Sightseeing In Virginia

by Jane Ellis
George Washington's tomb at Virginia's Mount Vernon Estate

George Washington's tomb at Virginia's Mount Vernon Estate

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Few states are more successful at bringing history to life than Virginia. Home to George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate, Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, Jamestown, Yorktown, Colonial Williamsburg, the Manassas Civil War battle sites and Arlington Cemetery, to name a few notable sites, Virginia gives its visitors glimpses of different periods in the history of the United States. Sightseers in Virginia can visit the Blue Ridge Mountains and Chincoteague Beach or spend a day at an amusement park or on Virginia Beach's boardwalk.

The Historic Triangle

The Virginia's Historic Triangle area, which is includes Colonial Williamsburg, the Jamestown settlement and Yorktown, is full of sightseeing opportunities. Williamsburg is a living museum where guests can interact with costumed historical interpreters among many of the Colonial town's original, as well as reconstructed buildings. Down the road, visitors will find the Jamestown Settlement, famous as the site of the first permanent English settlement in America, as well as being the place where Pocahontas allegedly saved John Smith. Nearby is Yorktown, where in 1781, the British finally surrendered to the Americans, which effectively ended the American Revolutionary War.

Northern Virginia

Amid the many suburbs in the Northern Virginia area are some famous historic sightseeing spots, including our first president's home, the Mount Vernon Estates and Gardens; the Arlington National Cemetery, with its changing of the guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; and the famous Manassas Civil War battle sites, the location of the Battles of Bull Run. Northern Virginia's Alexandria, which is across the Potomac River from Washington, DC, is also a popular sightseeing spot. A mix of the old and the new, Alexandria blends Colonial charm and brick-paved streets from the 18th and 19th centuries with upscale shops and restaurants.

Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Mountains

Nature lovers flock to Virginia's Shenandoah National Park and to the Blue Ridge Mountains to visit meadows, hiking trails and waterfalls. Deer are a common sight here, and the National Park declares the area as "bear country." In the fall, thousands of visitors drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway to view the area's spectacular leaf colors. One of the top sightseeing spots in the Blue Ridge Mountains is Luray Caverns, the largest caverns in the eastern United States. Another area must-see is Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's stately plantation.

The Beaches

Virginia Beach and Chincoteague Island, two of Virginia's most well known beaches, are a study in contrasts. Chincoteague Island and its neighbor, Assateague, are famous for the wild pony roundup held annually in this area, which was the subject of a popular children's book, "Misty of Chincoteague." The atmosphere in Chincoteague is low-key, and this area draws nature lovers who come to see the wild sika deer and ponies on Assateague's undeveloped beaches. On the other hand, Virginia Beach is a bustling hive of bars, restaurants, miniature golf courses and hotels. In the summer, its streets and its boardwalk are alive with bands, street performers and thousands of visitors.

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