There is much to do and see in Virginia, so plan your Virginia flights and travel itinerary in advance. Once you land in the “birthplace of a nation,” the options are endless.
Virginia is a symbol of Colonial America. The first permanent English settlement in North America was Jamestown and slavery was introduced there in 1619. Richmond is the capital of Virginia and also known as the capital of Confederacy. Both the American Revolution and the Civil War ended in Virginia, and today Virginia is home to more presidential tourist attractions than any other state. George Washington built his home in Mt. Vernon; Monticello is the home of Thomas Jefferson; and the Lees set up camp in Stratford. To date eight US presidents were born in Virginia and seven of them are buried here.
The nation’s largest defence barrier – the US Pentagon – is based in Virginia, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. Travellers booking flights to Virginia will find easy access to Washington, DC, and Old Town Alexandria, where American history comes alive.
Virginia has four seasons, and the coastal areas are typically warmer and more humid than the mountains. On average the mountains are ten degrees (Celsius) cooler year-round, and they get some snow in winter as does Northern Virginia. Summer can have extremely hot and humid spells that are usually short but can last several weeks. Spring and autumn are long seasons with mild temperatures and beautiful scenery.
Virginia has regional airports that can get you around the state quickly. Trains run north-south through Charlottesville, Fredericksburg, and Richmond, and east from Richmond to the Historic Triangle (Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown). Buses also provide service to cities and smaller towns.
Two of the major attractions are highways. The Skyline Drive goes along the Blue Ridge Mountains and, once out of Shenandoah National Park, becomes the Blue Ridge Parkway, which continues to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Parkway alone attracts 20 million visitors a year. Driving is also the easiest way to explore the battlefields and plantations. If you prefer tours, there are escorted bus tours of the historic sites.
The Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area is closed to all but a few cars. Shuttle buses get you from the parking areas to the historic district, and the Williamsburg Area Transport is the easiest way to get around outside the historic area.
Throughout the state there is ample opportunity for cycling, hiking, and walking. Colonial Williamsburg is best explored on foot or bicycle, and ten-mile bike path tours the Historic Triangle. Richmond and Charlottesville are easy to explore on foot. Norfolk requires a car, but has free trolleys downtown.
Peak Season: October is the busiest time for flights to Virginia, when the leaf peepers come for the foliage. The Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive, and Blue Ridge Parkway are especially busy. Summer is the second peak season when visitors come to see the historic sites, theme parks, beaches, and mountains. Colonial Williamsburg is busy most of the year, particularly in summer and over Christmas. Monticello is very busy on weekends in spring, summer, and October. The last Wednesday and Thursday of July is when the wild ponies of Assateague Island are herded up to swim the channel to Chincoteague. Off Season: The best time to visit is spring. Flowers, shrubs, and trees are blooming across the state, and Virginia is the least crowded and least expensive.
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