Day Trips

Whether you’re a family of thrill-seekers looking for outdoor excitement or simply want a fun hands-on museum experience to entertain your little’s, We’ve got family fun sure to please. Check back often to see what is new!

CHARLOTTESVILLE

Monticello Visitors Center 1-2 hr.

Visit the Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center and Smith Education Center. The facilities serve as the gateway to Thomas Jefferson’s home, with a Welcome Pavilion, cafe, a lovely new museum shop and classroom space. The center has innovative exhibitions, an introductory film and a hands-on discovery space. Visitors can also pick up their reserved tickets or purchase same-day tickets in addition to information on Mr. Jefferson’s historic estate. The three classrooms in the Carl and Hunter Smith Education Center will serve as venues for Monticello’s curriculum-based school group tours plus workshops and programs for all age groups.

Virginia Discovery Museum 1-2 hour hr.

Conveniently located on Charlottesville’s Historic Downtown Mall, the Virginia Discovery Museum is a testament to imagination. Make collages, watch bees come and go from their mysterious pollen sources, pretend to surf, learn from larger-than-life anatomy displays, built zoetropes, “live” in an historic log cabin (still their most popular exhibit hands-down), and listen to the sounds of the rainforest. This charming museum is quite popular with the five and under crowd.

HAMPTON ROADS & THE HISTORIC TRIANGLE                               

Visit Historic Jamestowne, the Birthplace of English-speaking America, as well as Jamestown Settlement, Colonial Willamsburg and Yorktown Victory Center in Williamsburg.

Colonial Williamsburg  (Williamsburg) 1-2 hr.

If you grew up in Virginia, there are probably pictures of you here as a kid cheesing in a Colonial three-cornered hat. If it’s been that long since you’ve been here, it’s time to make the trip again! Colonial Williamsburg is the nation’s largest living history museum. A trip to Colonial Williamsburg should start at the Visitors Center which, thanks to a footbridge, is only a short walk from the historic district!  Stop inside to purchase tickets and to pick up a map.  

Busch Gardens  (Williamsburg) 1-2 hr.

Soak in wet fun at Water Country or visit the amusement park full of exciting thrills, award-winning shows and delicious culinary delights. Busch Gardens was also voted the most beautiful theme park in the world.

Virginia Living Museum (Newport News) 1-2 Hr.

Virginia Living Museum is a science center, zoo, aquarium, nature park & planetarium with live animals & plants in their natural habitats. The living exhibits depict Virginia’s natural heritage from the mountains to the sea , and allow children to get hands on.

WASHINGTON DC   (Various places) 2-3 hr.

This capitol city of the United States has lots to offer families, many of it free! From museums with freeze-dried astronaut ice cream and  junior espionage at the International Spy Museum, Washington, DC isn’t just for grown-ups. Families will find an endless array of fun and attractions throughout the city.

SCENIC DRIVES/PARKWAYS  (Various park entrances) 2-3 hr.

From Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park to the Blue Ridge Parkway down to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Getting back to nature on the road in Virginia affords many breathtaking vistas.  Parkways also contain numerous recreation areas, visitor centers, campgrounds and picnic areas for your family to enjoy. For those who don’t like to “rough it” there are a number of lodges, restaurants and other modern facilities located in close proximity to the parkways and National Park Drives.

Traveling Further ?

Plan your visit to nearby cities and states with the following links.  With extensive guides and calendars these links make planning family fun easy.

Maryland

Maryland Family Magazine

Parent Line

North Carolina

Carolina Parent

Tennessee

Nashville Parent   

Memphis Parent

Clarksville Family Magazine

Virginia    

Fredericksburg Parent and Family

Tidewater Parent

Charlottesville Family

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