Historic downtown of Staunton, Virginia. Editorial credit: Dee Browning / Shutterstock.com

10 Coziest Towns To Visit In Virginia

Tourists visit Virginia for various reasons, such as the opportunity to experience authentic Southern charm, discover rare Revolutionary War history, partake in unique cultural traditions, and explore beautiful open spaces. While most naturally rush to famous destinations like Virginia Beach, smaller, cozier, generally overlooked towns promise just as fulfilling an experience. What sets them apart is the sense of camaraderie you feel once there and the strong sense of community among residents, a true reflection of trademark Southern hospitality.

These charming towns in Virginia harbor the heart and soul of the Old Dominion. Exploring them offers an excellent opportunity to delve into its rich historical heritage, musical reputation, and outdoor adventures. Whether traveling alone or with family, the following will make a cozy vacation destination.


 The White Mill in Abingdon, Virginia.
The White Mill in Abingdon, Virginia. Editorial credit: Dee Browning / Shutterstock.com.

Rich in history, bustling with arts, and surrounded by gorgeous views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Abingdon offers diverse, fun experiences for visitors. Once occupied by the Cherokee Nation, this town harbors a captivating past for historians to indulge in at the Historical Society of Washington County. Strolling through its quiet streets, visitors will come across quaint antique stores like the Antique Barn, where they can hunt for a unique souvenir to bring back home after the fulfilling holiday.

Abingdon's vibrant art scene shines through the historic Barter Theater. Since its advent in the early 1900s, the performance arts venue has captivated audiences with diverse theatrical shows, from plays and concerts to lively musicals. Meanwhile, one of the best ways to experience Abingdon is at its exciting farmers market, which offers a chance to interact closely with friendly locals.


Aerial view of Middleburg, Virginia
Aerial view of Middleburg, Virginia.

Home to less than 1,000 residents, this tiny Loudoun County community is a clear representation of small-town charm. Despite its modest population, this town hosts a remarkable mix of attractions that entice visitors from across the state. For instance, its bustling winery scene is a leading tourist draw, presenting generous opportunities to sample craft wines at establishments like Greenhill Vineyards and Boxwood Estate Winery. Middleburg was nicknamed "Nationals Horse and Hunt Capital," an exciting reputation that can be clarified by touring the National Sporting Library & Museum. The facility highlights the town's heritage as an equestrian sports hub.

Additionally, Middleburg offers a diversity of eateries, so foodies can look forward to a delectable dining experience. If you enjoy American fare, you can pop into Market Salamander for some tasty dishes with a hint of Mediterranean cuisine.


The gorgeous downtown area of Lexington with stores and eateries
The gorgeous downtown area of Lexington with stores and eateries. Editorial credit: Kristi Blokhin / Shutterstock.com.

This delightful town in the Shenandoah Valley hosts the Virginia Military Institute and Washington and Lee University. Unlike any other college town, Lexington offers more than a youthful vibrance; it boasts exciting historical sites and recognized art centers. At the Jackson House Museum, visitors get transported back to the Victorian era within the historic home of Confederate General Thomas Jackson. Meanwhile, the VMI Museum provides a detailed account of the institution's heritage by displaying more than 15,000 artifacts.

Lexington has an exciting arts community, thanks to the presence of the two colleges in the area. This is well-represented by the University Chapel & Galleries, which exhibits various pieces in relation to Robert E. Lee. Outdoorsy travelers who'd rather spend their time in the open can book a tour with Lexington Carriage Company to explore the town from a horse's back.


Historic downtown of Staunton, Virginia
Historic downtown of Staunton, Virginia. Editorial credit: MargJohnsonVA / Shutterstock.com.

This adorable town in Augusta County is famous for its lively arts and culture scene. Exploring the downtown district, visitors will come across a collection of art venues, including the famous American Shakespeare Center. Enthusiasts gather here to watch classic performances of plays by Shakespeare and other renowned playwrights. Meanwhile, the Camera Heritage Museum is a quirky attraction that plays host to a rich collection of exhibits focusing on the development of photography, art, and science over the years.

Staunton is famously the birthplace of the 28th president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson. Those interested in the president's legacy have the opportunity to visit the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, where they'll find numerous artifacts about him and see his actual birthplace.


Downtown Warrenton, Virginia
Downtown Warrenton, Virginia. Editorial credit: Kosoff / Shutterstock.com

The old and the new are perfectly balanced within this quaint village of Fauquier County, offering visitors the best of both worlds. If you love retro experiences, Warrenton takes you back to the beginning of the 19th century with the Fauquier History Museum at the Old Jail. Housed in a rustic 1808 structure, the museum offers various artifacts showcasing the town's, county's, and state's history. On the other hand, visitors who prefer more contemporary pursuits can sample the local culinary scene, featuring diverse internationally and locally inspired flavors.

Visitors can enjoy authentic Italian dishes for breakfast or lunch at Cafe Torino and Bakery. Warrenton's attractions don't only confine you within four walls; lovers of the open spaces can roam beautiful trails at Warrenton Branch Greenway, leading away from the crowded downtown district.


Downtown Joe, Virginia
Downtown Damascus, Virginia. Image credit: Joe via Flickr.com.

Nicknamed "Trail Town USA," this small town in Washington County is a popular stop for hikers and bikers. Several famous trails pass through it, none more prominent than the Virginia Creeper National Recreation Trail, which stretches 35 miles from Abingdon to Whitetop. Damascus Town is a notable local attraction, considering that the Virginia Creeper Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and Beaverdam Creek Trail pass through it. Naturally, it is often flocked by hikers passing through, but you can find isolated picnic areas to enjoy its serene atmosphere.

With a small community of under 1,000 calling Damascus home, the town demonstrates its small-town charm during the Damascus Farmers Market. The atmosphere is always family-friendly, with local vendors selling farm produce, baked goods, and fabulous handcrafts.


Aerial view of Chincoteague, Virginia.
Aerial view of Chincoteague, Virginia.

From pristine beaches and sumptuous seafood to remarkable boat tours, Chincoteague rightfully gets featured among the best towns in Virginia by many news outlets. This eastern shore gem, highlighted by the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, offers plenty of serene nature spaces. This beautiful preserve covers almost 14,000 acres and is famous for herds of wild horses roaming its sandy beaches. Chincoteague received its first settlers in the 1700s, boasting a colorful history that visitors can learn more about at the Museum of Chincoteague Island.

Local outfitters offer exciting opportunities for tourists to experience the open sea on unforgettable excursions. Assateague Explorer Pony Watching Cruise & Kayaking delights with its signature tours allow guests to get an up-close look at the wild ponies the island is famous for.


James Walker Robinson Memorial Scenic Overlook is located outside of Norton, Virginia.
James Walker Robinson Memorial Scenic Overlook is located outside of Norton, Virginia.

Norton offers one of the best natural sceneries in Virginia, thanks to its unprecedented views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The small community invites tourists to immerse in the outdoors by providing a wealth of recreational opportunities in the surrounding wilderness. It is home to Flag Rock Recreational Area, which sprawls 1,000 acres and harbors activities like hiking, fishing, mountain biking, and canoeing. Additionally, the High Knob Recreation Area keeps the outdoor fun going at its high-altitude location, with access to delightful aquatic adventures.

Besides exploring the outdoors, visitors can enjoy a family-friendly flick inside Cinema City Stadium Theaters. The state-of-the-art venue delivers an ideal atmosphere for a movie experience with loved ones. Alternatively, enjoy an easygoing bowling session with peers at Hillcrest Lanes.


Downtown Bedford, Virginia
Downtown Bedford, Virginia. Editorial credit: Buddy Phillips / Shutterstock.com.

Bedford offers something for everyone. Although small, the town has multiple experiences tailored to different preferences. Historians can explore the Bedford Museum and Genealogical Library, where they'll find insightful information about the town's history. On the other hand, ardent outdoorsmen will feel at home exploring Falling Creek Park. This lovely nature space features a chill atmosphere with exotic views ideal for lazy strolls, unassuming picnics, or laid-back golfing.

Meanwhile, art connoisseurs will be impressed by the fantastic exhibits at the Bower Center for the Arts, complemented by enthralling live stage performances. Finally, don't leave Bedford without paying your last respects to departed American war veterans at the surreal National D-Day Memorial.

Cape Charles

Aerial view of Cape Charles Virginia
Aerial view of Cape Charles, Virginia.

Vacations in Virginia don't get better than an escape to the beach, and Cape Charles best represents the beauty and serenity of the state's alluring coast. This beachside community is chock-full of exciting experiences, especially exploring its historic district. Boasting over 500 historical structures, some listed on the National Register of Historic Places, visitors embark on an immersive experience by discovering treasures like the Cape Charles Museum, which chronicles the town's captivating past. Outdoorsy tourists will fancy exploring the 50-acre wilderness of Cape Charles Natural Area Preserve.

It offers a nice boardwalk leading to the open shore, ideal for undisturbed walks. Local arts take center stage at the Ellen Moore Gallery, inviting art lovers to peruse a fine collection of pieces by local, regional, and national artists.

These picturesque towns in Virginia offer visitors a welcoming reprieve into slower rhythms of life and the true heart of the Old Dominion. Whether nestled along scenic waterways, amid vineyards and pastures, or within stately mountain scenery, each exudes an allure of neighborly bonds cultivated through generations of hospitality. Exploring their classic downtowns rich in local character reveals community pride courtesy of small businesses, cultural attractions, and close-knit kinship among citizens. In these idyllic hamlets, one finds rejuvenation through interacting with locals who are dedicated to regional tradition and culture.

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