Virginia is home to some of the most beautiful national parks in the country.
From the stunning coastal landscapes of the Chesapeake Bay to the rolling mountains of the Appalachian Trail, there is no shortage of natural beauty in Virginia.
Virginia’s National Parks protect some of the state’s most iconic landmarks and offer visitors a chance to experience the Virginia wilderness.
They are places where you can enjoy stunning views, as well as experience Virginia’s rich history and culture.
Best National Parks in Virginia
From the famous Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway to the remote Washington and Jefferson National Forests, there are a lot of stunning national parks to explore in Virginia.
You will also find many other national park service managed sites in the state including national historical parks, historic sites, and national monuments.
Here are some of the best national parks in Virginia to visit this summer.
Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Virginia.
Situated in the Appalachian Mountains, the park offers stunning views, abundant wildlife, and numerous hiking and camping opportunities.
The scenery is breathtaking from the trails, with rolling hills, lush forests, and cascading waterfalls.
Visitors can also enjoy vistas from Skyline Drive, a scenic road that runs for 105 miles through the park.
In winter, Shenandoah is popular for skiing and snowboarding.
Shenandoah National Park is however the prettiest in fall when the leaves change color.
In addition to its natural beauty, Shenandoah is also home to a diverse array of plant and animal life.
Visitors can see a variety of wildlife, including black bears, deer, eagles, and wild turkeys.
Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most scenic highways in the United States.
It is a National Parkway and All-American Road in the United States and is noted for its stunning beauty.
Stretching 469 miles through Virginia and North Carolina, it winds its way through some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the Appalachians.
Along the way, visitors can enjoy countless vistas, hiking trails, waterfalls, and other natural wonders in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Parkway also takes you through a number of historic towns and villages, providing a window into the past.
Some of the famous attractions along the Blue Ridge Parkway are the Mabry Mill, Linville Falls, and Asheville.
Appalachian National Scenic Trail
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in the United States.
Spanning more than 2,190 miles, it runs through fourteen states, including Virginia.
The trail is managed by NPS in conjunction with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and several other agencies.
The trail passes through a wide variety of landscapes, from the rolling hills of the Shenandoah Valley to the rugged peaks of the Appalachian Mountains.
Along the way, hikers can enjoy stunning views of forests, rivers, and wildlife.
The trail is also home to several historical sites, including Civil War battlefields and colonial-era villages.
While the entire trail is an enjoyable hike, Virginia is home to some of its most scenic sections.
Assateague Island National Seashore
Assateague Island National Seashore Virginia is a 37-mile-long barrier island located off the coast of Virginia.
The island is home to a variety of animals, including the feral ponies that have made it famous.
These ponies are believed to be the descendants of horses that were shipwrecked in the 17th century.
Today, they roam freely on the island, and visitors can often see them grazing on the beach or roaming through the dunes.
In addition to the ponies, Assateague Island is also home to a variety of other wildlife, including birds, fish, and reptiles.
Visitors to this Virginia national park can enjoy a variety of activities, including fishing, swimming, kayaking, biking, hiking, and camping on the island, and there are also several boat launches and fishing piers.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or an adventure-filled vacation, Assateague Island National Park Seashore in Virginia has something to offer everyone.
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is located on Virginia’s Eastern shore, near Assateague Island.
The refuge is home to a variety of wildlife, including bald eagles, ospreys, peregrine falcons, and brown pelicans.
The refuge also supports a healthy population of fish, crabs, and oysters.
In addition to its abundant wildlife, the refuge is known for its stunning scenery, with miles of beaches, dunes, and marshes.
Visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, bird watching, and fishing in the refuge.
The Assateague Island Lighthouse can also be reached from here.
George Washington and Jefferson National Forests
These beautiful and popular National Forests sprawl across parts of Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky!
The forests are home to a variety of plants and animals, as well as numerous hiking trails and camping sites.
They are known for their stunning scenery and abundant wildlife.
In addition to being a great place to hike, camp, and fish, the forests also provide opportunities for bird watching, horseback riding, and mountain biking.
Great Falls National Park
Great Falls National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Virginia.
Situated on the banks of the Potomac River, the park offers breathtaking views of the river as it plunges over a series of steep cliffs.
The park has several overlooks to see the Great Falls.
Hiking and picnicking are popular activities, and there are also opportunities for fishing, kayaking, and rock climbing.
In addition to its natural beauty, the park is also home to several historical sites.
Whether you’re looking for a day of adventure or a chance to learn more about American history, Great Falls Park is sure to provide an enjoyable experience.
Colonial National Historical Park
Colonial National Historical Park in Virginia is a beautiful place to visit.
The park commemorates the history of the first permanent English colony in North America, established in 1607 at Jamestown.
The park is home to many historical buildings, including the Historic Jamestowne Settlement, Yorktown Battlefield, and Colonial Williamsburg.
Visitors can see the original site of the first English colony in America, see where the British surrendered to General George Washington, as well as drive the 23 miles long Colonial Parkway to explore the park.
In addition to its historical significance, the park also offers stunning views of the James River and Chesapeake Bay.
With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder that Colonial National Historical Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Virginia.
Richmond National Battlefield Park
The Richmond National Battlefield Park is located in Richmond, Virginia, and is made up of 13 different sites that tell the story of the American Civil War.
The park includes the remains of the Civil War fortifications, earthworks, artillery batteries, and battlefields.
Visitors can also see the Petersburg National Battlefield, which is a unit of the park.
The Petersburg National Battlefield commemorates the 10-month siege of Petersburg during the American Civil War.
The siege was a pivotal moment in the war as it ultimately led to the fall of Richmond and the end of the Confederacy.
Today, visitors can tour the battlefields, see exhibits on the siege, and even walk in the footsteps of soldiers who fought there.
The Richmond Battlefield Park is a must-see for anyone interested in American history or the Civil War.
Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
Appomattox Court House National Historical Park commemorates the site of General Robert E. Lee’s surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant, effectively ending the Civil War.
The park includes the restored courthouse where the Army of Northern Virginia surrender to the Union Army took place, as well as several other original buildings and interpretive exhibits in the Visitor Center Museum.
Located in Northern Virginia, the park also has a number of hiking trails that wind through the surrounding forest.
George Washington Birthplace National Monument
George Washington Birthplace National Monument is located in Virginia and commemorates the spot where George Washington was born.
The monument is situated on the original tobacco plantation and has sweeping views of the Potomac River.
Visitors can tour the historic farmhouse where Washington was born, as well as the Colonial Living Farm, burial grounds, and other outbuildings from the 18th century.
The grounds of the monument are also home to several gardens, including a Medicinal Herb Garden and a Colonial Kitchen Garden.
In addition to its historical significance, the George Washington Birthplace National Monument is also a beautiful place to enjoy nature and take in the stunning views of Virginia’s countryside.
Fort Monroe National Monument
Fort Monroe National Monument in Virginia is home to a fascinating history and stunning natural beauty.
The fort was built in the early 19th century to protect the Chesapeake Bay from enemy ships.
It played an important role in the Civil War, serving as a Union stronghold and a place of refuge for escaped slaves.
Today, it is a popular tourist destination, with visitors coming to admire the views of the bay, learn about the fort’s role in the Civil War, and explore the surrounding nature trails.
The fort is also home to a variety of wildlife, including bald eagles, ospreys, and peregrine falcons.
With its rich history and beautiful setting, Fort Monroe is a must-see for anyone visiting Virginia.
Manassas National Battlefield Park
Manassas National Battlefield Park in Virginia is a beautiful and historic place.
The park commemorates the two major battles of the American Civil War that were fought here: the First Battle of Bull Run in 1861 and the Second Battle of Bull Run in 1862.
Today, the park is a popular destination for tourists and civil war history buffs alike.
Visitors can explore the battlefields, walk among the monuments and memorials, and learn about the pivotal role that this site played in the course of the war.
The park also offers a variety of educational programs and ranger-led tours.
Prince William Forest Park
Virginia is home to many scenic parks, and Prince William Forest Park is one of the most beautiful.
Formerly called Chopawamsic Recreation Area, the park offers visitors a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy a variety of outdoor activities.
Hiking, biking, and horseback riding are just a few of the ways to explore the park’s miles of trails, and anglers can cast a line in one of the park’s ponds or streams in search of bass, trout, and other fish.
The park is located close to Washington, D.C. and makes a perfect day trip from the capital.
Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts
Wolf Trap is one of the most unique national parks in America!
The park is operated by the nonprofit Wolf Trap Foundation, which was founded by Catherine Filene Shouse.
The park consists of two outdoor amphitheaters, an indoor theater, as well as educational programs.
The park presents a variety of performances each year, ranging from classical music to contemporary pop.
Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park
The Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park in Virginia commemorates some of the most significant battles of the American Civil War.
The park includes four major battlefields: Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Court House.
Each site offers a unique perspective on the conflict, and together they provide a comprehensive overview of the war in Virginia.
Visitors can explore preserved battlefields, walk along historic trails, and view exhibits on the lives of those who fought in the conflict.
The park also offers a variety of educational programs, making it an ideal destination for history buffs and casual visitors alike.
Arlington House is a historic house located in Arlington, Virginia, that was once the home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and his family.
The house is now a museum, and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Washington, D.C. area.
Visitors to Arlington House can learn about the history of the house and the family that lived there, as well as see some of the original furnishings and artifacts.
The views from the house are also stunning, overlooking Arlington National Cemetery, the Potomac River, and the city of Washington, D.C.
You can even see the National Mall from here.
It is a beautiful and peaceful spot, and it is well worth a visit if you are ever in the area.
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is located in Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
The park is named for the Cumberland Gap, a narrow passageway through the Appalachian Mountains that was used by Native Americans, early settlers, and military troops.
Today, the park provides visitors with a chance to explore the natural beauty of the Appalachians, as well as learn about the region’s history.
Hiking trails wind through dense forests and along rocky ridges, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.
The park also includes a variety of historical sites, such as pioneer homesteads and civil war battlefields.
These are just a few of the most popular Virginia national parks.
There are many other beautiful and interesting places to visit in Virginia including….
…..the George Washington Memorial Parkway which is popular for scenic drives,
Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site which celebrates the legacy of the African American woman entrepreneur,
…..and the Booker T. Washington National Monument, dedicated to the American educator and civil rights leader!
Whatever type of vacation you’re looking for, Virginia has several amazing national park service sites to offer.
We hope you liked our guide to the best Virginia national parks.
Which is your favorite national park in Virginia? Let us know in the comments.