Rolling hills, mountain views, and coastal paradise – if you’ve lived in Virginia for any period of time, you’ve probably grown accustomed to this beautiful scenery. That being said, our standards for beauty are set pretty high. What’s more unusual are the places that seem otherworldly, not for their beauty but for other remarkable reasons. Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia is one such place. What was once a pristine landmark for preservation was scarred by fire caused by lighting in 2011. The fire burned for 111 days straight, covering the area in flame and smog. The fire damage has cast the swamplands in an eerie shadow, but there’s hope that regrowth will continue. These pictures show a progression of the swamp: before the fire, during, and after. Each stage seems like it could be a scene from a dream.

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Although fires are devastating and tragic, they have a way of renewing the landscape and reminding us of the resilience of nature. Have you visited the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia? Did anything about it seem particularly dream-like? Share your experiences in the comments!

Then, check out some of our favorite lesser-known state parks where natural wonders are just waiting to be discovered.

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More to Explore

More Beautiful Places In Virginia

What are some natural wonders in Virginia?
Virginia is home to beautiful caverns, caves, gorges, ravines, forests, waterfalls, and incredible rock formations. Here are some of our favorite natural wonders in Virginia for you to explore:

  • Mountain Lake, Pembroke, VA: Follow the Mountain Lake Trail near Mountain Lake Lodge through a lush forest and over a wooded footbridge to discover this fascinating lake. The odd thing about this lake is that it has a tendency to drain and fill at random times. When it is at its fullest it looks like a normal lake surrounded by thick vegetation. At its lowest point, you'd never know a lake even existed here. It is truly a natural wonder in Virginia that is worth coming back to over the years to see its natural end and flow.
  • Sand Cave, Ewing, VA: This (not so) secret cave can be reached by hiking 3.9 miles through Thomas Walker Civic Park. It is a fascinating natural wonder located in Cumberland Gap National Historic Park (an incredible natural wonder in and of itself). Sand Cave was created over millions of years of erosion caused by the wind. The floor is now a sandy "beach" created by the eroded sandstone and the stone itself contains a multi-colored pattern of various minerals.
  • Breaks Interstate Park, Breaks, VA: When the Appalachian Mountains were created millions of years ago, a wave of earth was moved into what is now Breaks Interstate Park. This incredible natural wonder is a beautiful 10,000-foot gorge reminiscent of the New River Gorge in West Virginia. You'll enjoy stunning views of sandstone cliffs, dense forests, canyons, rivers, and incredible overlooks.

We could go on and on to describe the many wonderful natural areas in Virginia. You can read more about 12 of our favorite places to explore including natural bridges, caves, waterfalls, and stunning hiking trails. When you are out hiking, be sure to use the resources at AllTrails+ to keep your feet on the right path.