Anyone who has travelled with children knows just how important it is to make sure your destination offers plenty of fun-filled outdoor activities ideal for families. Cooped up kids with boundless energy are a sure-fire recipe for family squabbles and ruined holidays. Look no further than Virginia for that ideal family vacation spot bursting with enchanting outdoor adventures sure to captivate even the most energetic child.
Take to the Trails
Shenandoah National Park is full of fantastic hiking trails, from easy to challenging. The Stony Man Mountain trail is ideal for families, being only a 1.6-mile round trip with a gain of just 400 feet of elevation to reach the gorgeous views at the summit of Shenandoah’s second-highest mountain. Or hike along the mighty Potomac River and check out the remains of the historic canal system at Great Falls National Park.
Take to two wheels and bike a paved trail. The Virginia Capital Trail runs 52 miles, connecting the first capital of Virginia, Jamestown, with the current capital of Richmond. The W&OD Trail (Washington & Old Dominion) was once a railroad bed, and is now referred to as the skinniest park in Virginia and offers a 45-mile paved route through northern Virginia.
Soar Above the Earth
Kids can conquer great heights and speed above the earth on one of many ziplines and adventure parks. Iron Pony Adventure Park in Chincoteague Island’s newest attraction for family fun. Climb to new heights and experience the thrill of 30+ aerial obstacles on 2 full levels. Or take yourself to the edge and try the pony plunge, a 26-foot-high leap of faith. The Canyon Rim Zipline is a one-of-a-kind adventure located in Breaks Interstate Park on the Virginia-Kentucky border. Spanning along the rim of the Russell Fork River Gorge, the zipline gives riders a birds-eye view and a glimpse of why the gorge is known as the “Grand Canyon of the South.”
Go Below the Earth
Even if it’s raining you can experience the great outdoors in Virginia. Explore one of eight different caverns in Virginia, all found within the Southwest and Shenandoah Valley regions of the Commonwealth. Luray Cavernsis is the largest cavern in the eastern United States. Tours along lighted, paved walkways lead visitors through cathedral-sized rooms with ceilings 10-stories high, towering stone formations, and natural wonders at every turn.
Float on a River
Spend an afternoon with the family leisurely floating down a Virginia waterway. The kids can burn off lots of energy splashing and paddling around, while the adults can let the water do the work and get a well-deserved rest. Of course, if everyone’s up for a thrilling and fast-paced adventure, take the whole family whitewater rafting on the Shenandoah River. For one of the newest ways to navigateanhistoricVirginia river, check out the James River Batteau Company. The tours utilize a specialized vessel called the James River Batteau to navigate the shallow waters for a definite ‘only in Virginia’ experience.
Learn a Little American History
Put the history books away and instead visit some of Virginia’s most incredible historic sites, where the kids can learn through interactive exhibits and activities. At Colonial Williamsburg, the world’s largest living history museum, meet tradespeople using techniques and tools from hundreds of years past. Or head to Jamestown Settlement to participate in navigational and piloting demonstrations aboard replicas of the first settlers’ ships and see what life was like aboard a 17th-century ocean voyage.
Get Personal with Nature
Head to a you-pick farm or orchard, like Carter Mountain Orchard, to learn about farming practices while gathering fresh fruits and veggies to snack on during your trip. Then learn more about our animal friends when you visit a working farm. Farms like Caromont Farm host goat snuggle sessions where you and your kids can cuddle adorable baby goats, learn about goat farms and the cheese-making process, and purchase fresh goat cheese.
Travel to Virginia is all about spending time with those you love. Plan your trip at virginia.org.