F, one of the most technologically advanced fighter-interceptors of its time. From the other side of the conflict, the museum also includes examples of Soviet Aerospace Engineering, such as the MiG-21 and MiG-15. Visit the museum; we promise that you won’t regret it!
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
In terms of both art and engineering, human influences are almost always visible. Both in their very nature rely on that spark of humanity to distinguish them from nature. If museums containing art and feats of engineering aren’t your thing then, you’ll want to head on down to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and see some of the most incredible agricultural displays you’ve ever seen in your life!
This is the great thing about the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden; while some of the exhibits and gardens are housed in man-made structures, there’s no confusion as to what’s the main attraction. What is that attraction, you ask? It’s the beauty of thousands and thousands of well cared-for flora, of course!
The gardens on display here are beautiful year round. With beautiful natural specimens that bud and flower perennially, you can wander over fifty acres of beautiful gardens that are painstakingly manicured and groomed every day. With experienced gardeners who know exactly how to achieve the height of natural beauty from the plants in the gardens, there’s no such thing as a day where the gardens aren’t breathtaking.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden also serves a more noble purpose. With hundreds of endangered or at-risk plant species on the ground, this place is a virtual sanctuary of plants that, were it not for the efforts of this place, might very well be extinct. If you want to help these efforts, all you need to do is pay the gardens a visit!
There’s little doubt in our minds that the state of Virginia is one of the most beautiful and unique places in the country and indeed the world. Between its natural beauty and the scattered touches of humanity, this state stands alone as a place where you can both appreciate nature and culture at once.
If you decide to make this beautiful state your home, you’ll want to find a real estate agent in Virginia in the area you’re planning to visit and give them a call. With their help, you’ll likely be able to find a home that suits your needs and your budget, in as little time as possible. Before you know it, you might just be Virginia’s newest resident!