In America’s hectic work culture, 50-60+ hours a week are not unusual, and many people end up leaving vacation days on the table because of pressure to produce nonstop results at their job. Americans leave 658 million days of vacation days unused each year. The biggest problem seems to be planning, with 51% of people that plan their vacations actually using all their time off, while only 39% of non-planners take their entitled vacation time.
To combat this problem, Project: Time Off set aside January 31st as National Plan Your Vacation Day, and we have created a few Virginia travel ideas to help you plan. Whether you enjoy hiking to scenic views or visiting historic sites, planning a trip to the following Virginia destinations will help you get the most out of your annual vacation days.
FOR OUTDOOR LOVERS
There are plenty of ways to stay busy outside in Virginia. Check out some ideas below for an epic outdoor getaway.
Spend an afternoon biking on popular routes around Roanoke such as Carvins Cove, the trails on Mill Mountain or the Roanoke Valley Greenways. Bike rentals and guided tours with Roanoke Mountain Adventures and UnderDog Bikes.
Check out one of the many beautiful hikes in the area:
McAfee Knob, one of the most photographed spots on the Appalachian Trail, or to the beautiful Roaring Run Falls in Botetourt County. For the extra-adventurous, check-out the nearby Dragon’s Tooth hike.
Spend the day on the water with a kayaking, canoeing, or rafting adventure with Twin River Outfitters in Botetourt County.
Enjoy the outdoors from a different perspective by taking a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Floyd, an eclectic town with a funky arts, cultural and food scene.
After a long day outdoors, check out the local beer scene at Parkway Brewing Company. For dinner, Roanoke has many options. Try The River and Rail for local and seasonal cuisine. Stay at the historic Hotel Roanoke located downtown and close to many local attractions.
FOR FOOD + BEER LOVERS
There are so many ways to experience the amazing food and beer scene in Richmond! Here are just a few options to start planning your epic foodie getaway.
Start off with coffee and a croissant at Sub Rosa, a wood-fired Bakery located in historic Church Hill or if you are more of a biscuit-person, don’t miss the two biscuit places in the Fan- Early Bird Biscuit Company and the Fancy Biscuit.
Spend the afternoon touring and tasting on a food tour with Real Richmond Food tours before dining at one of the many local restaurants; Rappahannock for “farm-to-table” Virginia oysters or Pasture for southern-style local food, the Roosevelt for top-notch cocktails and southern food, Peter Chang’s China Café for Sichuan-style Chinese food. Plan a visit during Fire Flour & Fork, a four-day culinary gathering to sample the best culinary experiences that Richmond has to offer.
Quench your thirst with more than 20 craft breweries in the area. Tour the Richmond Beer Trail and sample brews from Ardent Craft Ales, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, the Veil Brewing Co., Buskey Cider and Blue Bee Cider.
Stay at The Quirk Hotel and enjoy rooftop drinks followed by dinner at the restaurant located in the lobby, Maple and Pine.
FOR HISTORY LOVERS
There’s so much history to see in Virginia, it’s hard to choose where to start. If you are visiting DC, Northern Virginia is and a great historic getaway.
Mount Vernon- George Washington’s historic estate. Only 15 miles from D.C., you can tour a host of colonial era buildings, beautiful gardens, a working distillery and gristmill, and the museum and education center. For the adventurous, you can even bike to Mount Vernon on the Mount Vernon Trail.
Mercy in Alexandria Walking Tour- experience an inside access tour of 19th century Alexandria. Inspired by real events of Civil War Alexandria, MERCY STREET is PBS’ first original American drama in a decade. Fans of the show can explore Alexandria’s historic sites and take part in 50 special events and tours to uncover the real people behind the characters on the show, the realities of Civil War medicine, the changing roles for women, and the breakthrough experience of enslaved African-Americans claiming their freedom.
Arlington National Cemetery is both a national treasure and an active cemetery. It is the final resting place for more than 400,000 active duty service members, veterans and their families.
The National Museum of the Marine Corps is a lasting tribute to the U.S. Marine Corps. Visitor’s learn about the history of the Marines through interactive exhibits.
The Torpedo Factory Art Center located in Old Town Alexandria is home to the largest number of publicly accessible working artist studios in the U.S. Founded in 1974 in an old munitions plant, guests can visit 82 artists’ studios (featuring a variety of media from painting to ceramics to stained glass to printmaking), seven galleries, two workshops, and the Alexandria Archaeology Museum.
Grab dinner at Alexandria’s newest waterfront restaurant, Vola’s Dockside Grill or experience farm-to-table dining at Virtue Feed + Grain. For fine dining, Restaurant Eve serves up a five- and seven-course Chef’s Choice Tasting Menu. Finish the evening with a cocktail at PX, a 1920s style speakeasy with creative cocktails.
FOR MUSIC LOVERS
There’s no place in Virginia with more music history than in the Southwestern part of the state. Here’s a few ideas to plan the ultimate music lovers getaway.
Start your trip with a tour of Heartwood, the gateway to Southwest Virginia’s rich cultural and creative economy. Here you will see the work of regional artisans and musicians and learn about the area’s history, heritage, outdoor recreation and scenic beauty.
Visit the town of Marion, Virginia to see live music at The Lincoln Theatre. Home of the nationally-syndicated “Song of the Mountains” bluegrass television series and an Affiliate Venue of the famous “Crooked Road” Heritage Music Trail, the Lincoln Theatre is one of only three remaining Mayan Revival theatres in America. This Virginia Historic Landmark is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and its history harkens back to the romantic heyday of the grand movie palaces of the “Roarin’ Twenties.”
Tour the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, Virginia. An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, this state of the art museum celebrates the influence of the 1927 Bristol Sessions to today’s music and features exhibition space spread over two floors including traveling exhibits from the Smithsonian.
No trip to Southwest Virginia is complete without a visit to the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia. The Carter Fold is a rustic, 1,000 seat music shed offering traditional music every Saturday night. The Carter Family was discovered in 1927 by Victor Recording Studio in Bristol and recorded 300 songs between 1927 and 1942. Playing traditional Appalachian music, the family has often been credited as forerunners of modern-day country music.
Visit Blue Ridge Music Center in Galax, Virginia, a state-of-the-art performing arts facility built to preserve and promote the historic music of Virginia and the Blue Ridge.
Live music at Floyd Country Store, an authentic country store in Floyd, Virginia, with popular Friday Night Jamboree and Sunday gospel sessions.
FOR BEACH LOVERS
Virginia has many beautiful beaches, plan your trip to visit Virginia Beach and the Eastern Shore for the ultimate beach lovers getaway.
Check out the three-mile long boardwalk in Virginia Beach, lined with oceanfront restaurants, hotels, shopping and sandy beaches.
Grab a fresh coffee and a locally-sourced breakfast at Commune, you can even get it to go and take it out on the beach.
Check out the Pleasure House Oyster farm boat tour to cruise the waters of the Lynnhaven River and learn about the legendary Lynnhaven Oyster, then end the day with dinner at Terrapin Restaurant or Esoteric and an overnight stay at Hilton Oceanfronts.
Cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel to visit the Eastern Shore.
Spend an afternoon in the calm waters at the public beach in Cape Charles.
Get the most out of your vacations days in 2017 when you plan to visit one of these amazing Virginia attractions. Where is your favorite place to unwind in the Commonwealth?