National Parks in Virginia

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Appalachian National Scenic Trail

The historic Appalachian National Scenic trail cuts through fourteen states in the eastern U.S.A including New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Georgia, Maryland, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Popularly also known as the A.T., the trail is over 2,000 miles long. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail was first opened in the year 1937 and has since been a favorite for tourists and hikers who come from all over the world to see the trail. Some activities here guests can enjoy include camping, tours, as well as beginner to expert level hikes.

Appomattox Courthouse National Historical Park

Located about 4.8km from Appomattox County, Virginia, this Historical Park and preserved village dates back to the 19th century. The village is especially known as the site of the April 9, 1865 Battle of Appomattox Court House containing the home of Wilmer McLean. It was here that the Army of Northern Virginia surrendered under Robert E. Lee to Union commander Ulysses S. Grant, which eventually ended the American Civil War. The Park is approximately 1,800 acres in size. Guests can come and witness history like never before, see the restored buildings, ruins, and cemeteries in this historic village.

Arlington House

For thirty years, Robert E. Lee and his family called Arlington House their home. Their home was built from 1802 through 1818 by George Washington Parke Custis who is Robert Lee’s father-in-law. The home was also built as a memorial to George Washington. The Greek revival-style building overlooks Washington D. C’s National Mall as well as the Potomac River. Lee is famously known for resigning from the US Army at Arlington House. He was an influential American figure after the civil war, especially in the North and South. Today, visitors can schedule guided tours of Arlington House or just walk around by themselves.

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Assateague Island National Seashore

Located on the coastal land borders of Virginia and Maryland, the stunning Assateague Island National Seashore is a protected zone within a barrier island. Rich with nature, visitors will find wild horses roaming freely on the island as well as native animals and unique plants that are specially adapted to Assateague Island. With lovely sandy beaches, dunes, coastal bays, pine forests, salt marshes, and the winds, Assateague is a wonderful place to visit and enjoy mother nature. Apart from the sightseeing, visitors here can also enjoy activities such as hiking, swimming, horse riding, camping and more, it is certainly a great place for a family to visit.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Since it was established in June 1936, Blue Ridge Parkway has been the longest linear park in America. This National Parkway and All-American Road spans 429 miles and cuts across counties in both Virginia and North Carolina. Its name comes from most of the park running along the Blue Ridge Mountain chain which is part of the Appalachian Mountains. Since 1946, Blue Ridge Parkway has consistently been the most visited National Park System for most of the years. Other notable features of the park include campgrounds that allow overnight stays, a music center, a folk-art center as well as a visitor center.

Booker T. Washington National Memorial

Located in rural Franklin County, Virginia, this national monument preserves part of a 207-acre tobacco farm where African American leader and educator Booker T. Washington was born into slavery. In the year 1881, Booker founded Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and later in his life became an important American leader. The monument presents visitors with a re-enactment of Booker’s impactful life as well as what slavery in the 1850s looked like. Here you will find buildings, animals, gardens as well as crafts from that time. The site of the Booker T. Washington National Monument was designated a National Monument in 1956 and then listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.

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Cape Henry Memorial

Commemorating the very first landfall in Virginia Beach at Cape Henry is the Cape Henry Memorial. Colonists landed here in April 1607 named the cape and then built a cross. Today, the stone cross still stands within the site. The landing is today known as the beginning of British North America and eventually the United States of America and Anglo Canada. Cape Henry is also the location of historic battles such as the Battle of the Virginia Capes where the Franco-American victory at Yorktown was recorded as well as the naval Battle of Cape Henry where French and British forces clashed in 1881.

Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail

The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail is a group of four water routes including the Susquehanna River, Chester River, Upper Nanticoke River, and Upper James River. The trail spans 3,000 miles across the Chesapeake Bay. Discovered in the early 1600s by English Captain Chesapeake while he was on a voyage. He documented the American Indian communities along the trail who lived there. To date, locations on the captain’s map show historic treasures as well as proof of native American communities. Today, this historical trail is one of the only two in the country that are designated National Historic Trails.

Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park

This 3,500-acre park nestled within the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District commemorates the site of the American Civil War Battle of Cedar Creek and the Belle Grove Plantation. The Park during its authorization in 2002 became the 388th unit of the United States National Park Service. Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park are managed by the National Park Service in partnership with other private partners, hence the park being known as a “partnership park.” The Park also has a visitor’s station where guests can see displays of the Civil War and Battle of Cedar Creek as well as orientation to the park and other partner sites.

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Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Home to over 18 million inhabitants, the Chesapeake Bay Watershed is a coastal body that covers about 65,000 miles in 7 U.S states including Virginia, New York, Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. With land to water ratio of 14:1, Chesapeake is the largest coastal water body in the world. Over 100,000 tributaries including five large rivers (The Susquehanna, Potomac, Rappahannock, York, and James rivers) flow through Chesapeake. Visitors from all over the world come to marvel at this beautiful tourist attraction. Guest while here can enjoy a number of leisurely activities such as swimming, fishing, kayaking, and more.

Civil War Defences of Washington

Historic fortifications which were built during the civil war to protect the capital city of Washington D.C. from confederate breaches are preserved within this site. Although many of the fortifications here were abandoned or brought down in 1866, years later plans were in motion to restore the historic site. Plans to connect the site to a scenic automobile route in order to further honor the site were also considered. Some remains of the location today have become obsolete, but guests can still see a significant amount still standing. Activities such as hiking as well as biking along the trail can also be enjoyed by guests.

Colonial National Historical Park

Located in Hampton Roads, Virginia, the Colonial National Historical Park is managed by the National Park Service. The Park preserves a number of sites significant to the history of the United States as well as the Colony of Virginia. Some of the sites include the location where the first English settlers at Jamestown landed as well as the Battlefields of Yorktown where the revolutionary War was won. Other sites such as the Green Spring Plantation and Cape Henry Memorial are also here. Today, the park remains a historic and popular location for tourists as it receives over 3 million guests on a yearly basis.

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Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

The Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is located along where the borders of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia meet and is also centered on the Cumberland Gap which is a natural break in the Appalachian Mountains. According to many, from 1775 to 1810, about 300,000 early Native American settlers came through this Historic Park into Kentucky and other locations. With 85 miles of hike trails, today, the park still attracts many tourists and guests. Other attractions include natural wonders in the form of fields of many exotic plants and flowers. The Cumberland Gap National Historical Park has a visitor center that also features a museum with interactive displays.

Fort Monroe National Monument

The Monroe stone fort is to date the largest stone fort to be built in America. Today, the huge fort still stands along with other smaller forts within the site. The forts functioned as an Army installation to defend Hampton Roads which is one of the largest harbors in the world. The Fort has a rich history and was where enslaved Africans first arrived in North America. During the civil war, Fort Monroe eventually became a safe haven for freedom seekers. Other histories surrounding this national monument include its Native American roots, as well as the journeys of Captain John Smith.

Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park

Established in February of 1927, this 8000-acre National Military Park is located in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It commemorates four key battles of the American Civil War – Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, The Wilderness, and Spotsylvania. It is infamously known as the bloodiest landscape in North America. Over 15,000 people lost their lives here during the war, and over 85,000 men were injured. Although tragic and gloomy, it still represents the history and the price that way paid for the American revolution. Granite tributes to victims as well as preserved historic buildings can be found on the site. The battleground receives about 500,000 visitors every year.

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George Washington Memorial Parkway

With origins as far back as 1932, the historic George Washington Memorial Parkway was built to honor the birth of George Washington. It has a span of 25 miles that runs along the south bank of the Potomac River. The G.W. Parkway, which has two sections protects and preserves the ecology along its trail from Mount Vernon, Virginia to McLean, Virginia. Named after President George Washington, he called Mount Vernon home. The Park preserves the history of the late president. Today, the parkway is used as an accessible route to 22 historic sites in the area.

George Washington Birthplace National Monument

Located in Westmoreland County, Virginia, United States, The George Washington Birthplace National Monument as the name suggests is a site and 17th-century colonial tobacco plantation where the late President and premier founding father of the United States was born. The President was born here in February of 1732 and called this place home until he was three years old. He later returned here to live when he was a teenager. With livestock, gardens, tobacco crops, and farm buildings, the entire site was modified and restored to reflect how it was during the late president’s childhood.

Great Falls Park

Located in McLean, Virginia, and 15 miles from Washington D.C. Great Falls Park which was established in 1966 is a small 800-acre park along the bank of the Potomac River. Also, within the park is one of America’s first-ever canals – the Great Falls of the Potomac, as well as the remains of the Patowmack Canal. Because the park is located in Fairfax County, it is very accessible by locals and tourists alike who come to enjoy the views and nature of the scenic park. Other activities that can be enjoyed by guests within the park include hiking along Mather Gorge’s dramatic clifftops, biking, horse riding, fishing among others.

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Green Springs

Green Springs National Historic Landmark District is located in Louisa County, Virginia. The site is a 14,000-acre agricultural landscape with rich soils that farmers have used for more than 270 years. The land here has been preserved and nurtured to retain its richness. At Green Springs, there are 35 rural homes and buildings here which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places for preserving rural Virginian architecture some of them include Barton House and the Belle Monte. The National Park Service in partnership with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and Historic Green Springs, Inc. conserves about 8,000 acres of land at Green Springs.

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

The Harpers Ferry National Historic Park is a confluence point where The Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers converge. The Park was originally designated a National Monument in 1944. Preserving the historic 19th Century industrial area of Harpers Ferry, it was later declared a National Park in 1963 by the U.S Congress. With 4,000 acres, the park is home to a number of museums, restored buildings, and other historic sites including John Brown’s Fort, which is the most visited historic site in West Virginia. Also here is the Shenandoah Valley in Jefferson County. To date, the park receives thousands of guests every year who come to learn and witness the rich history the park holds.

Historic Jamestown

This Historic site which also holds a strong cultural heritage is located on Jamestown Island, Virginia. Historic Jamestown was the location of the 1607 settlement when the English led by Captain John Smith began the colonization of North America, making this the first permanent settlement in the country. Guests can gain more knowledge of Jamestown history at the visitors center and also at the site’s museum – the Nathalie P. and Alan M. Voorhees Archaearium. In 1940, the site was designated the Jamestown National Historic Site and then listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966.

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Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site

The Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site is located in the Jackson Ward neighborhood, Richmond, Virginia. The site commemorates Maggie L. Walker and the impactful life she lived. Born to a former slave, she later became the first woman who served as the president of a bank in America, she was also a pioneering civil rights activist who endlessly fought for the rights of African American men, women, and children. She lived her life in her home, located here from 1905 until she died in 1934. Today, her home has been restored and furnished with some of her belongings to resemble her living conditions while alive. Guided tours of the home are available to guests.

Manassas National Battlefield Park

Established in 1936 and located in Prince William County, Virginia, the sites of two American civil war battles are preserved here at Manassas National Battlefield Park – the First Battle of Bull Run, also called the First Battle of Manassas and the Second Battle of Bull Run or Second Battle of Manassas. Today, visitors to this historic battlefield park have the opportunity to witness and learn about the history of this site where many soldiers died or were injured fighting gallantly for their countries. There is also a visitors’ center here where guests can see exhibits of the historic battles fought here.

Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail

Following the Revolutionary War route used by Overmountain men (now East Tennessee) who crossed the Unaka Mountains to fight in the Battle of Kings Mountain in South Carolina is the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail (OVNHT). Designated a National Historic Trail in 1980, today, this historic trail is part of the National Trails system and can be used by visitors and tourists for hiking and other leisurely activities, however, the primary public access of the trail is by automobile using the commemorative motor route.

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Petersburg National Battlefield

The site of the deadly American Civil War Siege of Petersburg which lasted from 1864 to 1865 is preserved here at the Petersburg National Battlefield. The site is located south of Richmond, Petersburg, and once served as a key rail junction that supplied the Confederate capital. Armies led by Ulysses S. Grant fought battles all over the state of Virginia before arriving at Petersburg on June 9, 1864, to meet Robert E. Lee’s forces. However, they were unable to breach Lee’s forces for 292 days. Eventually, on April 2, 1865, a victory was recorded that put an end to Robert Lee’s Army. Today about 150,000 people visit this National Battlefield yearly.

Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail

Also known as Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail (PHT), President George Washington historically explored this trail. Established as a partnership between the Potomac River and the Allegheny Highlands, the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail was set up to preserve a collection of trails for recreational use such as education, transportation, and health. With over 830 miles in trail network including existing and proposed expansion trails. There are also trail corridors here that are managed by other organizations and agencies. Guests can enjoy a long list of activities along this historic and scenic trail. Some of such activities include hiking, boating, biking, and many more.

Prince William Forest Park

Established in 1936 as Chopawamsic Recreational Demonstration Area, The Park is today known as the Prince William Forrest Park. A serene and untainted habitat for a large number of animal and plant species, the park is located in Triangle, Virginia close to the Marine Corps Base Quantico. With 16,000 acres of land, Prince William Forest Park is the largest protected natural area in the Washington D.C. region. The preserved park is what most of the East Coast was like centuries ago before industrialization. The Park also protects the Quantico Creek Watershed. Activities guests may enjoy in the park include wildlife viewing, camping, hiking, biking, and more.

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Richmond National Battlefield Park

Established in 1936, thirteen American Civil War sites are preserved and commemorated here at the Richmond National Battlefield Park. With the largest hospital in the confederacy as well as miles of defensive forts, the Park served as the heart of the American Civil War. It was here where union armies tried on repeated occasions to capture the Confederate capital to end the Civil War. Visitors today can watch a 22-minute film depicting the battles that took place on this site. There is also a visitors center here where guests can see some artifacts from the Civil War era on display.

Shenandoah National Park

Encompassing part of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Commonwealth of Virginia is the American Shenandoah National Park. The National Park is only 75 miles from Washington D.C and is a hotspot for recreational activities. With stunning waterfalls and beautiful vistas. Guests can take a hike, go on a scenic drive, or even go picnicking. With over 200,000 acres of pure nature, Shenandoah National Park is home to wildlife like dear and tweeting birds. There are over 500 miles of trails, even with 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Waterfalls and rich forests await you here at Shenandoah National Park.

Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail

Spanning 290 miles and named after the anthem of the United States is the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail. The trail commemorates the Chesapeake Campaign of the 1812 War. The trail also connects other historic American sites in Maryland, and the District of Columbia. Museums raided towns, forts, and other notable monuments are also connected to the trail. The Park has a combination of water and land routes which attracts many recreational activities that the guests enjoy today including Biking, hiking, and kayaking.

Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail

Named after two great men who once explored its trail – General George Washington and the French Lieutenant General Comte Jean de Rochambeau. The 600-mile trail is where the Generals and their armies joined forces to form the largest battalion in history. They fought against the British Army to a victory that marked the American Revolution. The battalion marched on the trail from Newport to Yorktown where they secured America’s independence. Guests visiting the park today can enjoy activities like biking, boating, and hiking along this historic trail.

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Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts

The Park Started as a Donation from Catherine Filene Shouse. It was originally known as the Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts and commonly referred to as Wolf Trap. The National Park offers natural and cultural resources. It is located in Fairfax County, Virginia, and is on 117 acres of land. The non-profit – Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts and the National Park Service partnered to make it a place where culture and nature meet. The name change was effected in August of 2002. The Park also has a Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods where kids can dance, enjoy music, storytelling, and puppetry. It also has dining and hospitality facilities for guests to enjoy.

Yorktown Battlefield

Located in York County, Yorktown, and established in 1862, Yorktown Battlefield preserves the battlefield of the 1781 war which led to the American Revolution. Union and Confederate fortifications are preserved on the site and are historic artifacts of the civil war era. There is a confederate burial ground close to the site. The Park has a visitors center where guests are educated about the American Revolution as well as Civil War information.

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