Virginia Family Adventure Bucket List
Are you looking to get out and adventure in Virginia with your family this year? Then, this post is just what you’re looking for! Don’t miss the free printable at the bottom of the post.
I’ve wanted to build one of these Virginia family adventure bucket lists for quite some time. I’m not entirely sure why I haven’t yet.
Perhaps it’s laziness, or maybe I just kept forgetting. Maybe I needed to get acclimated to my new home state, or maybe I just kept having babies. Whatever the reason for the delay, I’m taking a cue from my friend Lisa at This Pilgrim Life who created the North Carolina Adventure Day Spots, and putting our family bucket list for Virginia together.
Some notes before getting into the Virginia Family Adventure Bucket List:
- I’m not going to just focus on Virginia Day Spots since we enjoy taking both mini and long adventures as a family. Therefore, you will find both Virginia day spots and weekend destinations on the family bucket list below. But many of these can definitely be day spots to visit if you live near them!
- I’ve divided the list into Parks & Playgrounds, Camping, Hiking & Walking, Botanical Garden & Nature Centers, Biking, Water Areas, Historic Destinations, Museums, Zoos, & Caves, and Fishing & Boating.
- Some categories won’t have as many suggestions as others, but I plan to add to the list as we explore our state (or get solid recommendations from people who live in the area – feel free to leave your tried and true adventure places in the comments!).
- If an adventure made it on this list, someone recommended the destination to me OR we have been there ourselves. Places we personally have adventured to will have an * beside it.
- Additionally, many of the spots cover multiple categories. To make it easier to decide, I’m going to list the destination under the main attraction category. For example, Lake Anna State Park has camping, boating, parks, and beaches. However, it’s BEST known for its fishing and boating, so I’m listing it under that category. My decision-making won’t be an exact science, so forgive me now if I get one wrong. 🙂
- Finally, please note that this is an ideal family adventure list for Virginia; be sure to do your research before venturing out, as everything is subject to open and close based on COVID-19 restrictions, construction, etc. Some bucket list items may have limited hours, accessibility, etc.
Additional Resources for Your Virginia Family Adventures
In addition to personal experience and recommendations of others, I found these maps and guides helpful in building our Virginia adventure bucket list. These resources are full of ideas for various attractions and areas of Virginia.
I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. You can see my full disclosure policy here.
Backroads & Byways of Virginia by Bill Lohmann
Kids Love Virginia by Michele Darrall Zavatsky
Frommer’s Virginia by Bill Goodwin
Fishing Virginia: An Angler’s Guide to More than 140 Fishing Spots by Martin Freed and Ruta Vaskys
60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Richmond by Nathan Lott
Now without further ado, here is my working list of Virginia Family Adventures!
Be sure to save, pin, and/or share this post so you can refer back to it all year long.
Also, scroll down to the bottom of this post for a free Family Adventure Bucket List! If you’re in Virginia, everything in this list is already added for you! If you’re not in Virginia, there is a blank family bucket list you can print off and use.
Parks & Playgrounds
Mount Trashmore Park | Virginia Beach, VA – This is the nation’s first landfill park. In the 1960s and 70s, this 640,000 ton pile of trash was converted into a park for all ages. It has a skate park, volleyball courts, kids’ playground, and more.
Clemyjontri Park | McLean – Unique play space for all abilities. It has a carousel, train, and four themed playgrounds.
Bayville Farms Park | Virginia Beach, VA – A 68-acre park with a disc golf course, horseshoe pits, dog park, playground, and more.
Fort Fun | Newport News, VA – Part of Huntingdon Park, Fort Fun is a 14,000 square foot park that’s great for all ages.
Bluebird Gap Farm * | Hampton, VA – 60-acre farm with animals to feed and pet plus a playground and picnic area.
Woodville Park & Playground *| Gloucester, VA – It’s a nature park that contains both wetlands and woodlands. The playground isn’t large, but kids love it.
Beaverdam Park * | Gloucester, VA – There are two entrances to this park with playgrounds, fishing, and walking trails on each side. The main entrance has a place for renting kayaks and canoes.
Kidsburg * | Williamsburg, VA – Jamestown themed playground with picnic space and open play area.
Busch Gardens *| Williamsburg, VA – Europe themed park voted one of the most beautiful theme parts in the world. Roller coasters, water play, shows, and great food.
Curtis Memorial Park | Fredericksburg, VA – This park includes lake access, fishing, disc golf, playground, walking paths, swimming, and more.
Park 365 | Richmond, VA – Voted the second best playground in the central region, this park is accessible to all ages and abilities.
King’s Dominion | Richmond, VA – Roller coasters, water rides, and more.
Lake Phoenix | Rawlings, VA – Scuba diving park and family campground. It’s quarry with the clearest water in the mid-Atlantic region!
Fairy Stone State Park | Stuart, VA – Home of the legendary fairy stones and campgrounds.
Crabtree Falls * | Tyro, VA – It really is Virginia’s best kept secret, so don’t tell them I told you. Great hiking and unplugged camping!
Sherando Lake * | Lyndhurst, VA – Great camp ground with NO CELL SERVICE! This is a great way to unplug and unwind. Plenty of hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and a beach area all ages can enjoy.
Sandy River Ropes Course | Rice, VA – More glamping style (think: tipis!) plus a ropes course you don’t want to miss.
Kiptopeke State Park | Eastern Shore – Great hiking, boating, and camping in the Chesapeake Bay area.
Hiking & Walking
Big Meadows Lodge | Shenandoah Valley – Go on a hike then get blackberry pie in the lodge!
Natural Chimneys | Mt. Salon, VA – A geological wonder with plenty of wildlife!
Blue Ridge Tunnel | – Afton, VA – Originally a railroad tunnel in the mid-1800s, now turned attraction
Grand Caverns | – Discovered in 1804, this is the oldest, continually operating show cave in the U.S.
Wahrani Nature Park * | New Kent, VA – A moderate hike for all ages with a playground nearby.
York River State Park * | Williamsburg, VA – More than 30 miles of hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails allow visitors to explore the marsh, river shoreline and forests.
Natural Bridge *| – Natural Bridge, VA – Beautiful hiking trail with a naturally occurring bridge carved by Cedar Creek. There is also a popular Safari Park in the area.
Natural Tunnel State Park | Duffield, VA – Another naturally occurring structure! More than 800 feet long and as tall as a 10-story structure, this is a must-see. There are also cave and canoe trips in the area.
Foot Bridge to Belle Isle | Richmond, VA – Belle Isle is in the middle of the James River and there is something for everyone.
Grayson Highlands State Park | Mouth of Wilson, VA – Offers scenic views of alpine-like peaks more than 5,000 feet high near Mount Rogers and Whitetop Mountain, Virginia’s two highest mountains.
Botanical Gardens & Nature Centers
Norfolk Botanical Gardens | Norfolk, VA – Virginia’s largest botanical garden. Seven miles of paved paths, children’s garden, and a popular butterfly house.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens | Richmond, VA – 50 acres of themed gardens and conservatory (only one of its kind in the mid-Atlantic) including a children’s garden.
Maymont Park | Richmond, VA – 100-acre nature center, 13 aquariums, and more.
Three Lakes Nature Center & Aquarium | Richmond, VA – This nature center brings together the three worlds of air, water, and land for visitors to explore.
Brent & Becky’s Bulbs * | Gloucester, VA – Beautiful (and educational) 28-acre farm with 8-acres dedicated to education. There passion for preserving the ecosystems of Chesapeake area is amazing.
Sandy Bottom Nature Park | Hampton, VA – 456-acre park overlooking the Sandy Bottom Lake.
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge | Assateague Island National Seashore on the Eastern Shore – This is the where the ponies live! You can hike or bike your way around the park.
Freedom Park * | James City County, VA – Great place for mountain biking, but there is also multi-use trails, Williamsburg Botanical Garden, GoApe Treetop Adventure, and a dog park.
Virginia Capital Trail | Williamsburg, Henrico County, Charles City County, and James City County – 50+ paved multi-use trail that runs through 4 jurisdictions and loads of attractions along the way.
Virginia Creeper Trail | Abingdon, VA – 34.3 mile rail to recreation trail that goes through two counties (Abingdon to Damascus and ending in Mount Rogers National Recreation Area). There’s plenty of ways to enjoy the trail, geocaching included.
New River Trail State Park – 57-mile linear park that parallels an abandoned railroad track and the historic New River. If primitive camping is your think, there are four sites along the way.
Gloucester Point Beach Park * | Gloucester Point, VA – Family friendly beach with an open park area nearby. There is also volleyball, fishing pier, and restrooms.
Yorktown Beach * | Yorktown, VA – Enjoy sunbathing while your kids play in the water, walk along the paved pathway, or explore the area. This is a great place to spend a day.
Ocean Breeze Water Park | Virginia Beach, VA – Caribbean destination with over 30 rides and attractions.
Water Country USA * | Williamsburg, VA – Virginia’s largest waterpark with epic water slides and plenty of variety for the littlest in your group.
Great Wolf Lodge Indoor Waterpark Resort | Williamsburg, VA – Indoor waterpark and so much more!
Buckaroe Beach & Park | Hampton, VA – Borders the Chesapeake Bay and 3/4 a mile of clean beach with a boardwalk and fishing pier.
James River Runners Tubing | Charlottesville, VA – 3-mile river tubing!
Yorktown Battlefields * | Yorktown, VA – American Revolution destination with plenty of ways to learn and stretch your legs!
Colonial Williamsburg * | Williamsburg, VA – World’s largest living history museum!
Mount Vernon * | Mount Vernon, VA – George Washington’s estate; lots to see and do!
Monticello | Charlottesville, VA – Thomas Jefferson’s estate with breathtaking views.
Montpelier | Montpelier, VA – Visit James Madison’s home and explore his ideas!
Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum | Staunton, VA – An authentic example of a pre-Civil war home.
Berkeley Plantation * | Charles City, VA | We love their Thanksgiving festival each year.
Fort Ward Museum |Alexandria – A civil war site representing the Union headquarters and the defense of Washington, D.C. (the entire Historic District of Alexandria is worth exploring!).
Tredegar Iron Works | Richmond, VA – Steeped in Civil War history and (IG suggestion)
Fort Monroe National Monument | Hampton, VA – 400 years of history to explore!
First Landing State Park | Virginia Beach, VA – Virginia’s most visited state park; this is where the colonists first landed.
Museums, Zoos, & Caves
Luray Caverns | Luray, VA – Completely step-free, and the largest caverns in the eastern United States!
Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center | Virginia Beach, VA – Hands-on exhibits, nature paths, and marshlands.
Virginia Air & Space Museum * | Hampton, VA – Birthplace of America’s space program.
Virginia Living Museum * | Newport News, VA – Encounter habitats, wildlife, and plant species at this living nature center.
Mariners Museum and Park | Newport News, VA – An urban oasis – the 550 acre park is now home to the 167-acre Mariners’ Lake and the Noland Trail – a five-mile shoreline trail with 14 bridges plus museum with 90,000 square feet of exhibition galleries.
Watermen’s Museum | Yorktown, VA – Located on the Yorktown, Virginia waterfront just upriver from the Riverwalk shopping and dining area, the Watermen’s Museum is the perfect addition to your Historic Triangle visit.
American Revolution Museum * | Yorktown, VA – Another living history museum that tells the story of our nation’s founding.
Jamestown Settlement * | Yorktown, VA – Another living history experience of the settling of Jamestown, America’s first permanent colony.
Richmond Zoo * | Richmond, VA – Home to over 2,000 animals from around the world.
Meadow Farm Museum at Crump Park | Richmond, VA – 1860 living history farm site and museum with playground, picnic area, fishing pond, and more.
Virginia Zoo * | Norfok, VA – This zoo has been around for more than 100 years and there is plenty of fun to be had.
Nauticus & The Battleship Wisconsin * | Norfolk, VA – Maritime discovery center located along the waterfront in downtown Norfolk.
Fishing & Boating
Lake Anna State Park | Spotsylvania, VA – Boating and fishing are the main attractions, but there are also more than 13 miles of hiking, lakeshore picnicking, beach swimming, and more.
Waller Mill Park * | Williamsburg, VA – Plenty of trails for hiking, but great fishing!
Free Family Adventure Bucket List Printable
No matter where you live, you can print a free Family Adventure Bucket List for your family to use. I have one filled in with the Virginia adventures, but I also have a blank one for you if you live in another state. Just print the one you need!
What would you add to this Virginia Family Adventure Bucket List? Leave your suggestions in the comments.
Other posts you might be interested in:
- Why We Travel and Adventure
- 7 Tips to Make Hiking With Toddlers Fun
- 11 Tips for Camping With Toddlers
- Things to Do in South Dakota With Kids
- A Fun Detour Through Iowa
- Our Trip Through Southeast Wyoming
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I love this list! We live in Hampton Roads so we’re familiar with some of these destinations but I tend to forget about them. Plus, there were others I’ve never heard of in other parts of the state. Time to plan a day trip with the fam!
We aren’t very far apart then (Williamsburg/Yorktown area for us)! So many day trips in our area for sure!
Growing up we lived in VA for about 8 years. While there my dad planned several day trips to nearby places, some a couple of hours a way, but all within a doable trip for the day. Packed lunches and snacks, find a picnic table to eat, enjoy the place we’d end up, head home for supper and bed. Get up and do it all again the next day. I don’t remember now where all we went, but I do remember it was great fun. Probably the best vacation we did as a family.
That’s awesome! Sounds like a fun Daddy!