This blog, and the Virginia.org/LGBT website, make it easier for those of us in the LGBT community – and anyone wanting a welcoming, safe and inclusive Virginia experience – to find the perfect host who wants us the most! Future blogs will continue to highlight the best Virginia has to offer LGBTQI+ visitors.
LGBT travelers can now discover lodging, dining, shopping, events, outdoors and attractions that have designated themselves as LGBT-friendly and welcoming. You’ll also find breathtaking and memorable proposal locations, and one-of-a-kind wedding and honeymoon venues. Don’t miss our family-friendly trip ideas and travel packages, easy to find and refer to so you can click and GO! And check our out statewide LGBT-friendly events, including 2017 Virginia Pride festivals. We’ll hope you enjoy them, find them helpful, and come back again and again. Virginia is truly for All Lovers!
Share the LOVE by wearing your favorite VIFL Pride hats, t-shirts and more at our Virginia is for Lovers Shop and share them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat – paired with hashtags #LoveVA and #VAPride
Beaches & Bays
If salty air and warm breezes are calling your name, visit one of our iconic Virginia beaches.
The ever-popular Virginia Beach Boardwalk is better than ever. Local seafood and farm-to-table restaurant are plentiful, like the Surf Club Ocean Grille, TradeWinds Restaurant and Ashley’s Bistro and Lounge. Enjoy Beach Bike Tours LLC. and tour the Mermaid Factory Virginia Beach. When your hunger sets in again, take the Virginia Beach Food Tours on Bikes
Take a selfie at the Cape Charles LOVEwork and visit the Cape Charles Lemon Tree Gallery and Studio, or dine on delicious seafood at The Island House Restaurant in Wachapreague. For trip ideas Discover the Eastern Shore of Virginia in Four Days.
Enjoy Northern Neck experiences tucked between the broad waters of the Chesapeake Bay Beaches and the great Atlantic Ocean. Lunch at Denson’s Grocery and R&B Oyster Bar in Colonial Beach, or check out the Middle Peninsula’s Caret Cellars winery.
Oysters are a Virginia notable and mainstay. Virginia’s native oysters were close to extinction until a handful of oystermen began harvesting oysters with sustainability in mind. Virginia now has 8 thriving oyster regions, each with its own regional flavor and distinct texture and salinity where one can enjoy miles of shoreline to enjoy local seafood, boating, outdoor activities, quaint shore towns, vineyards, and much more. Stay at the iconic Tides Inn for a coastal getaway, or the
The Oyster Farm at Kings Creek, Cape Charles, a great spot for family reunions and meetings. Another favorite is Denson’s Grocery and R&B Oyster House off the Potomac River offering sweet water oysters with a light cream taste. Appomattox Oyster & Seafood Festival at Clover Hill Village with Virginia breweries & wineries. And Belle Isle State Park’s 7 miles of shoreline on the Northern Neck’s Rappahannock River allows easy access to Mulberry and Deep creeks.
If your stomach is your travel guide, get your BBQ and Beer ON at Blacksburg’s Bull & Bones Brewhaus Grill or savor Taste of Smithfield’s authentic Virginia cuisine in the downtown historic district. Farm-to-table restaurants, intimate fine dining and waterside restaurants to local dive bars, BBQ joints, and even food trucks are all serving up memorable Virginia meals. Serendipity Coffee House & Bistro in Martinsville offers drag brunches, in addition to a full menu of unique breakfast, lunch and dinner. Bistro 1888 in South Boston offers infused new American cuisine made from ‘scratch’ daily utilizing the freshest and highest quality ingredients available. Kybecca in Fredericksburg’s downtown historic district serves farm-to-table fare, craft cocktails, and small-produced, hard to find wines. And Heritage chef Joe Sparatta, a James Beard House acclaimed chef, puts an elegant spin on classic southern comfort food dishes in the historic Fan District of Richmond. Palette 22 in Arlington is a unique dining experience bringing a creative intersection between artful food and art itself to the table.
Music & Festivals
If you are a Front Row Fanatic, we’ve got you covered with music festivals bringing world-renowned musicians and artists year after year – many happening from June to September! Head southwest to Floydfest (pictured above), a 5-day celebration of music and art nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. If you want something a bit on the smoother side, don’t miss the Oktoberfest at Garth Newel. Head bayside for the Tides Music Festival, a three day festival of music on the beach in Irvington, VA Music Center in Hot Springs. Statewide, there is music all summer long. Friday Cheers at Brown’s Island is another reason why Richmond is a trip to add to your list. Or go for a more intimate setting at Cooper’s Landing Inn & Traveler’s Tavern presents “Live Music Under the Stars” – in Clarksville, VA.
Craft Breweries & Virginia Spirits
We all know a relaxing stay wouldn’t be nearly as possible without an ice-cold craft brew. Our capital of Richmond has been brewing up something special over past few years and now boosts 25 breweries within a 15-mile radius. RVA’s Hardywood beer, band and food truck nights are a local staple, with neighbor Cirrus Vodka distillery nearby. Norfolk is taking its craft beer scene to the next level too! Grain at The Main Norfolk Hilton is serving up some of Virginia’s best brews and rooftop views. Brick Anchor Brew-House pairs its menu selections with beers on tap for a heightened brew experience. Cider, Mead, and Spirits too! Richmond’s hot spot Scott’s Addition is 3 square miles northeast of downtown, and now home to Reservoir Distillery, Ardent Brewery, Three Notch’d Brewery, and Blue Bee Cider. Copper Fox Distillery in Northern Virginia is filling every bottle with whiskey made from locally grown grains. Check out its new second location in an old Williamsburg motel! If you love cider and yoga, Bold Rock Cider has you covered with this perfect pair as the sun begins to set over beautiful Rockfish Valley.
Wineries & Vineyards
Pair just about any adventure with a glass of Virginia vino. Virginia’s wine industry has been over 400 years in the making since some of the first colonists attempted cultivating vines. Today, one can enjoy the 151 Wine Trail in the Blue Ridge Mountains, or paired with oysters on the Chesapeake Bay. Outside of Washington D.C., Northern Virginia is sprawling with wineries big and small. You’ll find breathtaking views at Chateau Morrisette Winery Nestled in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. The view from Northern Virginia is just as sweet at Three Fox Vineyards, a boutique winery nestled on 50 rolling acres in the heart of horse country. Visit Magnolia Vineyards & Winery, a family-run vineyard with a cozy farmhouse tasting room on the Scenic Route 211 Wine Trail, or Hampton Roads Winery a family-owned winery in Surry County VA specializing in Bordeaux and American varietals. Arterra Wines is a hidden gem offering authentic Virginia wine paired with peace and tranquility.
Virginia’s history is top-of-mind for many who visit. It can also be uniquely told as the birthplace of American cuisine, wine, spirits, that have made leaps and bounds since colonists arrived in 1607. Martinsville’s Virginia Museum of Natural History and the Alexandria Archaeology Museum cover our earliest years. Early Virginia life at The Fauquier History Museum at the Old Jail, or explore the civil Rights stories that can be found at the Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia, and unusual architecture at national shrine and landmark Historic St Luke’s Church Museum. Small towns have the most interesting stories, like the Isle of Wight Museum and the First Peanut Museum in U.S.A. And of course, our world-renowned Colonial Williamsburg experience is unparalleled in early American history.
Outdoors & Mountains
If the call of nature fits you and your family best, we’ve got you covered by land, sea and air. Answer that call with Appalachian Horse Adventures in Montebello, or take to the river with Smith River Outfitters in Bassett. If the sky is unlimited for you, biplane rides at Virginia Beach’s Open Cockpit Biplanes Rides may fit the bill. For high-adventure enthusiasts, Virginia is home to more miles of the Appalachian Trail than any other state. Just off the AT is Virginia’s highest peak, Mount Rogers, at 5,729 feet. Reaching the summit is surely not the only rewarding part of the hike, because the majestic, untouched views and wild ponies you’ll encounter along the way are something out of a story-book. Discover hiking trails, cabins, scenic overlooks and more reasons to love Virginia Mountains.
Posh Hotels, Boutique B&Bs, & Cozy Campgrounds
When in Richmond, get pampered at The Jefferson Hotel, built by famous Richmonder Lewis Ginter and his partner John Pope. Or one of RVA’s newest boutique experience of the Quirk Hotel. If you want something less formal, take in the salt air at Colonial Beach’s Monroe Bay Inn. And for those who want to enjoy the peace of the woods, lay your head in the Buffalo Mountain Getaway Cabin, in Willis. For the full-on outdoors experience, stay in one of Virginia’s State Campgrounds, with a diversity of trails, water and mountain paths.
If your brain is a little ‘right-sided,’ it will be satisfied by a walk through the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke. For Museum of the Shenandoah Valley made possible by benefactor Julian Wood Glass Jr. and his partner R. Lee Taylor, turned the original house into a showplace and surrounded it with six acres of formal gardens. And the collections at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk will give collections of European and American paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts. The Arts & Cultural Center of Culpeper showcase small town culture, and the Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, the setting for dancing assemblies, theatrical and musical performances, and meetings.
So many Virginia experiences we can’t mention them all here. New listings are being added every day, so please return often to find the most authentic, safe and welcoming Virginia experiences for your family and friends. We hope you’ll discover for yourself why Virginia is for Lovers.
Wirt Confroy is Director of Business Development for Virginia Tourism Corporation