Best Day Trips Within One Hour of Richmond, VA

The Richmond, Virginia, area is a gorgeous destination that’s experiencing a burst in tourism from new and returning visitors. Known for its temperate climate, beautiful scenery and rich history, this geographic area also has numerous attractions that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Whether you prefer a day trip with friends or a day out with the family, it is important to take note of the many wonderful opportunities available to Richmond residents and visitors.

So, what are some of the highlights that the surrounding region has to offer? Let’s explore them together.

  1. The James River

The James River is one of the most attractive locations in the Richmond area. Filled with fun for people of all ages, you can choose your own adventure from tranquil nature walks to adrenaline-filled activities on the water.

For the adventurous, there is a section of the river known as the James River Rapids. Here, families enjoy inflating a raft or taking a kayak down the river. If you don’t want to get wet, you can also find hiking and bike paths ranging from easy-to-challenging throughout the region.

On the flip side, there are plenty of other locations along the James River that are much calmer. For those who do not want to exert a lot of energy, why not try out a picnic lunch or relaxing riverfront walk? There are also numerous breweries throughout the area to try for groups over 21 years old.

With so much to do in and around Richmond’s natural playground, be sure to check out everything that the James River has to offer here.

  1. Lake Anna

Drive North for around one hour to reach Lake Anna, a Virginia state park that is the perfect outdoor retreat from the bustling city life in Richmond. If you enjoy time on the water and like to explore natural landscapes, look no further than Lake Anna State Park. This freshwater reservoir has a beach and different public programs (like gold panning) that are popular with visitors. Why not bring along a kayak or a paddleboard and go for a swim? There are countless ways to enjoy this gorgeous lake.

Furthermore, fishing is even allowed on Lake Anna. Those who enjoy fishing will have the opportunity to go after Striped Bass, Walleye and Bluegill. Of course, not everyone enjoys fishing for their lunch, so feel free to bring along a picnic basket and relax on the sandy beaches. The gorgeous views along Lake Anna are popular for new and returning visitors alike.

  1. Williamsburg, VA

Home to The College of William & Mary, one of America’s oldest universities, colonial Williamsburg has a never-ending list of sites and attractions to explore. Less than one hour’s drive from Virginia’s capital city, this is a popular day trip for all Richmonders. During most of the 18th century, Williamsburg was the heart of the Virginia colony.

One of the most popular areas within Williamsburg today is the historic area. More than 300 acres are filled with living history that show what life was like for the early colonials. Furthermore, the area also offers up informative and educational tours.

Visitors should also take advantage of a trip to the Governor’s palace. This is a mansion that was home to British royals along with elected officials of the Virginia colony. There are numerous artifacts that give this mansion a stately feel.

Lastly, if you’re traveling with children, take a look at the Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum in Williamsburg. There are truly unique exhibits in this museum that people have to see to believe.

This is a destination you don’t want to miss when you’re in Richmond!

  1. Busch Gardens

If you’re headed in the direction of colonial Williamsburg, why not stop to spend a full or half day at Busch Gardens? With numerous rides and opportunities for dining and entertainment, it is the perfect destination to make memories with the entire family. Of course, for those who aren’t in search of that adrenaline rush, this amusement park stretches almost 400 acres and has something for everyone. If waterparks are more your style, then have no fear. There are splash options in this park as well.

  1. Petersburg, VA

Located just a short drive South of Richmond, Petersburg, VA, is a great place for those who enjoy learning about our country’s history. Petersburg was the location of a major, and the longest, Civil War battle — the Siege of Petersburg. The grueling battle lasted for over nine months. It was seen as the last line of defense between the Union and Confederate armies. There are numerous exhibits located throughout the city dedicated to this Civil War battle. Those who are looking to learn more about this crucial time in our nation’s history should take advantage of a tour of the battlefields or trip to The Siege Museum where they can learn more.

  1. Charlottesville, VA

The city of Charlottesville is about an hour away from Richmond and is home to one of the top universities in the country. The University of Virginia is perhaps best known for their basketball team; however, it is also nestled in a beautiful college town. The university itself is home to some truly unique architecture, and visitors will undoubtedly want to check out the Rotunda, which was designed by Thomas Jefferson.

There are also a lot of bars and cafés that will give visitors and residents alike a taste of the town. In addition, people visiting Charlottesville with their family will want to check out the Virginia Discovery Museum. This educational attraction has a number of different exhibits that are rotated on a regular basis.

Last but certainly not least, Charlottesville visitors will want to take a look at Monticello. This sprawling plantation was once home to Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States. Take a tour of this mansion and learn what life was like for this founding father.

  1. The Monticello Wine Trail

Speaking of Monticello, not to be overlooked is the Monticello Wine Trail. This wine region will even give Napa Valley a run for its money. This bountiful area on the outskirts of Charlottesville was originally founded by Thomas Jefferson. Now, it has close to three-dozen wineries that all have a distinctive style, taste and product. Of course, visitors are welcome to taste some of the offerings of the winemakers themselves. Come learn about the history of this area and how the vineyards are managed. People might even learn a little bit about how the wine is made as well!

  1. Newport News, VA

Newport News is a short drive from the Richmond area and is one of Virginia’s most popular destinations. Located on the Virginia peninsula, the metropolitan area is surrounded by water and natural beauty.

Take a walk on the Noland Trail, a five-mile path with some of the most beautiful scenery in the state, or enjoy a relaxing waterfront dinner. For those who love museums, Newport News is home to the Virginia War Museum and The USS Monitor Center. You can start at the Virginia War Museum, which features exhibits from a variety of conflicts that span the history of the United States. Then head over to The USS Monitor Center, featuring one of the ironclads of the Civil War. These ships were exceptionally difficult to sink.

With so much history and beauty, Newport News is a can’t-miss destination. Make sure to stop by these sites when you’re in town!

  1. The Jamestown Settlement

The Jamestown Settlement was the first permanent colony founded in North America. As a result, a living history museum was set up in this location. Those who visit will be able to watch a short film about how the settlement was founded and what life was like for early colonists. Visitors will then have the opportunity to learn about the relationship between Native Americans and the early colonists. There are large exhibits for visitors to learn about farming, managing animals and even making tools or pottery. You can learn something new at any age in Jamestown, VA.

Active Senior Living in Richmond, VA

Those who are in search of wellness and enrichment programs in the Richmond, Virginia, area should be sure to check out Aspire at Carriage Hill. Built as a resort-style community for those looking for an active living environment, this independent living community is ideal for the everyday adventure seeker! Join our inspired community that is built for those in pursuit of exceptional lives. Contact us today for more information today!


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