There are plenty of marvels that grace the great state of Virginia. Sometimes it’s a natural rock formation that makes you do a double-take. Or perhaps it’s a manmade wonder that seems like an impossible feat. In the case of the following 11 sites in Virginia, you’ll have to see them in person to believe they exist. And while these pictures are definitely amazing in their own rite, they hardly do justice to the real thing. It’s time to get out there and embark on some truly Virginian sight-seeing!
1. Foamhenge (Natural Bridge)
Foamhenge, created by Mark Cline, is a true manmade marvel. The sculptures are an exact replica of what you'd see at Stonehenge, except (you guessed it!) these structures are made entirely of foam.
2. Staunton River State Park (Scottsburg)
Staunton River State Park is considered an official International Dark Sky Park. What does that translate into? Unbelievable star gazing. In fact, there are only 25 parks in the world with this designation. If you think these pictures are incredible, you won't believe your eyes when you see the real thing. Visitors can even attend a Star Party hosted by the park.
3. Devil's Marbleyard (Natural Bridge)
While they may look like marbles from a distance, some of the boulders in Devil's Marbleyard are as big as a truck. The hike that will take you to this natural spectacle is not for the faint of heart (ranging from 3 - 8 miles depending on the trail you take) with an elevation gain of 1,510 ft. While you can climb and scramble along the rocks, it's the marbleyard itself that is the true spectacle.
4. Devil's Bathtub (Duffield)
And speak of the Devil...there's also a bathtub that carries a rather ominous name for what it is. This beautiful natural wonder can be accessed by a lengthy and difficult trail known as Fork Loop. The trail's main attraction will definitely be a reward for all the hiking, as it makes for a refreshing little swimming hole.
5. Light Of Truth Universal Shrine (Buckingham)
This unique temple is a sight to behold. Inside, visitors will find alters dedicating to all the world's faiths. It's also the site of yoga retreats, spiritual conferences, and much more. The building was dedicated in 1986 and there is a corresponding LOTUS building in South India, dedicated in 2014.
6. Burke's Garden (Tazewell)
This unique, bowl-like valley is the location of some of the most fertile land in the state. Once a sea bed, it was formed when limestone caverns collapsed. Burke's Garden is 3,000 feet above sea-level, which also makes it the highest mountain valley in the state.
7. The Scope Arena (Norfolk)
The Scope Arena is a trademark symbol of Norfolk. Built in 1971, this building was designed by architect Pier Luigi Nervi and remains the biggest reinforced thin-shell concrete dome in the world. This unique shape combined with the 24 flying buttresses make the Scope Arena an architectural wonder. Inside, you might catch an Admirals hockey game, Ringling Bros. circus, or MEAC basketball tournament.
8. Breaks Interstate Park
Located partially in Kentucky and Virginia, Breaks Interstate Park was stumbled upon by the famous pioneer Daniel Boone in 1767. This impressive gorge is the deepest east of the Mississippi River and often referred to as the "Grand Canyon of the South." The park also features several hiking trails for further exploring.
9. The Channels (Abingdon)
Within the nearly 5,000-acre Channels State Forest you'll find the Great Channels of Virginia. Many scientists believe that these unique formations were created millions of years ago during the last ice age. Hikers can meander through these unbelievable sandstone crevices. While it's easy to get lost in this labyrinth, sticking to guided trails such as the the Brumley Mountain Trail will ensure proper footing.
10. The Udvar-Hazy Center Observation Tower (Chantilly)
With its spaceship-like sleekness and seemingly impossible balancing act, this observation tower is nothing short of a marvel. The tower can be found at Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum, providing visitors with an incredible view of airplane arrivals and departures from the Dulles Airport.
11. Luray Caverns (Luray)
No list of Virginia marvels is complete without the unbelievable underground cavern system in Luray. To explore these magnificent "rooms" is to enter into a different world. These spaces are as tall as a 10-stories in some places, and can easily be explored by means of well-marked, lighted pathways.