The Best Place To Visit In Virginia

The Best Place To Visit In Virginia – These Northern Virginia hidden gems offer beautiful locations, fascinating history and unique things to do in lesser-known destinations. They are perfect for a local excursion or a day trip for Washington DC visitors.

Our list of great places to visit in Virginia includes fun for the whole family, adult excursions, cool photo shoot locations, interesting history, and special sites for all ages.

The Best Place To Visit In Virginia

After 25 years in the area, we are still amazed by the diversity of places to visit and things to do in Northern Virginia. Popular places like Great Falls Park and Shenandoah National Park call us back regularly. But we also like to follow the road less traveled and discover new local experiences.

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Our Northern Virginia hidden gems fall into two groups: natural gems and history-focused places. However, many of these destinations contain both nature and history. Links provide additional information, tips and photos for planning your excursion.

Northern Virginia is a happy place for nature lovers. We have bays, rivers, and wetlands; Rolling hills throughout the Virginia Piedmont; and the foothills and peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains to explore.

These beautiful places in Virginia are fun for active outings and include some of our favorite places to take photos and create memories. These Northern Virginia hidden gems are worth a visit year-round.

A half-mile uphill hike from a parking lot in Bluemont leads to the Rocky Bear’s Den Overlook. Here you can enjoy one of the best views in Northern Virginia, looking west to the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley. The western view makes this one of the best places to watch the sunset in northern VA. The rock face offers many places to sit and enjoy lunch or a great sunset.

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You can also reach the overview from the day area of ​​Bear’s Den Hostel. If you want a longer and more challenging hike to a view, try Raven Rocks just over Route 7. Combine your visit with a stop in nearby Purcellville for delicious food, shopping, and craft beverages. Or check out the East Side with a craft beer at Dirt Farm Brewing and other Bluemont breweries and wineries. free

New in 2019, the Neabsco Creek Boardwalk Trail winds across a wetland in Prince William County. The boardwalk is part of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, a network of trails that highlight historic and natural areas along the Potomac River. The 3/4 mile long Neabsco Creek Boardwalk is fully wheelchair and stroller accessible, making it ideal for a family-friendly outing near Washington DC. free

It’s easy to visit this unique Northern Virginia hidden gem by bike or car. The Mount Vernon Trail, a paved bike path along the Potomac River, passes through the marsh. Or you can park in nearby Belle Haven Park and walk out onto the marsh. A .7 mile dirt trail follows the banks of the Potomac River.

You’ll enjoy beautiful views of the marina, Woodrow Wilson Bridge, and National Harbor in the distance. The level, easy trail ends with a long boardwalk and viewing platform over a tidal marsh and over the river. Dyke Marsh is also a popular destination for bird watching. free

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The Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail stretches over 40 miles across Fairfax County. The trail begins at the Potomac River in the north and ends at the Occoquan River in the south. Along the way it passes through many of Fairfax County’s best parks and stream valleys.

Our favorite route of the CCT follows Difficult Run and goes into the eastern section of Great Falls Park before arriving at the Potomac. The trail is shaded and the river provides a place to cool your feet in the summer. In autumn, the leaves color the banks and reflect in the stream, creating beautiful photo shooting locations. free

You can also extend your trip with a loop hike on the Run, Ridge and River Trails.

The Great Marsh Trail is a paved, 3/4 mile accessible trail that is part of the Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge on Gunston Road. There is a large platform at the end of the trail with expansive views of the 250-acre Great Marsh, one of the largest freshwater marshes on the Potomac River.

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This is a beautiful place to watch for birds, including the many bald eagles that nest in the sheltered marsh. Extend your visit with a stop at Mason Neck State Park for beautiful birding, hiking and boating. free

Huntley Meadows Park transforms a former asphalt testing facility into one of the finest marshland habitats in our busy region. Visitors walk along, ADA-compliant boardwalk allows close-up views of the many birds, amphibians, and other animals in the park. Climb the Observation Tower, one of our favorite romantic spots in Virginia, for pretty views and a rest. Free ($2 donation for parking requested).

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens is a hidden gem of Northern Virginia that we return to year round. The gardens grow, transform and disappear, but the 95 hectares of the park and paved paths always offer peace and beauty. A children’s garden, gazebo and pond, and small bridges delight families; and the Korean Bell Garden is of cultural interest.

The gardens are especially beautiful when the cherry blossoms bloom in spring. $3.00 – $6.00, depending on age. Daytime admission is free in winter. During the holiday season, the Winter Walk of Lights sparkles with one of the best holiday light shows in Northern VA.

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The Potomac Heritage Trail (PHT) covers over 800 miles from Washington DC to Pennsylvania, with local segments following the banks of the Potomac River in Northern Virginia. Close to DC, we like the route from Theodore Roosevelt Island to Windy Run. More popular segments pass through Great Falls Park and Riverbend Park. free

It’s strange to think that part of the national park system can be a hidden gem in northern Virginia, but we often meet locals who have never visited the Prince William National Forest. Those who visit will enjoy 37 miles of beautiful hiking trails, a 9-mile scenic loop drive, and paved and gravel bike paths. Stop by the Visitor Center to pick up a map and get advice on the best trails for your group.

There is also some interesting history from the park’s days as a “relief camp” for low-income DC children. Camping is available in historic cabins or open sites. Admission is $20.00 per vehicle, which is waived on national free admission days. If you plan to visit several times a year, buy a National Park Annual Pass and save.

An entrance of woven branches welcomes hikers, birders and equestrians to the beautiful woodland and river trails in this hidden gem of Northern Virginia. Several pleasant trails cross the woodlands here, leading to the Potomac River.

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The River Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail is particularly interesting and scenic. In one section, visitors can see a historic 1700 stone wall from George Washington’s Patowmack Canal. Near the parking lot, signs explain details of a historic Calvary crossing during the Civil War. free

The focus is on history in Northern Virginia’s hidden gems, but many of them also allow for outdoor activities. Follow the links to learn more and find special events at each site.

Loudoun County’s first Civil War engagement took place on the battlefield at Balls Bluff. Today the park has an excellent interpretive trail that explains how the battle unfolded. Other trails include sometimes steep, wooded hikes to the river and a segment of the Potomac Heritage Trail. The park also contains one of the smallest National Military Cemeteries in America.

Step back in time for a look at stores built by George Washington in the 18th century. The George Washington Distillery and Gristmill faithfully recreated two of Washington’s most profitable businesses using period methods and materials. Today, the gristmill grinds wheat and corn just as Washington workers and enslaved people did.

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In the area, the only authentic distillery from the 18th century is created. The distillery and the gristmill are open seasonally, from April 1st to October 31st. Admission is $10.00, or you can purchase a ticket that also includes admission to George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

Clifton’s compact downtown is a hidden gem in northern Virginia blessed with interesting and well-marked history. Clifton makes a perfect day trip, with several delicious restaurants, good hikes, and a winery to explore. Downtown Clifton is a National Historic District. A stroll up Main Street leads to homes and businesses marked with signs that provide interesting information about the people who lived and worked in them. free

At Gunston Hall, the family home of George Mason IV, you can enjoy a guided tour of the mansion and reconstructed outbuildings, and explore 550 acres of grounds and hiking trails. As you explore the history and beauty of Gunston Hall, you will learn about George Mason’s lasting impact on Virginia and the very beginnings of our American democracy.

George Mason was among the first to call for such fundamental American freedoms as religious tolerance and freedom of the press. These ideals became the foundation of the United States Bill of Rights. $10 with discounts for seniors and children. Or,

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