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Shenandoah and Skyline Drive picture in Charlottesville
Steven Heap / Getty Images

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  • Natural Wonders, Sightseeing, Neighborhood/Area Type
  • 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.5
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    4.0
  • Food Scene
    3.0
  • Atmosphere
    5.0

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Just ask any recent, frequent or past visitor, and they'll tell you the same: Taking the leisurely Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Mountains is nothing short of divine. Stretching for 105 miles north and south along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Skyline Drive is the only public road through the 200,000-acre park. When you're not gazing at the Shenandoah Valley, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife: deer, black bears, wild turkeys and a bevy of other woodland animals are known to cross Skyline Drive, which is why the speed limit is only 35 mph. 

Reviewers gushed about simply rolling down the windows and taking in the breathtaking scenery, but they also recommended pulling off the road to admire the view from one of the drive's 75 overlooks. The scores of fans do offer words of caution, however. For one, you'll have a more relaxing trip if you visit on a weekday. Fill your tank before you enter the park, because gas stations are few and far between. And if you want to hike some of the Shenandoah trails, they suggest you visit in fall when the air is crisp and less muggy. Lastly, there is food in the park, but it's park food in every sense. You'll save your taste buds (and your spare change) if you pack your own goodies.

Shenandoah is located about 40 miles northwest of Charlottesville. The park is always open, but various visitor centers, campsites and picnic grounds operate seasonally. Go to the National Park Service's page on Shenandoah for detailed information. Entrance, which is valid for seven consecutive days, costs $20 per car. You'll also want to visit Shenandoah's site for details on Skyline Drive's closures during inclement weather.

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#1 Historic Downtown Mall Charlottesville's popular shops, restaurants and ambiance converge in one main area, known as the Historic Downtown Mall. Located, as you would imagine, on Main Street, this thoroughfare is home ... Read more » Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau

#2 University of Virginia A little trivia for you: Did you know the University of Virginia is the only university in the United States to be designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO? And ... Read more » Stacy Smith / EyeEm / Getty Images

#3 Monticello Monticello is more than just Thomas Jefferson's former living quarters; it's also an architectural masterpiece. First-time visitors are amazed by the majesty of the mansion and the grounds ... Read more » Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau

#4 Shenandoah National Park & Skyline Drive Just ask any recent, frequent or past visitor, and they'll tell you the same: Taking the leisurely Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Mountains is ... Read more » Steven Heap / Getty Images

#5 Carter Mountain Orchard According to recent visitors, fall is the best time to visit Carter Mountain Orchard, and it's not just because it's prime apple-picking season. The sweeping views of Charlottesville ... Read more » Stacy Knighton / Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau

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#7 Jefferson Vineyards Jefferson Vineyards is one of Charlottesville's favorite wineries for several reasons. One, its heritage (commissioned by Thomas Jefferson who donated this part of his land to a viticulturist for ... Read more » Courtesy Jefferson Vineyards

#8 Blenheim Vineyards In 2000, Dave Matthews (of the Dave Matthews Band) and his family purchased some Piedmont region farmland. His original purpose was to preserve its historic significance (it was once the ... Read more » Charlottesville Tourism Board

#9 Michie Tavern Michie Tavern certainly has nostalgia in its favor. Originally erected in the late 1700s in Earlysville, Virginia, this historic landmark was once the hub for that town's passersby, providing ... Read more » Amanda Bennett / Flickr

Historic Downtown Mall  picture in Charlottesville
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Shenandoah and Skyline Drive picture in Charlottesville
Carter Mountain Orchard picture in Charlottesville
Highland picture in Charlottesville
Jefferson Vineyards picture in Charlottesville
Charlottesville Vineyard picture in Charlottesville
Michie Tavern picture in Charlottesville
Historic Downtown Mall  picture in Charlottesville
Mr. Jefferson's University picture in Charlottesville
Monticello in Reflection picture in Charlottesville
Shenandoah and Skyline Drive picture in Charlottesville
Carter Mountain Orchard picture in Charlottesville
Highland picture in Charlottesville
Jefferson Vineyards picture in Charlottesville
Charlottesville Vineyard picture in Charlottesville
Michie Tavern picture in Charlottesville

This popular thoroughfare, on Charlottesville's Main Street, hosts a collection of art galleries, shops and restaurants.  Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau

The University of Virginia (and its gorgeous campus) was founded and designed by Thomas Jefferson in 1819.  Stacy Smith / EyeEm / Getty Images

Jefferson spent approximately 40 years perfecting his beloved home, and he chose to incorporate touches of Italian and Parisian architectural styles into the final design. Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau

Shenandoah's Skyline Drive has several pull-off points from which you can enjoy the scenery. Steven Heap / Getty Images

Some recent visitors said the views alone are worth the trip to Carter Mountain Orchard. Stacy Knighton / Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau

The former home of President James Monroe, Highland, is just 2 miles south of Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. Visitors often like to tour these two properties on the same day. Kevin Thomas / Flickr

The price is right for a tasting at Jefferson Vineyards: It costs just $12 and visitors get to walk away with a free souvenir glass. We'll cheers to that. Courtesy Jefferson Vineyards

Charlottesville Tourism Board

Experience what 18th-century tavern life was like with a visit to Michie Tavern. Amanda Bennett / Flickr

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