Explore America's Backyard and Beyond!

    Discover Virginia's Natural and Historic Attractions

    Virginia offers family travelers an excellent vacation value, historic treasures, and breath-taking beauty that is sure to appeal to everyone. To experience Virginia's natural beauty travel north across the York River to Gloucester Point for a glimpse of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science's new botanical gardens. A visit to native marsh where wetland species roam is an exciting experience for nature lovers. For more flora and fauna head north on US 17 to Saluda where you can stroll through a lovely, historic church garden on the grounds of Christ Church.

    Nearby at the Virginia Living Museum, native wildlife — including bobcats, river otters and endangered black-footed ferrets — reside in a natural landscape. For a closer perspective on animal life, go across the street for a visit to the Peninsula Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Here, a petting zoo offers the opportunity to touch chickens, feed goats and see more exotic animals such as lions, panthers and tigers. These are just a sampling of all that Virginia offers.

    In Newport News, the Mariners’ Museum was designated by Congress as America’s National Maritime Museum, which continues to capture the imagination of vacationers with its internationally renowned permanent collections of nautical art, artifacts and special exhibits on maritime exploration, commerce and naval enterprise. Visitors marvel at scores of elaborately carved ship figureheads — including a polar bear, an Indian and an golden eagle — that loom over exhibits on sea exploration and commerce. Of special interest is the collection of miniature, handcrafted ship models crafted by August F. Crabtree, who worked for a company that created movie props in the 1960s.

    For a glimpse into Civil War history, tour the Museum and White House of the Confederacy in downtown Richmond. Then travel southward to Dinwiddie and to Pamplin Historical Park and National Museum of the Civil War Soldier. Trace a soldier’s army experience and encounter a virtual battle. Follow the 2-mile long “Breakthrough Trail” for a look at some of the best preserved and most elaborate Civil War fortifications in America. In the basement of the 1812 plantation home, feel fresh-picked cotton and smell the sweet scent of tobacco, and talk with a costumed guide about the hardships of war.

    Those who want to plan a fun family or group vacation can enjoy many activities for every interest or budget in Virginia. Here's just a sampling of what exciting sites and attractions Virginia offers. For faster-paced entertainment, travel north of Richmond to Paramount’s Kings Dominion, home to 10 roller coasters and television-themed entertainment. At Nickelodeon Central, kids television characters — including Rugrats, Blue and CatDog — keep younger children entertained for hours, while the expanded water park cools down the whole family in the warmer season.

    Visit Chincoteague across the Chesapeake Bay that is a slender peninsula known as Virginia’s Eastern Shore. It's best known in children’s literature. Delve into the world of the horse that has captured imaginations for half a century through the book, “Misty of Chincoteague.” Across the inlet bridge on Assateague Island, go in search of the famous ponies either on foot, by bike or on a guided bus tour. With so much to experience in Virginia one trip will not be enough!

    By Leroy Worley

    Getting There:

    Discover plenty of exciting destinations, recreation, and events to enjoy in Virginia by visiting www.Virginia.org.