Virginia, the Old Dominion, is known for being the state where presidents were born.
If you’re planning to visit the Mother of Presidents as well as one of the most beautiful places in the US, then you’ll likely want to know what the top vacation spots are.
It can be overwhelming without a travel guide to figure out what to see and what to do, so to help you out, here are 50 fun things to do and places to visit in Virginia.
1. Virginia Beach
Is it really a visit to Virginia if you don’t go to Virginia Beach?
Three different beaches stretch across the span of 14 miles, providing sand, surf, and boardwalk galore.
You can rest in quieter areas or be right in the heat of the crowd.
Even if you’re not much of a fan of sand, the boardwalk offers plenty of space for fun through cycling, skating, and just walking to explore, with lots of shops, statues, and dining establishments to try out.
Of course, though we refer mainly to the beach area, Virginia Beach is about more than just that.
It’s a coastal resort city, after all, with plenty of exciting features, including boat tours, water sports, amusement rides, golfing areas, and nightlife.
So, while heading to the beach itself is among the best things to do in Virginia, don’t forget to check out the rest of the city while you’re here!
Address: Atlantic Avenue, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States
2. The Natural Bridge of Virginia
The Natural Bridge of Virginia is a huge limestone arch, carved out over the span of multiple millennia by the flowing of the Cedar Creek.
A true wonder to behold, it’s one of the most stunning tourist attractions in the state, and its natural status adds even more to its value as a wonder of the world, and it’s North America’s largest natural bridge on land at 215 feet in length.
In 1750, George Washington came to the site and surveyed it as a young man and carved his initials into it.
Later, in 1774, Thomas Jefferson would purchase a large amount of land that included the Natural Bridge from King George III.
But before American colonists got their hands on it, the bridge was considered sacred by the Monocans, a tribe living in the area.
Now, though, and since 2016, the Natural Bridge is its own State Park.
On certain evenings, the Natural Bridge of Virginia has a light show put on known as The Drama of Creation.
It first began in 1920 and is America’s longest-running light show.
It’s Biblical in theme and can be a little odd, but if you’re seeking what to see, it’s something to add to your list!
Address: 6477 S Lee Hwy, Natural Bridge, VA 24578, United States
3. Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center
The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center is one of the best ways to travel across the world without even leaving the state!
Over 700 different species of animals live in this vast establishment, with a total of more than 12,000 individual animals of all kinds living across various habitats and 800,000 gallons’ worth of exhibits!
One of the popular exhibits here is the Bay and Ocean Pavilion, which showcases bodies of water of the state and their journeys through it.
Other popular offerings are the Chesapeake Bay Aquarium (which has lots of animals local to that area), the Chesapeake Light Tower Aquarium, the Marsh Pavilion, the Red Sea, the Flores Island (of Indonesia), the Restless Planet, the Peat Swamp (of Malaysia), and more.
Visiting this spot is among the most fun things to do in Virginia, especially if you’re here with family.
An aviary of half an acre sits in the middle of the venue, an outdoor nature trail offers insight into even more animals, there are feedings of the very rare sea turtle to watch, and a small fee will let you swim with seals!
Address: 717 General Booth Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23451, United States
4. Luray Caverns
The Luray Caverns are among the most beautiful places in Virginia.
They were first stumbled upon by four men from Luray in 1878 and are now the biggest cave system of commercial variety in all of America.
The Luray Caverns are a National Natural Landmark, situated 164 feet underground with a huge size and gorgeous features that make it one of the best spots to stop by during your visit to the state.
The Luray Caverns are packed with natural wonders, including flowstones, draperies, stalagmites, stalactites, and mirror pools, and the entire system has a 54-degree Fahrenheit temperature all throughout the year.
But when it comes to what to do in the Luray Caverns, there’s something clear that you shouldn’t miss: the Great Stalacpipe Organ, the biggest musical instrument in the world, a lithophone that is all-natural and made from stone.
It is played by being struck and produces a sound not unlike a xylophone.
If you opt to take a tour through the extensive cave system, you’ll probably be walking for between 45 and 60 minutes over the course of the 1.5-mile journey.
One of the stops along the way is the Great Cavern, which is so huge that it has hosted weddings.
No wonder it’s among the best places to visit in Virginia!
Address: 101 Cave Hill Rd, Luray, VA 22835, United States
5. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, or VFMA, is among the best places to visit in Virginia due to its commonly acknowledged caliber, making it one of the state’s greatest museums.
Before it even opened its doors, since the early 1900s, the state had received multiple art-related gifts, including ones from famous donors like Judge John Barton Payne.
These works would become viewable by the public when the VFMA opened in 1936.
Already quite a large building to begin with, and loved for its housing of famous works by great artists such as Picasso and a wide range of works from all around the world, the museum became even larger in 2010.
An expansion project burst the VFMA forward to 545,000 square feet.
Among the various galleries, you can view collections in varying genres, including American art as well as Art Nouveau and Art Deco from Lewis.
You can also head to the Sculpture Garden of Lora Robins, or perhaps visit the Library of Margaret R. and Robert M. Freeman.
If you need a break, you can eat at one of the VFMA’s two dining establishments or sit in a relaxing area outside.
Address: 200 N Arthur Ashe Blvd, Richmond, VA 23220, United States
6. Arlington National Cemetery
It’s odd to consider a home of the dead as one of the most popular Virginia attractions, but the Arlington National Cemetery fits the bill perfectly.
It was first built on Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s wife’s estate – that is, the estate of Mary Anna Curtis Lee, the great-granddaughter of Martha Washington.
Arlington National Cemetery covers 624 acres of ground and has been the final resting place of many who lost their lives in national (and international) conflicts since the year 1864.
It’s a military cemetery where veterans, military staff, war heroes, and more have been laid to rest since the Civil War. Among them are George C. Marshall, President John F. Kennedy, and Admiral Grace Hopper.
There are a number of interesting spots to visit in the Virginia cemetery.
One of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers, which is the final resting place for soldiers whose identities are unknown that lost their lives during the Korean, Vietnam, and world wars.
It is guarded non-stop, 24/7.
Other places to stop by in this cemetery are:
- The graves of Robert E. Lee’s Garden, which were laid there to prevent Lee from reclaiming that part of the land.
- The Headstone-Eating Trees that are slowly but surely wrapping up and devouring certain headstones with their roots.
- The James Parks Grave, belonging to the slave who dug the first graves on the property.
Address: Entrance at Arlington Memorial Bridge, Arlington, VA 22211, United States
7. Frontier Culture Museum
If you’re looking for a cool spot to head to in Virginia that is both interesting and historically rich, the Frontier Culture Museum is a good option for where to go.
It is essentially an outdoor adventure that allows visitors to explore the early life of various continents and regions as they walk around.
Exhibits give you a glimpse into the culture of American frontier through the contributions of the indigenous peoples, as well as African and European contributions, including those from Germany and England.
Essentially, the museum is a living one that tells a tale, weaving a story of those who arrived in America, their lives, and what happened next.
Staff, decked out in period attire, add to the scene.
Address: 1290 Richmond Ave, Staunton, VA 24401, United States
8. Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most famous Virginia attractions, especially for sightseeing.
It is America’s longest linear park and spans 469 miles of road, meant to join the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Shenandoah National Park.
As part of the Appalachian Mountain chain, the Blue Ridge Parkway boasts Appalachian beauty worth seeing while you’re in Virginia.
With forested lands covered in relaxing trees, the route is filled with gorgeous panoramas and flora.
There’s something for everyone here, no matter what your idea of fun is.
If you go through the trail at Humpback Ridge, you’ll come across genuine, old farm buildings of the Appalachian age.
If you want to hike, trails leading up the Roanoke and Onion mountains are a sight for sore eyes.
If you’d rather get breathtaking views, you can climb Raven’s Roost.
If you’re into recreation, head to Sherando Lake to camp, swim, picnic, and relax.
Yorktown is one of three historical cities that make up the historical triangle of Virginia, making it one of the top 10 places you should visit while in the city, even if it’s just for the sights.
There are plenty of fun things to do here, whether you’re cycling through the TransAmerica Trail, walking and dining on the Riverwalk, visiting museums, checking out old houses like the Moore House and Nelson House, or learning more of the state’s history.
Much of the town’s architecture dates back to the 18th century, and it is here that an English army led by Lord Cornwallis surrendered to French and American troops, bringing the country a step closer to dreams of independence.
10. Historic Jamestowne
Yorktown was one of three cities in the historic triangle of Virginia.
Historic Jamestowne is another one.
The Jamestown Settlement was built 350 years after Jamestown itself was founded, meaning it opened in 1957.
It now is host to a large array of galleries and museums that showcase the history of the English colonization over the New World in some of the best ways.
Particularly famous places and spots of interest in Historic Jamestowne are the statue of Pocahontas, built in 1922 by William O Partridge, a triangular fort’s reconstruction that looks like it did when it was built by colonists, and sites that showcase cultural heritage.
More than 4,000 artifacts live in an archaearium museum, most of which were unearthed from James Fort over the course of 2 decades, some of which had been in the ground, buried, for more than 4 centuries.
You’ll feel like you’re back in the 17th century!
Address: 1368 Colonial Pkwy, Jamestown, VA 23081, United States
11. South Boundary Stone
Did you know that the first federal monument in all of America is in Virginia?
It’s called the South Boundary Stone and was laid by Benjamin Banneker in 1791 as part of a project to survey and plan for the creation of Washington, DC.
This particular stone was meant to outline the District of Columbia, which had been newly created at the time.
The South Boundary Stone now sits at a sea wall that separates the Potomac River and Jones Point Park.
It doesn’t take much to find it – the trail from Jones Point Lighthouses is marked out and leads towards it, where it rests between the Potomac River fence and the steps of the lighthouse, protected under a covering of glass and bronze.
It’s a cool part of history that’s well worth the visit on its own, but there are other boundary stones to be found in the area, including a USGS marker.
40 boundary stones were used in Washington, DC’s plotting, and while most have been lost to time, those that remain are fascinating to see.
So why not head down this weekend?
Address: Jones Point Park, Alexandria, VA 22314, United States
12. Busch Gardens
Busch Gardens is among the most famous places in Virginia, with an interesting southern Germany theme.
The European style can make you feel like you’re somewhere far away and not in the United States at all!
The spot is essentially a theme park, suited for all ages, ranging from activities for kids to roller coasters with 74-foot drops and multiple hills for adults.
Rides are themed on European cliches and famous locations, such as the Loch Ness Monster and the Alps.
Live entertainment, Bavarian bands, and dancers dressed in dirndl all make up the best features of Busch Gardens.
At the end of summer, Bier Fest is held here, where there are more than 200 kinds of craft beer to try.
In Halloween, events are held for kids and the gardens become decked out in spooky decor.
Address: 1 Busch Gardens Blvd, Williamsburg, VA 23185, United States
Planning to visit Williamsburg? Be sure to check out our list of things to do in Williamsburg, VA!
13. Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello
Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello is located in Charlottesville and offers a unique glimpse into the life of the US’ 3rd President, his Palladian-style grand mansion home that he himself designed, and his large, stunning plantation.
The Monticello is one of the most visited homes in America, not just in Virginia, and it’s for good reason.
Inspired by a villa in Italy, the home is full of eye-catching architecture, inventions made by Jefferson himself, a discovery room, a media center that plays interactive videos, exhibitions, and of course, the historic and much-loved gardens, also designed by the late former President himself.
At the visitor’s center, you can learn more information about Monticello and its current exhibits.
You can take a tour to learn even more, including about aspects of the grounds, the gardens, or the slavery that took place here.
Stop by the museum shop to buy souvenirs, if you like!
As a National Historic Landmark, visiting Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello is one of the best things to do in Virginia.
Address: 931 Thomas Jefferson Pkwy, Charlottesville, VA 22902, United States
14. Military Aviation Museum
There are plenty of aviation-focused museums in America – and even in Virginia! – and the Military Aviation Museum is one of those tourist places.
It focuses on displaying aircraft used by the military during World Wars I and II, and it has one of the world’s largest private historical aircraft collections.
The plans come from all over the world, including from Russia, Japan, Germany, and the UK.
Restorations and care have allowed the planes to be restored using either their genuine parts or impressive replicas, creating a hangar full of stunning displays that look as though they could take off flying at any moment – and some can!
During air shows in fall and spring, some plans are flown and showed off in an incredible spectacle, alongside other activities!
This Virginia museum’s collection is regularly growing, too, so you can visit again every year and find something new.
Address: 1341 Princess Anne Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23457, United States
15. Norfolk Botanical Garden
The Norfolk Botanical Garden is one of the very best of Virginia attractions that you can find.
It is open throughout the year and showcases tons of different themes gardens, with varying locations that will appeal to all ages.
No matter who you visit Virginia with, you’ll find something to do.
An indoor exhibit, hosted in the Barker Hall Visitor Center, features art, painting, and photography exhibits that rotate throughout the year.
Outside, the gardens can be walked through, or you can join bike rides in the evenings, and there are lots of benches to sit down at.
If you don’t want to walk, you can take a tram, too, or perhaps ride the boat out onto Lake Whitehurst.
Different gardens include the rose garden, a desert garden, the butterfly area, the Annette Kagan Healing Garden, the children’s garden, and the Japanese garden, all stretched out along 12 miles of walking space.
There is also a picnic area and vending machines for snacks.
Address: 6700 Azalea Garden Rd, Norfolk, VA 23518, United States
16. Edith J. Carrier Arboretum
The Edith J. Carrier Arboretum is among the top things to do in Virginia.
It is located in Shenandoah Valley, Harrisonburg, on the campus of James Madison University, and is one of the few dog-friendly locations in Virginia that you can visit.
It is both a botanical garden and an arboretum.
Taking up 125 acres of land, the Edith J. Carrier Arboretums lined with a forest of Oak-Hickory, flowers, plants, and more.
Throughout the area, you can walk on paved paths, take in the cool, rustic atmosphere, admire statues, sit on well-crafted seats, and feed the ducks.
Fern Valley displays some relaxing New York fern, and the April Walk Daffodil Garden is perfect for those who can’t get enough of those fun plants.
There is also a planting area for experimentation that houses hybrid azaleas, an herb garden, and even a wetlands garden.
Address: 780 University Blvd, Harrisonburg, VA 22807, United States
17. Manassas National Battlefield Park
Manassas National Battlefield Park was the site of two different American Civil War battles, so history buffs should add it to their list of things to see while in Virginia.
These battles are called the First and Second Battles of Bull Run but are also referred to aptly as the First and Second Battles of Manassas.
They took place on the 21st of July in 1861 and from the 28th to the 30th of August in 1862, respectively.
It is in this very field that the famous General Thomas J. Jackson earned his well-deserved nickname of “Stonewall”.
The site is impeccably preserved, and its historical significance documented well for visitors.
All information is easy to understand, and tours are fun and led by rangers to take you over the scene of Bull Run.
You’ll also get to watch an informative video on the subject.
Other than that, at this Virginia site, you can visit the hiking trails, check out the museum to view artifacts left behind from the battles, buy souvenirs at the gift shop, or even just go birdwatching, since over 160 species of birds flock to Manassas National Battlefield Park.
There is also the Stone Bridge, which still stands today, and was used when the Union Army retreated in both of their fights.
Address: 6511 Sudley Rd, Manassas, VA 20109, United States
18. The Mariner’s Museum and Park
The Mariner’s Museum and Park is an impressive maritime museum that has a bit of everything.
From a stunning park for sightseeing to the largest library of a nautical theme in the western hemisphere, there’s something for everyone, and that makes visiting here one of the best and most fun things to do in Virginia.
The Mariner’s Museum and Park first opened its doors in the 1930s, when it was established by Homer L. Ferguson and Archer Milton Huntington.
It has artifacts that will take you on a trip from the European age of exploration all the way up to the work of the US Navy.
Over 32,000 objects, 210 of artifacts, and 1.75 million documents and materials live in this museum.
Some of the more famous spots in this Virginia museum are the USS Monitor Center, which showcases the world’s biggest conservation facility of marine archaeological metals in the Batten Conservation Complex.
There’s also the Explorers Theater, which features opportunities to watch 3D movies in HD that feature the ocean and the underwater world.
You can also stop by the International Small Craft Center to view watercraft collections.
Address: 100 Museum Dr, Newport News, VA 23606, United States
19. Assateague Island
Assateague Island is only 37 miles long, so it’s perfect for a short trip, perhaps over this weekend!
It’s owned by three different conservation agencies, two different states, and, most strangely, two herds of feral ponies that are rounded up yearly to swim up to Virginia.
The island sits on the eastern coast of the peninsula of Delmarva and is considered a National Natural Landmark.
It’s not a place that humans live, but the feral ponies have thrived on Assateague Island for centuries.
They’re very self-sufficient, drinking from freshwater ponds and living off the grass.
Some believe they are not actually ponies originally, but horses who became shorter to adapt to the environment over the many, many years.
No one really knows where the ponies came from.
Some believe they are descended from escaped equines from a shipwreck, and there is the historically accurate tale of La Galga, a Spanish galleon that was wrecked nearby in 1750.
However, no one has been able to find the galleon yet – though some have reason to believe that the wreck is not buried in the sand of Assateague Island.
There aren’t many activities to do here, but it’s still fun to visit!
20. George Washington Birthplace National Monument
The George Washington Birthplace National Monument isn’t the former president’s home, as that was destroyed in 1779 in a fire.
But this spot in Virginia where the first American president was born back in 1732 has since been sufficiently recreated to mimic the style of his upper-class home, stuffed with interesting period furnishings.
Within the grounds, you can visit the Memorial House and the Kitchen House, both of which are staffed by reenactors dressed in period outfits to give you a taste of old Virginia.
Walk around to the Colonial Herb and Flower Garden to learn about plants from the era, or head to the Colonial Living Farm to check out traditional farming methods and meet a pair of Red Devon oxen directly descended from those owned by Washington himself.
Another one of the things to see in the George Washington Birthplace National Monument is the Visitor’s Center, which hosts artifacts from the original home and a 15-minute film that discusses the Washington family.
There’s also the cemetery outside, home to 32 graves of Washington’s family.
Address: 1732 Popes Creek Rd, Colonial Beach, VA 22443, United States
21. Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park covers much of the famous mountains of Virginia, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and Piedmont, all in one.
The park itself was originally created in the 1920s.
The Shenandoah River winds through the park, its valleys and water rushing by as the Skyline Drive, spanning 105 miles, does the same throughout the park’s length with 75 lookout posts to stop at for the best views of one of the most loved natural Virginia attractions.
With 500 miles of hiking trails, 101 of which are a part of the Appalachian Trail, there is lots to enjoy in Shenandoah National Park.
Along the way, you’ll see waterfalls, spots of beauty, wildlife such as cougars, coyotes, black bears, beavers, and deer, and more than 200 bird species, including Carolina chickadees and tufted titmice.
Restaurants, camping spots, and lodges are scattered across the park for you to stop at.
Address: 17157 Skyline Dr, Front Royal, VA 22630, United States
22. Great Falls Park
Great Falls Park is a National Park Service site, making it one of the smaller tourist attractions with this status in Virginia.
It sits on 800 acres of land and can be found in the north of Fairfax County, just along the Potomac River’s banks, close to some remains of America’s early canals, the Patowmack Canal.
Though it isn’t connected to the George Washington Memorial Parkway, it is considered a part of it.
Address: 9200 Old Dominion Dr, McLean, VA 22102, United States
23. National Firearms Museum
The National Firearms Museum is situated in Fairfax, Virginia and is one of the most fascinating historical points of interest you can find in the state.
It has a collection of guns dating back up to 700 years, mapping out a timeline of the use of guns in America and the nation’s wild love and borderline obsession with the mechanical armament.
The National Firearms Museum is operated and owned by the National Rifle Association and seeks to showcase the importance of firearms in the country, as well as the innovation used in their technology.
The Virginia museum features 15 galleries, all divided into different eras, typically with titles that indicate the attitude and usage of the weapons displayed.
For example, the An Age of Elegance gallery focuses on Spanish-American War guns and firearms of Theodore Roosevelt.
The Ever Vigilant gallery showcases World War II weapons as well as modern ones.
The Ancient Firearms gallery has some firearms dating back to 1350.
The Hollywood Guns gallery has famous weapons like the .44 Magnum of Dirty Harry, the space revolver of Mal Reynolds, and the shot barrel shotgun of the Joker.
Address: 11250 Waples Mill Rd, Fairfax, VA 22030, United States
24. George Washington Masonic National Memorial
The George Washington Masonic National Memorial is located in Alexandria, Virginia.
It was built by Freemasons to honor the late first president of the United States.
It sits on a hill, looking over Old Town Alexandria, celebrating George Washington’s life and Freemasonry in America while also being a stately building perfect for use as an event space and lodge.
If you’re looking for where to visit that has such a rich history, this is the place to be.
The building is tall with a 333-foot height, built to look just like the Lighthouse of Alexandria of old.
Nine stories are dedicated to a wide range of relevant topics.
Though plans for the project can be traced in 1852, it wasn’t until 1909 that the project began gathering funding, and it wasn’t until 1922 that construction actually began.
The memorial was completed and dedicated in 1932 and so many people attended that the House of Representatives closed for the day.
The architecture of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial is made with pure granite.
The interior halls would actually not be totally completed until the year 1972.
The first and second floors are open for public viewing, containing meeting rooms and halls.
You can, however, follow hourly tours explore the other floors and have fun.
This includes the fourth floor with the George Washington Museum, the Ark of the Covenant replica on the fifth floor, the Memorial Library on the sixth floor, the Temple of Solomon on the seventh floor, and a recreation of the throne room of King Solomon on the ninth floor.
Address: 101 Callahan Dr, Alexandria, VA 22301, United States
25. Edgar Allan Poe Museum
If you love Edgar Allan Poe and his works, then it goes without saying that the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Virginia is an absolute must-see. Literature lovers will appreciate the celebration of the grim, gothic author, his works, and his life.
His penchant for gambling and drinking means that this is one of the only establishments that honors him, as his reputation prevented the city of Richmond from honoring him wholeheartedly.
Letters, artifacts, trinkets, and manuscripts related to Poe color this museum, but it’s not just the literary that fills its walls – there is also a lock of Poe’s hair, his walking stick, and even his socks!
A scale model of Richmond, as it would have been in Poe’s time, is also set up at the museum, which has the world’s largest collection of items related to the author.
Apart from all the intricacies that make this one of the most fun things to do in Virginia, cat lovers will be delighted by Edgar and Pluto, two resident black cats on the property!
Address: 1914 E Main St, Richmond, VA 23223, United States
If you’re visiting Richmond, check out some incredible things to do in Richmond, VA!
26. Kiptopeke’s Concrete Fleet
Kiptopeke’s Concrete Fleet is a rather special and one-of-a-kind, fun spot among the tourist attractions of Virginia.
America has made very little concrete ships in its time, and nine of them make up this collection, slowly decaying in a poetic, whimsical, and somewhat eerie manner off a nondescript fishing pier.
At Kiptopeke State Park, the Concrete Fleet – also referred to as the Kiptopeke Breakwater – consists of 9 concrete ships that were made on contract during World War II for the US Maritime Commission.
24 of them were made, and they were brought here to protect the terminal from harsh weather at Kiptopeke Beach in 1948.
Eventually, the terminal and its ferry shut down in 1964, as the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel near to the area.
Still, the breakwater is crucial to marine life, providing a home for shellfish, coastal fish, and birds while protecting the pier.
Each ship is named after pioneers who worked in the development of concrete.
Address: Kiptopeke State Park, Cape Charles, VA 23310, United States
27. Mount Vernon
Mount Vernon is one of the must-see spots in Virginia, especially if you seek historical points of interest.
It is a place that George Washington himself called his home for a whopping 45 years while he led a revolution army and supervised the construction of the home.
He oversaw and influenced all its aspects, from interior design to the grounds.
The iconic and much-loved landmark is one of the best ways to get a peek into the life and times of the Washington family.
Inside, you’ll find heirlooms, crests, portraits, furniture, and more, all reconstructed to mimic what they were like in 18th century Virginia.
The surrounding gardens are lush, well-cared-for, and reminiscent of their plantation days.
Don’t forget to check out the immersive programs and exhibits in the first US president’s name!
Address: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, VA 22121, United States
28. Chrysler Museum of Art
The Chrysler Museum of Art first opened its doors as the Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences in 1933.
Years later, in 1971, Walter P. Chrysler Jr. and his wife would make the huge donation of their private art collection to the museum in 1971.
The museum was promptly rebranded and is now one of the most influential and important art museums in the southeast of the nation.
Today, this museum in Virginia hosts more than 30,000 different objects from different points of history, some dating back 5,000 years.
American and European works, sculptures, and more make this one of the most interesting vacation spots for art-lovers.
Significant works include those by Salvator Rosa, Henri Matisse, and even Andy Warhol.
The Chrysler Museum of Art also offers events in this Glass Studio.
Daily demos for free, workshops, and classes are all held here, and there is an event that happens every third monthly Thursday that provides live performance art.
Address: 1 Memorial Pl, Norfolk, VA 23510, United States
29. U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial
The U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial often referred to as the Iwo Jima Memorial is a national monument recognized as one of the most iconic points of interest not just in Virginia, but all over the world.
The memorial is dedicated to Marine Corps since 1775 who have passed away in service to the US.
It was designed by an architect named Horace W. Peaslee and a sculptor named Felix de Weldom, inspired by a picture from combat photographer’s Joe Rosenthal that showed six Marines on Mount Suribachi waving a flag during the Iwo Jima battle.
Visit this Virginia site to pay respects to those passed, or simply to bask in its historical relevance.
Address: Arlington Blvd. and Meade St, Arlington, VA 22211, United States
30. National Museum of the Marine Corps
Similar to the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, the National Museum of the Marine Corps also honors the Marine Corps, and it’s one of the most popular places to see in Virginia and has been since its 2006 launching.
More than 500,000 visitors come by here annually, making it among Virginia’s most loved places for tourists.
Visiting and rotating exhibits make the rounds of the National Museum of the Marine Corps, but some exhibits are fixed, including the Making Marines, Legacy Walk, Defending A New Nation, World War I, World War II, Vietnam War, and Korean War exhibits.
As part of the 135-acre Marine Corps Heritage Center, it does its part in telling the long-known tale of the marine corps, their bravery, and their contributions.
Address: 18900 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Triangle, VA 22172, United States
31. Maymont Park
Maymont Park was once a private estate, and it is now a public park spanning 100 acres that is the most visited among Virginia attractions in Richmond.
It is a Victorian estate that formerly belonged to Major James H. Dooley and his wife Sallie Dooley.
They donated it and its grounds to the public, and the rest is history.
On the grounds of the Virginia home, you’ll find a lot of things to do, ranging from the fun to the relaxing.
Japanese gardens and Italian gardens wind through the grounds.
There is a nature center, an arboretum, a museum housed in the building of the Maymont Mansion, and even a little zoo!
Some of the other best parts of Maymont Park are the carriage collection, the children’s farm, the wildlife exhibits, and the impeccable antiques all over the property.
Address: 1700 Hampton St, Richmond, VA 23220, United States
32. American Shakespeare Center
Looking for cool things to do while you’re in Virginia?
The American Shakespeare Center would be among the top spots that fit that description for literature lovers.
It is one of the world’s most respected theater companies and is a surefire must-see – but it didn’t start out that way!
Years and years ago, the center was merely a troupe from Shenandoah Valley, touring as they could.
Over time, they grew in fame, and now they live in the Blackfriars Playhouse, a theater with seats for 300 and countless Shakespeare productions (and other plays) performed all year round.
The playhouse building is designed to be a perfect replica of the Blackfriars Monastery in London, which is a theater built with the aid of Shakespeare himself.
Everything is historically accurate and well-done!
Address: 10 S Market St, Staunton, VA 24401, United States
33. Dinosaur Kingdom II
Dinosaur Kingdom II is one of Virginia’s most unique places to visit – and probably the most fun!
It is a history park that reimagines history through a simple lens: what if the Union Army lost the War but to dinosaurs?
Yes, it’s as hilarious as it sounds!
In the woods, this science fiction park sets the stage for an alternate reality version of the Civil War.
The story is simple: in 1864, a group of paleontologists from the South was at the Lost Caverns, excavating fossils, when they chanced upon a shocking discovery – a valley, hidden, full of dinosaurs!
The Garrison Family studied the dinosaurs peacefully, but the Union Army wanted to turn them into weapons, and that’s where everything went wrong!
This silly, whimsical park brings you through a path that shows the Union Army’s demise to the huge dinosaurs, all in sometimes gruesome detail, set to thematic music.
It’s a great joy of a park to explore!
Address: 5781 S Lee Hwy, Natural Bridge, VA 24578, United States
34. Byrd Theatre
The Byrd Theatre in Richmond, Virginia has been operating since 1928, with ticket prices of a mere 25 cents.
The top theater was opened at a time when film executives were still unsure of talking films, therefore fitting the Byrd with both a Mighty Wurlitzer organ for silent films and a sound synchronization system for talking ones.
On Saturdays, the organist of the theater plays the organ, too!
Much of the appearance of the building looks “dated” – in other words, it hasn’t changed much over the years, making it one of the historical places of interest in the state.
Still, modern improvements have, of course, been added over the years; the rustic vibe doesn’t prevent technological advancements!
For the most part, the Byrd shows second-run films, with occasional special throwbacks to old classics.
It’s just a fun place to head to if you want to watch a movie the way the generations before did, complete with that authentic, vintage vibe.
Address: 2908 W Cary St, Richmond, VA 23221, United States
35. Virginia’s Natural Tunnel
Virginia’s Natural Tunnel is located in the Appalachian Mountains, and many consider it one of the most beautiful places in Virginia.
It’s not an unearned title – the natural tunnel is 300 yards in length and a stream gently flows through it, running near railroad tracks that have seen more than a century of use.
The aforementioned railroad tracks are still being used to this day.
Trains cross the area quite often, and usually, you can only get close to the platform by riding the train and zooming by it.
But there’s one day a year where that changes.
It’s called Railroad Day.
This is when the train shuts down and visitors are allowed to trek through the cave, allowing them to walk right on the tracks.
The trail leading to the tunnel can be a little difficult to deal with, even though it’s a good, short one that only takes about 20 minutes to climb down on and 30 minutes to climb up on.
If you need accessibility, there’s a ski lift that can bring you up and down.
Address: 1420 Natural Tunnel Pkwy, Duffield, VA 24244, United States
36. Colonial Williamsburg
Colonial Williamsburg is the final piece of the historic triangle puzzle.
As far as Virginia destinations go, it’s among the greatest places to go to get a taste of the history of Virginia and the rest of the country.
The area spans 301 acres and is a direct representation of the 18th century capital of Britain, complete with restored buildings and items on display.
Most people go here to enter the Governor’s Palace, which is a large building that was home to two post-colonial governors and state Royal governors.
A tour of the “palace” shows off the sheer opulence and grandeur that came with pre-Revolution mansions.
The house is still decked out in elegant, old-fashioned furniture, and there are displays of weapons, a maze, and even tiered gardens to explore.
Plus, the Grand Ballroom still survives and is great for curious architects to check out!
Address: 101 Visitor Center Dr, Williamsburg, VA 23185, United States
37. Lee Chapel
Lee Chapel is a rather controversial location.
Known as the shrine of the South, many would consider it among the top or at least the most interesting places to see while you’re visiting Virginia.
It is here that infamous Confederate General Robert E. Lee is buried.
Lee made a lot of tough decisions over the span of his life.
Perhaps it is this lack of fun that led to his exhausted death in October 1870.
When he passed away, his wife chose his final resting spot (which is the same as it is now!), and he was buried in the chapel basement within a wall of brick.
Address: 100 N Jefferson St, Lexington, VA 24450, United States
38. Abandoned Virginia Renaissance Faire
Fun things to do in VA often include exploring abandoned spaces, right?
Medieval nerds would be familiar with renaissance faires all across the country, and Virginia is no exception to the rule.
But just what happened to the ren-faire activities of the original Virginia Renaissance Faire?
The travel time, climate, and swampy land, as it turned out, was not kind to this particular Faire.
Its owners had shut it down after two seasons of repeat losses and left the replicas to rot where they stand while the moved the rest of the props elsewhere.
These days, the Faire is carried out in a different location under the same name – but it’s worth paying the original location a visit, just to have a peek.
Be aware that it’s all built on private property, however, so it’s really something to be admired from a distance.
Address: 5621 Courthouse Rd, Spotsylvania Courthouse, VA 22551, United States
39. Hollywood Cemetery
What travel guide to Virginia would be complete without acknowledging its historical sites?
Designed in 1847 and opened two years later, Hollywood Cemetery would soon see plenty of residents welcome the arrival of the Civil War 12 years later.
A gorgeous location that captures rolling hills and the view of downtown Richmond area and the James River, this cemetery serves as the final resting place for 18,000 Confederate soldiers, two U.S. presidents, and several other generals.
Visitors can enjoy the garden-style 135 acres while taking a moment to appreciate the history that lays under their feet.
A 90-foot pyramid serves as a memorial for the lives that have been lost.
From here, brave, intrepid visitors can visit try to visit the mausoleum of W.W. Pool, which supposedly contains a vampire.
The nearby Church Hill Tunnel is a location that has its own dark history as well.
Address: 412 S Cherry St, Richmond, VA 23220, United States
40. Wolf Trap National Park
Not everyone enjoys being among trees for too long, especially young children – so this may be one of the best places to go for families with children.
Located in Vienna, Virginia, this is a national park with a difference – unlike most other parks, this one is completely dedicated to the performing arts.
Worried about the weather getting in the way?
Don’t worry, Wolf Trap National Park is one of the places to head to for both indoor and outdoor shows all year round.
Thanks to all the concession stands and restrooms, this is a place where you can easily spend a whole day in.
You can even book a supper in advance, should you want to watch any nighttime shows.
There are trolleys available for the disabled and elderly as well.
Either way, visitors will have plenty of fun here.
However, do bear in mind that the park gets very busy during the summer, so you’ll want to have things booked in advance before you go.
Address: 1551 Trap Rd, Vienna, VA 22182, United States
For those with love for all things nautical, this is a fun location that ought to top their list of Virginia destinations – a marine-themed science center-slash-museum located in Norfolk.
Also known as the National Maritime Centre, the Nauticus was established in 1994 and was dedicated to the commercial and military naval history in Virginia.
Drop down to see exhibits about ships that have sailed the seas here, and learn about the historical events that had unfolded in these harbors.
If you’re worried about being bored by just nothing but collections and exhibits, there are all sorts of events that are hosted here, many of them enticing and exciting.
Do check them out in advance, since some of them require that you book your place first.
All in all, this is a great place to visit if you want to spend an afternoon.
Address: 1 Waterside Dr, Norfolk, VA 23510, United States
42. President Heads
Need a fun thing to do this weekend?
Perhaps this funky little setup might catch your fancy.
Up till 2010, one could travel to Presidents Park in Williamsburg, Virginia, to visit 43 giant busts of U.S. presidents, all sculpted by David Adickes.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t stay there.
Despite being a top attraction, the Park soon closed down in 2010, and the busts had to move elsewhere.
Unwilling to destroy or be parted with them, the Houston-based artist moved them all to his own family farm.
The 20-foot-tall, 22,000-pound busts are scuffed and suffered some minor damage on the way to their new home, but are thankfully largely safe and sound.
Visitors can still visit the busts if they so choose, though access is limited since it is in a private property.
If you’re interested in finding these busts a permanent home, there’s a crowdfunding campaign that you can contribute to!
Address: Hankins Farm, Williamsburg, VA 23188, United States
43. Church Hill Tunnel
If you’re a horror buff still asking about what to do in Virginia, then look no further than this historical location.
Located in Richmond, Virginia, Church Hill seems to be a quaint hillside – but it hides a relatively dark secret.
There was a train tunnel that once cut through the hill, but its construction and short life was plagued with deaths of all kind.
It all came to a head in 1925, where 190 feet of the tunnel collapsed, trapping a locomotive, its cargo, and the men repairing the tunnel deep under the earth.
After the rescuers failed to find all the bodies, railroad officials decided it was too costly and sealed the tunnel for good.
These days, it’s just a well-equipped park with a gorgeous view.
If you head over to Jefferson Park, you can find a memorial that marks the tunnel and the history that had unfolded there.
Address: 401 N 18th St, Richmond, Virginia, United States
44. Virginia Living Museum
Established in 1966, the Virginia Living Museum originally started out as a planetarium and nature museum before swapping focus several times over the next few decades.
These days, it is one of the greatest tourist attractions in the state for living exhibits.
Spread across 5,500 square feet, the museum has an incredible exhibition full of indigenous species in their natural habitats, all arranged along a ¾ mile boardwalk.
There are also other exhibits and collections centered largely on the various environments the state has to offer.
And if you’re a kid who wants to have fun, there’s even a Touch Tank where you can touch rays and other sea creatures!
With just how much there is to see and do here, it’s a good idea to plan at least a full day expedition to this incredible museum – ideally two, so you and your family won’t feel rushed.
Address: 524 J Clyde Morris Blvd, Newport News, VA 23601, United States
Planning your trip but can’t go all the way to the UK to visit the actual Stonehenge?
Think that the actual historical place is located is too far away, too expensive, and too cold?
Why not check out this full-sized Styrofoam replica right here in Centerville, Virginia?
This highly photogenic replica is a tourist destination that should be on your list of fun things to do in Virginia.
It’s creator, Mark Cline of Enchanted Castle Studio originally came up with the concept when he visited a company called Insulated Business Systems.
There, he found 16-foot-tall blocks and was immediately arrested by the idea.
These days, Foamhenge is located at Cox Farms in Centreville.
Because it is located on private property, access to it will be limited – so please make sure to check the opening times in advance.
You can access it via a shuttle from Corner Market during the specified hours.
Address: 4942 Lee Hwy, Natural Bridge, VA 24578, United States
46. Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
You’ll find Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens sitting on the top of tourist places to visit in Virginia – and for a good reason.
Covering an incredible 50 acres, this garden sits on land that was once part of the Powhatan Indian hunting grounds.
So if you want to do some exploration on historic grounds, this should be your go-to!
Feel free to explore the grounds here, and check out the historical domed conservatory – a beautiful one-of-its-kind building in the entirety of the mid-Atlantic.
The gorgeous gardens themselves are all themed, with some of the more famous examples being Asian Valley, Children’s Garden, Rose Garden, and Cherry Tree Walk.
You might think that a garden is otherwise pretty boring, but the grounds are actually buzzing with all sorts of activities as well.
Drop on by to check out their events such as outdoor yoga, gardening classes, and even some unusual ones like PokéMondays!
Address: 1800 Lakeside Ave, Richmond, VA 23228, United States
47. Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
Nature nuts take note – Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is an amazing location for those who wish to see the Chincoteague ponies.
An endangered species unique to this barrier island, the feral ponies are largely stunted in size, thanks to their poor diet.
The Virginia half of Assateague Island has a lot more to offer than just endangered horses, however.
You can check out the shipwrecks scattered across the island’s shores via snorkeling, or go horseback riding if you rather not drive through in over-sand vehicles.
If you have a valid fishing license, then why not go fishing, clamming, and crabbing too?
Visitors dropping by this island to go site seeing will also find plenty of wildlife to spot.
The island is home to animals such as fox squirrels, red foxes, brown pelicans, merlins, and white-tailed dear.
Other endangered animals you may spot include the likes of the piping plover and sika deer as well!
Address: 8231 Beach Rd, Chincoteague, VA 23336, United States
48. The Light Of Truth Universal Shrine (LOTUS)
Are you the spiritual sort?
Do you seek out scenic places so that you may calm your soul and feel at peace with the world?
Perhaps this lotus-shaped temple in Yogaville is the place you seek, as one of the best places to visit in Virginia for spirituality.
Built near Buckingham in Shenandoah Valley, this graceful building is steeped in spirituality – from the land it is built, to the design philosophies dictating its walls.
While the temple largely takes its cues from Buddhism and Hinduism, its goal is more universal – to create interfaith understanding and create worldwide religious harmony.
Inside the temple, you’ll find neon lights highlighting all sorts of altars that honor the various faiths and beliefs of the world.
Feel free to stay here for the day to meditate, reflect, and recharge, before heading back out into the world again.
If you feel deeply touched by this spiritual space, however, then consider staying here for a longer stint at the ashram.
Address: 1 Lotus Shrine Ln, Buckingham, VA 23921, United States
49. Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Need some fun stuff to do while you’re in Virginia?
Why not head on down to what may be the coolest museum in the county?
An aviation museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is dedicated to hosting an incredible collection of aircraft and spacecraft from all across history.
Some of their exhibits include the likes of the Discovery space shuttle and a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird.
Alternatively, pretend to be a traffic controller while watching the 360-degree livestream feed of the activities visible from the Donald D. Engen Observation Tower.
Or for the more engineering-minded, watch specialists at work in the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar restoring and reconstructing all sorts of rare artifacts.
If you need something more hands-on, participating in science demonstrations and Learning Lab programs may be just up your alley.
To wrap up your stay, give yourself a memorable experience with your very first flight experience in the museum’s jet simulator!
Address: 14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy, Chantilly, VA 20151, United States
50. Water Country USA
Is summer getting too hot?
Then clearly the solution is to add the largest water park in the state – and one of the best places to visit in Virginia – to your list of places to go!
Book a cabana and spend the whole day wet and cool at the wave pool, take a trip down a water slide, or hop onto a raft and go paddling around Water Country USA.
Whatever you need for a great day at a waterpark, they have it.
They even have outlets for lunch, so you’ll never be in want.
So if you’re looking for fun things to do in VA that’ll satisfy the whole family, then make sure to keep this location in mind!
Start Planning Your Trip To Virginia
Whether you’re heading to Virginia now, this weekend, or next month, it never hurts to plan your activities ahead so you can check out some great vacation spots!
We hope that this guide has helped you figure out where to go and allowed you to unearth the most exciting and cool parts of the great state of Virginia!