Speak to one of the locals and they'll tell you that Charlottesville is "Mr. Jefferson's Town." Truly, Thomas Jefferson's legacy does indeed shine brightly here. You'll feel his imprint while strolling past the columns of the University of Virginia's Academical Village, or through the vegetable gardens of Monticello. This town bears the mark of other founding fathers, as James Monroe's home, Highland, is also here (and coincidentally, TJ had his hand in Monroe's selection of the property). Still, "C-Ville" is good for more than a stroll down historical memory lane — just take a look at the youthful, diverse population as proof. You'll find hip coffee shops and hookah lounges, and an outdoor pavilion space that hosts up-and-coming indie music talent each summer. In other words, this central Virginia city encourages you to embrace both its heritage and its forward-thinking movement. Mr. Jefferson wouldn't have it any other way.
Richmond is definitely a paradox. American history buffs celebrate it as a pivotal city in our nation's 18th-century fight for independence and our 19th-century fight to remain unified. But 21st-century Richmond is populated with college students, hipsters and young families. You can step back in time at St. John's Church, where re-enactors perform Patrick Henry's infamous, "Give me liberty, or give me death!" speech. Or take a tour of the Virginia State Capitol to see how the city's past continues to shape its future.
One-third affordable party spot for local college kids, one-third haven for families with small kids and one-third renaissance beach town, Virginia Beach is a coastal city that aims to lure beachcombers from Ocean City, the Outer Banks and Myrtle Beach to its own revitalized stretch of East Coast sand and boardwalk. And it's not doing too shabby either. Like those other towns, "VA Beach" offers scenic coastal views, enough sand and sun to keep the kids entertained, and enough affordable nighttime diversions to satisfy unpretentious adults. Sure, the hotels, restaurants and attractions aren't super-luxe, but the point is that here, no one needs them to be. Virginia Beach is for those who want a relaxing good time without any hassle.
For such a historical town, Williamsburg is fairly new. It wasn't until the 20th century that the downtown area of this Virginia Peninsula city was restored. Now you can tread the same steps that our Founding Fathers once took – in fact, in Williamsburg, you just might even find yourself trekking alongside those men (or at least, alongside some talented, costumed interpreters acting out their parts). The area isn't a novelty, though. Instead, Williamsburg and nearby locales like Jamestown and Yorktown are breathing monuments to some of the best-known figures of our colonial history. Patrick Henry, George Washington, John Smith, Pocahontas and more – and they all receive their due.
Best Places to Visit in the USA