Pretty much everyone has heard the slogan “Virginia is for lovers,” but did you know that Virginia is also home to some of the east coast’s most beautiful countryside with plenty of great attractions and outdoor activities? In fact, this state is divided into 5 distinct geographic regions, where visitors can find mountains, coastal plains, valleys, and even a network of caves to explore. Whether your outdoor activity of choice involves kayaks, canoes, hiking shoes, cycles, or climbing ropes, there is definitely something for everyone in the Old Dominion!
Walnut Creek Mountain Bike Trail
If exploration on two wheels is what you’re looking for, check out the Walnut Creek mountain bike trail that begins in Charlottesville. This trail splits into a variety of trails to suit different experience levels, from beginner to advanced, covering 15 total miles. The trails are marked to indicate the difficulty of the trail so you can make an educated decision on where you go. The trails are also open to hikers and runners, so exercise caution when using these trails.
Parasailing is an incredibly popular activity in Virginia due to its proximity to the ocean, as well as its many bays and inlets. Parasailing operations are plentiful here, and one of the most enjoyable aspects of parasailing is that it requires no previous experience or skills. The whole family can enjoy the views of Virginia’s lush landscapes as you glide effortlessly over the sea and sand.
Virginia’s carbonate rock foundation is dotted with a vast network of more than 4,000 caves, but only 10 are open to the public. Caving is another activity that is suitable for the whole family (provided children are at a reasonably independent age), and the sights to be seen on an underground expedition compare to nothing else above it. Enormous stone columns, stalactites and stalagmites of all shapes and sizes, and shimmering pools can all be discovered within these cave systems, making these tours an unforgettable educational experience.
A.V. Symington Aquatic Center
Although it’s not exactly designed by nature, an aquatic park can be a welcome relief for all family members amid a packed schedule of outdoor adventures. Virginia’s A.V. Symington Aquatic Center has plenty of attractions within its walls to keep the fun rolling all day long. Enjoy its 600-foot long lazy river on an inner tube, or test your mettle on the large slide tower with two body flumes. Lay back and soak up the sun on their beach area or grass picnic area, and watch the young ones giggle over the children’s water features. Take a vacation from your vacation and spend the day at this water park!
Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Part of many people’s love of the outdoors is the flora and fauna that come with it, and there’s no better place to explore nature than a wildlife refuge. Back Bay is a unique array of ecosystems and habitats that covers more than 8,000 acres and includes dunes, beach, marsh, woodlands, and farm fields. Roughly 10,000 snow geese and a variety of ducks call Back Bay home, as well as endangered species like the loggerhead sea turtle and the bald eagle. The scenic trails are open to the public, and hiking, fishing, and bicycling are all available as well.