14 Sep Why Virginia Is Underrated
There are a lot of renowned travel destinations within the U.S. Big cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami bring tourists to all different parts of the country; the Pacific Northwest and American Southwest attract nature lovers; and beautiful beaches in several coastal states (not to mention Hawaii!) are always popular draws. But there are also pockets of the country that probably don’t get the attention they deserve from travelers, whether within the U.S. or from abroad.
One such area is the state of Virginia. While there may not be one overarching reason to travel there, like Las Vegas is for Nevada, or Chicago for Illinois, this is a wonderful state with a lot to offer. These are just a few reasons it’s an underrated travel destination.
We tend to associate preserved historical areas with middle school class trips and the like, and to be sure that’s true of historic, colonial Williamsburg as well. There’s definitely an educational aspect to this destination, and some may find that it’s all a bit too pageant-like. But for those who are interested in history and/or fascinated by the era of the colonies and the American Revolution, it’s still a lot of fun to visit. You can take tours of neighborhoods, see buildings that have been either preserved or recreated from the 18th century, and get a genuine feel for what life may have been like for Virginia colonists. There are also a lot of fun old timey restaurants, and in fact there’s even a pub crawl – so rest assured, this area isn’t just for young students!
Somehow, Virginia is often neglected as a beach destination, despite being just north of North Carolina – which has a reputation for some of the best beaches in the country! Furthermore, Virginia Beach is in the southern portion of the state, which makes it more or less an extension of the quality North Carolina beaches. The area is just a lot of fun. There’s a very long public shoreline, an awesome aquarium, the Cape Henry Lighthouse, and even the sight that marks the arrival of the Jamestown settlers back in the early-17th century. It’s a terrific all-around beach town.
Sometimes a college town is well worth visiting just for its charm factor. It’s why Ann Arbor (home of the University of Michigan) has become a major draw in Michigan, and it’s why you may be surprised by the appeal of Iowa City (home of the University of Iowa) if you ever make it there. Charlottesville is another such city, and in fact has been referred to as one of the most charming cities in the entire country. Granted, it’s been in the news for some awful things in the summer of 2017, but that shouldn’t stain the reputation of the city itself. This is a beautiful town near the Blue Ridge Mountains, featuring historical sites, shop-lined walking avenues, the lovely University of Virginia, and even a few wineries.
(Possible) Casino Venues
I’m getting a little bit ahead of the curve on this one, because at the time of this writing Virginia is not among America’s few casino destinations. But we’ve seen how casinos can draw tourists to places like Atlantic City, Las Vegas, and even Connecticut, and Virginia may soon be on that list. That’s because Virginia’s senate is moving to confirm poker as a game of skill, which is to say not an illegal gambling activity. This wouldn’t immediately lead to full-fledged casino venues, but if successful the legislation would likely lead to poker venues springing up – perhaps at Virginia Beach and other popular tourism areas. Stay tuned, because this could make a dynamic state even more appealing to tourists.
Shenandoah National Park
Finally, Virginia is also underrated for its natural beauty. The Blue Ridge Mountains spread through the western part of the state, and make for gorgeous hikes, drives and you can even go camping in Virginia. The Skyline Drive cuts right through the mountains, offering tremendous views, as well as several areas where you can start a hike or even go camping. If you do decide to visit Virginia and you want to include exploration of the Shenandoah National Park area, I’d recommend going during the fall, when the changing leaves make the views all the more impressive.