15 Best Virginia National Parks To Visit For Outdoor Lovers

shenandoah national park, virginia national parks
The Virginia Shenandoah National Park

Virginia is home to a diverse range of national parks that showcase the state’s natural beauty and rich history–from the mountains to the oceans white with foam (aka, the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Atlantic coastline). 

There are a lot of unique landscapes and cultural heritage to be found in the Old Dominion.

Having lived here in Virginia all my life, I have had the opportunity to visit many of these national parks and enjoy what the East Coast has to offer.

So, this guide will be for highlighting the best national parks in the state of Virginia–their natural features, recreational activities, visitor centers and facilities, as well as accommodations and camping.

Here are a few of the best Virginia national parks to visit, just to name a few: the Shenandoah National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Colonial National Historical Park, Appalachian National Scenic Trail, and First Landing State Park.

Below, I’ll go into more detail on each as well as cover the other 10 must-do national parks. 

We’ll also cover travel tips and planning, conservation and preservation efforts, and frequently asked questions.

Let’s get to it!

Related Reading: Best Resorts In The Shenandoah Valley

Key Takeaways

  • Virginia’s national parks offer a diverse range of landscapes and heritage sites, like the Shenandoah National Park, Colonial National Historical Park, and Manassas National Battlefield Park.
  • The National Park Service is committed to the conservation and preservation of the parks and their wildlife. You can help with this by adhering to the Leave No Trace principles.
  • The Virginia national parks provide a range of educational programs, events, and experiences around nature, history, and the arts.
shenandoah national park in virginia
Shenandoah National Park In Virginia

Best Virginia National Parks

Virginia boasts a wide variety of national parks, including scenic trails, historic monuments, and natural wonders. Here are some of the best Virginia national parks to visit:

1 – Shenandoah National Park

If you only have time to visit one national park in Virginia, Shenandoah National Park should be at the top of your list.

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this park features stunning vistas, waterfalls, and fields of wildflowers. The park also has a lot of wildlife, including deer and black bears.

One of the best ways to explore the park is by taking a scenic drive along Skyline Drive, which offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

With over 500 miles of hiking trails, Shenandoah National Park is also a great place to go camping and experience the great outdoors.

Visitor Centers, Museums, & Facilities

Shenandoah National Park has two visitor centers throughout the park and a mobile visitor center.

Recreational Activities

Visitors to Shenandoah National Park can enjoy recreational activities like hiking, attending ranger programs, and driving along the scenic Skyline Drive.

Accommodations and Camping Options

The park offers various accommodation options, including camping, cottages, and lodging at different locations throughout the park, depending on preferences and needs.

Cultural Attractions and Natural Features

Shenandoah National Park features cultural attractions and natural features such as historic lodges, waterfalls, and wildlife viewing, making it a Virginia treasure known for its picturesque beauty and outdoor experiences.

2 – Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic drive that winds its way through the Blue Ridge Mountains, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

This parkway is a popular destination for road trippers, with plenty of opportunities to stop and take in the scenery along the route.

The parkway also offers access to a number of hiking trails and other outdoor activities.

Visitor Centers, Museums, & Facilities

The Blue Ridge Parkway offers several visitor centers and facilities along its route, providing opportunities for rest, information, and scenic views.

Recreational Activities

Recreational activities along the Blue Ridge Parkway include hiking, picnicking, wildlife viewing, and scenic drives.

Accommodations and Camping Options

Accommodations and camping options along the Blue Ridge Parkway include campgrounds, lodges, and cabins, offering opportunities for overnight stays amidst the picturesque area.

Cultural Attractions and Natural Features

The Blue Ridge Parkway is renowned for its cultural attractions and natural features, including historic sites, scenic overlooks, and diverse flora and fauna, making it a popular destination for experiencing the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

prince william forest park, national park in virginia
Prince William Forest Park

3 – Prince William Forest Park

Prince William Forest Park, located in Virginia, is a national park known for its serene environment. It covers 15,000 wooded acres and offers camping, hiking, and wildlife exploration.

The park has a rich cultural heritage and history that dates back to its establishment in 1936.

It provides a peaceful retreat near Washington, D.C., despite its proximity to Interstate 95.

Visitors can enjoy the park’s mature hardwood forest, springs, creeks, and ponds that provide habitat for woodland birds and other wildlife. 

Visitor Centers, Museums, & Facilities

Prince William Forest Park offers a visitor center providing information, exhibits, and a bookstore, serving as a hub for visitors of the park.

Recreational Activities

Recreational activities at Prince William Forest Park include hiking, bicycling, camping, fishing, and ranger-led programs.

Accommodations and Camping Options

Accommodation and camping options at Prince William Forest Park include cabin camping and backcountry camping.

Cultural Attractions and Natural Features

The park features extensive nature trails, an abandoned mine, and numerous sites of cultural, geological, and historical interest. It has ample cultural attractions and natural features to explore.

4 – Manassas National Battlefield Park

Manassas National Battlefield Park is a historic site that played a key role in the Civil War. Thusly, the park has several historic buildings, monuments, hiking trails, and other outdoor activities.

Visitors can explore the park’s many exhibits and learn about the history of the Civil War in Virginia.

Visitor Centers, Museums, & Facilities

The Henry Hill Visitor Center at Manassas National Battlefield Park has an area with information, exhibits, and a bookstore for visitors.

Recreational Activities

Recreational activities at the park include hiking, ranger-led programs, and exploring the historic battlefield.

Accommodations and Camping Options

Manassas National Battlefield Park does not offer accommodations or camping options within the park itself, but there are lodging options nearby.

Cultural Attractions and Natural Features

The park’s cultural attractions and natural features include historic structures, interpretive trails, and preserved landscapes.

great falls national park in virginia
Great Falls National Park In Virginia

5 – Great Falls National Park

Great Falls Park is a small National Park Service site that offers stunning views of the Potomac River.

The park’s main attraction is the falls, which cascade over the rocks down through the Mather Gorge.

Visitors can explore the park’s many hiking trails and learn about the region’s early history.

Visitor Centers, Museums, & Facilities

Great Falls Park has a visitor center that provides information and exhibits about the park’s geology, history, and recreational opportunities.

Recreational Activities

Recreational activities at Great Falls Park include hiking, picnicking, rock climbing, and birdwatching.

Accommodations and Camping Options

Great Falls Park does not offer accommodations or camping options within the park, but there are various lodging options in the vicinity.

Cultural Attractions and Natural Features

The park’s cultural attractions and natural features include extraordinary views of the Potomac River and Great Falls. The park also has 15 miles of hiking trails and opportunities for wildlife viewing.

6 – Colonial National Historical Park

Colonial National Historical Park is a historic site that offers a peek into Virginia’s colonial past. The park has a number of historic sites and exhibits, including Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America.

Visitors can explore the park’s many exhibits and learn about the history of Virginia.

Visitor Centers, Museums, & Facilities

Colonial National Historical Park encompasses two visitor centers, offering exhibits, information, and orientation for visitors to explore America’s colonial history.

Recreational Activities

Recreational activities at Colonial National Historical Park include guided tours, living history demonstrations, and exploring historic sites, providing an immersive experience of America’s colonial past.

Accommodations and Camping Options

While Colonial National Historical Park does not offer accommodations or camping options within the park, there are various hotel options available in the nearby area.

Cultural Attractions and Natural Features

The park’s cultural attractions and natural features include historic Jamestown, Yorktown Battlefield, and the scenic Colonial Parkway.

cumberland gap national historical park, national parks in virginia
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

7 – Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park played a key role in the westward expansion of the United States. The park has numerous historic buildings, exhibits, nature trails, and other outdoor activities.

Visitor Centers, Museums, & Facilities

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park has a visitor center that offers information, exhibits, and orientation for visitors to explore the park’s history, wildlife, and geology.

Recreational Activities

Recreational activities at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park include 85 miles of trails, caves, and camping under the stars.

Accommodations and Camping Options

The park offers camping at Wilderness Road Campground in addition to backcountry camping. Accommodations at the historic Hensley Settlement are also offered.

Cultural Attractions and Natural Features

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park’s cultural attractions and natural features include the historic Hensley Settlement, diverse wildlife, unique geologic formations, and wonderful vistas.

8 – Fort Monroe National Monument

Fort Monroe National Monument is a historic site that was integral in the Civil War as the fort was used as a military base during the war.

Visitors can explore the fort’s many exhibits and learn about the history of the area.

Visitor Centers, Museums, & Facilities

Fort Monroe National Monument offers a Visitor and Education Center, serving as a starting point for visitors to learn about the history of the fort.

Recreational Activities

The park provides recreational activities such as walking, biking, swimming, and boating. It is also a stone’s throw away from Buckroe Beach Park.

Accommodations and Camping Options

Fort Monroe National Monument does have on-site RV and tent camping options through the Colonies RV Travel Park & Country Store. There are also various lodging options available in the nearby areas for visitors.

Cultural Attractions and Natural Features

The cultural attractions and natural features at Fort Monroe National Monument include the historic fort, public beach access, and a rich cultural and natural landscape.

cedar creek and belle grove national historical park, national park in virginia
Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park

9 – Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park

Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park also has several historic sites and exhibits, including Cedar Creek Battlefield from the Civil War. 

Visitor Centers, Museums, & Facilities

Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park features the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation (CCBF) Museum and Visitor Center. It offers exhibits, the Belle Grove Plantation, and the Cedar Creek Battlefield.

Recreational Activities

Recreational activities at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park include hiking, birdwatching, and exploring historic sites.

Accommodations and Camping Options

While the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park does not offer on-site accommodations or camping options, there are alternative lodging options in the surrounding areas.

Cultural Attractions and Natural Features

The park’s cultural attractions and natural features include the historic Belle Grove Plantation, the Cedar Creek Battlefield, and miles of rolling hills in northwest Virginia.

10 – Appalachian National Scenic Trail

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is the longest hiking trail in the world, stretching over 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine.

Virginia’s section of the trail covers over 500 miles, making it a popular destination for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Visitor Centers, Museums, & Facilities

The Appalachian Trail in Virginia does not have a specific visitor center, but hikers can obtain information and resources from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia or through various trailside kiosks and shelters.

Recreational Activities

Recreational activities along the Appalachian Trail in Virginia include hiking, backpacking, birdwatching, and nature photography.

Accommodations and Camping Options

Accommodations and camping options along the Appalachian Trail in Virginia include a variety of shelters, designated campsites, and backcountry camping areas, providing options for overnight stays along the trail.

Cultural Attractions and Natural Features

The cultural attractions and natural features along the Appalachian Trail in Virginia encompass scenic overlooks, unique rock formations, and diverse ecosystems.

wolf trap national park, virginia national parks
Wolf Trap National Park

11 – Wolf Trap National Park

Wolf Trap National Park is a unique park offering plenty of cultural and natural attractions.

The park is home to outdoor performance spaces, hiking trails, and other outdoor activities.

Visitors can enjoy a variety of entertainment, from concerts to theater performances.

Visitor Centers, Museums, & Facilities

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts does not have a specific visitor center or museum. However, it does have facilities such as the Filene Center and The Barns at Wolf Trap, which host different performing arts events and concerts.

Recreational Activities

Recreational activities at Wolf Trap National Park include live performances, educational programs, and workshops centered around diverse forms of performing arts in a picturesque outdoor setting.

Accommodations and Camping Options

While Wolf Trap National Park does not offer accommodations or camping options, there are various lodging options available in the surrounding areas for visitors attending performances and events at the park.

Cultural Attractions and Natural Features

The park’s cultural attractions and natural features include the Filene Center, The Barns at Wolf Trap, and the beautiful outdoor setting.

12 – George Washington Memorial Parkway

The George Washington Memorial Parkway is a scenic drive winding through Virginia and Maryland, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

The parkway has several historic sites, monuments, hiking trails, and other outdoor activities.

Visitor Centers, Museums, & Facilities

The George Washington Memorial Parkway does not have a specific visitor center, but it provides scenic overlooks, picnic areas, and trails for visitors to enjoy.

Recreational Activities

Recreational activities along the George Washington Memorial Parkway include biking, hiking, picnicking, and birdwatching.

Accommodations and Camping Options

The parkway does not offer accommodations or camping options, but there are various lodging options available in the nearby areas.

Cultural Attractions and Natural Features

The cultural attractions and natural features along the George Washington Memorial Parkway include historic sites, scenic views of the Potomac River, and diverse wildlife.

assateague island national seashore, virginia parks
Horses at Assateague Island National Seashore

13 – Assateague Island National Seashore

Assateague Island National Seashore is a unique park that offers a collection of natural attractions.

The park is known for its many wild horses that roam freely on the island.

Visitors can also enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, and fishing.

Visitor Centers, Museums, & Facilities

Assateague Island National Seashore features the Assateague Island Visitor Center, providing information, exhibits, and orientation for visitors to explore.

Recreational Activities

Recreational activities at Assateague Island National Seashore include beachcombing, birdwatching, kayaking, and wildlife viewing.

Accommodations and Camping Options

The park offers camping options at the Bayside and Oceanside Campgrounds and backcountry camping.

Cultural Attractions and Natural Features

Assateague Island National Seashore’s cultural attractions and natural features include wild horses, pristine beaches, maritime forests, and diverse wildlife.

14 – False Cape State Park

False Cape State Park is nestled between Back Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, making it one of the last remaining undeveloped areas along the Atlantic coast.

The park features miles of trails through forests, wetlands, and beaches, offering a unique nature experience.

It includes hiking and biking trails, a visitors’ center, environmental educational facilities, and primitive camping options.

With six miles of unspoiled beaches in an ocean-to-freshwater bay habitat, the park also features dunes, woodland, and farm fields.

Visitor Centers, Museums, & Facilities

False Cape State Park does not have a specific visitor center or museum, but it offers facilities such as guided kayak trips, interpretive programs, and hiking and biking trails.

Recreational Activities

Recreational activities at False Cape State Park include guided kayak trips, hiking and biking trails, and 6 miles of pristine Atlantic Ocean beach.

Accommodations and Camping Options

False Cape State Park offers accommodations in the form of primitive camping.

Cultural Attractions and Natural Features

The park’s cultural attractions and natural features include unspoiled beaches, dunes, woodland, farm fields, and an ocean-to-freshwater bay habitat.

first landing state park, virginia state parks
First Landing State Park | Virginia State Parks

15 – First Landing State Park

First Landing State Park, located in Virginia Beach, is a 2,888-acre park known for its diverse ecosystems, including beaches, dunes, maritime forests, freshwater ponds, and marshes.

It offers 20 miles of trails for hiking and biking, as well as 1.5 miles of sandy Chesapeake Bay beachfront.

Visitors can enjoy various recreational activities such as swimming, boating, and fishing.

The park also provides educational programs and facilities for camping, making it a popular destination for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers. 

Visitor Centers, Museums, & Facilities

First Landing State Park offers a visitor center with exhibits and a gift shop, providing information and resources for visits.

Recreational Activities

Recreational activities at First Landing State Park include hiking, biking, swimming, boating, and interpretive programs.

Accommodations and Camping Options

The park offers accommodations in the form of cabins, yurts, and camping sites, providing visitors with unique options for overnight stays.

Cultural Attractions and Natural Features

First Landing State Park’s cultural attractions and natural features include 1.5 miles of sandy Chesapeake Bay beach frontage, lagoons, cypress trees, and rare plants.

Virginia Park Travel Tips and Planning

When visiting Virginia’s national parks, planning is essential to make the most of your experience. Here are some travel tips and planning suggestions to ensure a great visit:

  1. Research and Choose Your Parks: Virginia is home to many national parks, each offering unique landscapes and attractions. Research the parks, such as Shenandoah National Park or Prince William Forest Park, to determine which ones align with your interests.
  2. Check Park Websites: Before your trip, visit the official websites of the national parks you plan to visit. This will provide valuable information on park hours, entrance fees, trail maps, and any alerts or advisories.
  3. Pack Accordingly: Depending on the park you choose, pack appropriate gear such as hiking boots, water bottles, sunscreen, insect repellent, and weather-appropriate clothing. Be prepared for outdoor activities and varying terrain.
  4. Reserve Accommodations in Advance: If you plan to stay overnight, consider booking campsites or lodging well in advance, especially during peak seasons. Many parks offer camping facilities, cabins, and lodges for visitors.
  5. Follow Leave No Trace Principles: Help preserve the natural beauty of the parks by following Leave No Trace principles. Respect wildlife, stay on designated trails, and properly dispose of waste to minimize your environmental impact.
  6. Be Mindful of Wildlife: Virginia’s national parks are home to diverse wildlife. Be mindful of your surroundings, maintain a safe distance from animals, and refrain from feeding or disturbing them.
  7. Stay Informed About Park Regulations: Familiarize yourself with park regulations regarding activities such as hiking, fishing, and boating. Certain areas may have specific rules to ensure visitor safety and environmental conservation.
  8. Explore Nearby Attractions: Consider exploring attractions near the national parks, such as historic sites, scenic drives, and local dining options. Virginia offers a wealth of cultural and natural experiences beyond the parks themselves.

For more detailed information about planning your trip, you can also visit the National Park Service website for comprehensive trip planning resources.

shenandoah national park, virginia national park
A Shenandoah National Park Overlook

History and Significance of Virginia National Parks

As a state rich in American history, Virginia has many national parks that are significant to the country’s past.

These parks offer visitors a glimpse into the colonial and revolutionary period, the Civil War, and the lives of important historical figures.

Here’s an overview of the history and significance of Virginia National Parks, honing in on the most notable sites.

Colonial and Revolutionary War Sites

Virginia played a crucial role in founding the United States, and the national parks here reflect that history.

The Colonial National Historical Park in Yorktown preserves the site where the British surrendered to the American forces in 1781 and ended the Revolutionary War.

Another notable site is the Jamestown National Historic Site, which marks the location of the first permanent English settlement in the United States.

Visitors can explore the fort, watch demonstrations of colonial life, and learn about the interactions between the Native Americans and the English settlers.

Civil War Battlefields

Virginia was also the site of numerous Civil War battles, and several national parks regularly commemorate these events.

The Manassas National Battlefield Park is where the first major battle of the Civil War took place. Visitors, here, can explore the battlefield and learn about the strategies and tactics used by both sides.

The Appomattox Court House National Historical Park is another significant site, where General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant, ending the Civil War.

Historic Figures and Monuments

A number of Virginia national parks honor important historic figures.

The Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site commemorates the life and achievements of the first female bank president in the United States. Visitors can tour her home and learn about her contributions to civil rights and women’s empowerment.

The George Washington Birthplace National Monument, located in Westmoreland County, preserves the site where the first President of the United States was born.

There, visitors can explore the farm and learn about Washington’s early life.

shenandoah national park, virginia national parks
The Shenandoah Valley & Blue Ridge Mountains

Natural Landscapes and Wildlife in Virginia

As a nature lover, I find Virginia’s national parks to be a treasure trove of beautiful scenery and wildlife. The state has a variety of landscapes, from the Appalachian Mountains to the coastal areas.

Mountain Ranges

The Appalachian Mountains run through Virginia, and the Blue Ridge Mountains are a significant part of it. These mountains are a hotspot for hikers, bikers, and outdoor enthusiasts.

The Shenandoah National Park is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains and is home to over 200,000 acres of protected wilderness. And, the park has over 500 miles of hiking trails, including the famous Appalachian Trail, which runs through 14 states.

Coastal Areas

Virginia also has some of the most lovely beaches and coastal areas.

The Chincoteague and Assateague Island National Seashores are located on the eastern shore of Virginia.

These areas are known for their pristine beaches, salt marshes, and wild ponies. Visitors can enjoy swimming, kayaking, fishing, and bird watching in these areas.

Wildlife Refuges

Virginia has several wildlife refuges where you’ll find a variety of animals, including migratory birds, deer, and bears.

The Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is located on the eastern shore of Virginia and is home to over 300 species of birds.

The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is located in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. At this refuge are black bears, bobcats, and river otters.

virginia conservation presentation, national parks in virginia
A Conservation Presentation at the Shenandoah National Park

Virginia Conservation and Preservation Efforts

Virginia places a great focus on the conservation and preservation of the environment and wildlife.

The National Park Service and its partners work to protect Virginia’s natural and cultural resources for future generations to enjoy.

Here are some of the efforts that are taking place in Virginia’s national parks.

National Historic Sites

Virginia has several National Historic Sites, including the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, the Booker T. Washington National Monument, and the George Washington Birthplace National Monument.

The National Park Service works to preserve these sites by conducting research, maintaining historic structures, and providing interpretive programs for visitors.

Wildlife Protection

Virginia’s national parks are home to a diverse array of wildlife, including black bears, bobcats, and bald eagles.

The National Park Service protects these animals and their habitats by conducting research, monitoring populations, and implementing management strategies.

Visitors can help protect wildlife by following park regulations, such as keeping a safe distance from animals and properly disposing of trash.

Trail Maintenance

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, which stretches over 2,000 miles from Maine to Georgia, passes through Virginia’s national parks.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, in partnership with the National Park Service, works to maintain and protect the trail. This includes repairing and building trail infrastructure, monitoring trail conditions, and educating visitors on Leave No Trace principles.

Visitors can help protect the trail by staying on designated trails and properly disposing of waste.

george washington memorial parkway, national park in virginia
Potomac River as Seen From the George Washington Memorial Parkway

Virginia National Parks Visitor Information

Here’s some visitor information about the national parks in Virginia that you need to know before you go.

Park Facilities

All of Virginia’s national parks offer a variety of facilities to make your visit more comfortable.

Most parks have visitor centers where you can get maps, brochures, and information about the park’s history and ecology.

Some parks also have campgrounds where you can spend the night and enjoy the park’s natural beauty after dark.

Guided Tours

If you’re interested in learning more about the parks, consider taking a guided tour.

Many parks offer ranger-led tours that cover everything from the park’s geology to its wildlife. And, some parks also offer guided hikes that take you to the park’s most scenic spots.

Accessibility

All of Virginia’s national parks are committed to making their facilities and programs accessible to visitors with disabilities.

Many parks have accessible trails, restrooms, and parking areas. Additionally, some parks offer special programs for visitors with disabilities.

shenandoah national park tour, best national parks in virginia
A Shenandoah National Park Tour

Park Events and Educational Opportunities

Most of the Virginia national parks offer different events, entertainment, and educational opportunities for visitors. Here are a few highlights.

Cultural Festivals

Of the various cultural festivals held in Virginia National Parks, one such is the Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival.

It’s held annually in May at Sandy Point State Park and features blues music, food, and craft vendors. It is an excellent opportunity to take in the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay while enjoying great music and food.

Historical Reenactments

If you are a history buff, you will not want to miss the historical reenactments held at Fort Monroe National Monument.

These reenactments bring to life the past of this old military installation. Visitors can witness demonstrations of military drills, musket firing, and other activities of yesteryear.

The fort also has a museum that tells the history of the fort and the surrounding area.

Educational Programs

Virginia National Parks offer a variety of educational programs for visitors of all ages.

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts offers a range of programs that celebrate the performing arts.

Visitors can attend concerts, dance performances, and other events that showcase the talents of local and national artists.

The park also offers educational programs for children, like music and theater workshops.

In addition to these specific programs, Virginia National Parks offer a wealth of educational opportunities about the natural environment and history of the area for visitors to enjoy.

blue ridge parkway in virginia, national parks in virginia
Mabry Mill as Seen Along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Nearby Attractions

Virginia’s national parks have a variety of attractions nearby that are worth exploring. Here are some of my favorite nearby attractions that you can visit during your trip.

Washington D.C. Landmarks

Washington D.C. is just a short drive away from some of Virginia’s national parks. And, D.C. itself has a plethora of landmarks and attractions that are worth visiting.

From the White House to the Lincoln Memorial, there are many opportunities for sightseeing and exploration.

If you’re interested in history, I highly recommend visiting the Smithsonian National Museum of American History or the National Museum of Natural History.

Both museums are free to enter and explore the history and culture of the United States.

Surrounding State Parks

In addition to Virginia’s national parks, there are also parks in nearby states that are worth exploring.

Maryland and North Carolina both have state parks with hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities.

Another popular state park near Virginia is Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Located in West Virginia, this park offers a glimpse into the history of the Civil War and the abolitionist movement. Additionally, opportunities for hiking and rafting are available at the park.

shenandoah national park, virginia parks
The Shenandoah National Park

Wrap Up

As you’ve read, Virginia is home to some of the most beautiful and historic national parks in the United States. 

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a theme park junkie, but national parks are just as fascinating to visit. They’re a great way to detach from hustling society, enjoy the natural beauty of nature, learn something new, and just breathe.

And, Virginia is my favorite state, and arguably the best state, to enjoy national parks because of the wide variety you get. Maritime forests, mountains and valleys, American history… Virginia National Parks have a lot to offer.

I highly recommend taking the time to explore these parks and learn more about the fascinating stories they have to tell!

So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to explore the Old Dominion!

For more Virginia travel guides, you can also check out:

​Thanks for reading!

Virginia National Parks FAQs

How many national parks are in Virginia?

Virginia has 22 national parks throughout the state.

What is the most visited National Park in Virginia?

Shenandoah National Park is the most visited national park in Virginia, with over 1.4 million visitors annually.

What is the largest National Park in Virginia?

Shenandoah National Park is the largest national park in Virginia, covering over 200,000 acres.

What are the unique features of Shenandoah National Park?

Shenandoah National Park is known for its scenic Skyline Drive, which runs the length of the park and offers stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The park is also home to over 500 miles of hiking trails, including a section of the famous Appalachian Trail and the Shenandoah Valley.

What is the least visited state park in Virginia?

False Cape State Park is the least visited state park in Virginia, with only around 20,000 visitors annually. It’s a hidden gem!

What is the most popular park in Virginia?

Virginia’s most popular park is actually a national historical park–the Colonial National Historical Park, which includes sites such as Jamestown and Yorktown.

Are there any camping facilities available in Virginia’s national parks?

Yes, both Shenandoah National Park and the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park offer camping facilities.

How can one obtain a pass for the national parks in Virginia?

One can obtain a pass for the national parks in Virginia by purchasing an America the Beautiful Pass, which provides access to all national parks and federal recreational lands for a year. The pass can be purchased online or at any national park entrance station.

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