Top 10 Virginia Getaways for Summer

Whether you're going for a last-minute day trip, a weekend escape or a lengthy vacation, Virginia can give you the wide open outdoors that your office plant just can’t match.

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Whether you're living it up at a swanky hotel or camping out nearby, you can find your fun at Virginia Beach, with acres of beaches, a boardwalk full of rides and restaurants, the Virginia Aquarium, the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, and everything outdoors from fishing to kayaking. Catch live music on outdoor stages, and national acts at the Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater.

DISTANCE: 210 miles from downtown D.C.
Experience American history back where so much of it began. In the Historic Triangle -- Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestowne and Yorktown -- you can explore Revolutionary War battlefields, colonial settlements and artifacts of our nation’s history. Contemporary attractions are nearby, too, including Busch Gardens and Water Country USA (more on those next), plus some of the nation’s top golf courses and restaurants (not to mention shopping).

DISTANCE: 150 miles from downtown D.C.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Sure, it's a guilty pleasure, but it's also been named the world's most beautiful theme park. Busch Gardens manages to combine awesome coasters with European-style "sightseeing" and an animal preserve in a rolling, tree-shaded park. Coasters include the recently opened Finnegan's Flyer, which swings riders 80 feet above the cliffs of the Celtic coast and Apollo's Chariot, which drops riders from 210 feet up.

nDISTANCE: 150 miles from downtown D.C.
Tarara Winery
Virginia, of course, is home to plenty of wineries. Tarara Winery (13648 Tarara Lane, Leesburg), which is set on a 475-acre farm, is home to a tasting room open seven days a week, where you can enjoy the winery's most current releases. Local charcuterie, cheese, bread and chocolate are also available. More elaborate tasting experiences, a special lounge for club members, a well-known summer concert series and a dog-friendly policy are just a few of Tarara’s other highlights. Looking for something simpler? Bring a picnic basket and relax by the lake.

DISTANCE: 52 miles from downtown D.C.
Whether you're caving, fishing, camping, hiking, hang-gliding (deep breath) or chilling at the top of McAfee Knob, the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests basically offer you a choose-your-own-adventure trip.

DISTANCE: 230 miles from downtown D.C.
Fort Valley Ranch
At Fort Valley Ranch (299 S. Fort Valley Road), ride horseback through the gorgeous Massanutten Mountains for as little as 90 minutes or as much as a full day on a guided tour. Lodging options range from campgrounds to bunkhouses, and if you just happen to own your own horse, you can take advantage of horse camping as well.

DISTANCE: 108 miles from downtown D.C.
Bill Crabtree Jr., Virginia Tourism Corporation
Virginia's Northern Neck region offers multiple beaches, quaint inns and plenty of shops. If you're in search of a swim, consider Windmill Point (good for families and weaker swimmers), Hughlett Point (surrounded by forests and a good spot to launch kayaks or paddleboards), Belle Isle State Park (which also offers cabins and camping) or Colonial Beach (a town great for fans of water sports).

Distance from D.C. Mileage varies on your specific destination -- for example, Colonial Beach is 63 miles from D.C., while Hughlett Point is 123 miles.
Take a leap of faith — out of an airplane — at Skydive Orange (11339 Bloomsbury Road). You'll find opportunities for both experienced and beginning divers, with tandem skydiving, accelerated free-falling and a United States Parachute Association certification class. There are hotels, B&Bs, motels and even campsites and RV sites for your stay in Orange. Not a fan of heights? Bring some food and watch skydivers from the picnic tables.

DISTANCE: 85 miles from downtown D.C.
Sure, Luray Caverns is a field trip staple, but the area's also home to the mind-bending one-acre Garden Maze and a summer must-do, tubing on the river with Shenandoah River Outfitters. Take it easy at Lake Arrowhead State Park, where you can swim in the pristine lake.

DISTANCE: 95 miles from downtown D.C.
Mount Vernon (3200 Mount Vernon Highway) is so close, but it feels otherworldly with its jaw-dropping views of the Potomac -- this can't be the same river you cross to get to the Italian Store in Arlington, can it? The historical estate offers tours throughout the day, sharing an up-close look at George and Martha Washington's life in Virginia. Meander across the grounds to view outbuildings such as slave cabins, the summer kitchen, stables and more. Special events include a wine festival and sunset tour and cruises on the Potomac. Tickets are $20 for adults, $12 for youth 6-11 and free for kids 5 and under. Admision covers admission to the house, grounds, museums, outbuildings and more, and specialized tours are available for an extra fee.

DISTANCE: 15 miles from downtown D.C.
Didn't see your fave spot listed? Look for it in our other galleries:

Top 10 Beaches
10 Places to Swim If You Want to Avoid Bay Bridge Traffic
Top 10 Weekend Getaways
Top 10 Day TripsTop 10 Places to Cool OffTop 10 Maryland Getaways for Summer
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