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Sports of all stripes have a home in Virginia – whether you are here to play or watch players in action, there’s always fun to be had. The state is home to a number of semi-professional and development league teams. The Appalachian League fields storied rookie-class minor league baseball teams – the league was founded in 1911 – and you can see the boys of summer play for the Bluefield Blue Jays, the Bristol Pirates, the Pulaski Yankees, and the Danville Braves.
The Lynchburg Hillcats play in the Carolina League, as do the Salem Red Sox and the Potomac Nationals. The Norfolk Tides play International League baseball, and the Richmond Flying Squirrels play ball in the Eastern League.
Dodgeball fans will not want to miss seeing the Virginia Rampage in action, and the Richmond Elite play with the American Basketball Association. Indoor football fans can see the Richmond Raiders kick and throw toward the end zone.
Ice hockey has a loyal following, and the Norfolk Admirals and Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs are outstanding clubs. The Northern Virginia Eagles play in the USA Rugby League. Soccer fans can see play in the W-League, Premier Development League, and United Soccer League – teams to beat include the Hampton Roads Piranhas, the Northern Virginia Royals, and the Richmond Kickers.
College sports are huge in Virginia! The George Mason Patriots have major baseball, basketball, soccer, swimming, volleyball, and track and field teams. Hampton University’s Pirates field men’s and women’s basketball, cross country, tennis, and track and field teams, plus men’s football and co-ed sailing. The James Madison Dukes sponsor baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, and lacrosse teams. Longwood University’s Lancers play baseball, basketball, cross country, and golf. The Old Dominion Monarchs field 18 teams – you can see lively football action plus lacrosse, swimming, diving, wrestling, tennis, and soccer.
Virginia is golf country, and there are dozens of award-winning courses to play on. The state’s top-ranked course is Kinloch in Manakin – it offers fantastic play on double fairways with tons of alternate routes. Other top-tier courses include The Olde Farm in Bristol, Robert Trent Jones in Gainesville, The Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, and The Highland at Primland in Meadows of Dan.
Tennis can be played year-round along the coast and in Southern Virginia – bring your racket and head to Bayville Farms, Kempsville, Owl Creek, and Bayside when you are in Virginia Beach. In Northern Virginia you can play at Fairfax Racket Club, Four Seasons Tennis Club, Regency Sport and Health Club, and the Mount Vernon Racket Club.
Are you a fan of motor racing? Virginia is a veritable hotbed of racing action. Martinsville is as big as they get – this fabled track hosts NASCAR races on its half-mile track – the shortest circuit in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Langley Speedway is a NASCAR-sanctioned track which hosts Whelen All-American series races, and Motor Mile Speedway in Fairlawn is a reginal favorite for exciting racing. The Virginia International Raceway is a natural-terrain track stretching more than three miles. South Boston Speedway is a short track which hosts NASCAR events, including the Camping World East series. 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. Other major tracks include Winchester Speedway, Shenandoah Speedway, Southside Speedway, Richmond Raceway, and Lonesome Pine Raceway.
Virginia is home to beautiful mountains, and come winter, skiers can take advantage of the snowy slopes. Bryce Resort is just two hours from the Washington, D.C. metro area, and Massanutten has 1,155 vertical feet of skiing – the most in the state. The Omni Homestead has slopes just perfect for beginners, while Wintergreen has 25 trails and a gorgeous mountain-top location. Ski fever hit you in the middle of summer? No worries – Liberty Snowflex in Lynchburg has skiing and terrain parks which take place on an artificial sliding surface – there are few spots quite like it in the world!
Surfers will find miles of uncrowded waves to carve – top spots include Virginia Beach, Assateague Island, and Croatan. Kayakers can find exciting whitewater and calm backwaters on the Appomattox River, inland from Assateague Island, in Back Bay, around Rocky Mount, and in Bassett’s Goose Point Park.
Mountain bikers will hundreds of miles of excellent trails in the state – top destinations include Carvin’s Cove near Roanoke, Liberty Mountain near Lynchburg, along the James River near Richmond, and York River State Park north of Williamsburg.
So, whether your idea of sports is watching spirited college football or sailing across smooth single-track, you’ll find plenty of opportunities just waiting for you in Virginia – suit up and come on over!