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Pack your bags and get set for thrills when you head to Virginia – this diverse state offers tons of fun and great attractions. Ready for some big-time excitement? Virginia has a great collection of amusement parks to keep everyone in your family happy.
The biggest amusement park in the state is Kings Dominion in Doswell. It spans 400 acres and is home to more than 60 rides and attractions, including 12 roller coasters. Just 20 miles north of Richmond, you could easily spend a day here. The kids love the rides in Planet Snoopy, and everyone likes to get scared in the fall at Halloween HAUNT. When it’s time to cool down, head to Soak City, a water park with three pools and tons of slides and inner tube rides.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg is barely an hour northwest of Virginia Beach and its rides are built to match the themes of European countries. Head to hamlets like San Marco, representing Italy, and Heatherdowns – that would be the United Kingdom – to stand by red phone booths and ride a train through the countryside. Along the way you can hop on swinging ships, hold on for a teacup ride, and strap in for one roller coaster which goes 60 mph in reverse!
Virginia’s largest family water park is Water Country USA in Williamsburg. There are 17 rides here, including Big Daddy Falls, Hubba-Hubba Highway, and Aquazoid, plus plenty of pools and a lazy river. Still in Williamsburg, Go-Karts Plus has mini-golf, blaster boats, bumper cars, and more. In Alexandria, Cameron Run has water slides and batting cages, and in Sudley, Splashdown Waterpark keeps the summer cool with tall slides and big pools.
Virginia’s incredible history is very well preserved, and one of the unique historical attractions you can enjoy in the state are re-enactments. Here, men in women don period dress and period accents to recreate historic battles. More major Civil War battles took place in Virginia than in any other state, and there are plenty of re-enactments to see each year – and there are even a few Revolutionary War re-enactments, too. The Town of Buchanan Civil War History Weekend is held each April, while Mount Vernon’s Revolutionary War Weekend goes on in May. The Battle of Bristoe Station in is staged each October, and the Battle of Hampton Roads goes on for two days in March. Chesapeake Bay each November is the scene of the Civil War Re-enactment at Locust Grove.
Virginia has a great stretch of coastline, and the beaches here are some of the most popular in America. Take your pick from the open Atlantic or the calmer waters of Chesapeake Bay, then pack your sunglasses and your beach towel!
Virginia Beach is one of the biggest on the coast – it’s a full-size city with miles of sandy beach. Virginia Beach proper is decidedly urban – big hotels and condos rise at the edge of the sand and just inland you’ll find boardwalks, amusement parks, restaurants, bars, and clubs. Down the coast the crowds thin out and nature takes over. Sandbridge is much quieter, with vacation homes lining the beach and golf courses just inland. South of Sandbridge you hit Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park – wildlife flock here and access is more difficult, but totally worth it.
Hop on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and head 17.5 miles across open water to Virginia’s Eastern Shore. This rural peninsula has charming small towns and miles of backcountry beaches, many of which can only be accessed by boat. Intrepid travelers can visit beaches on Cobb Island, Hog Island, and the Metompkin Islands. Chincoteague Island is a major destination for fans of remote islands and ponies – wild horses here swim across the bay, and the nearby Assateague Lighthouse marks Assateague Island, home to wild waves and great surfing.
Chesapeake Bay’s immense size means there are plenty of beaches to explore. On the Delmarva Peninsula, everyone’s favorite is Cape Charles, though other good spots include Silver Beach, Smith Beach, and Kiptopeke. In Hamptons, Buckroe Beach is a locals’ favorite – it has plenty of amenities and great views. Grandview Nature Preserve and Plum Island National Wildlife Refuge are waterside destinations for birds and humans alike. To the north, Bethel Beach has island-worthy white sands, and those with a map and a nose for adventure can find calm waters and sandy beaches all the way up to Maryland.
Auto racing has a home in Virginia, and thousands of people come here every year to watch races and partake in races of their own. Perhaps the biggest name in racing in the region is Martinsville – this legendary spot hosts NASCAR races on its half-mile track, which is the shortest circuit in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The Virginia International Raceway is a natural-terrain track stretching more than three miles – there are straightaways, tight turns, and wide sweeping curves.
Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway in Hampton is a NASCAR-sanctioned track which hosts Whelen All-American series races, and Motor Mile Speedway in Fairlawn is a former NASCAR circuit track which is promising major changes in the near future. South Boston Speedway – SoBo to locals – is a short track which hosts NASCAR events, including the Camping World East series, all of which take place on its .4-mile loop. Drag racers head to the Virginia Motorsports Park in North Dinwiddie, which also has motocross, mud bogs, and room for truck and tractor pulls. Virginia Motor Speedway is a half-mile clay oval which sees a full calendar of events – there are weekly races all spring, summer, and fall. Other major tracks include Winchester Speedway and Shenandoah, which is a 3/8-mile oval asphalt track with a motocross track next door. You can also see local and regional action at Southside Speedway, Richmond Raceway, and Lonesome Pine Raceway.
With so much to see and do in Virginia, you will wonder how to fit it all in!