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Posts Tagged ‘Blue Ridge Highlands’

Camping Along Cool Waters

by Casey | Posted on July 19th, 2012

The great outdoors bring families to Virginia to unplug, unwind and just be together. Take advantage of the remaining summer weekends – or plan a fall weekend – to escape to one of Virginia’s campgrounds or a Virginia State Park.

Lake Shore Campground, Abingdon

Lake Shore Campground, Abingdon

Virginia offers all types of camping in various climates and terrains. Beach and lake-based campgrounds are especially popular this time of year and often have great family attractions nearby.

  • First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach is Virginia’s most visited State Park. The beach you’ll find there is actually on the Chesapeake Bay, not the Atlantic, so it’s much calmer water for little swimmers.
  • Holiday Trav-L-Park is the closest campground to the Virginia Beach oceanfront. You can bicycle to the sand or there is designated free parking for campers.
  • North Landing Beach Campground & RV Resort in Virginia Beach is located on the North Landing River and offers a variety of camp sites, even primitive beach tent camping.
  • Cherrystone Family Camping Resort in Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore is 300 acres on the waterfront of the Chesapeake Bay where you can, indeed, see a beach sunset in Virginia.
  • Bethpage Camp-Resort in Urbanna boasts over 1,000 camp sites and an abundance of those are located on a peninsula in Robinson’s Creek – a tributary of the Rappahannock River and Chesapeake Bay. Also find a large lake, multiple pools and a waterpark here.
  • Christopher Run Campground in Mineral is located on Lake Anna – Virginia’s third largest lake. Families will enjoy the beach area, as well as marina and boat rentals.
  • Lake Shore Campground in Abingdon is situated on the South Holston River. You won’t find a long list of activities and amenities but you will find great fishing, a beach for relaxation, and a quiet, comfortable place to completly connect.
  • Indian Heritage RV Park & Campground in Martinsville offers camping right along the Smith River. Seventeen tent sites and 29 full hook-up sites are available. Take advantage of the on-site outfitter.
  • New River Campground in Independence sits right on the VA/NC border and has great sites on the New River. Tents and RVs are welcome; camping cabins are available.

    Outlanders River Camp, Luray

    Outlanders River Camp, Luray

  • Outlanders River Camp has wooded tent sites on the Shenandoah River in Luray. Nearly 100 acres back up to 3/4-mile river frontage. Pull in your RV for full hook-up or utilize electric or primitive tent camping sites.
  • More Virginia Campgrounds

If you need more inspiration or want a ‘best of the best’ list, see our post that includes 12 Virginia campgrounds that made the cut for ReserveAmerica’s Top 100 Family Campgrounds.

LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
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Beaches, Family, Outdoors | 1 Comment

Gentlemen of the Road: The Crooked Road to Bristol Sweepstakes

by Casey | Posted on June 28th, 2012

Follow Virginia’s Crooked Road for a once-in-a lifetime chance to see Mumford & Sons perform in the heart of downtown Bristol, the Birthplace of Country Music.

Mumford & Sons. Credit Kyle Dean Reinford.

Mumford & Sons. Credit Kyle Dean Reinford.

Mumford & Sons have chosen Bristol as one of only four small towns in the country for their Gentlemen of the Road Tour. This is your chance to be a VIP at this SOLD OUT concert which will fill the streets of Bristol with amazing music inspired by the old-time mountain music style found throughout Southwest Virginia.

The history and culture of Appalachia is celebrated in Southwest Virginia along The Crooked Road, a 350-mile driving route that connects some of the most poignant and authentic traditional country and mountain music venues together on an unforgettable road trip.

Enter for your chance to see Mumford & Sons in concert on August 11, 2012.

Bristol Stop OverOne Winner Will Receive:

~ Two tickets to the Gentlemen of the Road Concert
~ Two nights lodging
~ Access to a VIP party bus to enjoy all day long on August 11
~ A 1927 Bristol Recording Sessions Box Set
~ A $500 gas card

If you share with your friends after entering, you can have extra chances to win!

>> ENTER TO WIN <<

Official Rules

Sweepstakes begins 12 a.m. June 28, 2012 and ends 11:59 p.m. July 18, 2012.
Open to U.S. residents only. Entrants will receive a Virginia Travel Guide. 



Arts, Destinations, Events, Sweepstakes, Video clips | Comments Off

Everyone Loves a Baby

by Casey | Posted on June 25th, 2012

Admit it. You love baby animals and your kids do, too. So where can you go to see baby animals? In addition to the zoos in Virginia, there are other places to spot new sweet faces.

Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton

Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton

At the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton you’ll visit working farms each with buildings moved from its country of origin and reconstructed on site. “Visit” 1600s England, 1700s Ireland, Germany and West Africa, and America from the 1700s through the 1850s, including rare breeds grazing along with their new young ones.

Visitors to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg will find more than great roller coasters and performances. Beautiful animals call the park home, like the Gray Wolves of Wolf Valley, or the Black Clydesdales and Scottish Blackface Sheep of Highland Stables.

The Stables welcomed a new member to the Clydesdale family in April. Aidan was born to mother Panola and father Dakota on April 20.  At just over a month old Aidan weighed in at 250 lbs. Once fully grown, he will weigh up to 2,000 lbs.

Also born this spring at Busch Gardens were five Scottish Blackface lambs – Lia, Coara, Bryce, Lily, and Rhosyn. See the clip below from the Inside Busch Gardens blog of the lambs at play. Additionally, two African Pygmy Hedgehogs were born at BG this spring, and good golly are they cute (pic)! If there could be anything cuter, it’s that baby hedgehogs are called hoglets!

Baby animals in the wild are not hard to find in Virginia. Any day trip across Skyline Drive or the Blue Ridge Parkway will yield families of wildlife living their lives.

Bears on Skyline Drive and Deer at Peaks of Otter

Bears on Skyline Drive and Deer at Peaks of Otter

To the right are a bear and her three cubs on Skyline Drive, as well as a doe and her fawn at Peaks of Otter.

You’ve heard about the wild ponies in Virginia, yes? You can see them on Chincoteague IslandAssateague Island, and even on Mount Rogers in southwest Virginia.

The annual Chincoteague Pony Swim and Auction in July is unique to Virginia and should be on everyone’s bucket list. Perhaps you’ll want to take one home with you.

REMINDER: Do not disturb, feed, or try to approach any wild animals you may see, but feel free to photograph from your car.

- 95 Places to Find Wildlife in Virginia

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Family, Outdoors, Video clips | 3 Comments

Summer in the Great Outdoors: Tubing

by Casey | Posted on June 20th, 2012

Author’s Note: This blog was updated August 2, 2013 to reflect rate changes and include a couple new outfitters.

Back in May we highlighted awesome waterways for kayaking and canoeing. Tubing isn’t a far stretch from those two water-loving pastimes, other than the pace is quite a bit more relaxed and you probably don’t want the big rapids to throw you off your game.

James River Reeling and Rafting

James River Reeling and Rafting

James River Reeling and Rafting departs from Scottsville, just 25 minutes south of Charlottesville. Trips are self-guided and cooler tubes are available for rental as well. Kick back and enjoy the slow float. Reservations are required. Shuttles leave on the hour during the week and on the half-hour Saturday and Sunday. Tube, shuttle and rope is $23/person. Groups of 25 or more are $21/person. No children under six and no pets.

James River Float Company, we noted, is a leader in SUP (stand up paddleboarding) on the river, but as their name implies, they’re a source for a nice float, too. The “local float” is $22/person and basically keeps you in the Lynchburg vicinity. Pull your friends together for a party float – even your cooler can go downstream with you.

River City Rafting is centered in Virginia’s urban whitewater hub of Richmond. A whitewater guide will accompany you and five or more of your friends aged 9 and older as you leisurely while away the day. $30/person. If you’re brave enough to go it alone, ask about The Half Shuttle at $25/person.

James River Float Company

James River Float Company

If you choose to float with Outdoor Adventure Experiences out of Dayton, you choose an awesome family day out on the water. Not only do you get your own tube, but you also get a giant tube made for group play in the deeper, slower spots on the river. Trips with OAE include (and require the use of) a safety helmet and life vest. If you’re looking for a freer, more casual float, this one might not be for you. Half-day trip $35/person; full-day trip $45/person with a trip minimum of $120 and $180, respectively.

The Shenandoah River is one of Virginia’s top picks for a relaxing float, meaning more nearby outfitters are ready to rent you a tube.

The headwaters of the James River are pretty tame compared to the whitewater you’ll find near the fall line downriver in Richmond. For that reason, exploring the Upper James River Water Trail might be advantageous to tubing lovers.

Tangent Outfitters

Tangent Outfitters

Twin River Outfitters in Buchanan is eager to serve your Upper James River needs at an affordable rate. You can take a tube down one trip (about a 90-minute float) for $15, or you can spend the day floating the route time and again for $20. The fee includes tube, life vest, safety orientation and shuttles from the shop up to the put-in point. Want a quick run at the end of the day? “Last call” floats depart at 4 PM and only cost $10!

The New River is the second oldest river in the world, geologically speaking, and it’s pretty unspoiled and pristine. Sounds like a peaceful, serene float, huh? Put in at Bisset Park in Radford with Tangent Outfitters. The 2-mile float (which can vary from 90 minutes to 3 hours, depending on water levels) is $15/tube on weekdays or $20/tube Saturday and Sunday.

>> More Rafting/Tubing Options
>> Virginia’s Rivers

Check the real-time water levels through the National Weather Service prior to getting on the river. Tubing with a guide is the safest option to enjoy your river experience.



Family, Outdoors | 1 Comment

Covered Bridges for Father’s Day

by Casey | Posted on June 13th, 2012

Woolwine in Patrick County is the site of the official Virginia Covered Bridge Festival that occurs every year at the Bob White and Jack’s Creek covered bridges. The festival is this Saturday, June 16, and includes horse and wagon rides, antique car show, a duck race on the river, arts, crafts, great music at both bridge locations, a petting zoo, bounce houses, and delicious food vendors. It’s a free day of family fun that kicks off at 8 AM with the Covered Bridge 5K Run/Walk.

A great day for family.

A great day for family.

The 5K benefits a variety of local charities including the Patrick County Food Bank, Patrick County Adult Developmental Center, and the Caring Hearts Free Clinic. The route begins near the Bob White Covered Bridge in Woolwine and ends near the Jack’s Creek Covered Bridge. Entrance fee is $25. Register.

If you get into town early and are looking for a cool way to relax, the Reynolds Homestead at Fairy Stone State Park (just a little over 9 miles away from Woolwine) is hosting “Free Range Possums,” a Blacksburg band that has been described as a “musical conundrum” playing everything from Bach on banjo to swing. Friday night at 7:30 PM. $4 park admission.

After the festival winds down and before you depart for home, Chateau Morrisette Winery is hosting a Father’s Day Luncheon on Sunday at 11 AM. Chateau Morrisette is located in Floyd, about 9 miles from Woolwine. Reservations are recommended, but regular tours and tastings will be available at noon, 2 and 4 PM if the luncheon is already booked.

Places to Stay

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Destinations, Family, History, Outdoors | 1 Comment