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Attractions Across Virginia

Shenandoah Valley Tourist Attractions

Appalachian Trail
Appalachian Trail hiking is part of the Shenandoah National Park
The Shenandoah Valley is a beautiful area of Virginia to visit.

Stretching some 200 miles across both the Blue Ridge and the Allegheny mountains, it not only features natural beauty but also has multiple sites that have played significant roles in the heritage and history of not only the region but of the state and the nation as well.

While the region itself is a magnificent site to behold, there are literally dozens of attractions to choose from when visiting the area. There are historic sites, museums, educational institutions, national parks, state parks, caverns and various activities, such as hiking, biking, water sports and horseback riding.

Shenandoah National Park - Covering 75 miles of the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, it also takes in the Skyline Drive. Paralleling the park is the Appalachian Trail. Campers are permitted within the park's boundaries, plus modern lodge facilities are available at two locations. There are also two full-service restaurants plus lighter food options along the route. The park contains more than 100 miles of hiking trails.

Blue Ridge Parkway - The Shenandoah Valley is famous for this non-commercialized route that stretches for 469 miles through the mountains. Starting a Milepost 0 in Waynesboro, Va., the route continues to Cherokee, NC. Along the route, there are concessions, lodges, farms and inns. There are countless spots to picnic, hike, bike or even horseback ride.

Natural Bridge - Described by Thomas Jefferson as "the most sublime of nature's works," this National Historic Landmark is one of the most notable of the natural wonders on the continent. This place has served its role in history, serving as a road for Native Americans and then as a shot tower to make ammunition during the War of 1812. The site not only includes the Natural Bridge, it also includes Cedar Creek Trail, a butterfly garden, wax and toy museums, caverns, Monacan Indian Village and a dramatic production that occurs at dusk each evening.

Cyrus McCormick's Farm - The agriculture industry was revolutionized in 1831 when Cyrus McCormick invented the first reaper. The 634-acre farm features a blacksmith's shop, museum, scenic area and gristmill. It is now part of the Shenandoah Valley Agricultural Research and Extension Center and is part of Virginia Tech University.

Washington & Lee University - The 12th oldest college in the U.S. having been founded in 1749, the school was endowed by George Washington with canal stock that continues to earn dividends today. Following the Civil War, Robert E. Lee served as president and established the first journalism program in the nation plus a School of Law. The Department of the Interior has described the college as having "one of the most dignified and beautiful college campuses in the nation." Several historic buildings are located on the campus. Lee Chapel & Museum are located on campus.

New Market Battlefield State Park - A significant battle of the Civil War took place here in 1864. Cadets from the Virginia Military Institute were with the Confederate Army in the battle that forced Union Major General Franz Sigel and his troops out of the valley. The Union Army suffered 841 casualties in the battle while the Confederacy had 531 casualties. Forty-seven cadets from Virginia Military Institute were wounded and 10 suffered fatal injuries.

Virginia Military Institute - In operation since 1839, VMI is the nation's oldest state-supported military college. A museum on campus has numerous items related to the Civil War years of Stonewall Jackson, who was an instructor at the school. The school's barracks are a National Historic Landmark. Free tours are held daily at noon.

Birthplace of President Woodrow Wilson - Visitors can tour the pre-Civil War mansion that was President Wilson's birthplace. The grounds also include the museum that details his life as president, professor and peacemaker. A World War I trench exhibit enables visitors to experience life as a soldier engaging in battle.

Frontier Culture Museum - Four historic farms have been moved from their homelands and reconstructed at the museum site. The farms are complete with miniature breeds and rare animals, plus guests can walk through authentic gardens, help harvest crops from the time period, see living re-enactments, and learn about the nation's heritage when the first settlers came to the U.S.

Fisher's Hill Battlefield - An important battle of the Civil War took place on this site. The battle was an example of a surprise movement toward the defending force in a strong position. This battle also opened up the valley to the destruction of the region's agricultural base.

Shenandoah Valley attractions offer multiple learning opportunities through their historic sites and museums that detail heritage and historic events.

State Attractions

Museum of Fine Arts
Monroe Estate
Carytown Blends Old South and Hipster for Shoppers
Berkeley Plantation
Jefferson’s Monticello
Virginia Beach Attractions
Virginia Aquarium
Mill Mountain Zoo
Blue Ridge Parkway
Madison’s Montpelier
- See More Attractions