Travel Ideas and Stories - Virginia's Travel Blog

    Where is the LOVE?

    Click for a map of the LOVEwork locations.

    Take a photo with LOVE.
    Tag it #LOVEVA and share it on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

    See LOVEwork Photos

  • Create your own digital photo reel. 

  • Instagram

    Latest Posts
    #Downtown #Staunton is filled with amazing #architecture including the Romanesque-Revival Marquis Building seen here. It was designed by T.J. Collins in 1895 (he designed nearly 200 buildings throughout the city in various styles during the #Victorian Era). Note the large umbrella fixed to the corner of the turret! #loveva #virginia #vatravel #mainstreet #vais4lovers #oldschoolva
    Check out this awesome #aerial of the CSX A-Line #Train #Bridge (circa 1919) you've probably seen when driving on the Powhite Parkway crossing #JamesRiver! Props to @vintage_rva for the incredible capture. Tag your #VA photos with #LoveVa for a chance to be featured here! #trainbridge #drone #flyinghigh #rva
    Sip away the end of #summer at North Gate #Vineyard in Pucellville before the crush begins! They have live music every Friday evening (TGIF: Thank Grape It's Friday), making it an ideal time to stop by for a taste. Next month is #Virginia #Wine Month, when a lot of vineyards across the state will be harvesting their #grapes. Photo props to @emkittie! #VAwine #howisummer #winetime Tag your #VA photos with #LoveVA for a chance to get featured here.
    Here's a beautiful shot of @castlehillcider in Keswick posted by @merchcolony_cville. This is currently the only #cidery in the world to be fermenting and aging in buried terra cotta amphorae called kvevri. Plan a trip to try some of the world's finest right here in #Virginia. #loveva #vacider #drinklocal #cville #vatravel #castlehillcider #vaweddings
  • Archive for May, 2012

    A Day of Fun and Free Concerts, too!

    by Casey | Posted on May 31st, 2012

    Virginia’s theme parks – Busch Gardens and Kings Dominion – are fantastic destinations for a day or more of family fun, but did you know that their special summer events are included with your normal admission? No extra fees for the additional excitement you’ll find beyond the gates! And psst! We have some tips for saving on your tickets, too.

    Busch Gardens Concert Series

    Busch Gardens Concert Series

    Busch Gardens

    Busch Gardens LIVE and Glory at the Gardens are two concert series with big name performers. After your day of exhilirating park shenanigans (including riding that brand new coaster – Verbolten), jam out with these artists:

    • June 3: Hot Chelle Rae
    • June 10: Chris Tomlin
    • June 17: Kellie Pickler
    • June 24: Third Day
    • August 26: Victoria Justice

    Every night from July 1 through August 19 visitors to BG will be treated to IllumiNights: A Busch Gardens Encore. What’s that? Fifty straight nights of a park-wide fireworks spectacular with multiple live performances and special effects.

    Busch Gardens - Escape from Pompeii

    Busch Gardens - Escape from Pompeii

    BG Ticket Savings

    The Bounce Ticket might just be your best bet if you’ve got a finite amount of time to be in the Williamsburg area – say like seven consecutive days? The Bounce Ticket gives you unlimited visits to Busch Gardens, Colonial Williamsburg, and Water Country USA for up to seven consecutive days. Plus, when you make your purchase online the price is 20% cheaper and you get free parking!

    For those within driving distance who would like to visit BG more than once this summer, consider the Fun Card. It gives you unlimited visits from now until September 3rd. It’s basically like paying for one day ($66.99) and coming back all summer for free. Yes, the single day ticket is also $66.99. Might as well go Fun Card, ya know?

    If you have a child aged three to five years old, do not buy a ticket. He or she can get in for FREE with the Sesame Street Forest of Fun Preschool Pass (Virginia residents only). Note: You MUST take your child’s birth certificate with you to the park. I learned this the hard way. The Preschool Pass is valid for unlimited admission through October 28, 2012.

    Kings Dominion - Ghoster Coaster

    Kings Dominion - Ghoster Coaster

    Kings Dominion

    Two awesome concert events await you when you plan your visit to Kings Dominion on select dates.

    KingsFest is three days of some of the best Christian artists on the scene. Save by purchasing tickets in advance for just one day or all three.

    • June 28
      • Casting Crowns * NEEDTOBREATHE * Thousand Foot Krutch * Royal Tailor * Jamie Grace * speaker Justin Lookadoo
    • June 29
      • Skillet * Kutless * Lecrae * Nine Lashes * Sent By Ravens * The Lost Colors * speaker Bob Lenz
    • June 30
      • tobyMac * Owl City * RED * Icon For Hire * Manafest * speaker David Nasser

    On July 14th gospel lovers will definitely want to be at KD. It’s JoyFest, after all!

    • Fred Hammon * Marvin Sapp * Martha Munizzi * Vashawn Mitchell * William McDowell * Lecrae * Humble Tip * Bone Hampton
    WaterWorks at Kings Dominion - 20 acres of H2O fun!

    WaterWorks at Kings Dominion - 20 acres of H2O fun!

    KD Ticket Savings

    Military, get your fun on at Kings Dominion July 3 & 4 for FREE! Any active, inactive, or retired service member can enjoy the park for free when you show your miltary ID.

    Through June 17th, everyone’s a kid! Adults pay the daily kid ticket price of $37.99. The trick? You must purchase online and you must select the date you plan to visit.

    After the “Everyone’s a Kid” deal expires, remember this: DON’T BUY YOUR TICKETS AT THE PARK. Purchase them online, print them, and bring them with you. The online price is $10 cheaper.

    Need a payment plan? Purchase season passes online before June 30 and pay for them over the course of three months. Expect a monthly payment of $23.33 to $33.33 per ticket, depending on the age of each pass holder.

    Now that you’ve got the scoop on the best ticket prices and the extra fun without an extra fee, what are you waiting for? Those theme parks are calling!

    LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
    Request your free Virginia Travel Guide. 

    Deals & Discounts, Events, Family | 2 Comments

    40 or More Free Travels in Virginia

    by Casey | Posted on May 31st, 2012

    Summer is the perfect time to get out and explore, and with this handy short-cut to FREE fun, you can’t go wrong. Click your way to more than 40 free Virginia experiences.





    The Great OutdoorsThe Great Outdoors
    Explore the first-of-its-kind Birding & Wildlife Trail, several National Wildlife Refuges and America’s largest commercial beach, for starters. Breathe in Virginia’s outdoors.



    History Lives HereHistory Lives Here
    400+ historic sites along the Virginia Civil War Trails, firm Civil Rights roots and coal heritage will move the patriot in you. Embrace Virginia’s rich and varied history.



    Inspiring DrivesInspiring Drives
    If you have yet to wander through “God’s Thumbprint,” don’t waste another second. Virginia’s countryside is something to behold, so get started!



    Take in the ArtsTake in the Arts
    Galleries featuring works from a range of centuries, as well as performing arts touchstones can be found in every corner of Virginia. Take the grand tour!



    Something Completely DifferentSomething Completely Different
    Star-gazing, a mysterious formation, and a mountain of fun on compacted trash … curious? There’s more!



    LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
    Request your free Virginia Travel Guide.


    Arts, Couples, Family, History, Outdoors | Comments Off

    Summer Cabin Escapes

    by Casey | Posted on May 30th, 2012

    You know the mountains tend to be the coolest place for a summer vacation, don’t you? The higher altitude gives these wooded abodes a natural cool breeze (sometimes chilly) in the evenings, perfect for gathering around a campfire ring and roasting marshmallows.

    And the mornings? Oh those nice cool mornings with a cup of coffee in hand and just the sounds of nature around you … unbeatable.

    I’m ready to go now. You?

    Cozy Virginia Cabins *  Virginia State Park Cabins * Directory of Cabins in Virginia

    Natural Tunnel State Park

    Natural Tunnel State Park, Duffield

    Primland Resort

    Primland Resort, Meadows of Dan

    Rose River Farm, Syria

    Rose River Farm, Syria

    Royal Oaks Cabin in the Mountains, Love

    Royal Oaks Cabin in the Mountains, Love


    LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
    Request your free Virginia Travel Guide.



    Outdoors, Travel Ideas | 2 Comments

    Virginia’s Summer Music Festivals

    by Casey | Posted on May 29th, 2012

    As you get back to work after a long holiday weekend, let us help you brainstorm other ways to spend your days off this summer. You know you’re ready to walk away and enjoy life outside the workplace again. Or is it just me?

    Music events are huge during the summer months with various genres and venues. Most assuredly, there’s a summer music festival just for you. Like a jazz sax over a mandolin? I’ve got one for you. Let’s dig in.

    Beach Music

    Stuart Beach Music Festival

    Stuart Beach Music Festival

    Stuart’s 31st Annual Hot Fun in the Summertime Beach Music Festival is June 7-9. Now you might be thinking, “beach music in the Blue Ridge Highlands?” Well, yes. The sand is trucked in and the bands are annual favorites at any beach music event you encounter. Come camp out, kick back and listen or shag to Band of Oz, The Tams, Jim Quick & Coastline, The Holiday Band, Big Daddy Love, and The Mark Roberts Band.

    The Band of Oz gets around, I tell ya. See them again at the StellarOne Beach Music Festival in Buena Vista on July 28 at Glen Maury Park. They’re headlining along with Magnificents Band.

    Bluegrass and Old Time

    Old time fiddlin’ is hot in the summer. So hot that competitions are held with prize money, ribbons, and trophies going to the favorite musicians and bands. If “pickin’ and grinnin’” is your slice of life, pull up a camp chair, but make sure your flat footin’ shoes are at the ready.

    Blues and Jazz

    The Virginia Blues & Jazz Festival is held at Garth Newel in Hot Springs June 15-17. The performers are quite acclaimed – Grammy Award winners Grupo Fantasma and The Robert Cray Band promise an amazing weekend in the mountains.

    Winchester Blues House Festival

    Winchester Blues House Festival

    In Hampton, the namesake Hampton Jazz Festival gets underway June 22 and is a three day event. Going strong for 45 years, the nation’s top blues, jazz, soul, and pop performers know they can count on a great crowd when they perform this event. Which top performers? How about Kenny G, Charlie Wilson, Natalie Cole, Monica, Jill Scott, Dave Koz, and BeBe Winans? They’ll be there with a few others.

    The Winchester Blues House Festival is unique in that 100% of the festival net proceeds benefit local Habitat for Humanity efforts. Enjoy great musicians including headliner The Pat Travers Band on July 14.

    This summer marks the 30th year for the Norfolk Jazz Festival and it promises to be better than ever with Jeff Kashiwa, Steve Cole, Marcus Anderson, Peter Wright, Rick Braun, Gerald Albright, and more. July 20-21.

    In a League of Its Own



    FloydFest. Now there’s one of Virginia’s key summer music events. Camp around the Blue Cow Pavilion for four days (July 26-29) of “Lovers Rock” – seven stages hosting more than 50 musical performances spanning generations, more than 100 artisans, demonstrations, workshops, a Children’s Universe, babysitting service, and plenty of amazing food.

    The list of FloydFest performers is outstanding. To mention but a few …

    • Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas
    • Jackson Browne
    • Brandi Carlile
    • Drive By Truckers
    • Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers
    • Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder
    • Punch Brothers

    Variety at the Beach

    Virginia Beach is a given summer destination, but here’re a few more reasons why the call of the oceanfront is a little louder for music lovers.

    Hardee’s Latin Fest is big on flavor – both in food and in music. Shake what you got as Salsa, Merengue, and Jazz are key to this event. June 8 and 9 on the beach at 24th Street. Free!

    Sandstock – A Blast from the Past is just that. Cover bands for 60s, 70s, and 80s music take over the 17th, 24th, and 31st Street parks June 22-24. If you love The Who, Led Zeppelin, Bon Jovi, Rolling Stones, Pat Benatar, Elvis, and other key figures from those music periods, you’ll love this festival. Bring your tie dye and lots of hairspray! Free.

    The big hits of summer at the beach come in the form of The Verizon Wireless American Music Festival. One giant stage sits on the sand and all of the other stages along the boardwalk are utilized as well for this three day multi-genre event. This year’s headliners are O.A.R., Cheap Trick, and Train. You’ve gotta be there – August 31-September 2.

    Even Classical!

    It might come as a surprise, but even classical music draws a festival crowd. See what I mean …

    The Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival is held June 10-17 in Harrisonburg. Lawn chairs and cut-offs are discouraged, since this festival is held in a concert hall. Expect to see Grammy Award winner Eugene Friesen.

    Wintergreen Resort hosts the Wintergreen Performing Arts Festival the weekends of July 6-8, 13-14, 20-21, 27-28, and August 4-5. Enjoy pieces by Beethoven, Stravinsky, Mozart, Brahms, Schumann, Corelli, and Bach.

    Just a little way down the road, classical junkies can experience a variety of venues to take in the sounds of the Staunton Music Festival August 17-25.

    If this is still not enough for you to choose from, never fear. It’s not a comprehensive list and you can find more music and festivals at

    LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
    Request your free Virginia Travel Guide. 

    Festivals | Comments Off

    Kayaking & Canoeing Virginia’s Waterways

    by Casey | Posted on May 25th, 2012

    Virginia has everything from leisurely float-worthy waterways all the way up to pretty serious whitewater. For the novice paddler, an outfitter is the way to get your feet wet in the world of adventure watersports, and a great way to explore the waters that are new to you.

    Bay Country Kayaking, Gloucester

    Bay Country Kayaking, Gloucester

    Eco Kayaking Tours

    Paddle the James, York, and Piankatank Rivers, as well as Mobjack Bay and Dragon Run Swamp for birding and wildlife watching with Bay Country Kayaking out of Gloucester. Tours start at $45/person (children under 12 tandem with an adult are $25-$35) and include sites like New Point Comfort Lighthouse.

    The Smith River through Henry County offers a six-mile stretch that is pretty flat, making it a great place to kayak and admire the natural beauty and wildlife Virginia has to offer. Bald eagles and osprey have been noted along the river! Book a trip with Smith River Adventure Outfitters in Martinsville for $35 for beginner instruction or $35 for a kayak rental and shuttle service. We’re sorry to note that Smith River Adventure Outfitters is no longer in business. Please contact Martinsville-Henry County Visitor Center for assistance with guide service.

    Take a kayak out for two hours or two days when you create a sea kayaking adventure with Southeast Expeditions in Cape Charles. Rates from $45 to $125 for trips, or explore on your own from $45 for a half day single kayak up to $275 for a weekly rental of a double kayak.

    Explore the Hampton water trails with a guided kayak tour from a Hampton Parks and Recreation ACA-certified kayak instructor.

    River Paddles & Floats

    The laid back Rappahannock and Rapidan Rivers around the Fredericksburg area are peaceful, calm waterways to either learn how to canoe or kayak, or just enjoy a seven-mile float. Contact Clore Bros. Outfitters for info on their trips. Rates start at $60 for the seven-mile trip and go up to $130 for a two-day, 24-mile trip.

    Canoeing is perhaps your best intro to paddlesports, and Massanutten Adventures offers a seven-mile Shenandoah River canoe trip. It’s mostly flat water and is a fairly easy 2 to 3-hour float that will make you eager to book your next experience. $29/person.

    The renowned New River in the Blue Ridge Highlands of Virginia offers trips from 2.5 miles to 8.5-miles, overnighting. You can encounter a relaxing four-mile stretch up to quite a few strong class II rapids, should you choose. The rates are great with New River Outdoor Co. in Pembroke. $49 gets you a canoe for two for the day. Introductory paddling instructions are provided for novice adventurers.

    The latest craze on the water? Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP). Take a paddleboard lesson on the James River with James River Float Company in Lynchburg. A paddleboard is basically an oversized surfboard and not something you see on the river so much as the coastal inlets around Virginia Beach. The main goal of the lesson? Learn how to gracefully wipe out while enjoying the river scenes above the typical canoe viewpoint. SUP rates are $100 for the orientation trip or $45 for a downriver rental.


    One month each year the Russel Fork River roars with class V and larger rapids when the John Flannagan Dam releases water. The dam is opened each Saturday and Sunday during October, sending amazing gushes of water through Breaks Interstate Park. One particular 75-foot stretch is known as “El Horrendo” and is considered one of the most difficult whitewater areas in the East. Contact the park for outfitter recommendations.

    Harpers Ferry Adventure Center, Purcellville

    Harpers Ferry Adventure Center, Purcellville

    Did you know that Richmond is the only city with class IV rapids within its city limits? Yep, the James River courses right through at a brutal pace, but families and beginning whitewaterers can easily learn to tame the Upper James River section with its class I-II rapids. The Lower James River section is comprised of class I-IV rapids and rafters must be at least 12 years old to board. Guided trips with River City Rafting are $30/person (six or more people) or you can take the raft out on your own as a family for $65/person (four or more people; Saturday and Sunday only).

    The Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers are a challenge, serving up class I-III rapids. Hitch a ride with Harpers Ferry Adventure Center (formerly BTI Whitewater) and experience two rivers converging at the meeting of three states (VA, WV and MD). Thomas Jefferson loved the view at this point so much he proclaimed it “worth a trip across the Atlantic.” Rates are from $55/person.

    Now that your appetite for getting wet is whet, plan your outdoor water adventure. Your experience is only limited by your imagination and thirst for awesomeness.

    Virginia’s Rivers
    Virginia’s Lakes
    Outfitters and Guides


    LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
    Request a free Virginia Travel Guide

    Family, Outdoors, Travel Ideas | Comments Off