Virginia State Parks are consistently rated the best in the nation! The 36 state parks offer families, couples and individuals activities to explore Virginia’s natural, cultural and historic treasures.
As a Virginia resident I’m definitely biased, but I’m convinced that Virginia has some of the most beautiful scenery in the United States. I’m not discounting other parts of our incredibly scenic nation, but Virginia certainly boasts a diversity that few other states can claim: sandy beaches along the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay; wetlands rich with waterfowl and indigenous plants; slow, burbling streams that feed into rollicking river rapids; ancient Blue Ridge Mountains standing sentinel over rolling foothills and valleys. Virginia has a lot of nature to explore.
Nature is the Star in Virginia State Parks
Virginia State Parks showcase this great diversity of natural resources with opportunities for hiking, biking, horseback riding and getting on the water. First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach has 20 miles of trails that meander through several unique ecosystems including bald cypress swamps, salt water marsh, maritime forest and coastal dunes. Mason Neck State Park near Washington, D.C. offers guided canoe trips of Kane’s Creek and Belmont Bay and is an ideal spot for wildlife observation, especially American bald eagles. At family-favorite Douthat State Park amid breathtaking Shenandoah mountain scenery you’ll find 4 miles of stream fishing, a 50-acre lake stocked with trout and 43 miles of hiking, mountain biking and bridle trails.
Virginia is an undeniably beautiful state with a variety of spectacularly scenic landscapes. We’d love to share it with you!
Virginia History Molds Who We Are Today
Dating from the first landing in 1609, Virginia has seen much of the nation’s significant history unfold. Chippokes Plantation across the river from historic Jamestown has been continually farmed since 1619; its antebellum mansion and brick kitchen showcase a bygone era. The Victorian mansion that is the Southwest Virginia Museum tells the story of Virginia pioneer exploration in the 1700s, and 200 year old Shot Tower at Foster Falls on the New River was built to make firearm ammunition for the early settlers.
Virginia’s 1775 frontier is represented with a recreated fort and an award-winning docudrama at Wilderness Road State Park. Virginia also has a rich Civil War heritage which is honored at Staunton River Battlefield State Park and Sailor’s Creek Battlefield Historical State Park with living history events. This year, Virginia State Parks Geocache Adventure link explores multiple perspectives of the Civil War with stories of freedom, endurance and a changing way of life.
Visit Virginia State Parks to learn how Virginians have helped shape American culture as we know it today.
Virginia State Parks Programs and Festivals
A number of environmental education programs help visitors appreciate and understand the great outdoors. There are wildlife photography and outdoor cooking classes, ranger-led nature hikes, and birdwatching expeditions like eagle tours and owl prowls.
Virginia State Parks also host cultural events throughout the year at different parks. Festivals featuring music, dance, arts and crafts, local food specialties and more are an excellent way for visitors to wrap themselves in the cultural fabric that makes Virginia special. Find out what’s happening at your favorite park.
Virginia State Parks Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle
Virginia State Parks offer safe and scenic environments to get out and get active. Over 600 miles of self-guided trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding are waiting for guests in parks throughout the state. Trail markers provide educational information that just might exercise the brain as well. Grayson Highlands State Park has year-round access to the Appalachian Trail and the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail. Fossil collectors can hunt for ancient shark teeth along the Potomac at Westmoreland State Park and every Virginia State Park has at least one geocache hidden and rents GPS units for a nominal fee.
If you enjoy taking a dip, Virginia State Parks have access to the state’s four largest lakes, most major rivers, the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. 17 different parks offer beaches and pools with bathhouses and concession services (facilities typically open Memorial Day through Labor Day).
Boating and fishing opportunities are well represented, too. A number of parks are known for smallmouth bass, trout, crappie and bream fishing. In addition, at James River State Park in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, you can float in a tube down the mighty James. Or for a more thrilling ride, try the world-class whitewater at that is created on the Russell Fork River in October when water is released from Flannagan Reservior at Breaks Interstate Park.
Outdoor activities are good for the mind, body and spirit, so use Virginia State Parks to help maintain a healthy lifestyle!
Your Invitation to Visit
Virginia State Parks are fantastic places to spend an afternoon or a whole vacation. With 36 parks located from the Eastern Shore to the Heart of Appalachia, there’s a wealth of diverse natural beauty to explore. You’ll find activities to interest young and old, and get a painless dose of history before you even realize you learned something. Virginia folks are proud of our heritage and hospitality, so y’all come by for a visit real soon.