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Virginia travel guide

About Virginia

A thrilling fusion of inspirational scenery and fascinating history, Virginia packs in sweeping beaches, forested mountains, exceptional wine and stories aplenty.

From tales of swashbuckling pirates to fierce Civil War battles, Virginia racks up more history lessons than a high school syllabus. It boasts the USA’s birthplace at Jamestown, where the first English colony set up shop in 1607. Then there’s Colonial Williamsburg, aka the Revolutionary City, where the quest for independence from Britain kicked off and where you can dive head-on into revolutionary life with uncannily authentic townspeople.

Go all out and immerse yourself in a full-scale battle re-enactment, complete with thundering hooves, flaming log cabins, clashing swords and smoking guns. Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War, and more battles took place in Virginia than in any other state.

If these skirmishes have you reaching for a glass of something strong, you’re in the right place. Wineries are ubiquitous in Virginia, which has also hopped aboard the craft beer express; hit the Blue Ridge Beer Loop for a round-up of thirst-quenching mountain ales.

A brisk dip in the ocean will vanquish your hangover. As well as shimmering waters, Virginia offers 45km (28 miles) of glorious sandy beaches. Insider tip: escape the crowds on the sugary beaches of Assateague Island National Seashore. At Norfolk, you can also dive into maritime history, tour the world’s largest naval base and slurp fresh-from-the-Chesapeake oysters.

Take a road trip on the spectacular Blue Ridge Parkway, which curls 755km (469 miles) along the Appalachian Mountains, from Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina. Scenic hiking trails, cascading waterfalls and stellar views will lure you out the car at every turn.

Key facts

Area:

109,629 sq km (42,328 sq miles).

Population:

8.4 million (2015).

Population density:

76.5 per sq km.

Capital:

Richmond.