One of the best things about Virginia is the number of charming small towns you can find here. While there are some important major cities in Virginia, it’s the small towns that truly provide the character and personality of our state. Visiting these places is a reminder of what’s truly important: friends, family, and community. These towns each have a unique feel and will make for a memorable visit any time of year. Feel free to slow down, enjoy the views, meet the friendly locals, and stay awhile.
1. Big Stone Gap
Located in Wise County, Big Stone Gap has a population of roughly 5,600. This town was formerly known as Mineral City. The area was created by the valley on the Appalachia Straight. Some of the best ways to experience this town is on bike alongside the beautiful Powell River. Nearby is the eighth natural wonder of the world, Natural Tunnel State Park.
2. Fancy Gap
Fancy Gap, Virginia is located in the Blue Ridge Highlands region. One of the most charming spots to visit is the Peaceful Heart Alpacas Farm Store, where visitors can see the animals and learn about crafting with wool. Fancy Gap is also home to Devil's Den Nature Preserve, which provides several miles of hiking and scenic views.
Wakefield is a small town of approximately 1,000 located in Sussex County. One of the most well-known features of Wakefield is the Virginia Diner. Since 1929, this establishment has been considered the "Peanut Capital of the World," and is the destination to buy the finest Virginia products: hams, candies, and Virginia peanuts.
Poquoson is a charming town located in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area. The name derives from a Native American origin, meaning "great marsh." Those that visit Poquoson or live nearby often incorporate a visit to Sandy Bottom Nature Park. Visitors can enjoy canoeing, kayaking, hiking, and more.
Hopewell can be found just 24 miles southeast of Virginia. The area of the town known as City Point was founded in 1613 by Sir Thomas Dale. This is just one of the many historic aspects of the town, which also is the location of many beautiful plantation homes. The Appomattox Plantation, for example, was built in 1763 and played a prominent role in the Civil War.
6. Colonial Beach
For centuries, Colonial Beach has been a haven for water enthusiasts. The town rests between the Potomac River and and Monroe Bay and features beautiful sandy beaches. One of the most unique features about Colonial Beach is its identity as a "golf cart town." Forget about 5 o'clock traffic jams, the streets here are filled only with golf carts. This truly slows down the pace of life and makes room for the simple pleasures of everyday living.
7. Front Royal
Located in Warren County, Front Royal has a population of around 15,000. Many visitors pass through Front Royal to take a glimpse at the spectacular Shenandoah Caverns. The town itself has been designated the "Canoe Capital of the World" because of its proximity to the junction of the South Fork River and North Fork River of the Shenandoah. Front Royal is also the northern most entrance to the Shenandoah Valley, and thus a great destination for those who appreciate the pristine beauty of the region.
Lawrenceville can be found nearby the Meherrin River, in the southern portion of the state. This small town also happens to be located along the Tobacco Heritager Trail, a multi-use trail that reincorporates abandoned railways into the landscape. Each year, the town welcomes a variety of bikers, hikers, horse back riders.
9. Buena Vista
Buena Vista (and if you're a local, you'll know the correct pronunciation) is tucked away between the Maury River and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Not far from Lexington, this even smaller community has been a successful center of business. Visitors will enjoy exploring the nearby outdoor attractions as well as some of the historical sites in the greater Rockbridge County area.
Edinburg is another small town in the Shenandoah Valley. It's historically significant for the Edinburg Mill, which is one of the few that survived the burning in the Civil War. The mill remained in operation until 1979 and was then turned into a restaurant. Those who visit will enjoy learning more about the mill as well as the surrounding area at the Museum at the Edinburg Mill.
Welcome to the friendly tidewater town of Urbanna, the beloved home of Virginia's Oyster Festival. The folks here are laidback and will inspire visitors to enjoy their stay on the Rappahannock. Nearby are plenty of shopping inns, open air markets and, of course, water activity. The Urbanna Farmers Market is definitely not one to be missed, with an abundance of fresh produce, seafood, and inspiring artwork.
12. Meadows of Dan
Meadows of Dan is known by locals as "the Mountain," and is one of the early settled towns in the state. The feature that is most well-known in this town is Mabry's Mill, one of the most photographed spots in the country. A trip to Meadows of Dan is a trip back to the past, where nature and art are enthusiastically celebrated.
The lovely Wytheville can be found in the Blue Ridge Highlands region. Those who visit will enjoy a stroll through history, as there are over 50 historic sites located in this friendly town. Anyone interested in the immersive historic experience can take the official Wytheville Walking Tour. Nearby are thousands of pristine acres of the Beartown Wilderness, part of the Jefferson National Forest, for those who wish to engage in the natural surroundings.
14. Rocky Mount
Rocky Mount is set in the breathtaking scene of the western Blue Ridge Mountains. This town may be small, but it is certainly thriving. The county courthouse is a beautiful building that sits atop the communities many churches, historic buildings, and friendly neighborhoods. You won't want to miss a show at the Harvester Performance Center, which brings in incredible live acts.
Whether you spend a day in one of these quaint towns or your whole life, there’s no escaping the fact that there’s something to be said about a life where it’s the simple and important things that take center stage. Even if you’re just passing through, you’re sure to be welcomed like a neighbor. Which small towns in Virginia would you like to see added to this list? We know we’ve only scraped the surface!