Looking for the best Virginia fall attractions? This travel guide is covering 9 of the best things to do & places to see in Virginia during fall.
One thing I love about Fall is how the scenery completely changes with beautiful colors. I suggest visiting Virginia starting mid-October for fall foliage and colors.
Unfortunately, when I visited on the last week of September 2016, the fall colors in Virginia hasn’t shown yet and the weather wasn’t cooperating with rain and fog, but you can imagine how beautiful it would be from the photos if it did!
Did you know? Virginia is located midway between New York and Florida and, hence, called the “Gateway to the South”.
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Great Fall in Virginia
There are a lot of things to do in Virginia be it historic sites, national parks, museums, caverns, wineries and more. Since the Travelling Foodie loves to take picturesque sights, here’s how you can enjoy fall in Virginia for some fall foliage and colors.
Best Fall Attractions in Luray
Shenandoah National Park
Virginia is called the Mountain State for good reason. One of the best things to do for fall in Virginia, the Shenandoah National Park is well known for its mountain ranges, which includes includes 300 square miles of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the central Appalachians.
While most national parks are created to preserve the wilderness, Shenandoah National Park was created to enable the overused land by the farmer which had been left with nothing much to offer in terms of fertility.
The park was established in 1930 on privately owned lands and consisted of mostly open space. Now, 95% area of the park has been covered by forest creating a beautiful sight for the tourists.
Did you know? This park also allows pets on the trail, which is uncommon for most national parks.
The most popular place to visit in Shenandoah Park is Skyline Drive, 105-mile road which runs along the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This scenic drive offers a variety of glorious views of wildlife and photography worthy shots.
But that’s not all – there are 75 overlooks that offer picturesque views which is perfect for Fall! The views show either the Shenandoah Valley to the west or the rolling Piedmont to the east.
Shenandoah Valley is famous for its numerous waterfalls. The national parks also feature a variety of museum shows, zoos, caves, wildlife centers and Luray Caverns for history and nature enthusiasts.
For foodies, be sure to visit, and/or dine, at Skyland’s Pollock Dining Room and get more views as this is at the highest elevation in the park. Try the Signature Blackberry Ice Cream Pie and thank me later!
Watch the YouTube video of the beautiful Shenandoah National Park here.
Website / Address: 3655 US-211, Luray, Virginia 22835, United States
Also Read: Best Nature Attractions in Washington State
Best Fall Attractions in Charlottesville
Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello
House of the famous author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello is a place filled with historical significance.
Thomas Jefferson inherited this 5,000-acre plantation from his father, making it one of the best and historic fall attractions in fall attraction in Virginia!
Considered one of the best things to do in Charlottesville, Monticello is considered Jefferson’s three-dimensional autobiography, and the only US Presidential and private home in the United States recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Monticello houses various shows, museums, plantations, research institutes, private and non-profit organizations and much more. This Virginia attraction is an all-day visiting ground because there’s so much to see in Monticello.
The garden pavilion views, seaside views and the real-life experience of the historical findings make it all the more interesting place to visit.
Featuring a life-like statue of Thomas Jefferson, Monticello gives you a behind-the-scenes tour of the place unearthing the various unknown facts to the general audience.
New and exciting things are continuously being found, one of them being the kitchen which explores the original methods of cooking in Monticello. Flaunting the expert architectural sites and self-sustained gardens, Monticello offers a variety of activities as well to get you in touch with history directly.
During Fall, they have calendar events for nature lovers like the Tufton Fern Walk, Montalto Hawk Watch, Falling Leaves and Winter Trees, and the Montalto Sunset Hike.
For Foodies visiting Virginia in the Fall, Monticello has a variety of events pertaining to food like Fall Vegetable Planting, Annual Heritage Harvest Festival, Apple Tasting and more.
They also have a Garden Tasting Tour which features an in-depth exploration of Thomas Jefferson’s revolutionary vegetable garden combined with a tasting of seasonal fruits and vegetables from the garden.
Did you know? Thomas Jefferson grew over 330 vegetable varieties on the 1000-foot-long garden terrace.
You check out Monticello’s Calendar of Events when making your visit here!
Watch the full YouTube video of the Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello tour here.
Website / Address: 931 Thomas Jefferson Pkwy, Charlottesville, Virginia 22902
Charlottesville Historic Downtown Mall
The Historic Downtown Mall in Charlottesville is considered one of the finest urban parks in the country with over 120 shops and more then 30 restaurants plus a movie theatre.
Mixing contemporary with tradition, the Downtown Mall is one of the best things to do in Charlottesville especially in fall. The mall has many shops and restaurants housed in different historical buildings offering the same modern-day pleasures as other high-end mall.
A dynamic place where history is intertwined with a thriving city center, this vibrant historic district and pedestrian mall is along seven blocks of brick- and tree-lined streets once strolled by Jefferson, Madison and Monroe.
Along with live music shows every night of the week, the Charlottesville Historic Downtown Mall makes it a perfect place to stroll or sit on the patio during fall when the colors of the trees have turned.
Website / Address: E Main St, Charlottesville, Virginia 22902, United States
Best Fall Attractions in Williamsburg
For history lovers, one of the best things to do in Virginia is to visit the Historic Jamestowne, home of America’s first English Settlement.
Part of the Colonial National Historical Park, Historic Jamestowne is the site of James Fort which was built by the residents to protect themselves from the attacks of Virginia Indians and the Spanish Settlements in Florida.
This was the original location of the 1607 James Fort and the later 17th century city of Jamestown. It’s a very nice and spacious park with archeological digs and scenic spots along the James River.
Jamestowne was officially branded as Historic Jamestowne later in 2007 by managing authorities and since then tours, events, and programs have been provided yearlong for the town.
There are several artifacts already discovered and the dig has been going on continuously. The museums offer a display of all the artifacts and introductory historical films to watch.
Travelling Foodie Tip: I highly recommend taking the Archeological Walking Tour to get a deeper understanding and appreciation on what it’s all about. The tour guides are archeologists who are so passionate about their findings of the settlement.
James Fort has many demonstrations of cooking, woodworking, blacksmithing, etc. to let the tourists and the audience know about the way things were.
Historic Jamestowne is managed by Preservation Virginia and National Park Service. School group tours, behind-the-scenes tours, archaearium, etc. are the main attractions of the place for a great tourist experience of history.
Now imagine this place with fall colors!
Watch the full YouTube video on Historic Jamestowne here.
Website / Address: 1368 Colonial Pkwy, Jamestown, Virginia 23081
Jamestown Settlement lets you relive the experience of America’s first permanent English colony with re-creations of the ships that sailed from England to Virginia in 1607, the colonists’ fort and a Powhatan Indian village.
While Historic Jamestown is home to the original James Fort, the settlement of Jamestown holds a replica of the fort in it, making available all the historically important timelines and sites.
This is a living historical site for the original settlement and provides a wonderful introduction to the history of the town.
There are many sites designed as per the archeological findings in the ongoing dig at Historic Jamestown and staff members dressed in period dresses explain the historical facts to the visitors and tourists.
This historical remodeling of the town offers a very rich and life-like experience and serves as a great place to be with kids due to the visually stimulating effects and decorations.
Tourists can attend various events like military re-enactments, lectures, trade fairs, etc. at the settlement.
The harbor part of the settlement has many replicas of Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery ships which brought the original colonists in 1607. All recreated sites and views can be visited and enjoyed thoroughly by the tourists.
Watch the full YouTube video of the Jamestown Settlement here.
Website / Address: 2110 Jamestown Rd, Williamsburg, Virginia 23185
Best Fall Attractions in Yorktown
American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
Formerly known as Yorktown Victory Center, American Revolution Museum at Yorktown depicts the living history of the nation’s emergence from the colonial period to the formation of constitution after independence.
The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown has comprehensive galleries with period artifacts and a show of the award-winning movie “Liberty Fever” indoors.
It has films and exhibits inside a museum building. The museum has housed all kinds of stories and displays about the soldiers who fought in the war and the people who contributed indirectly to the freedom fight.
But what’s great about this place is the the outdoor living history which re-creates Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm, cramped with artillery demos and drills with muskets, recreating the revolutionary era of the 18th century.
Website / Address: 200 Water St Route 1020, Yorktown, Virginia 23690
Also Read: A Day Trip in Jacksonville, Florida
Yorktown Battlefield Colonial National Historic Park
Yorktown battlefield is the best place to relive the wonders of the past and bathe in the glory and history of America’s independence. It is the site for the final battle of independence in which George Washington with allied American and French forces besieged General Charles British army.
There are many things to do in Yorktown Battlefield with tours and sites to enjoy the historical facts and fixtures of the era and fun activities for adults and kids, including a Young Soldier program which is a costume program for kids to learn about the life of the soldiers during the final battle of independence.
Walking tours of the Siege line and Yorktown along with the non-firing artillery show is a great way to relive one of the most important events in American history.
Museums housing artifacts and weapons from the time are accompanied by the Young Soldier program for kids which is a costume program for young ones to learn about the life of the soldiers during the final battle of independence.
Yorktown Battlefield lets you see where American independence was won by driving along various sites: numerous fortifications and cannons, the Moore House, and Surrender Field, and more.
The driving tour is a great attraction during the Fall as you get to see the Battlefield in the beautiful Fall colors.
Watch the YouTube video of Yorktown Battlefield here.
Website / Address: 1000 Colonial Pkwy, Yorktown, Virginia 23690
Best Fall Attractions in Richmond, Virginia
Virginia State Capitol
Located in Richmond, Virginia State Capitol is the second oldest working capitol in the USA. The Capitol Square is a great place for Fall photography as its nationally-recognized historic landscape is an essential element of the Capitol experience.
Virginia State Capitol is the first Roman Revival Building designed by the founding father of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, along with Charles-Louis Clerisseau. This building was designed when the governance of Virginia was changed to Richmond from Williamsburg.
The self-taught architect and the former governor of that state designed the building when the state needed new government sites.
The shape and design of Virginia State Capitol were taken from a Roman temple named Maison Carree which is quite evident by the structure of the architectural beauty. The roman columns of the building are true representations of mixing of cultural designs and traditions.
The view and design of the building are both inspiring and educational. Jefferson wanted the face of the new nation to be the “temple of sovereignty”.
A life-like statue of the first president of the US, George Washington is also built inside the building that serves as an additional site for tourists.
The State Capitol Tour is complimentary and runs every hour and lasts about 45 mins! Watch the YouTube video of the Virginia State Capitol here.
Travelling Foodie Tip: Highly recommend you take the tour as it also takes you to rooms that is inaccessible on a self-guided tour. A lot may not know but there is also a tour for the Executive Mansion.
Website / Address: 1000 Bank St, Richmond, Virginia 23218
One of the best things to do in Richmond, Maymont is a 100-acre Victorian estate and public park. Maymont is the ideal place to experience nature, history, and tranquility all together at once, making it a great attraction for fall in Virginia.
Once the residence of James and Sallie Dooley, Maymont is now a gift to visiting tourists and locals all year round. It offers beautiful autumn leaves ridden paths, playing otters, Japanese and Italian garden and the historic mansion.
There is a tour for inside the Maymont Mansion itself ($5 suggested donation) in which you can get a glimpse of the wealthy lives of James and Sallie Dooley from 1893 through 1925.
Maymont is one of the most popular sites to be visited by the tourists, given its beauty and elegance, it is also very popular for weddings and birthday celebrations.
It has everything that’s perfect for Fall: an arboretum, Japanese and Italian Gardens, a native wildlife exhibits and a nature center plus a very spacious and green estate. Just imagine what the grounds turn into during Fall!
Did you know? Maymont shelters abandoned animals and also make them available for adoption to the visitors.
The 11 different trees planted by James Dooly make a beautiful walkway during the peak of fall season.
Website / Address: 1700 Hampton St, Richmond, Virginia 23220
MAP: Things To Do in Virginia in Fall
Here’s the map of all the best Virginia fall attractions covered in this travel guide.
Hope this travel guide helps give you an idea on how to enjoy fall in Virginia with the best attractions and things to do in different cities including Richmond, Williamsburg, Charlottesville, Yorktown and Luray!
I’m hoping to come back since I didn’t get the chance to see the Virginia fall colors. I’m always looking for new places to visit so let me know what you find are the best fall activities and attractions in Virginia.
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