24 Best National Parks in Virginia (And When to Go)

The state of Virginia is home to over 20 famous and gorgeous National Parks. They include some of the most visited National Parks in the United States.

The National Parks in Virginia include some of the earliest settlements by Europeans in the Americas, Revolutionary War sites, Civil War Battlefields, gorgeous mountain parks filled with hiking trails, biking trails, and waterfalls, a park devoted to the performing arts, and even an island that is home to wild horses.

Below, I want to share with you all of the best National Parks in Virginia, as well as information about the best time to go, where they’re located, when they’re open, how much they cost, and what you can see at each park.

Each park is also listed according to the geographic region in Virginia to help you organize your next trip to visit them. Several of the parks listed below are also located in multiple nearby states, including Maryland, West Virginia, and North Carolina.

National Parks are a great way to take an unforgettable vacation without spending a lot of money. You can learn more great tips about how to budget and save for travel.

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Table of Contents

Map of National Parks in Virginia

National Parks in Northern Virginia

Photo by Sara Cottle on Unsplash

Great Falls National Park

Great For: Hiking, Nature, Waterfalls

When to Go: All year-round. Try to go early in the day for amazing sunrises, or on weekdays to avoid crowds.

Description: Great Falls National Park is one of the major parks in the Northern Virginia region. It is located on both the Virginia and Maryland sides of the Potomac River, not far from Washington, D.C. As the name suggests, it features a series of falls and rapids where the rushing water of the Potomac cascades over rocks. This creates some stunning scenery and sounds of the power of nature. There are even several 20 foot waterfalls in the park. It is a popular spot for weekend hikes and site-seeing.

There are three overlooks that can be used for viewing the falls, and two of the overlooks are wheelchair and stroller accessible. Each of the overlooks is a five to ten minute walk from the Visitor’s Center. More information on the falls overlooks can be found here. You can also view the falls from the Maryland side, but you have to drive to that location from the Virginia side.

Other amenities at Great Falls include a picnic table area, grills, and a snack bar (open seasonally).

Note that, particularly on nice weather weekends and holidays, it can get quite crowded, with a wait of 45 or more to enter and find parking.

You can find more information on Great Falls and other waterfalls in Virginia here.


9200 Old Dominion Dr, McLean, VA 22102


Open Daily: 7:00am to Sunset


The fee to enter the park is:

  • $20 per car
  • $15 per motorcycle
  • $10 when entering on foot, bicycle, or horse
  • $35 for an annual pass

Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial

Great For: History

When to Go: Due to heavy traffic around the Memorial, it is probably best to go on a weekend or in the middle of a weekday.

Description: Arlington House serves as a memorial to Civil War Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The house is located in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, which consists of 600 acres of land owned by the United States Army. Arlington House is located at the top of a hill near the Potomac River, and right outside of Washington, D.C. It was designed and built between 1803 and 1818.

The house itself is a memorial to Robert E. Lee, and includes many artifacts from the 1800s, including artwork, furniture, manuscripts, Civil War memorabilia, as well as artifacts from the enslaved people who were living on the property. There are also gardens around the property. More information about the architecture and history of Arlington House can be found here.


321 Sherman Dr, Fort Myer, VA 22211


Open Daily: 9:30am – 4:30pm


No fee.

George Washington Memorial Parkway

Great For: Scenic Drives, Scenic Views

When to Go: Try to go during non rush-hour times (try to avoid 6am-9am and 3pm-6pm on Mondays to Fridays) to avoid traffic.

Description: The George Washington Memorial Parkway (also known as the G.W. Parkway) is a scenic parkway skirting the Potomac River at the border of Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia. It travels through dense forests in Alexandria and Arlington, Virginia, and has vantage points that overlook the Potomac River and sites within Washington, D.C., including lovely views of the Georgetown skyline. The parkway is 25 miles long.

The parkway marks several prominent points in the life of George Washington. It begins at his home in Mount Vernon in Alexandria, continues past the nation’s capital that bares his name, and ends at Great Falls in Northern Virginia.

There are a number of major sites right off of the parkway, including:

Additional information about the George Washington Memorial Parkway can be found here.


George Washington Memorial Parkway


Open at all times, except in the event of construction or road closures.


No fee.

Manassas National Battlefield Park

Great For: History, Hiking.

When to Go: The park is open year-round, however some sites like the Stone House are only open on weekends. Historic weapons demonstrations also occur at different times each day. You can find more information here.

Description: Manassas National Battlefield Park marks the site of two major Civil War battles that were fought in 1861 and 1862. It is also referred to as Bull Run, which is the name of the stream located nearby. The site encompasses 5,000 acres.

The park includes artifacts, artillery, and historical landmarks related to the battles, including cannons (which are fired several times during the day). The park also features guided walking tours, the Henry Hill Visitors Center Museum, and a 20 mile driving tour of the site. Picnics and dogs are welcome at the park.

Additional information about activities can be found here.

The park also includes over 40 miles of hiking trails, including several loop trails.

First Manassas Hikes include:

Second Manassas Hikes include:

Maps of the trails can be found here and below.


6511 Sudley Rd, Manassas, VA 20109


Visitor Center:

Open Daily: 8:30am – 5:00pm


Open Daily: Sunrise to Sunset


No fee.

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts

Great For: Performing Arts, Hiking

When to Go: The Barns at Wolf Trap is open all year round, but the outdoor Filene Center is primarily open during the warm Summer months. There are special programs such as Wolf Trap First Sunday hikes, held on the first Sunday of the month.

Description: The Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is a major performing arts venue in Northern Virginia, and it is the only national park that is also a performance venue. The Filene Center is an outdoor, covered amphitheater with a capacity of over 7,000.

During the Summer months, the Filene Center hosts an eclectic mix of performers, including international singing stars, musicals, movies, symphony orchestras, operas, jazz, and much more. Wolf Trap is the perfect place to enjoy a warm summer night with family and friends. A calendar of the 2022 events can be found on the Wolf Trap website.

Wolf Trap also features a second, indoor performing arts venue, called The Barns at Wolf Trap. This venue is much more intimate than the Filene Center, with a capacity of just 382.

Wolf Trap is also a great location for picnics, weddings, or other events. Before a Summer show, you can bring your own food and even alcohol for a picnic, or enjoy food and drinks sold at the venue itself.

There are also two hikes at Wolf Trap. The park also hosts first Sunday Hikes.

  • Wolf Trap TRACK Trail = 1.5 miles
  • Wolf Trap Trail = 2.5 miles


1551 Trap Road, Vienna, VA 22182


Open Daily: 7:00am – 11:00pm


Prices for shows at Wolf Trap vary by performance. You can find more information on the Wolf Trap calendar.

Prince William Forest Park

Great For: Hiking, Camping, Fishing

When to Go: Outdoor activities, especially camping, are often best during the Spring and early Fall months to avoid the heat and bugs of the Summer and cold of the Winter.

Descripition: Prince Williams Forest Park is 15,000 square miles in size, and offers an incredible 37 miles of hiking trails, plus over 20 miles of bicycling trails (12 miles of paved road and 9 miles of gravel.)

Other activities at the park include:

Hiking Trails at Prince William Forest Park:


18170 Park Entrance Road, Triangle, VA 22172


Open Daily: Sunrise to Sunset


Entrance FeeCurrent FeeTime Frame
Vehicle$20Valid seven consecutive days
Motorcycle$15Valid seven consecutive days
Individual (walk-in and bike-in)$10Valid seven consecutive days
Annual Pass for Prince William Forest Park$35Valid one year from month of purchase

Additional information on camping and cabin fees can be found here.

Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail

Great For: Hiking, Bicycling, Kayaking, Wildlife, History.

When to Go: The site is open at all times, however certain times of the year will be better, primarily due to weather conditions. Going in the Spring and Fall will generally provide the best weather and nature conditions by avoiding extreme heat and cold.

Description: The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail is an extensive network of trails that travels between Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia.

Virginia Hiking trails include:

  • An 11 mile one-way hike from Great Falls to Algonkian Regional Park. You can reserve a cabin overnight at Algonkian.
  • A 1.5 mile hike in Great Falls Park
  • The Theodore Roosevelt Island – Scotts Run Nature Preserve 10 mile hike along the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
  • A 1.5 mile loop trail in Woodlawn Historic District in Mount Vernon.
  • Prince William Forest Park trails.
  • A 2 mile loop trail at Government Island in Stafford County.

There is a loop bicycle trail that connects four parks within Leesburg in Loudoun County, VA. The trail begins and ends in Leesburg, and includes gorgeous views of the Potomac River. More information on the trail can be found here.

There are many other activities at the extensive Potomac Heritage National Historic Park, including historic tours, birding, and camping. You can find more details here. Below is a summary of activities from the National Park Service.

A Secluded and Scenic Excursion on the PotomacCivil War, History, Paddling, Wildlife
Alexandria’s Canal TrailBirding, Hiking, Museum/Visitor Center
Alexandria’s Canal Trail: Bogs, Bluffs & BaysBicycling, History
Bicycling Arlington Memorial Bridge to Reedville, VirginiaBicycling, Birding, Civil War, Historic Site, History, Museum/Visitor Center, Wildlife
From Riverbend to Great FallsHiking, History, Paddling, Wildlife
Loudoun’s Potomac HeritageBicycling, History
Nature and History Abound in Prince William Forest ParkBicycling, Camping, Hiking, History
Northern Neck HeritageBicycling, Birding, Hiking, Museum/Visitor Center
The Ira Gabrielson Trail HikeBirding, Hiking, Paddling, Wildlife
Tidal Occoquan to Pohick Bay Paddle TourBirding, Hiking, Paddling, Wildlife
Explore Woodlawn Historic DistrictHistoric Site, History, Museum/Visitor Center
Source: National Park Service


Virginia 20165


Open at all times.


No Fee, though some facilities require reservations and a fee.

Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park

Great For: History, Hiking, Bicycling, Picnicking.

When to Go: Summer is the peak season for visitors and for programs. The Fall and Spring are good times to go too. The park will be less crowded then, but there will also be fewer programs. The park remains open in the Winter, but with more limited programming. You can find more information here.

Description: Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park marks the sites of some of the most devastating and significant battles in the Civil War. The site is located about half way between Washington, D.C. and Richmond.

There are so many sites at the park, that it could take several days to see everything. The National Park Service as a useful guide to planning your trip, whether it’s several hours or several days long.

The park includes 4 battlefields, which can be visited individually or as part of a larger tour:

There are also numerous historic buildings located at the park, including:

  • Chatham Manor
  • Jackson Death Site
  • Ellwood Manor
  • Salem Church

There are also many outdoor activities at the park, including trails for hiking and bicycling, as well as picnic areas. You can find trail maps here.

There also numerous events hosted throughout the year. You can find more information on the National Park Service calendar.


1013 Lafayette Blvd, Fredericksburg, VA 22401


Park grounds:

Open Daily = Sunrise to Sunset.

The Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center and the Chancellorsville Battlefield Visitor Center:

Open daily = 9:00am-5:00pm.


Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania:

No fee.


Adults = $2.00

Children Under 10 = Free

Adults 62 and Over = $1.00

George Washington Birthplace National Monument

Great For: History, Fishing, Picnicking, Hiking, Bicycling, Beach Combing, Kayaking, Canoeing.

When to Go: The site is open year-round, however, the visitor center is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Late Spring or early Fall are good times to enjoy the beach and outdoor activities while avoiding the excessive heat and bugs of the Summer and cold weather of the Winter.

Description: The George Washington Birthplace National Monument, as the name suggests, is located at the ancestral home of the Washington family, and it is the birthplace of George Washington. The site is located in the Northern Neck of Virginia, and it is 550 acres in size.

Main attractions at the park include the Memorial House Museum, Building X, Colonial Revival Garden, Farm Workshop, Colonial Revival Kitchen, Spinning and Weaving Shop, Farm Animals. There are also picnic grounds and Potomac River Beach, a public beach.

There are also several hiking trails, including:

  • Nature Trail = 1 mile roundtrip
  • Dancing Marsh Loop Trail = 0.75 mile roundtrip

The Northern Neck Heritage Trail is the major bicycle trail that runs through the site. The trail can take 1 to 2 days to travel. You can also add stops along the way to stop at local wineries and historic sites or to go kayaking.

If you are looking for recommendations for bikes to take on the trip, check out an excellent guide to the best bikepacking bikes!

Fishing is allowed at the historic site, though you should check the rules and regulations before planning your trip.


Colonial Beach, VA 22443


The grounds are open daily = 9:00am – 5:00pm.

The Visitor Center is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.


No fee.

National Parks in the Shenandoah Valley Region of Virginia

Shenandoah Mountains at Sunset

Shenandoah National Park

Great For: Hiking, Waterfalls, Scenic Drives, Scenic Views.

When to Go: The park is great and unique year-round. You will get more crowds in the Summer. Fall will offer gorgeous foliage. Spring will offer more flowers.

Description: Shenandoah is probably the most famous National Park in Virginia. It is also one of the largest. It is 200,000 acres in size and spans much of the Shenandoah Mountains in the western part of the state. It features many hiking trails, wildlife, gorgeous mountain views, waterfalls, picnic shelters, and much more. The park is perfect for nature lovers. Shenandoah is even home to black bears!

The park is a great place to go on a hike. There are over 500 miles of hiking trails at Shenandoah National Park.

Below is more information from the National Park Service on all of the hikes available at the Shenandoah:



Open at all times, except in the event of inclement weather or other road closures on Skyline Drive, which is the only public route through the park. Visitor Centers and other facilities have varying hours.


Information on all fees can be found here.

  • Shenandoah Entrance Pass – Single Vehicle – $30.00
  • Shenandoah Entrance Pass – Single Motorcycle – $25.00
  • Shenandoah Entrance Pass – Individual Person – $15.00
  • Shenandoah Annual Pass – $55.00
  • America the Beautiful – Annual Pass – $80.00 (Covers all National Parks)
  • America the Beautiful – Annual Senior Pass – $20.00
  • America the Beautiful – Military Pass – Free
  • America the Beautiful – Volunteer Pass – Free


To enhance your experience, you can book a Shenandoah National Park Self-Driving Audio Tour. From the comfort of your car, you can learn about the history and scenic beauty of this famous park. The audio tour can immediately be downloaded to your phone and used forever. It features:

  • A GPS Map of the Park
  • Audio, pictures and texts about Shenandoah National Park
  • Includes Skyline Drive and the Appalachian Trail

You can also book a special tour of Luray Caverns and Shenandoah National Park via Skyline Drive. This is a one day tour from the Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia area.

The day tour lasts 6-8 hours and includes stops at many of the stunning overlooks at the park, plus a 45 minute hike along the trails. The tour has several pick-up points in Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland. It is a great way to experience the lovely sites of Shenandoah National Park without the hassle and stress of driving!

Appalachian National Scenic Trail

Great For: Hiking, Scenic Drive, Scenic Views.

When to Go: Similar to Shenandoah Park, the trail is open year-round. Spring and Fall are probably the best times to go in order to avoid the crowds and heat of the Summer and cold of the Winter.

Description: The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is one of the most famous National Parks in the United States. The epic trail spans over 2,180 miles and runs the length of the Appalachian Mountains from Maine to Georgia. A large part of it runs through the western part of Virginia.

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail runs through Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, and West Virginia.

An official brochure map of the entire trail can be found on the National Park Service website. The trail begins in Baxter State Park in Maine, and ends at Amicalola State Park in Georgia. Though I have yet to attempt the epic hike, it is a popular bucket list item for many outdoor enthusiasts and hikers.

You can find information on how to reach various points along the trail at this website.



Open at all times, except in the event of inclement weather.


No fee.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Great For: Scenic Drives, Scenic Views, Hiking, Picnicking, Bicycling, Camping, Music Events.

When to Go: Similar to other Shenandoah parks, the parkway is great and unique year round. You will get more traffic in the Summer. Fall will offer gorgeous foliage. Spring will offer more flowers. Some facilities are seasonal and are generally open from April to October. More information can be found here.

Description: The Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469-mile road that travels through the Appalachian Highlands and Blue Ridge Mountains in western Virginia and North Carolina. The parkway offers stunning views of the valleys, mountains, and landscape of this region of the country.

The parkway has a maximum speed limit of 45 mph, and it is intended to be taken as a leisurely scenic drive.

There are many activities to enjoy along the parkway, including hiking, bicycling, camping, music events, picnicking, and more.


  • There are over 300 miles of hiking trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway. A list of the most popular hikes can be found here. I personally went on the Crabtree Falls hike. It is short, a little steep, but features a gorgeous waterfall. You can learn more about the Crab Tree Falls hike here.


  • There are numerous campgrounds located along the parkway. The sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis, for a fee, and include potable water, flush toilets and sinks, and a dump station.

Music Events:




Open at all times, except in the event of inclement weather or other road closures on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Visitor Centers and other facilities have varying hours.


No fee to drive on the parkway. Some activities along the parkway, such as camping, do have a fee.

Booker T. Washington National Monument

Great For: History

When to Go: The site is open year round, except for major holidays. Fall is a good time to go for the lovely foliage of the region.

Description: The Booker T. Washington National Monument is a monument honoring the African American educator, author, and orator. Washington was born into slavery on a plantation in southwestern Virginia. He would go on to become the first principal of the Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University).

The National Monument marks the birthplace of Washington. You can begin at the Visitor’s Center, which features an audio tour. There are several walking trails and other sites from there that explore the monument.

Major sites at the monument include:

  • Plantation Trail = a 0.25 mile loop trail that passes through the historic area.
  • Jack-O-Lantern Branch Heritage Trail = a 1.5 mile trail that goes through nearby fields and forests.
  • Picnic Area
  • Farm Area = home to pigs, sheep, horses, and chickens
  • Garden Area = learn about historic garden techniques

You can learn more about the extraordinary life of Booker T. Washington here.


12130 Booker T Washington Hwy, Hardy, VA 24101


Open Daily: 9:00am – 5:00pm


No fee.

Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park

Great For: History

When to Go: The park is open year round, though the Fall is a good time to go and see the leaves changing color in the western mountains of Virginia. Note that Belle Grove is closed during the Winter from December 31 to March 18.

Description: Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park marks the site of several major Civil War battles, including a decisive Union victory at Cedar Creek.

You can explore the battleground by walking the Morning Attack Trails, which is a series of 3 interconnected trails that are a combined 1.7 miles in length.

There is also a 17 mile self-guided driving tour that lasts over an hour and has 9 stops, including the following locations:

  • Cedar Creek Battlefield
  • Thoburn’s Redoubt
  • 128th New York Monument
  • Morning Attack Trails
  • Belle Grove Plantation
  • Mount Carmel Cemetery
  • Miller’s Mill
  • Rienzi Knoll
  • Counterattack Fields

Another major attraction at the park is the Belle Grove Plantation, which is a 1797 manor house offering tours.

The park also hosts numerous events, including stargazing. You can find upcoming events on the National Park Service calendar.


Middletown, VA 22645


Cedar Creek:

Open Daily = Sunrise to Sunset

Belle Grove Guided Tours:

Monday – Saturday = 10:00am – 4:00pm

Sunday = 1:00pm – 5:00pm

For additional information on Belle Grove hours and closures, please visit their website.


Cedar Creek:

No fee.

Belle Grove:

  • Belle Grove Members = Free
  • Adults = $12.00
  • National Park Service Pass = $11.00
  • Senior Citizens (60 and over) = $11.00 
  • AAA Member = $11.00 with card
  • Military = $11.00 with ID
  • Students (6-16 years) = $6.00
  • NTHP Member = $6.00 with card
  • Children 5 and younger = Free

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Great For: History, Hiking, Bicycling, Climbing, Picnicking.

When to Go: There is limited parking at Harpers Ferry, and it can fill up fast, particularly on weekends. One tip is to try to go early in the day, on a weekday, or during the Winter when crowds will be less intense.

Description: Harpers Ferry National Historical Park lays at the border of Virginia and West Virginia in the northwestern corner of the state. It is most famous as the site of a major event that sparked the Civil War – known as John Brown’s Raid.

Harpers Ferry includes the historic town, buildings, and gift shops, which you can explore, as well as excellent hikes and other outdoor activities. The major sites include:

  • John Brown’s Fort
  • The Point – where the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers meet, and where you can see Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland from a single vantage point.
  • Storer College
  • You can find other historic sites and attractions here.

You can also easily travel to three additional nearby National Parks from Harpers Ferry:

There are 22 miles of hiking trails in Harpers Ferry as well, including:

Additional hiking trails can be found here, courtesy the National Park Service:

TrailsDistanceElevation GainDifficultyTime Estimate
Virginius Island and Hall’s Islands Trailsup to 2 miles (3.2 km) round trip45 feetEasy15 min – 1 hour
Murphy-Chambers Farm Trails1 – 3 miles (1.6 – 4.8 km) round trip187 feetEasy to Moderate1 – 2 hours
Bolivar Heights Trails0.3 – 2.4 miles (0.5 – 3.9 km) round trip4 to 263 feetEasy to Moderate10 min – 1.6 hours
Visitor Center to Lower Town1.6 miles (2.6 km), one way150 feet downhill from Visitor Center to Lower TownEasy with one strenuous section30 min – 1 hour
Camp Hill and Appalachian Trailup to 1.8 miles (2.9 km) round tripup to 216 feetModerate45 min – 1.1 hours
Schoolhouse Ridge North1.7 miles (2.7 km) round trip110 feetEasy to Moderate0.6 – 1 hours
Schoolhouse Ridge Southup to 3.7 miles (6.3 km) round tripup to 265 feetModerate1.4 – 2.1 hours
Maryland Heights4.5 – 6.5 miles (7.2 – 10.5 km) round trip990 – 1788 feetModerately strenuous to Strenuous3 – 4 hours
Loudoun Heightsup to 7.5 miles (12.1 km)1377 feetModerately Strenuous4 – 5.5 hours
Source: National Park Service


Harpers Ferry, WV 25425



Open Daily = 9:00am – 6:00pm (Summer)

Open Daily = 9:00am – 5:00pm (Winter, Spring, and Fall)

Historic Park and Trails:

Open Dail = Sunrise to Sunset.


Vehicle = $20

Motorcycle = $15

Pedestrians (walking or bicycling) = $10

Harpers Ferry Annual Pass – $35.00

Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail

Great For: History, Hiking

When to Go: The park is open all year round. A commemorative march takes place each September and October, which makes this a good time to go.

Description: Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail is located in four states: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. It is 330 miles in length and marks the trail used by colonial militia in the Kings Mountain campaign of 1780 during the Revolutionary War.

You can drive parts of the trail, or hike along 87 miles of hiking trails.


2635 Park Rd, Blacksburg, SC 29702


Open Daily = Sunrise – Sunset


No Fee.

National Parks in Tidewater Virginia

Colonial National Historical Park

Great For: History

When to Go: The historic sites are open year-round. You can avoid crowds by going on weekdays or in the Winter.

Description: Colonial National Historical Park actually encompasses several major parks that are some of the most famous in the entire state of Virginia. These parks include Historic Jamestown, Yorktown Battlefield, and the Colonial Parkway.

Historic Jamestown marks the site of the 1607 settlement of European settlers in the Americas. The first legislative assembly occurred here. You can learn more about the history through tour guides at the site.

It should be noted that Historic Jamestown is different from the Jamestown Settlement. Both sites are about 1.6 miles from each other. Historic Jamestown marks the actual location of the original 1607 settlement. It is currently a site devoted to archaeology and a historical study. The Jamestown Settlement is a recreation of the forts, buildings, houses, and ships that were used at the original Jamestown site. Both sites are definitely worth a visit.

One site that is definitely not to be missed is Glasshouse, which is the site of glass furnaces from the early 1600s that were rediscovered in 1948. The furnaces were recreated and glass blowing is performed there today to create gorgeous vases, bowls, and other items. I visited there a few years ago and purchased a lovely vase. It is really cool to see the glass blowing in action. Glasshouse is located within walking distance to Jamestown Settlement.

Yorktown Battlefield is the site of the famous 1781 battle in which American and French soldiers, led by George Washington, defeated the British army to win Independence for the American colonists. You will want to start your visit at the Visitor Center, from which you can get a map and learn about the programs and sites for the day.

The town of Yorktown includes many historical structures that are fascinating to see in person, such as the 18th century Nelson House, and earthworks that were first built by the British in 1781.

You can learn more about visiting these sites and more by reading the article on Things to do in Williamsburg, VA.

You can also book a guided tour from Northern Virginia or Washington, D.C. to visit these historic sites.

The Colonial Parkway is a 23-mile road that connects the historic triangle of Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown. The road travels from the York River at Yorktown to the James River at Jamestown.


Historic Jamestown:

Yorktown Battlefield:

Colonial Parkway:


Historic Jamestown and Yorktown Battlefield:

Open Daily: 9:00am – 5:00pm

Colonial Parkway:

Open at all times, except in the event of road closures.


Adult Admission: $15

Under 15: No fee

Additional fee of $10 to access Historic Jamestowne, James Fort Site, Archaearium and the jointly managed New Towne portion of Jamestown.

You can find more information on fees here.


You can book a tour of Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown Settlement, American Revolution Museum from DC. The day tour will pick you up in Washington, D.C., an easy drive from Northern Virginia, and take you on a guided tour to the three main historical attractions.

The tour takes the stress out of driving, and it includes admission tickets to all of the sites.

Fort Monroe National Monument

Great For: History

When to Go: The monument is open year round, however the Casement Museum requires timed tickets for entry. It is not currently open on Monday or Tuesday.

Description: Fort Monroe is located in the Tidewater Region of southeastern Virginia, roughly between Newport News and Norfolk. It has 400 years of history, beginning with the history of the first Africans to arrive in the Americas in 1619.

The site is also home to the Old Point Comfort Lighthouse, which is believed to have been active as early as 1775.

You can also schedule a tour of the Casemate Museum. The museum chronicles the military history of Fort Monroe and Old Point Comfort. It is located within the largest masonry fort in the United States.

You can read more about the rich history of Fort Monroe here.


Fort Monroe, VA 23651


Casemate Museum:

Wednesday to Sunday: 10:00am – 4:00pm


No fee.

National Parks in Central Virginia

Appomattox National Court House National Historic Park

Great For: History

When to Go: There are numerous special events and programs held throughout the year. Upcoming events can be found here.

Description: Appomattox Court House is the location of the surrender of the Northern Virginia army in the Civil War, and it is often considered the point at which the Civil War ended. The surrender occurred on April 9, 1865 in the McLean House at Appomattox.

There are numerous historic sites to visit as part of Appomattox Court House National Historic Park, including the McLean House, Visitor Center, and the East End of the Village.

The site hosts many special events throughout the year, including history walks, living history programs, tours of the battlefield and grounds, firing demonstrations, music programs, and more.

A full list of upcoming events can be found here.


111 National Park Drive, Appomattox, Virginia 24522


Open daily: 9:00am – 5:00pm


No fee.

Richmond National Battlefield Park

Great For: History

When to Go: The park is currently closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, and so you’ll want to avoid those days.

Description: The Richmond National Battlefield Park is another historic Civil War site in the state of Virginia. Throughout the war, there were numerous battles fought near the city of Richmond, and the site commemorates the history of those events. The park is actually a collection of 13 parks located in Hanover, Henrico, and Chesterfield counties as well as the city of Richmond.

It can take about a half day to a full day to tour the entire park. The National Park Service recommends starting at the Richmond National Battlefield Park at the Civil War Visitor Center at Tredegar Iron Works, located at 470 Tredegar Street, in downtown Richmond (see map below).


470 Tredegar Street, Richmond, VA 23219


Open Wednesday – Sunday: 9:00am – 4:30pm (Closed Mondays and Tuesdays)


No fee.

Petersburg National Battlefield Park

Great For: History, Hiking, Bicycling, Horseback Riding.

When to Go: The park is open year round, though it is closed on major holidays. The Fall is a good time to go to avoid the heat of the Summer and enjoy the lovely Fall foliage.

Description: The Petersburg National Battlefield Park is located about 28 miles south of Richmond. It marks the site of the Siege of Petersburg, which was the longest military event in the Civil War. The siege lasted 9 and a half months, and resulted in 70,000 casualties.

The site also marked a pivotal moment in the Civil War, as the confederate retreat at the end of the siege led to their surrender just 5 days later in Richmond.

The site features a driving tour with nine stops at historic landmarks. The stops include:

  • General Grant’s Headquarters at City Point
  • The Eastern Front
  • The Western Front
  • Five Forks Battlefield

There are also several great trails to hike at the park, including:

  • 10 miles of trails at the Eastern Front Unit (hiking, bicycling, and horseback)
  • 8 miles of trails at the Five Forks Battlefield Unit (hiking and bicycling)

You can find out more about how to plan your visit here.


Petersburg, VA 23803


Eastern Front Unit and General Grant’s Headquarters Unit:

Open Daily = 9:00am – Sunset

Five Forks Battlefield Unit:

Open Daily = Sunrise – Sunset


No fee.

Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site

Great For: History

When to Go: The site is open year round, however it is closed on Sundays and Mondays, as well as on major holidays. Any other day of the week is a great time to go.

Description: The Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site commemorates the life of Maggie L. Walker, who was the first African American woman to found a bank. Ms. Walker was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1864. She was a prominent and successful businesswoman in post Civile War Virginia. The historic site is located at the 1883 home of Ms. Walker, and it features many original family furnishings as well as historical information about her life and times.

You can learn more about the fascinating life of Maggie L. Walker here.


600 N 2nd St, Richmond, VA 23219


Tuesday – Saturday = 9:00am – 4:30pm

Closed Sundays and Mondays.


No fee.

National Parks in Eastern Virginia

Photo by Sara Cottle on Unsplash

Assateague Island National Seashore

Great For: Horses, Wildlife, Bird Watching, Camping, Kayaking, Swimming, Sunbathing, Fishing.

When to Go: The park is located on an island by the water with beaches. This makes the warm Summer months a good time to go, but be aware that there are mosquitos, ticks, and other bugs during that time of year. If you don’t plan to go in the water, Spring and Fall can be better times to go.

Description: Assateague Island National Seashore is located on the 37-mile-long Assateague Island. It is located between the Atlantic Ocean and Chincoteague Bay. The National Park includes land in both Maryland and Virginia, and it technically includes two parks. Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is managed on the Virginia side. Assateague State Park is managed on the Maryland side.

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is located in the homelands of the Pocomoke and Occohannock people, and it is designed as a refuge to protect migratory birds and other wildlife, as well as sand dunes, beaches, and forest habitats. It also features the Assateague Lighthouse and the famous Chincoteague ponies. The refuge is one of the best places in the state for wildlife viewing.

There are also wildlife trails to explore on the island:

You can download a copy of the trail map here.

Assateague State Park features two miles of beach for swimming, sunbathing, beachcombing, surfing, and fishing. It is also home to the famous Assateague horses. Please note that the horses are wild and you should not approach, touch, or feed them. You can find more safety tips here.


7206 National Seashore Ln, Berlin, MD 21811


Virginia District:

January – February = 6:00am – 6:00pm

March 15 – April = 6:00am – 8:00pm

May – September = 5:00am – 10:00pm

October = 6:00am – 8:00pm

November – December = 6:00am – 6:00pm 

Maryland District:

Open at all times.


Full information on fees can be found here.

Weekly Vehicle Pass = $25.00

Daily Vehicle Pass = $10.00

Annual Pass = $45.00

Annual Beach Parking Permit = $20.00

National Parks in Southwestern Virginia

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

Great For: Caves, Scenic Views, History.

When to Go: Though the park is open at all times and all year round, some attractions like Hensley Settlement only have guided tours available from May to October.

Description: Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is located in parts of Southwestern Virginia, as well as Tennessee and Kentucky. The park is 24,000 acres in size, and includes 85 miles of trails as well as campgrounds.

Attractions in the park include Gap Cave, which can be visited through ranger-led tours throughout the year. The cave features bats, stalactites, stalagmites, and other fascinating underground features. A tour of the caves lasts approximately 2 hours and travels 1.5 miles into the cave.

Another major attraction in the park is Hensley Settlement. The settlement dates back to 1903, and includes a farm and blacksmith shop, cemetery, schoolhouse, numerous houses, and a cabin. Guided tours of the settlement are conducted from May to October and last about 3.5 to 4 hours. Advanced reservations for the tour made are recommended.


91 Bartlett Park Road, Middlesboro, KY 40965


Open at all times.


No fee.

List of National Parks in Virginia

  1. Appalachian National Scenic Trail
  2. Appomattox National Court House National Historic Park
  3. Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial
  4. Assateague Island National Seashore
  5. Blue Ridge Parkway
  6. Booker T. Washington National Monument
  7. Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park
  8. Colonial National Historical Park
  9. Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
  10. Fort Monroe National Monument
  11. Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park
  12. George Washington Birthplace National Monument
  13. George Washington Memorial Parkway
  14. Great Falls National Park
  15. Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
  16. Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site
  17. Manassas National Battlefield Park
  18. Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail
  19. Petersburg National Battlefield Park
  20. Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail
  21. Prince William Forest Park
  22. Richmond National Battlefield Park
  23. Shenandoah National Park
  24. Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts

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