What to do in Virginia

Catherine Milroy

As the school year winds to a close, people everywhere are itching to get up and do something fun—or, at least, plan to do something later this summer. Luckily, Virginia is extremely diverse in available entertainment opportunities, especially for history or nature lovers. But if those areas are not of particular interest, there are plenty of other possible places to shop, dine, or other ways to relax and have a good time—here’s a few of the more popular activities and sites, just to provide some ideas.

For the History Lovers:

Virginia is a goldmine for anyone interested in history with eight presidents’ birthplaces,

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Replica of the Susan Constant at Jamestown (Photo Courtesy of Bill Barber)

the largest number of Civil War battlefields, and the site of the first British colony. Colonial Williamsburg is considered by Planetware destination journalists to be the best place to go, with 18th century buildings, shops, and gardens. Monticello and Mount Vernon are always popular spots, as former homes of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington respectively. There are plantations like Berkley Plantation all over the state that can be toured or visited. There’s also Arlington Cemetery, the final resting place of John F. Kennedy and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the recreated Jamestown, and Mananas Battlefield, just to name the more well-known attractions.

For Those who Love the Outdoors:

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Assateague Island’s wild horses (Photo Courtesy of judithsweet, Flickr)

With both beaches, an island, and a mountain range, the state has a wide variety of natural places to visit. Shenandoah National Park encompasses the Blue Ridge Mountains, and is home to the Luray Caverns.  Assateague Island is a protected wildlife sanctuary, which is home to scores of wild ponies, with options to go on tours, nature walks, or kayaking and fishing excursions. Virginia’s Natural Bridge is one of the nation’s oldest attractions, and has a zoo and caverns that can all be explored. There are also plenty of campsites, as well as various activities along the James River, such as tubing or fishing.

For Those Seeking Indoor Activities:

For those who prefer more luxurious waysor at least, indoorsy waysof entertaining themselves, there are many options for shopping and spa trips. Tyson’s Corner is one of the largest and best malls in the United States, with a movie theater and three levels of

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Tyson’s Corner Mall (Photo Courtesy of Ser Amantio di Nicolao)

stores. Amazement Square is an interactive museum in Lynchburg that’s known for being the tallest indoor climbing structure in the US; another interactive museum is the Science Museum of Virginia, with live animals and an iMax theater. There are the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach, which includes touch pools to interact with animals like stingrays and starfish. Great Wolf Lodge, an indoor water park and spa, and Peak Experiences Indoor Rock Climbing Center are available if you’re looking to still be active while staying inside. For a mix of both, there are several resorts around Virginia, such as Massanutten and Wintergreen.