Day Trips from Virginia Beach
Visitors stop at the quaint resort island of Chincoteague on their way to catch a glimpse of the famous wild ponies roaming the seashore at the adjacent Assateague Island. Old-fashioned lighthouses and unspoiled beaches dotted with snow geese and great blue herons grace the coasts of each island. Conveniently, a bridge connects the islands to the mainland.
This charming and well preserved settlement was England’s political center in the colonies throughout much of the 18th century. Today, Williamsburg is a window into pre-American Revolution life. With actors (in authentic attire, of course) portraying colonial figures throughout the complex of historic cottages, taverns, and courthouses, Colonial Williamsburg is entertaining and educational for adults and children alike.
Civil War buffs shouldn’t miss the small Virginian city of Fredericksburg, home to the Fredericksburg Battlefield, the site of one of the war’s most important battles. The Civil War-era Chatham mansion is also of historic interest, as are the Kenmore Plantation, where George Washington’s sister once lived, and the Mary Washington House, which the first president bought for his mother in 1772.
Kiptopeke State Park
Avid bird watchers and outdoorsy travelers cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel to reach Kiptopeke State Park, home to abundant populations of hawks, osprey, kestrels, and various types of migratory birds. Swimming, fishing, and boating are also popular activities here, as are hiking and biking (the well-maintained trails are designed to lead visitors through animal habitats and hardwood forests).
Bordered on one side by the Chesapeake Bay and the other by the Atlantic, the historic town of Onancock has a population of only 1,500. Victorian architecture, art studios, boutiques, and antique shops set the backdrop for a low-key afternoon in a village that has been around since 1680.
Virginia’s capital city lies within easy reach of the state’s eastern coast. Founded by the English in 1607, Richmond offers a range of historic and cultural attractions, including the Museum of the Confederacy (1201 E. Clay St.; 804-649-1861; www.moc.org), the Children’s Museum of Richmond (2626 W. Broad St.; 804-474-7000; www.c-mor.org), the Virginia Fine Arts Museum (200 N. Blvd.; 804-340-1400; www.vmfa.museum), the Black History Museum (00 Clay St.; 804-780-9093; www.blackhistorymuseum.org), and, for literary types, the Edgar Allan Poe Museum (1914-16 E. Main St.; 804-648-5523; www.poemuseum.org).
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