Virginia is a beautiful state with plenty of amazing places to visit. If you’re new to the area or just looking for some ideas on where to go, we’ve got you covered. In this blog post, we will share some of our favorite spots in Virginia for first-time tourists. 

Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or just plain fun, we have something for everyone. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today!

1. Shenandoah National Park

Featured Image: Shenandoah National Park. Photo: John Bilous/AARP.

One of the most popular tourist destinations in Virginia is Shenandoah National Park. This stunning park is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers visitors plenty of opportunities to explore the great outdoors. With over 500 miles of trails, there’s something here for everyone. 

If you’re looking for a challenge, take on one of the park’s many hiking trails. Or, if you’re just looking to relax, enjoy a scenic drive through the park. Either way, you’re sure to be impressed by the beauty of Shenandoah National Park.

2. Natural Bridge State Park

Featured Image: Natural Bridge State Park. Photo: Virginia Association for Parks.

Another great place to visit in Virginia is Natural Bridge State Park. This park is home to the largest natural bridge east of the Rockies. The bridge spans over 200 feet and is a sight to see.

In addition to the natural bridge, the park also offers hiking trails, camping, and fishing. So whether you’re looking for a short day trip or a longer camping adventure, Natural Bridge State Park is a great option.

3. Hungry Mother State Park

Featured Image: People by the Beach. Photo: Visit Wytheville.

If you’re looking for a place to enjoy some water activities, be sure to check out Hungry Mother State Park.

Hungry Mother offers a sandy beach with a bathhouse, boat rentals (fishing, canoe, kayak, and paddle), a boat launch, and a universally accessible fishing pier, and has long been a family favorite noted for lovely forests and a peaceful 108-acre lake in the center of the highlands. 

Camping, cabins, gift stores, a tourist center, a six-bedroom family lodge that sleeps 15, hiking and bike paths, and a restaurant are all available to visitors. The Hemlock Haven Conference Center, located at Hungry Mother, is open for retreats, conferences, and special events. There is catering provided.

4. Natural Tunnel State Park

Featured Image: Natural Tunnel State Park. Photo: Ronda Faries/Pinterest.

Natural Tunnel State Park is a must-visit for any first-time tourist to Virginia. This park is home to, you guessed it, a natural tunnel that was carved out by an underground river over millions of years. The tunnel is over 800 feet long and 25 feet wide, making it the largest natural tunnel in the Eastern United States.

In addition to the tunnel, the park also offers hiking trails, a swimming pool, camping, and much more. So whether you’re looking for a day trip or a longer vacation, Natural Tunnel State Park is a great option.

5. Breaks Interstate Park

Featured Image: Breaks Canyon. Photo: Wikipedia.

The Breaks Interstate Park is located on the border of Virginia and Kentucky and offers visitors plenty of opportunities to explore the great outdoors. With over 50 miles of trails, there’s something here for everyone.

It is one of the numerous interstate parks in the United States, but it is only one of two that are maintained as a single entity rather than as two separate state parks. However, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Kentucky Department of Parks remain important partners. 

The Russell Fork River and Clinchfield Railroad (now the CSX Transportation Kingsport Subdivision) run through The Breaks, which is also known as the “Grand Canyon of the South.” Highway 80 (Virginia 80 and Kentucky 80) runs between Haysi, Virginia, and Elkhorn City, Kentucky, and goes through Breaks, Virginia, to the east of the park.

6. First Landing State Park

Featured Image: First Landing State Park. Photo: Visit Virginia Beach.

First Landing is designated on the National Register of Historic Places as the Seashore State Park Historic District, as Virginia’s first planned state park. As part of the Seashore Natural Area, a section of the park is designated as a National Natural Landmark. 

The state park is near the site of Christopher Newport and the Virginia Company colonists’ first landing on April 26, 1607, before settling in Jamestown. Cabins, camping, fishing, and bathing facilities, a public beach, and approximately 19 miles (31 km) of hiking and bike paths are all part of the park. This is the most visited state park in Virginia.

7. Grayson Highlands State Park

Featured Image: Wild Ponies at Grayson Highlands State Park. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Grayson Highlands State Park is a state park in Virginia that is situated in Grayson County. It is located within the Jefferson National Forest and is next to the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. The park, which spans 4,502 acres, was founded in 1965. 

Hiking, camping, mountain biking, equestrian riding, and backpacking are just a few of the outdoor activities available in the park. In addition to a number of hiking and horseback riding routes, the park contains a 2.8 mile (4.5 km) section of the Appalachian Trail.

8. Kiptopeke State Park

Featured Image: Kiptopeke State Park. Photo: VISIT Eastern Shore, Virginia.

Kiptopeke State Park is a state park in Northampton County, Virginia, near Cape Charles, on the Eastern Shore of Virginia on the Delmarva Peninsula. 

The Virginia Ferry Corporation held the property from 1949 to 1964, and it served as the northern terminal for the Little Creek-Cape Charles Ferry service, which ran from the Eastern Shore / Delmarva to Norfolk and Hampton Roads harbor on the Western Shore. 

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel opened in 1964, replacing the ferry service and providing convenient access to the park, the Cape, Delmarva, and “The Shore” to the metropolitan areas to the west in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.

9. Sky Meadows State Park

Featured Image: People at the Park. Photo: Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Sky Meadows State Park is a 1,862-acre (754-hectare) state park in Virginia. It’s in Paris, Virginia, in extreme northwest Fauquier County, Virginia, in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is around an hour’s drive from Washington, D.C. metropolitan area 

In 1975, Paul Mellon donated 1,132 acres (458 hectares) of land to create the park. Former owner Sir Robert Hadow named the property “Skye Farm” after a Scottish island, and it has grown in size twice since then—in 1987, 248 acres (100 ha) were added, containing the Appalachian Trail, and in 1991, Mellon donated an additional 462 acres (187 ha), bringing the park to its current size.

10. High Bridge Trail

Featured Image: Aerial View of High Bridge Trail. Photo: Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

High Bridge Trail State Park is a rail trail in Southside Virginia that was converted from a Norfolk Southern rail line. The High Bridge Trail’s initial phase opened in 2008, and the last piece was finished in 2012.

The 31-mile (50 km) trail stretches from Farmville to Cumberland, Virginia, paralleling State Route 60. The trail is named after the High Bridge, which was built in 1854 and is the oldest surviving bridge of its kind in the United States.

The trailhead in Farmville has a visitor center, picnic area, and restroom facilities. There are also several places to access the trail along the way, including at High Bridge itself.

There you have it! These are just a few of the many great places to visit in Virginia. So whether you’re looking for a day trip or a longer vacation, Virginia has something to offer. And if you’re a first-time visitor, be sure to check out some (or all) of these amazing places!

Have you been to Virginia before? What are some of your favorite places to visit? Let us know! 

Featured Image Credit: NC Mountains Realty