Virginia as one of the original 13 colonies and the location of the first successful settlement on mainland North America, there isn’t a place in the country that is anymore deeply rooted in American history than Virginia. Although historical attractions are Virginia’s most famous destinations, it is also known for its cities, both old and new, and its gorgeous landscapes.
Two of Virginia’s most visited monuments are Mount Vernon and Monticello the former plantation homes of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Another favorite attraction is located in the city of Jamestown where the some of the first colonists to arrive in America once had their home, remnants of which can still be seen today. Other popular destinations in Virginia include Virginia Beach and Arlington National Cemetery perhaps the country’s most famous burial ground.
Virginia Beach Boardwalk
Virginia Beach is Virginia’s most populous city and one of the most visited resort cities on the eastern coast. The city is located at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay on the Atlantic Ocean, making for popular beaches and an exciting waterfront scene. Stretching along the beachfront and boardwalk visitors will find hundreds of hotels and restaurants that create a constant buzz of activity and entertainment.
Colonial Williamsburg is the name of a living history museum located in the historic district of Williamsburg. Within the district buildings as old as 1699 still stand. The museum also features re-created colonial houses and other structures that contribute to the atmosphere of walking through a colonial town.
During a visit to Colonial Williamsburg visitors will view costumed interpreters speaking and acting as the townspeople would have during the 18th century.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Busch Gardens Williamsburg is a theme park located in James City County, Virginia. The park features a combination of roller coasters and Broadway-style shows. The park is broken into classic Europe artfully landscaped villages. There are nine villages centered around six countries for you to explore. At Busch Gardens Williamsburg there’s thrilling roller coasters, world-class dining, abundant shopping options, kid-friendly attractions and exciting events.
Arlington National Cemetery
This military cemetery in the city of Arlington was established during the Civil War at the Arlington House, the estate of the Confederate army general’s wife. The cemetery is among the most important in America, as the burial grounds of U.S. soldiers from several wars and military actions. It is also a popular destination for visitor’s to Washington D.C. as it is directly across the Potomac River from the Lincoln Memorial. In addition to the soldiers, some of the notable graves at the cemetery include the graves of two U.S. Presidents.
Mount Vernon is the name of a plantation near the city of Alexandria, Virginia made famous as the home of America’s first President, George Washington. The property, located on the Potomac River, includes a mansion built by Washington from 1757 to 1778 as well as a smaller house built for his brother. Washington was buried at Mount Vernon and his tomb can be viewed. Mount Vernon is a National Historic Landmark and one of Virginia’s most visited destinations.
Top Things to Do in Virginia
Virginia is also the location of one of America’s other great President’s homes, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, near Charlottesville. Jefferson began building the plantation home on 5,000 acres inherited from his father when he was only 26 years old. Jefferson’s property began as a tobacco plantation but later grew wheat. The home and property were preserved by a private owner and today visitors can explore the property to view some of the original furnishings and decoration as well as Jefferson’s burial site. One of the most popular sites at Monticello is the slave quarters on Mulberry Row.
Jamestown, known as the first successful English settlement on mainland North America is today preserved and re-created in the city of Jamestown, Virginia. Some of the exhibits at Jamestown Festival Park include a re-created English Fort and the Powhatan Indian Village. Also at the park visitors can view replicas of three of the settlers’ original ships. On Jamestown Island, more than a million artifacts have been preserved from the actual settlement of Jamestown including 3 wells, and 10 structures and more continue to be discovered through ongoing archaeological work.
Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park is a national park which encompasses part of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. The park is long and narrow with the broad Shenandoah River and Valley on the west side, and the rolling hills of the Virginia Piedmont on the east. The scenic Skyline Drive is likely the most prominent feature of the park, a road that runs the entire length of the park along the ridge of the mountains. There are over 500 miles of trails within the park and many waterfalls which offers some of the most scenic views in Virginia.
Maymont is a Victorian estate park in Richmond, Virginia. It contains the 1893 Maymont Mansion now a historic house museum. Walking through the Italian and Japanese gardens, touring the mansion, Maymont has over 100 acres to enjoy. Explore the Maymont Mansion, Italian and Japanese gardens, a carriage collection, 400 animals in wildlife exhibits, the Children’s Farm, and the Nature Center.
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is an art museum in Richmond, Virginia. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts permanent collection consists of more than 33,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years of history. Its collections of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, English silver and South Asia are among the finest in the nation. With acclaimed holdings in American, British Sporting, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist, and Modern and Contemporary art.
Things to Do in Virginia
A visit to Virginia might not feel like a history lesson but it’ll be hard to not learn a thing or two and find a renewed appreciation for a few things you may have forgotten from history class as you visit the homes of some of America’s forefathers. Virginia is where it all began. Although American history, in some ways began in Virginia, today the state continues to be important for its lively cities, impressive architecture, and important monuments.