Eight Scenic Drives for Virginia History

by Casey Higgins | Posted: Mar 25, 2014 | Updated: May 2, 2017

Comments: 24 Comments

It can be argued that any drive through Virginia is a historical one, but perhaps these eight drives are extra loaded with historical attractions and beautiful scenic opportunities.

In Central Virginia you can pick up routes that take you north to south and east to west,  highlighting a great amount of history along the way.

Journey Through Hallowed Ground

Aerial View of The Journey Through Hallowed Ground

An aerial view of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area.

A trek down US Route 15 will put you on the Journey Through Hallowed Ground, one of the most historically significant drives in America.  All said, the drive covers ground from Gettysburg to Monticello, and is considered a National Heritage Area. Trail Map

Road to Revolution Heritage Trail

Patrick Henry's Scotchtown

Patrick Henry’s Scotchtown on the Road to Revolution Heritage Trail

The Road to Revolution Heritage Trail highlights the life and times of Patrick Henry, the great orator and Virginia’s first Governor. The trail covers a wide expanse of Virginia in the Richmond region and spreads into Coastal Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay. Along the trail you’ll see St. John’s Church in Richmond, the site of Henry’s famous “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” oration; Red Hill in Brookneal, Henry’s last residence and burial site; Hanover Courthouse, the launch site of Henry’s political career; Studley in Mechanicsville, Henry’s birthplace; and 17 other sites. Trail Map

Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail

High Bridge Trail State Park

High Bridge Trail State Park is located in Farmville, home of the Robert Russa Moton Museum.

Dip into Southern Virginia from Richmond to explore the Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail. Centered around the Robert Russa Moton Museum in Farmville, the trail covers 300 miles and 41 sites that touch on the civil rights in education struggles of African Americans, Native Americans and women from the 18th to 20th centuries. Trail Map

Jamestown Discovery Trail

Shirley Plantation

Shirley Plantation is just one of the beautiful plantations you’ll find around the Jamestown Discovery Trail.

Also from Richmond, but headed east, is the Jamestown Discovery Trail that follows US Route 5. Sites along the way include plantations, presidential homes, Native American settlements, and ends at Jamestown Settlement and Historic Jamestowne.

If you find yourself in Southwest Virginia, you could be easily traversing multiple trails at once.

Coal Heritage Trail

Dickenson County Coal Miners Memorial

The Dickenson County Coal Miners Memorial in Clinchco is on the Coal Heritage Trail.

The Coal Heritage Trail incorporates seven counties and the city of Norton to take in 300 miles of coal industry related historical sites and the additional locations that demonstrate the influence of coal on the region. The town of Appalachia is can be considered somewhat lost in time as it has preserved its place as a hub for eight surrounding coal camps dating from the 1800s to early 1900s. See coal equipment and related articles at places like the Harry W. Meador Coal Museum in Big Stone Gap and the Pocahontas Exhibition Mine and Museum in Pocahontas. Trail Map

Crooked Road Heritage Music Trail

The Crooked Road

The Crooked Road

The Crooked Road Heritage Music Trail winds through this area, too, and focuses on the musical history of the region. Nearly 100 attractions invite you to come tap your toes and get in the know. Trail Map

Wilderness Road: Virginia’s Heritage Migration Route

Daniel Harrison House (Fort Harrison)

Daniel Harrison House (Fort Harrison) in Dayton.

The Wilderness Road: Virginia’s Heritage Migration Route captures the primary route taken by western settlers as they moved down the Shenandoah Valley and into the Southwest Virginia area. A total of 23 localities on this trail down US Route 11 and into the Blue Ridge Highlands gives you plenty of options for a weekend trip. Trail Map

Virginia Civil War Trails

Gloucester Courthouse

Gloucester Courthouse

Across all of Virginia are the Virginia Civil War Trails. Branching off this way and that, the trails follow different campaigns of the American Civil War.  Hundreds of miles to conquer and plenty of time to do it, we hope!

Make your plans to get on the roads and see something new.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Ricky Ray says:

Don’t forget Waynesboro Virginia located in the valley where the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway meet.

Joe Cabrey says:

Be sure to stop in some small Virginia towns and wander old cemeteries. It is one thing to see historic buildings or the hallowed ground of a Civil War battle but it is a deeper experience to stand at the gravesite of a Confederate soldier and realize how young so many were.

This is not a pro-Confederacy post or an anti-Confederacy post. I realize that many public monuments and flags have strong emotions on both sides.

This is simply sharing my personal experience at seeing many graves where C.S.A. was displayed along with the names and dates of birth and death of so many who were so young. You’ll see families who lost multiple members side by side.

This is different than seeing beautifully restored or maintained buildings or beautiful vistas with colorful brochures or maybe audio tours or actual guides describing a battle.

You are standing where grieving families and friends said goodbye to their loved ones buried beneath your feet.

There are large Civil War cemeteries as well but I found just walking through small town’s graves to be very different than a tourist’s perspective.

mac says:

Skyline Drive which is easily accessible from multiple historic towns like Staunton and Lexington Virginia

Roy L says:

I’m a Canadian…and very jealous! A beautiful State and every turn.

Herbert graham says:

Interstate 81 is the best views in the state of Virginia

K. Greenfield says:

What about I-81?

Rich Hoff says:

haha –yes some of the most beautiful trucks on the east coast!

Virginia has so much to offer history, outdoor adventures, museums and so much more. always something different right aound each curve.

L. Hawkins says:

There is something for everyone to love about our beautiful state. One could find a new adventure at almost any time of the year, if you so choose. I am proud to call this my home.

Pat Parker says:

Thank you for the encouragement. I just turned 60 and it is time to turn back time!.

Nancy Schipske says:

Love these pictures. I feel a road trip coming on….