From the coastal plain--where the sun kisses the sparkling sands of Virginia Beach--through the Piedmont plateau and westward to the rolling Blue Ridge and rugged Appalachian mountains, Virginia offers the best of both worlds: seashore and mountains. Visitors can frolic on the beaches and enjoy water sports. The mountains are embroidered with dogwood blossoms in spring and blazing red, orange, and gold in autumn.
Whether you choose a shore or mountain vacation in Virginia, you will get a large dose of history along the way. Nearly all the state's attractions and recreation and scenic areas have one thing in common: events of historic importance. Beginning with Jamestown, Yorktown, and Williamsburg, you'll find the country's earliest settlements preserved in museums of living history.
Virginia has given the country eight presidents, and several of their homes are open to the public. George Washington's Mount Vernon, on the Potomac River, and Thomas Jefferson's splendid Monticello, near Charlottesville, are examples of the homes that can be visited.
Echoing from the past are names of Virginians familiar to everyone--Robert E. Lee, Patrick Henry, Jefferson Davis, James Madison, George Mason, and many others. The state's museums and great universities have kept alive the memory of these men who charted the course of a nation.
The long shadow of the Civil War will forever fall over the Old Dominion's cities and towns: Fredericksburg, Manassas, and Appomattox are a few of these. Across the state, silent battlefields and aging cemeteries are mute testimony to a time when brother rose against brother.
Lyrical, scenic Shenandoah Valley, extending from Winchester to Roanoke, can best be seen from the azalea-trimmed Skyline Drive, which winds from Front Royal to Waynesboro, where it meets the equally picturesque Blue Ridge Parkway. It was in this historic valley, surveyed by young George Washington, that Gen. "Stonewall" Jackson carried out his famous Valley campaign.
Virginia has art galleries and excellent restaurants; camping and hiking in the George Washington and Jefferson national forests; plantations; music, crafts, festivals, house and garden tours, and horse shows; fun-filled theme parks and awesome caverns; historic churches; and buildings: the world's largest naval base in Norfolk; and the NASA/Langley Research Center.