Virginia has many iconic sites. From seashores to mountaintops, our state is as diverse as they come. But there are some sights and sounds that come to us more readily than others when we think about Virginia. The following images capture some of the more definitive moments, attractions and natural settings that make up the beautiful state that we call home.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. "Two Lane Blacktop”: One of Virginia’s many beautiful backroads.
The photographer couldn’t have titled this image any more simply or elegantly. And this is a classic Virginia scene - from north to south, east to west. Long stretches of backroad with God’s country all around. That’s Virginia.
2. The Blue Ridge Parkway at the Raven’s Roost Overlook
As one of the most popular routes in Virginia, the Blue Ridge Parkway offers scenery that never disappoints. One of the most popular overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Raven’s Roost provides a classic Virginia scene of mountainous splendor and absolute tranquility.
3. Mc Afee’s Knob near Salem
It's no wonder McAfee's Knob is the one of the most photographed spots along the Appalachian Trail. With panoramic views of Catawba Valley and North Mountain to the west, Tinker Cliffs to the north and the Roanoke Valley to the east, this peak makes you feel like you are sitting on top of the world.
4. Carvin’s Cove from Tinker Cliffs in Botetourt County
Sights like this are what we come to expect from Virginia. Carvin’s Cove, located just outside of Roanoke, is part of one of the nation’s largest parks.
5. The Appalachian Trail at Sym’s Gap Meadow
The famous Appalachian Trail is the Holy Grail of the hiking world. Stretching for 2,160 miles from Georgia to Maine, it boasts some of its most beautiful paths in Virginia.
6. Colonial Williamsburg
Colonial Williamsburg operates as the largest living history museum in Virginia, with incredible restorations and replications of life in Colonial times. Once the center of colonial life and a former capital, Williamsburg provides a hands-on interactive trip back in time to the earliest foundations of our beautiful state.
We are known for our apples, our apple butter, our apple pies (both traditional and fried) and just about every other apple-related thing you can think of. And for many Virginians, apple picking is just part of fall.
8. The Statue of Neptune at Virginia Beach
While the statue of Neptune is barely a decade old, it has quickly become an icon of the Virginia Beach boardwalk. Standing at 34 feet high, Neptune guards the ocean as beachgoers pass by.
9. Arlington Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery is more than just a humbling walk among the gravestones of our veterans. It is an outdoor museum and monument honoring all of the men and women who have served, or are serving, our country.
10. Assateague and Chincoteague Islands
Chincoteague and Assateague are narrow barrier islands that lay off the coast of Virginia. The islands have long been known for their wild ponies, believed to be descendants of horses that survived a Spanish shipwreck and swam ashore nearly 400 years ago. The islands are home to countless species of wildlife, as well as pristine beaches and some of the most well-preserved wetlands in the state.
11. Busch Gardens in Williamsburg...
…or Kings Dominion in Doswell
Either way and whatever your preference, Virginians know how to have a good time and make these key amusement parks part of their annual traditions.
12. George Washington’s Home at Mount Vernon
With more presidents born in Virginia that any other state, presidential homes are abundant. But few rival the beauty and history of Mount Vernon, where George Washington lived out his final days. The home and surrounding grounds provide a living history of the life and times of our nation’s first president.
13. Thomas Jefferson’s Home at Monticello
As I just said, few presidential homes rival Mount Vernon - unless, of course, you’re talking about Monticello. Widely renowned for its architectural beauty, Thomas Jefferson's historic home is also the only private home on the United Nations World Heritage site in the United States.
14. Old Cape Henry Lighthouse at Fort Story in Virginia Beach
As one of Virginia’s many iconic lighthouses, the Cape Henry light was the first lighthouse to be commissioned by the U.S. government in 1792 and stands near the site of the first landing of Jamestown Settlers in 1607. Although it was replaced in 1881, the original light remained. It was relit in 1983 and still shines today
Farming is Virginia’s largest industry with an economic impact of $52 billion every year. Farming provides more than 300,000 jobs in the state.
16. Natural Bridge in Rockbridge County
Natural Bridge, considered one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World, is a natural 215-foot arch with a 90-foot span. Although it most likely formed when a cavern collapsed, local Monacan Indian folklore claims it appeared as an escape route during a battle. Today, it serves as one of Virginia's most popular destinations.
17. The USS Wisconsin in Norfolk
With 27 military bases in the state, plus countless other training facilities, men and women in uniform have made up much of the fabric of Virginia society for generations. Norfolk is home to one of the largest naval bases in the world and features many sites like the USS Wisconsin, reminding us of the brave men and women who serve our country.
18. A Civil War re-enactment in Tazewell
While the Civil War is alway a provocative topic, it is a very real part of our history. More than half of the major engagements of the Civil War were fought on Virginia soil, making our state a key part of this particular time in history.
19. Grapevines growing at The Winery at La Grange in Haymarket
Virginia is giving the west coast as a run for its money with more than 250 wineries ranging across the state. And after winning 29 medals at the San Diego International Wine Competition in February 2015, Virginia offers plenty of reasons to raise a glass—and no shortage of ways to fill it.
20. The James River flowing past the capital in Richmond
The James is perhaps the best known of Virginia’s many rivers. It is also the only river to provide Class IV rapids in an urban setting.
21. Scott’s Run Falls in Fairfax County
These tranquil scenes are the norm on hikes throughout the state. This scene is just one of many that you’ll find in the woods and forest trails of Virginia.
22. On the dock at Claytor Lake
As one of Virginia’s many beautiful lakes, Claytor Lake is located at Claytor Lake State Park in Dublin. Other popular lakes include Lake Anna, Smith Mountain Lake and the Kerr Reservoir (Buggs Island Lake), among many others.
23. Historic Jamestown
There are few who don’t recognize Historic Jamestown. As the site of the nation’s first permanent English colony, Jamestown is one of the most visited attractions in our state. This image of the reconstruction of the original fort at Jamestown depicts some of our oldest history.
24. The mighty Potomac River at sunset near Arlington
While Virginia is home to dozens of rivers, the Potomac is one of the most iconic. George Washington, proud son of Virginia and our nation’s first president, grew up along its shores and it has long served as a marker for our state.
25. Small Towns and and Main Streets
Downtowns like this one shown in Staunton are part of what make Virginia special. We have held on to small towns throughout the state, fostering a sense of community and kinship.
26. Virginia is for Lovers
There are few people in the nation who don’t recognize our famous state slogan. And never has a slogan been more accurate - because if there is one thing that DOES define Virginia, it's the people and their love for home.
What defines Virgnia for you? We would love to hear your contributions in the comments below!