Cool and Unique Things to do in Virginia

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While Virginia is famously known as ‘for lovers,’ this state offers so much more than just that.

It presents an abundance of opportunities to engage in outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and fishing, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature and savor breathtaking views. Food enthusiasts will find a wide range of delicious culinary experiences to indulge in as well. If you’re looking for things to do in Virginia that go beyond the ordinary and seeking a touch of adventure and excitement, there are hidden gems that not many people are aware of. From quirky and offbeat attractions to unique and thrilling experiences, there are countless cool and unexpected activities waiting to be explored. Let me shed light on these lesser-known treasures and open up a whole new perspective on what Virginia has to offer. Let me know in the comment section if I missed your favorite cool and unique things to do in Virginia!
Before you leave for your adventure, here are few things to remember: 

Here are the Cool and Unique Things to do in Virginia:

1. Navigate the Great Channels - Rosedale, Virginia

Cool and Unique Things to do in Virginia

Region: Southwest Virginia
Hike Length: 6 Miles (out & back)
Difficulty: Moderate
Dogs allowed: Yes, on leash
Fee: No
Get Directions: click here
Travel Time: 6 hrs from DC | 5 hrs from Richmond | 6.5 hrs from VA Beach | 2.5 hrs from Roanoke

Tucked away at the top of a mountain in Southwest Virginia, a mass of 400 million-year-old sandstone blocks create a maze of channels that you can explore. It is truly an awe-inspiring experience! The 3-mile trail to the Channels winds up the mountain at a constant incline but it’s easy going since you’re on a fire road. Once you approach the top you veer off onto a path and there is a little bit of rock scrambling that leads to an old fire tower. Once you pass that, you’re in the Great Channels! Please be aware that the trail up is surrounded by private property so be sure not to deviate. Also, the parking lot is very small so spots are limited.

2. Walk Through Blue Ridge Tunnel - Afton, VirgInia

Cool and Unique Things to do in Virginia

Region: Central Virginia
Length: 4.5 Miles (out & back)
Difficulty: Easy
Dogs Allowed: Yes, on leash
Fee: No
Get Directions: East Trailhead | West Trailhead
Travel Time: 3 hrs from DC | 1.5 hrs from Richmond | 3 hrs from VA Beach | 1.5 hrs from Roanoke

This tunnel built in the 1850s was dug completely by hand and once completed, it was one the longest tunnels in the world. It has recently been restored and people are able to walk through this incredibly historical place with ease. The 4.5 mile out-and-back trail can be accessed from either the west or the east (with the east being closer to the tunnel). Both options have plenty of parking and the hike is rated as easy (though the west side has slightly more elevation).

Pro Tip: Don’t forget your head lamps or flash light!

3. Visit the Abandoned Presidents Heads - Williamsburg, Virginia

Cool and Unique Things to do in Virginia

Region: Eastern Virginia
Dogs allowed: Yes, on leash
Purchase tickets: click here
Travel Time: 3 hrs from DC | 1 hr from Richmond | 1 hr from VA Beach | 3.5 hrs from Roanoke

In a field on a farm in Eastern Virginia lie the busts of 43 United States Presidents. Yes, you read that correctly. How, exactly, these 20-ft sculptures got there is a very interesting story, and you can ask the man himself when you book one of his tours to visit this quirky spot. Since the site is on private land, the tours are the only way to see this incredibly unique collection.

4. Climb up Birch Knob Tower - Clintwood, Virginia

unique and cool things to do in Virginia

Region: Southwest Virginia
Fee: No
Get Directions: click here
Travel Time: 7.5 hrs from DC | 6.5 hrs from Richmond | 8 hrs from VA Beach | 4 hrs from Roanoke

Ever wanted to see the state from a bird’s eye view? Well, if you visit this spot, you can! Climb the 183 steps up this observation tower and you will be rewarded with stunning views of Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and on a clear day even Ohio. The tower is located a convenient 100 yards from the parking lot so no hiking is required!

5. Relax in Devil’s Bathtub - Duffield, Virginia

Waterfall Hikes in Virginia

Region: Southwest Virginia
Length: 3.9 Miles (out & back)
Difficulty: Hard
Dogs Allowed: Yes, on leash
Fee: No
Get Directions: click here
Travel Time: 6.5 hrs from DC | 6 hrs from Richmond | 7.5 hrs from VA Beach | 3 hrs from Roanoke

No, the water is not boiling hot. In fact, it’s rather cold because this beautiful watering hole is deep in Southwest Virginia. Follow the strenuous 3.9 mile out-and-back trail through the woods, across rocky terrain and stream crossings, and be rewarded with crystal clear water and amazing pictures. Be sure to do your research before departing!

This area is prone to flash flooding and can be dangerous so take extreme caution and check the weather before you start hiking. There are two parking lots – one is larger, further from the trailhead, and easily accessible by vehicle; the other is smaller, closer to the trailhead, and not easily accessible by a vehicle that is 4WD. Though parking is free, this hike is very popular and the lots fill up quickly. Be sure to plan ahead for your visit and you should have no problems!

6. Visit Natural Tunnel State Park - Duffield, Virginia

Cool and Unique Things to do in Virginia

Region: Southwest Virginia
Fee: Yes
Get Directions: click here
Travel Time: 6.5 hrs from DC | 6 hrs from Richmond | 7.5 hrs from VA Beach | 3 hrs from Roanoke

This park is one of the coolest and most unique places in Virginia. Not only do you have plenty of hiking opportunities, but you can also take a chairlift down a mountain and take a guided tour into the cave tunnel.

When you arrive at the park, the first trail you should walk is Lover’s Leap. This easy .6 mile loop brings you to the edge of the pit that the Natural Tunnel lies at the bottom of. This view is truly stunning and well worth the short walk. Next, you must make your way down the mountain to the tunnel. The easiest way is by catching a ride on the chairlift near the Visitor’s Center, which is a very cool experience. Once at the base of the mountain, follow a short trail to the railroad crossing and tunnels. Explore around and enjoy the experience of being in such a cool and unique spot!

7. See Ponies at Massie Gap - Mouth of Wilson, Virginia

Cool and Unique Things to do in Virginia

Region: Southwest Virginia
Length: 1.3 miles (out & back)
Difficulty: Moderate
Dogs allowed: Yes, on leash
Fee: Yes
Get Directions: click here
Travel Time: 6 hrs from DC | 5 hrs from Richmond | 6.5 hrs from VA Beach | 2.5 hrs from Roanoke

Located in Grayson Highlands State Park, you can take a quick hike up Massie Gap to see wild ponies. Follow the steep Rhododendron Trail up to Wilburn Ridge – which is about a half-mile walk – and that is where the ponies typically congregate. There are several herds that roam the 1,500 acres of highlands. They are not tame and visitors should not touch or go near them for the safety of both animal and human.

8. Walk Across High Bridge Trail - Farmville, Virginia

Cool and Unique Things to do in Virginia

Region: Central Virginia
Dogs allowed: Yes, on leash
Fee: Yes
Get Directions: click here
Travel Time: 3.5 hrs from DC | 1.5 hrs from Richmond | 3 hrs from VA Beach | 2 hrs from Roanoke

Nestled in the heart of Virginia, this stunning bridge soars out across a valley with the Appomattox River running far below. Rich with history, this bridge was constructed in the 1850s and has stood tall since then. This spot is excellent for sunrise and sunset. From the Camp Paradise parking lot it is a short, flat half-mile walk to reach the center of the bridge and see these beautiful views.

9. Explore Luray Caverns - Luray, Virginia

cool and unique things to do in Virginia

Region: Northwest Virginia
Fee: Yes
Get Directions: click here
Travel Time: 2 hrs from DC | 2.5 hrs from Richmond | 4 hrs from VA Beach | 2.5 hrs from Roanoke

Visiting these caverns truly feels like stepping into another world. Formed millions of years ago by acid-bearing water dripping through layers of sandstone and clay, these 64-acre caverns are truly a natural phenomenon. Follow the 1.5 mile path through the caverns to see all this incredibly unique place has to offer.

10. Visit the Kiptopeke Shipwrecks - Cape Charles, Virginia

Cool and Unique Things to do in Virginia

Region: Eastern Virginia
Dogs allowed: Yes, on leash
Fee: Yes
Get Directions: click here
Travel Time: 4 hrs from DC | 2 hrs from Richmond | 1 hr from VA Beach | 5 hrs from Roanoke

Also known as the Kiptopeke Also known as the Kiptopeke Breakwater or Concrete Fleet, these nine concrete ships sit a few hundred yards off the beach of the state park. Rent a kayak and paddle out to these incredible relics from World War II.

If you love sunsets, I recommend going to Kiptopeke State Park’s boardwalk to catch one! The park is my favorite sunset beach spot when visiting the eastern shore!

11. Walk Underneath Natural Bridge - Natural Bridge, Virginia

Cool and Unique Things to do in Virginia

Region: Central Virginia
Dogs allowed: Yes, on leash
Fee: Yes
Get Directions: click here
Travel Time: 3.5 hrs from DC | 2.5 hrs from Richmond | 4 hrs from VA Beach | 1 hr from Roanoke

Just as the name describes, this 215 ft tall arch was formed naturally when the tunnel that Cedar Creek ran through collapsed. What is left is the roof of that tunnel, which became the 90-ft wide bridge. You must pass through the Visitor’s Center to continue down the .8 mile long Cedar Creek Trail. This trail is easy going down and hard coming up since descent 137 steps to get to the bottom. Follow the trail along the creek for a short ways and you reach the bridge! That is not all there is to see though – continue on the trail to see a recreated Native American Village, cave, and 30-foot waterfall.

12. Sunset Picnic at an Overlook

Virginia has twin scenic highways running along the state – Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive. Both have great overlooks where you can kick back and set up a picnic.

My favorite spots for sunset picnics are: 

  • Blue Ridge Parkway:
    • Ravens Roost Overlook, Milepost 10.7
    • Thunder Ridge Overlook, Milepost 74.7 
  •  Skyline Drive:
    •  The Point Overlook, Milepost 55.5

13. Relax in Virginia's Warm Spring Pools - Hot Springs, Virginia

Cool and Unique Things to do in Virginia

Region: West-Central Virginia
Dogs allowed: No
Fee: Yes
Get Directions: click here
Check out website: click here
Travel Time: 3.5 hrs from DC | 2.5 hrs from Richmond | 4.5 hrs from VA Beach | 1.5 hr from Roanoke

If you’re searching for a cool and unique way to relax in Virginia, don’t miss out on the historic Warm Springs Pools at the Omni Homestead Resort! Following a $4 million renovation, the spa has reopened, offering visitors the chance to soak in geothermal mineral waters that have drawn travelers for centuries.
 
To ensure a smooth experience, be sure to make a reservation and check out the family and adult-only soaking times. Whether you’re a guest at the Omni Homestead or staying elsewhere in the region, you can still indulge in the soothing waters and unwind. The resort offers day passes or access for non-guests who are interested in enjoying the geothermal mineral waters and the relaxing ambiance. This means you can treat yourself to this rejuvenating experience even if you haven’t chosen to stay at the Omni Homestead.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to relax in the Blue Ridge Mountains!

14. Take a scenic wildlife boat or cruise tour - Chincoteague Island, Virginia

Wildlife Scenic Boat Tour

Region: Eastern Shore
Dogs allowed: Yes
Fee: Yes
Get Directions to boat departure: click here
Check out website: click here
Travel Time: 3 hrs from DC | 3.5 hrs from Richmond | 2 hrs from VA Beach | 6 hrs from Roanoke

Experience the beauty of Assateague and Chincoteague Island from the water on a boat tour from Daisey’s Island Cruises, one of the most magical things to do in Virginia

This family-owned business provides a range of tour options, including scenic wildlife cruises and dolphin-watching excursions. On their tours, you’ll be taken to prime locations to witness the mesmerizing sight of wild ponies, playful dolphins, and other fascinating wildlife. The experienced captains at Daisey’s Island Cruises will entertain you with captivating stories and insightful knowledge about these enchanting islands.

15. See about 13 Waterfalls in One Hike - Hot Springs Virginia

Cool and Unique Things to do in Virginia

Region: West-Central Virginia
Dogs allowed: No
Fee: Yes
Get Directions: click here
Check out website: click here
Travel Time: 3.5 hrs from DC | 2.5 hrs from Richmond | 4.5 hrs from VA Beach | 1.5 hr from Roanoke

One of Virginia’s best things to do is hike to waterfalls and explore nature’s beauty. If you’re a fan of these activities, the Cascade Gorge Hike at Omni Homestead Resort is for you. This 1.8-mile trail takes you on a breathtaking journey through lush Allegheny Mountain scenery, where you’ll be amazed by around 13 captivating waterfalls. Led by a naturalist, this 3-hour hike is suitable for all ages and offers insights into the local flora, fauna, and practical uses of plants.

Please note this is a private property; you can access the hike through guided tours or with a Homestead fly fishing guide. Make sure to reserve your spot in advance by calling The Omni Homestead Resort.

16. Glamping with Private Waterfalls and Swimming Hole - Covington, Virginia

Cool and Unique Things to do in Virginia

Region: Western Virginia
Dogs allowed: Yes
Fee: Yes
Check out website: click here
Travel Time: 4 hrs from DC | 3 hrs from Richmond | 5 hrs from VA Beach | 1.5 hr from Roanoke

Looking for an exciting weekend getaway with lots of things to do in Virginia? Beaverdam Falls is a 65-acre private nature preserve, and exclusive camping destination is a hidden gem in Virginia. It boasts a beautiful 40-foot drop waterfall, serene swimming holes, a cave, unique rock formations, a trout stream, a beaver dam, a swamp, and hiking trails offering breathtaking mountain views. Several lodging options are unique and exclusive, thoughtfully positioned on the expansive property. Having visited twice, we’ve enjoyed the top-of-the-rock tent next to Upper Falls and the newly constructed A-frame, providing a view of the swimming holes and upper falls. Both accommodations include a fire pit, picnic table, and camp kitchen items. 

For added convenience, The Bull Pine Camper Club Trailer serves as a communal space with running water, a full kitchen, a bathroom, and an honor system store where you can purchase forgotten essentials. 

Remember, this private property is accessible through reservations or guest stays.

Now that you know Virginia isn’t just for lovers – it’s also for those travelers seeking the cool and unique things this beautiful state has to offer – here is an easy-to-use map so you can plan out your adventures.

Meet Sunshine
and Sancho

I’m so glad you’re here (and so is Sancho). I’m Sunshine! A Virginia-based travel enthusiast on the hunt for cozy stays, great views, unique experiences, and dog-friendly adventures. Sancho and I have spent the past 3 years exploring Virginia (and beyond) in order to share our favorite places and uncover hidden gems.

Join us on a journey to get out of our comfort zone, take the road less traveled, and explore alongside our furry family members.

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2 Responses

  1. Hey! I am from Cape Charles! At Kiptopeke we just call them the “concrete ships” and they were actually sunk purposely to protect the old ferry! Now they just help the shore line! Love that you’re showing us off! 😁😁

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