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Best things to do in Virginia

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Where in the world: USA  /  Virginia
Boasting colorful history and distinct culture, Virginia caters to travelers looking to immerse themselves in American heritage. Some of the most popular things to do in Virginia revolve around its colonial past and America's struggle for independence. Colonial Williamsburg and its 18th-century streets undoubtedly stand among top places to visit in the state. Arlington National Cemetery honors America's fallen soldiers, known and unknown. Bustling Virginia Beach offers a mixture of relaxation and live entertainment--this 5 km (3 mi) stretch of sand is lined with hotels, nightclubs, alfresco restaurants, and oceanfront stages.

Virginia is best known for its Historic Sites, Wineries & Vineyards, and Gardens.

Top 15 things to do in Virginia

1. Monticello, Charlottesville

For an in-depth look at the private life of the third president of the United States, take a behind-the-scenes tour of Monticello. Jefferson built this estate after inheriting land from his father, eventually creating a vast plantation used primarily for cultivation of tobacco and mixed crops. Utilizing slave labor, Jefferson later switched his production from tobacco to wheat. The main house sits on the summit of a 260 m (850 ft) mountain peak, featuring design elements popular in late 18th-century Europe. The surrounding grounds include several historical outbuildings, including a nailery, slave quarters, and rooms Jefferson used for his plant breeding experiments. Check online for upcoming events and available tours.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
Learn more about Monticello

2. Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Williamsburg

Connect with your inner thrill-seeker with a day of fun-filled adventure at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Set on almost 120 hectares (300 acres), the combination zoo and amusement park offers attractions for the whole family, including thrill rides, live shows, and more than 12,000 animals. Take a 112.6 km/h (70 mph) plunge on the floorless dive coaster SheiKra, or ride the Rhino Rally Safari to admire dozens of free-grazing elephants, giraffes, and tigers. Book online to receive discount ticket prices.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
Learn more about Busch Gardens Williamsburg

3. Virginia Beach Boardwalk, Virginia Beach

Walk along the ocean on Virginia Beach Boardwalk, known for its sidewalk performers and restaurants offering alfresco seating and live entertainment. The boardwalk is about 3 mi (5 km) long and 8 m (27 ft) wide, with separate paths for cycling and rollerblading. A major tourist attraction, this concrete boardwalk connects over 40 hotels, nightclubs, and outdoor oceanfront stages, which host live musical acts every night during the warmer months. Along one of the longest beaches in the world, you can explore two amusement parks and several themed play areas. Don't miss a stop at the two boardwalk museums, which chronicle the natural and cultural heritage of Virginia Beach.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $30 › Learn more about Virginia Beach Boardwalk

4. Arlington National Cemetery Tour with Changing of the Guards

FROM $49
Get the most out of Arlington National Cemetery with this 2 hour, guided walking tour. Pay your respects to President John F. Kennedy, view the ceremonial Changing of the Guards at the Tomb of the Unknowns, and learn American history as you visit civil war graves and notable people throughout history. Join a local, expert guide to ensure you see all Arlington Cemetery has to offer.
Suggested duration: 1h 30min - 2h
Tours from $49 › More about this tour at viator.com ›
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5. Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington

Remember the United States' fallen soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery, where casualties and deceased veterans of every U.S. war lie buried. The cemetery covers an area of over 253 hectares (624 acres), and was established in 1864 on an estate that once belonged to the wife of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. The final resting place for nearly 260,000 dead, the cemetery also includes the grave of John F. Kennedy, marked by an eternal flame. Uniformed soldiers protect the graves of unidentified bodies from the wars fought in the 20th century, with a ceremonial changing of the guard every hour. Start your tour at the visitor center, where you can look at informative exhibits and pick up a free map.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
Tours from $20 › Learn more about Arlington National Cemetery

6. Colonial Williamsburg, Williamsburg

Step back in time to the days of the Founding Fathers and the Revolutionary War at Colonial Williamsburg. The interactive, living-history museum--which covers 122 hectares (301 acres)--is actually a network of restored Colonial structures manned by costumed, in-character employees. Ride in a rented horse-drawn carriage down the cobblestone streets past the Governor's Palace and Capitol Building. Walk through Merchants Square, an 18th-century marketplace dotted with original storefronts. Take part in America’s fight for independence during a reenactment of the storming of the Governor's Palace or the march to victory at Yorktown. You can even participate in a trial. Purchase the combined Historic Triangle ticket for discounted entries to Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $426 › Learn more about Colonial Williamsburg

7. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington

The attraction has never been officially named, but it's known as The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier or Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The U.S. soldiers interred here after World War I are all holders of the Medal of Honor, while the foreign nationals are all recipients of the their respective militaries' highest honors. The burial plot was opened in 1921 when the U.S. Congress approved a tomb for an unknown soldier. You can see the changing of the guard ceremony daily. Visit this tomb along with Tomb 31 to honor soldiers from World War I.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $41 › Learn more about The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

8. Washington DC Hop-On Hop-off Trolley Tour with 15 Stops

Likely to sell out FROM $50
Enjoy a 90-minute Hop-on Hop-off panoramic trolley tour of Washington, DC. The tour route will maximize your time and provide you with a great introduction to Washington, DC’s beautiful scenery and rich history. Join us aboard our custom-built Stadium Trolleys featuring stadium seating where every view is a great one. The Trolley will make 15 stops along the tour route. Trolleys come by every half hour. Tour at your own pace while visiting America's most iconic historic locations and make a full day of visiting the Nation's Capital. During the tour you will see major sites, including the White House, Washington Monument, Untied States Capitol Building, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Union Station, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and the Smithsonian Museums just to name a few!
Suggested duration: 1h 30min
Tours from $50 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

9. Dolphin & Whale Watching, Chincoteague Island

Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
Learn more about Dolphin & Whale Watching

10. Historic Jamestowne, Williamsburg

Situated on the banks of the James River, Historic Jamestowne represents the site of the first English colony in North America. You can wander among reconstructed buildings of the original James Fort, which resemble their 17th-century appearance. Dig deeper by exploring the archaeological museum that displays items from the original English colonists, local Native American tribes, and the Africans who called the region home. Facing the river, catch a glimpse of the statue of John Smith, a leader in the development of the Virginia Colony in its early years.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $119 › Learn more about Historic Jamestowne

11. Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly

See site for details.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $600 › Learn more about Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

12. Private Washington DC Tour

Likely to sell out FROM $495
Enjoy a private City Tour catered to places you would like to see! Appreciate the comfort of our luxury vehicles such as multiple large Mercedes Benz Sprinter Vans, White Chrysler Pacifica's or the Black Cadillac Escalade SUV guided by a Professional Tour Guide who will not only explain but make learning historical facts and stories behind each place we visit fun! We look forward to having you join our unique tours and appreciate the architecture, meaning, and historical background of every place we visit! As a small family business we are more than happy to customize or cater to your requests- making options such as seeing the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier a possibility during your time at Arlington Cemetery or visiting Jefferson's Memorial and much more! We can change and edit different Memorial's and Monuments you can experience during your tour with Continental City Tours.
Suggested duration: 4h
Tours from $495 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

13. Jamestown Settlement, Williamsburg

Jamestown Settlement offers a living recreation of the first successful English colony in North America. Located near the actual archaeological Jamestown site, the museum provides an open-air display of replica 17th-century buildings, a fort, and colonial life. You can explore the social history of the settlement through a series of exhibits and galleries, and experience a life-size Powhatan Native American village. To track the journey of the Jamestown colonists to the New World, don't miss the three sailing ships docked in the river. Visit the museum's gift shop for historical-themed souvenirs, hand-made ceramics, jewelry, and glassware.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $426 › Learn more about Jamestown Settlement

15. Day or Night Grand Tour of Washington DC with Stops at 8+ Sites

FROM $59
The Half-Day Grand Sightseeing Tour of Washington DC is your premier sightseeing tour to see all the monuments, museums and memorials located in the Capital area. It has been designed as a comprehensive tour package for first-time or returning visitors who want to get the full picture of the city. You'll be treated to 4hrs of a live narrated bus trip with an experienced and knowledgeable guide. Pass many historic sites including Arlington National Cemetery, Supreme Court, Washington Monument, National Archives, and more. You'll be able to get off the bus and explore 8 major DC attractions. Stop at 8 Attractions: • White House (outside South Front for photos) • US Capitol • Franklin Roosevelt Memorial • Martin Luther King Memorial • Lincoln Memorial • Korean War Memorial • Vietnam Memorial • Nurses Memorial Bonus: Upgrade option available at checkout for those who would like to extend their half day city tour into full day tour to include a visit to Mount Vernon.
Suggested duration: 3h - 4h
Tours from $59 › More about this tour at viator.com ›