Virginia’s byways are iconic statewide and nationwide. Our beautiful mountains, valleys, rivers, and oceans sometimes look most beautiful when seen from the perspective of a gently winding road. With over 3,500 miles of scenic byways here, there are plenty of memorable routes to choose from. The following byways will provide the perfect vision of our beautiful state. Cue up some great music, grab a friend, and enjoy the views!
1. Colonial Parkway
This 23-mile scenic drive ties together three of Virginia's most historic points: Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown, collectively known as the Historic Triangle. Building of this route began in 1930 and was then completed in 1957. The Parkway has protected the surrounding area and has also kept commercial development to a minimum. This allows drivers to enjoy the views as they have been seen for centuries, with pristine land and wildlife. Colonial Parkway is also one of only 27 All-American roads in the U.S.
2. Blue Ridge Parkway
The beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway runs for a total of 469 scenic miles along the Blue Ridge mountain range. The southern most point of the road begins in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park of North Carolina to Virginia's Shenandoah National Park. The land the surrounds this route is owned and maintained by the National Parks Service. The Parkway has plenty of overlook points, so visitors can get out and admire the surrounding beauty.
3. Route 39 to Goshen Pass
State Route 39 begins at the West Virginia state line and then eventually passes through Goshen towards Rockbridge Baths and eventually East Lexington. The Route is also known as Mountain Valley Road, and meanders through both mountains and valleys of the area. The Route runs for approximately 60 miles. Drivers will enjoy breathtaking views of Virginia's rural valleys.
4. George Washington Memorial Parkway
The GW Parkway runs along the Potomac River for 25 miles from Mount Vernon to Langley. The area is maintained by the National Park Service. This parkway is also considered to be an All American Road. Visitors will enjoy the stunning view of the river, as well as the historic sites found along the way. George Washington's Mount Vernon is a popular stop and marks the beginning of the drive. The gorgeous Great Falls Park marks the end of the byway.
5. Virginia Coal Heritage Trail
Experience southwest Virginia's historic mining culture along the Virginia Coal Heritage Trail. 300 miles of byways span through small towns with working mines and museums. Many begin the route in Pocahontas, which was the state's first coal town. Several buildings in this small town have been converted into fascinating museums. As you continue westward towards Appalachia, you'll be able to see railroad buildings and other mining equipment.
6. Mount Rogers Scenic Byway
This beautiful scenic route starts in Damascus and runs for 60 miles. If you're looking for incredible views, take VA 603 up to Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. Standing at 5,729 feet, Mount Rogers is the highest point in the entire state. This byway is the perfect route for the outdoor enthusiast. Grayson Highlands State Park can also be found just south of the Recreation Area.
7. Skyline Drive
Skyline Drive eventually meets up with the Blue Ridge Parkway, but it has its own unique 105 miles of scenic beauty. The drive begins at Front Royal and maintains a speed limit of 35 miles per hour, so drivers can enjoy the views at a slower speed. This is a main portion of Shenandoah National Park, so those with time to spare can stretch their legs with some unforgettable hiking. While this drive is beautiful any time of year, fall is definitely the prime time to admire the foliage.
8. Chesapeake Bay Bridge
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (known as the CBBT) is 23 miles long and connects Hampton Roads to the Virginia portion of the Eastern Shore. Without this bridge, drivers would have to go an extra 95 miles to reach the destination. The building of this bridge-tunnel was an engineering feat, and has been celebrated since its completion. Enjoy incredible views as you soar above the Chesapeake waters.
When you’ve got some time to spare, taking the scenic route is always a rewarding option. The drive is sure to be a memorable one. Have you visited these scenic byways in Virginia? Share your experiences with us!