Virginia has a longstanding reputation as one of the best states, ranking 13th overall according to usnews.com. Besides statistics, the uniqueness of Virginia is something that never fails to fascinate visitors.
The blend of bustling cities with scenic landscapes makes the Old Dominion State a naturally attractive destination.
But as always, learning more about your destination is important to improve your experience. The benefits of doing that are many, and if you’re visiting Virginia, here are five things you should know.
- The History
Virginia represents old America and one of the 13 original colonies. It offers a glimpse into the birth of the nation.
Eight US presidents were born in VA, and as a visitor, you may want to explore the rich historical background, starting with a tour of the homes of past presidents like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
You may also like to know that Virginia was the first English colony established in the 1600s. If you’d like a glimpse at what life was in those days, you could plan a stop at the Jamestown Settlement, a historical site with artifacts and re-created ruins.
Virginia played a pivotal role during the Civil War, so if you’re a Civil War buff, your trip offers an opportunity to learn about important wars that took place in the state. You may want to visit Manassas National Battlefield Park.
Learning about Virginia’s history guides you to more sightseeing opportunities and adventures to enhance your experience.
- Getting Around
Some things remain the same across all the US states, but as a visitor to VA, you may find moving around a bit different from your home state.
It’s important to have information about road construction and repair projects if you will be driving during your stay. The state’s Department of Transportation (VDOT) provides much info on road conditions as well as a helpline for emergencies.
Here is the helpline: (tel. 800/367-7623).
Amtrak train service connects Virginia to other states, having stops in Alexandria, Richmond, Fredericksburg, Staunton, and Charlottesville.
Bus services, however, appear to be the ideal option for getting around various cities. But they don’t generally connect small towns. That leaves driving as the most viable option for getting around VA’s major cities and towns.
- The Climate
Climate is definitely one of the things to consider when visiting anywhere. But you will probably fall in love with Virginia’s four-season climate. It barely freezes in the winter or gets too hot in summer.
Remember that VA is a mountainous state, and the weather varies. If you’re planning to visit the mountains, know that the east of the mountains is five degrees warmer than the west.
It would be best to understand the state’s different climate regions as they will likely influence your experience.
The regional variation in climate results from the diverse geographic elements like the mountains in the west and the Atlantic Coast in the east.
These climate regions are:
- Southwestern Mountain
- Western Mountain
- Northern Virginia
- Virginia’s Culture
Virginia has a lowkey Southern culture, and you can expect the famed Southern hospitality from locals.
In recent decades, however, modern Virginia culture has become more diverse as different groups of people move to the state.
Generally speaking, you will find that Northern Virginia differs from the rest of the state regarding certain cultural aspects. Nonetheless, the Commonwealth shares the same progressive culture present in most states.
Cannabis legality in the state is a testament to Virginia’s inclusive sentiments. If you enjoy weed, you can use it privately, provided you’re an adult. However, using cannabis for medical purposes requires evaluation by a medical marijuana doctor in VA.
- The Outdoors
Virginia is one of the states that experiences all four seasons, each offering a distinct appeal for a fantastic outdoor experience.
The Commonwealth is blessed with diverse natural beauty, with outdoor attractions ranging from pristine lakes and stunning beaches to beautiful countryside and breathtaking mountain vistas.
Let’s highlight some places you need to know about to appreciate Virginia’s outdoors.
- If you love camping, hiking, biking, and wildlife, you may want to add the Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Mountains to your bucket list.
- Two of the most incredible scenic drives in the US, Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway, offer a glimpse into Virginia’s natural beauty.
- The Chesapeake Bay is the ultimate destination for all the water-based activities you can think about, from kayaking to relaxing on magnificent beaches.
- Outdoor destinations not to miss are Virginia’s historic small towns like Warrenton, Cape Charles, Farmville, Onancock, and Middleburg.
Virginia is a land of diversity, offering both fast-paced and laidback lifestyles. If you intend to explore the historic sites, experien