When most people think of Virginia, they think of historical landmarks and beautiful countryside. While these are definitely worth a visit, the state has much more to offer than that! If you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary, here are 8 unforgettable places to visit in Virginia.

1. Natural Tunnel, Natural Tunnel State Park, Duffield

Featured Image: Natural Tunnel State Park. Photo: Vastateparksstaff/Flickr

Natural Tunnel is an approximately 300-yard tunnel that runs through the Appalachian Mountains and was originally dubbed the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Because of the size of the entrance, it has been used as a railway tunnel since 1893. 

Groundwater eroding the rock over a million years ago created the gigantic tunnel, which is still being molded by Stock Creek, which passes through it now. Although Native Americans were aware of the tunnel long before Europeans, it is assumed that Daniel Boone was the first European to visit it in the 18th century. 

The neighboring park hosts tours and activities all year, including annual Christmas lights spectacular inside the tunnel.

2. National D-Day Memorial, Bedford

Featured Image: National D-Day Memorial. Photo: Encyclopedia Virginia.

The National D-Day Memorial is located in Bedford, Virginia because it suffered the highest per capita D-Day losses of any American community. The memorial consists of a central sculpture with a flagpole and several other statues and sculptures spread out around the park.

This moving memorial pays tribute to the 4,413 Allied soldiers who fought and died on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, during the Normandy Invasion. The Memorial, which was named the #1 Attraction in Virginia by TripAdvisor, honors the sacrifice and devotion of these courageous soldiers, as well as all of the Allied forces who fought throughout the war. 

In 1941, Bedford, a little hamlet in the Central Virginia highlands, sent a company of troops to battle. 30 of these men were on Omaha Beach on D-Day. Only 11 people made it through the day. On D-Day, the death of these soldiers, dubbed “The Bedford Boys,” was the nation’s largest per capita loss in any city.

It also contains numerous inscriptions, including one from President Dwight Eisenhower that reads “In honor of those who gave their lives in the service of freedom on June 1944.” The memorial is open every day from dawn to dusk and offers free tours.

3. Belmont Farms Distillery, Culpeper

Featured Image: Man at a Distillery. Photo: Virginia Spirits.

Belmont Farm is a working farm and distillery that offers tours of their facilities as well as tastings of their products. The farm grows corn, wheat, and barley, which are used to make their award-winning whiskey, vodka, and moonshine.

The tour includes a visit to the on-site museum, which contains artifacts from the farm’s history, as well as a tour of the working distillery. The Belmont Farm Distillery is a great place to learn about the history and process of making moonshine. It’s also a beautiful spot – set amidst rolling hills and farmland.

The Belmont Farm Distillery is open for tours Monday-Saturday from 09:30 am – 05:00 pm. Tours must be booked in advance and are $12 for adults, $11 for seniors, and $6 for children ages six to twelve. Tastings are included with the tour.

4. Kiptopeke Concrete Ships, Cape Charles

Featured Image: Kiptopeke Concrete Ships. Photo: Pinterest.

Kiptopeke Concrete Ships are the remains of a fleet of concrete cargo ships that were built during World War II. The ships were designed to transport oil and other supplies across the Atlantic Ocean.

The Kiptopeke Concrete Ships were never used in battle, but they played an important role in the war effort. After the war, the ships were sold for scrap and most of them were dismantled. However, six of the ships remain and can be seen at the Kiptopeke State Park.

Due to a lack of wartime steel throughout both World Wars, more inventive materials were required, and it turns out that concrete, when molded into the appropriate shape, is more buoyant than you might believe. These ships were part of a fleet of two dozen built by McCloskey and Co. in 1942. They were largely cargo ships that sailed as far as the South Pacific.

The Kiptopeke Concrete Ships are a fascinating piece of history and a must-see for anyone interested in World War II or maritime history. The ships are open to the public and tours are available.

5. Deep Throat Garage, Arlington

Featured Image: Watergate Plaque. Photo: AZ Attorney/WordPress.

Deep Throat Garage is a garage in Arlington, Virginia that was once used by FBI agents to meet with their informant, Deep Throat.

In 1973, an investigative writer named Bob Woodward met Mark Felt (Deep Throat) six times in this now-famous garage in Arlington. Felt, who was Director of the FBI at the time, gave material that exposed the Nixon administration’s role in the FBI’s Watergate investigation, leading to Nixon’s resignation the following year.

The garage was made famous by the Watergate Scandal and it is one of the most infamous scandals in America. Now, Watergate has been turned into a museum. The museum contains artifacts from the scandal, including photos and audio recordings.

6. American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Theater, Staunton

Featured Image: People at a Theatre Hall. Photo: Tripadvisor.

The American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Theater is a re-creation of the indoor theater designed by architect Inigo Jones for Shakespeare’s company in 1609. It is the world’s only replica of this type of theater and it is used for performances of Shakespeare’s plays, as well as other works from the Renaissance period.

The theater is located in Staunton, Virginia and it is open to the public for tours. The theater also hosts educational programs, workshops, and performances throughout the year.

If you are a fan of Shakespeare or theater, then the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Theater is a must-see. It is a unique and beautiful theater that offers a glimpse into the past.

7. Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, Alexandria

Featured Image: Apothecary in a Shelf. Photo: Visit Alexandria.

When American greats like George Washington got a cold, what did they do? They headed to the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary, according to reports. 

Founded in 1792, this original apothecary-turned-museum aided Alexandria inhabitants, including George Washington, during the War of 1812, the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1821, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and both World Wars. Its creator, Edward Stabler, a Quaker, left a legacy of patent medicines, potions, and herbs, including worm-killing drops and Indian vegetable tablets, which are still on exhibit today.

The Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in history or pharmacy. The museum contains a collection of medicines, herbs, and other objects that were used in the past. The museum also offers tours and educational programs.

8. Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop, Fredericksburg

Featured Image: Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop. Photo: Virginia.

George Washington can concur that it’s difficult to avoid Colonial medicine’s quackery. Hugh Mercer, a friend, and fellow Mason of G.W. built this pharmacy in downtown Frederick in the late 1760s. 

The Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop is a historic apothecary shop in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The shop was founded in 1752 by Hugh Mercer himself, a Scottish doctor, and surgeon who fought in the French and Indian War.

During the 15 years that Mercer owned the business, Washington’s mother, Mary, who lived nearby, became one of his patients. Although Mercer, a Scotsman who arrived in America in 1747 and died in the Revolutionary War, he left behind a well-preserved legacy of his unconventional methods, such as bloodletting and crab claws.

These are just a few of the many unforgettable places to visit in Virginia. If you are looking for something out of the ordinary, then these destinations are sure to please you. From historic apothecaries to the garage made famous by the Watergate scandal, there is something for everyone in Virginia. 

So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today!