Virginia is a beautiful state, and its natural wonders are among its best-kept secrets. If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, you’ll find plenty of options in Virginia. From hiking and camping to fishing and birdwatching, the state has something to offer everyone who loves the great outdoors.
In this blog post, we’ll provide a guide to some of Virginia’s most amazing natural attractions. So pack your bags and get ready to explore some of the most beautiful scenery in the country!
1. Bear’s Den Overlook
Bear’s Den Overlook is a popular spot for hikers and campers. The overlook provides stunning views of the Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are also several hiking trails in the area, making it a great place to explore the outdoors.
The rocky outcropping gives several sites to relax and have lunch or a fantastic sunset view, and the western outlook makes this one of the greatest places to watch the sunset in Northern Virginia.
You may easily go to the viewpoint via the Bear’s Den hostel’s day-use area.
Activities you can do in Bear’s Den Overlook:
- Grab a snack, a sandwich, and do a little country shopping at the Bluemont General Store.
- Drive to Dirt Farm Brewing located at the top of a steep slope. They offer an outdoor terrace with amazing eastward views and serve superb craft beer. The outside settings are kid-friendly, and leashed pets are allowed.
- Bluemont Vineyard is located down the next steep road. The vineyard provides wine enthusiasts with the same breathtaking vista as well as a place to sample Virginia wine.
2. Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve
Dyke Marsh is a tidal freshwater wetland that is part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The preserve is home to a variety of plant and animal life, making it a great place for birdwatching and nature photography. There are also several hiking trails in the area, making it a great place for a leisurely stroll or an invigorating hike.
In the distance, you’ll see the marina, the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, and National Harbor. The hike concludes with a lengthy boardwalk and viewing platform that spans a tidal marsh and the river. Dyke Marsh is a renowned spot for birding as well. In fact, more than 230 species of birds have been sighted in the preserve.
Activities you can do in Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve
- There are a number of different trails to explore, so take your time and enjoy the scenery.
- Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, including birds, turtles, and fish.
- If you’re feeling adventurous, go for a swim in the Potomac River. Just be sure to follow all of the park’s safety guidelines.
3. Neabsco Creek Boardwalk Trail
The Neabsco Creek Boardwalk Trail is a 3/4 mile long trail that winds through a variety of habitats, including forests, meadows, and wetlands. The boardwalk is part of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, a network of pathways along the Potomac River that emphasize historic and natural features.
The trail is great a great place to get some exercise; there are several different access points along the trail, so you can make the hike as long or as short as you like. Its also wheelchair and stroller accessible, making it a great family adventure near Washington, DC.
The trail is located in the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority’s Potomac Overlook Regional Park.
Activities you can do in Neabsco Creek Boardwalk Trail
- Start at the trailhead located at the Potomac Overlook Regional Park Visitor Center.
- Follow the signs for the Neabsco Creek Boardwalk Trail.
- Enjoy the scenery and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife!
- When you reach the end of the trail, turn around and head back to the Visitor Center.
4. Difficult Run and Cross County Trail
The Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail is a 40-mile trail that runs across Fairfax County and it is a popular spot for hikers, runners, and mountain bikers. The path begins in the north at the Potomac River and finishes in the south to the Occoquan River. It travels through several of Fairfax County’s beautiful parks and stream valleys along the route.
Before reaching the Potomac, our favorite portion of the CCT follows Difficult Run and reaches the eastern side of Great Falls Park. In the summer, the river provides a pleasant area to cool your feet. Foliage tints the banks and reflects in the stream in the fall, making for beautiful shooting spots.
Activities you can do in Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail
- You can start your journey at any point along the trail.
- If you’re looking for a challenge, try to complete the entire 40-mile route!
- Stop and enjoy the scenery along the way.
- Be sure to take plenty of water and snacks to keep you fueled for the journey.
5. Great Marsh Trail
The Great Marsh Route, part of the Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge on Gunston Road, is a paved, 3/4-mile public trail. At the trail’s end, there’s a wide platform with panoramic views of the 250-acre Great Marsh, one of the Potomac River’s largest freshwater marshes.
Activities you can do in Great Marsh Trail
- Start at the trailhead located at the Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge.
- Add a trip to Mason Neck State Park to your itinerary for excellent birdwatching, hiking, and boating opportunities
- The abundance of bald eagles that nest in the protected marsh make this a fantastic place to view birds
- At the end of the trail, take in the stunning views of the marsh before heading back to the trailhead
There are many beautiful places to explore in Virginia. This state is home to a variety of landscapes, from mountains and forests to rivers and marshes. And there’s something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a challenging hike or a leisurely stroll.
So get out there and enjoy all that Virginia has to offer!
Featured Image Credit: Open Trail FC