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Best Places to Visit in Virginia

U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

"Virginia is for Lovers" is the state's tourism slogan. Mountain lovers, animal lovers, history lovers, wine lovers – you name it, you'll find something to love in Virginia. To help you decide where you should plan a trip, U.S. News weighed factors like attractions, accessibility, accommodations and the input of everyday travelers to select the Best Places to Visit in Virginia. Vote for your favorite Virginia vacation below to help us create next year's ranking.

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#1 Williamsburg

#1 in Best Places to Visit in Virginia

Williamsburg is an engaging historical and family-friendly destination. Colonial Williamsburg transports travelers back in time to experience the 18th century's historic homes, peruse antique wares and soak up the culture. Meanwhile, the city's two amusement parks – Busch Gardens and Water Country USA – attract families with kids looking for some outdoor fun. Read More »

Colonial Williamsburg View 29 photos
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#2 Charlottesville

#2 in Best Places to Visit in Virginia

Home to the prestigious University of Virginia, Charlottesville is a fun getaway for wine lovers and history buffs. Rolling countryside and dozens of wineries and vineyards surround the town, and the area's excellent topography leads to some tasty wine varieties. Visitors should also spend some time along the Historic Downtown Mall and touring Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's former home. Read More »

Spring at Monticello View 21 photos
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#3 Richmond

#3 in Best Places to Visit in Virginia

The capital of Virginia is another town steeped in rich history. Visitors will want to check out American Revolution sites like St. John's Episcopal Church (where Patrick Henry pleaded "Give me liberty, or give me death!") and attractions like the American Civil War Museum. If the weather is warm, head to Kings Dominion for amusement park fun or to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden to admire the blooms. Read More »

Houdon's George Washington View 18 photos
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#4 Jamestown

#4 in Best Places to Visit in Virginia

Outdoor and historical attractions are the highlights of Jamestown. Greensprings Interpretive Trail in Jamestown Festival Park offers 5 miles of hiking and biking opportunities, while Jamestown Settlement offers a look at 17th-century Virginia and the events that paved the way for the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. Travelers should also pop in to the town's Glasshouse to see glassblowing demonstrations and pick up a glass-blown souvenir. 

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#5 Shenandoah National Park

#5 in Best Places to Visit in Virginia

An excellent place to view fall foliage, hike and picnic, Shenandoah National Park stretches across 200,000 acres of protected land in northern Virginia. Skyline Drive is a popular way to see the park – it snakes through the hills and valleys, offering beautiful vantage points and photo opportunities along the way from dozens of different overlooks. Visitors can also take part in ranger programs, which cover everything from birds to meadows.

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#6 Norfolk

#6 in Best Places to Visit in Virginia

A large naval base calls Norfolk home, and as such, the city pays homage to its military past and present. Nauticus, an interactive science and technology museum, is a popular attraction among families and history lovers thanks to its hands-on exhibits and Battleship Wisconsin display. Plus, Naval Station Norfolk offers tours of its complex, where visitors can see the base's massive ships and aircraft.

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#7 Chincoteague

#7 in Best Places to Visit in Virginia

Chincoteague Island welcomes visitors with its scenic, serene coastal beauty and its famous wild ponies. The Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is the main attraction, where you'll spot birds and waterfowl in addition to the wild ponies. Other popular activities here include fishing, boating and biking.

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#8 Abingdon

#8 in Best Places to Visit in Virginia

This town in southwestern Virginia is home to the Barter Theatre, the longest-running professional theater in the U.S., which puts on a variety of performances throughout the year. In addition to catching a show, travelers can sample local beer at Wolf Hills Brewing Co. and explore the great outdoors since Abingdon is surrounded by the towering Blue Ridge Mountains.

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#9 Roanoke

#9 in Best Places to Visit in Virginia

Another city with a Blue Ridge Mountains backdrop, Roanoke features cultural hot spots like art galleries, live music venues, museums and more. Chances are you'll want to explore the scenery on a hike, on a bike or from the water via canoe or kayak. If you prefer a long, relaxing drive, Blue Ridge Parkway allows you to view the landscape from the comfort of your vehicle.

Roanoke
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#10 Mount Vernon

#10 in Best Places to Visit in Virginia

The iconic Mount Vernon is where you'll find the plantation home of the first president of the United States, George Washington. At Mount Vernon, you can walk through the mansion, enjoy a stroll through the gardens, stop in the museum and visit the family's tomb. The attraction also hosts events like tea with Martha Washington and military re-enactments.

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#11 Middleburg

#11 in Best Places to Visit in Virginia

Middleburg is known for its rolling hills and its wine. Numerous wineries surround this town, including the popular Chrysalis Vineyards, Boxwood Estate Winery and Greenhill Winery & Vineyards. Spend a sunny afternoon at one of the vineyards, then head to the Salamander Resort & Spa for a delectable meal or spa treatment.

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#12 Fredericksburg

#12 in Best Places to Visit in Virginia

Fredericksburg & Spotslyvania National Military Park is this Virginia town's claim to fame. Travelers can tour four major battlefields of the Civil War at this site, learning about history through films, exhibits and knowledgeable staff members. Additional Fredericksburg attractions visitors may enjoy include the many historic house museums and A. Smith Bowman Distillery.

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