From the mysterious caverns of Shenandoah Valley to the mighty Appalachian Mountains to the fish-filled Chesapeake Bay, the beautiful Commonwealth of Virginia offers something to please every vacationer. The official motto of the state travel board is “Virginia is for Lovers” but it’s so much more than that. In case you’ve never visited before, here are few things to know about The Old Dominion State.
You can’t turn a corner in Virginia without seeing something historical. Four of the initial five US presidents were born in the commonwealth, and four more were born in Virginia after that. Presidential homes Monticello and Mount Vernon are popular tourist attractions that are located an easy drive from the airport, as is the old colonial capital of Williamsburg.
The US Revolution and Civil Wars both ended in Virginia, but there’s more to the state than amazing American history. Virginia offers a wealth of beautiful natural features, including Luray Caverns, lengthy gold sand beaches, the Chincoteague and Assateague barrier islands, and the exceptionally breathtaking Shenandoah National Park, advises PlanetWare magazine.
No matter where you go in Virginia, you are never more than an hour’s drive away from one official state park or another. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation oversees dozens of wildlife refuges, fish hatcheries, and state parks where you can rough it camping style or rent a climate controlled cabin.
Old Town Alexandria
Wander cobblestone streets, wear a tricorn hat, and tour historic homes in gracious old Alexandria. Located along the legendary Potomac, Alexandria was the beloved home of the nation’s first president, George Washington. Sitting within a half hour’s drive from the Washington Dulles Airport Marriott, Alexandria offers authentic pubs and eateries, marvelous museums, and exceptional shopping opportunities. Be sure to spend time in Market Square, and don’t miss a visit to the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Yes, it really was torpedo factory, and now it provides creative studio space to dozens of artists and crafts makers.
Birds and beaches, please
If it’s sandy beaches and a bevy of birds that you desire, you will find plenty to love in Virginia. The 35th largest state in the union, Virginia boasts thousands of miles of coastline, explains the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Many of these miles comprise tidal bays and saltwater marshes where one can spot all sorts of seabirds, including herons, egrets, and ibis.
Want your beach with a side of nightlife? Virginia Beach fills the bill. With three beaches to choose from, you can sunbathe whenever the weather cooperates. Explore the three-mile boardwalk, but look out for roller skaters. During festival seasons, Virginia Beach hosts a number of oceanfront stages with lively live entertainment.
If you want to get a real feel for early America, you can’t do any better than to spend a week or three in Virginia. Chock full of colonial and Civil War era history, the Commonwealth also offers plentiful modern conveniences and high tech centers, too.