Middleburg, Virginia, Loudoun County: Fourth of July celebrations.

9 Delightful Towns to Visit in Virginia

Virginia, officially known as the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Maryland, Washington DC, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Virginia is known for its significant historical landmarks, including Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement, and Williamsburg, a restored colonial town. The state is also notable for its diverse geography, which includes the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic coastline.

The state is home to delightful towns that offer a range of experiences, from historic sites and scenic landscapes to cultural events and outdoor recreational activities. These features make these nine Virginia towns appealing to both residents and visitors.


Lexington, Virginia, USA: Lee Chapel at Washington and Lee University.
Lexington, Virginia: Lee Chapel at Washington and Lee University. Editorial credit: Joseph K Fuller / Shutterstock.com

Lexington, Virginia, is located in the Shenandoah Valley. Founded in 1778, it is home to Washington and Lee University and the Virginia Military Institute. The town played a significant role during the Civil War, including being the burial site of Stonewall Jackson. The town has preserved its history with numerous 19th-century buildings and landmarks.

Lee Chapel & Museum is the resting place of Robert E. Lee and contains exhibits on his life and the history of Washington and Lee University. Visitors can explore the chapel, the museum, and the Lee family crypt. Virginia Horse Center hosts various equestrian events, including horse shows, competitions, and clinics. It provides facilities for spectators and participants alike. Boxerwood Nature Center & Woodland Garden features ecologically diverse gardens and trails. It has educational programs and a peaceful environment for nature activities.


Fall colors at the historic Martha Washington Inn in Abingdon, Virginia.
Fall colors at the historic Martha Washington Inn in Abingdon, Virginia.

Abingdon, Virginia, located in the Blue Ridge Highlands, is a town with roots in American history. Established in 1778, it was a vital frontier town and a key site during the Revolutionary War. Abingdon's historic district is filled with 18th and 19th-century buildings, reflecting its rich heritage.

The Crooked Road is Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, celebrating the region’s musical history with various music venues and events along the trail. Visitors can watch live performances and learn about Appalachian music traditions. Holston Mountain has hiking trails with views of the surrounding landscape. It is a spot for outdoor enthusiasts seeking adventure. Abingdon Muster Grounds is a historical site related to the Revolutionary War, with interpretive trails and educational exhibits. It commemorates the Overmountain Men who mustered there in 1780.


Indian 111 Classic Motorbike parked outside The Red Fox Inn and Tavern in Middleburg, Virginia, USA.
The Red Fox Inn and Tavern in Middleburg, Virginia. Editorial credit: Nigel Jarvis / Shutterstock.com

Middleburg, Virginia, in the heart of Virginia's horse country, has a rich equestrian heritage. Founded in 1787, the town has long been a center for horse breeding, racing, and fox hunting. Middleburg's historic district has 19th-century buildings and boutique shops, reflecting its affluent past.

The National Sporting Library & Museum exhibits collections related to equestrian and field sports. It includes rare books, art, and artifacts of the town's sporting heritage. Sky Meadows State Park has trails, camping, and historic farm tours. Visitors can explore the park and learn about its agricultural history. Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve is a diverse natural area with trails and opportunities for Virginia wildlife observation.

Cape Charles

Cape Charles, Virginia: Aerial view looking northeast from the Chesapeake Bay with a grid of the town.
Aerial view of Cape Charles, Virginia. Editorial credit: Kyle J Little / Shutterstock.com

Cape Charles, Virginia, located on the southern tip of the Eastern Shore, was founded in 1884 as a planned community by the railroad. It was a transportation hub and port town, connecting the Eastern Shore to Norfolk and beyond. Today, Cape Charles is known for its historic district and beaches.

Cape Charles Natural Area Preserve protects a rare maritime forest and has birdwatching opportunities. Visitors can walk the preserve's trails and observe diverse bird species. Bay Creek Railway is a historic railway that hosts scenic train rides along the coast. Cape Charles Lighthouse, located on Smith Island and accessible by boat, is a historic lighthouse that has guided mariners for over a century. It offers tours and views of the Chesapeake Bay.


Drone view of Chincoteague bridge across the Chincoteague Bay in Virginia, showcasing views of the waterfront.
Drone view of Chincoteague bridge across the Chincoteague Bay in Virginia, showcasing views of the waterfront.

Chincoteague, Virginia, is a small island town on Virginia's Eastern Shore, known for its wild ponies. Settled in the 17th century, it developed as a fishing and oyster harvesting community. Chincoteague gained fame through Marguerite Henry's book "Misty of Chincoteague," which highlights the annual pony swim and auction.

Assateague Island National Seashore is home to wild ponies and beaches. Visitors can see the ponies in their natural habitat and enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing. Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is for birdwatching, hiking, and wildlife observation. The refuge is home to a variety of bird species and other wildlife, a haven for nature enthusiasts. Captain Timothy Hill House is the oldest house on Chincoteague Island. Historical tours provide insights into the island's early settler life and architectural heritage.


Charlottesville, Virginia: Downtown Mall.
Charlottesville, Virginia: Downtown Mall. Editorial credit: MargJohnsonVA / Shutterstock.com

Charlottesville, Virginia, is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Founded in 1762, it is home to the University of Virginia, established by Thomas Jefferson. The town played a role in American history and has numerous historical sites and landmarks.

Carter Mountain Orchard has apple picking, panoramic views, and seasonal events. Visitors can enjoy fresh fruit, homemade goods, and vistas of the surrounding countryside. Shenandoah National Park features Skyline Drive, hiking trails, and vistas. The park is a favorite destination for outdoor activities and scenic drives. Michie Tavern is a historic 18th-century tavern that has tours and serves traditional meals. Guests can experience colonial-era dining and learn about the tavern's history.

    Hot Springs

    Hot Springs, Virginia, USA: Autumn view of the main street in the Allegheny Mountain town of Hot Springs.
    Hot Springs, Virginia: Main street in Hot Springs. Editorial credit: The Old Major / Shutterstock.com

    Hot Springs, Virginia, located in the Allegheny Mountains, is famous for its natural hot springs and resorts. The town has been a destination for relaxation and rejuvenation since the 18th century. Its history is intertwined with the development of the spa industry, attracting visitors seeking the therapeutic benefits of the mineral waters.

    The Omni Homestead Resort is a historic resort with natural hot springs. It has a range of amenities, including golf, spa services, and outdoor activities. Jefferson Pools are natural hot springs where Thomas Jefferson once bathed. The pools are known for their therapeutic properties and historic significance. Garth Newel Music Center hosts shows in a scenic rural setting, including a variety of musical performances.


    Staunton, Virginia: Downtown Historic Staunton, birthplace of President Woodrow Wilson.
    Staunton, Virginia: Downtown Historic Staunton. Editorial credit: MargJohnsonVA / Shutterstock.com

    Staunton, Virginia, located in the Shenandoah Valley, was founded in 1747. It played a role in the American frontier and later became a destination for education. Staunton is home to the birthplace of President Woodrow Wilson and has an arts and theater scene.

    Frontier Culture Museum is an outdoor living history museum depicting early American frontier life. Visitors can explore recreated historic farms and learn about the diverse cultures that settled in the region. Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum is dedicated to the life and legacy of the 28th president. It includes his birthplace, a museum with exhibits, and a research library. Blue Ridge Parkway has scenic drives with views and hiking trails. The parkway is a route for experiencing the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.


    Carillon Park in Luray, Virginia: The singing tower and a pond.
    Carillon Park in Luray, Virginia: The singing tower and a pond.

    Luray, Virginia, located in the Shenandoah Valley, was founded in the early 19th century. The town became known for its proximity to Luray Caverns, which drew tourists and contributed to its growth. Luray's setting and history make it a year-round destination to visit.

    Luray Caverns are underground caves with impressive stalactites and stalagmites. Visitors can take guided tours to explore the formations and learn about the caverns' geology. Massanutten Storybook Trail is a family-friendly trail with panoramic views of the Shenandoah Valley. The trail is accessible and has educational displays about the area's natural history. Dark Hollow Falls is a waterfall hike in Shenandoah National Park. The trail leads to a tall, cascading waterfall.

    Discover the Charm of Virginia’s Small Towns

    Overall, Virginia is home to a variety of delightful towns that cater to diverse interests and experiences. Middleburg impresses with its equestrian heritage and scenic parks, while Cape Charles is a coastal retreat with its historic district and beautiful beaches. Still, Chincoteague is famed for its wild ponies and natural reserves, providing a unique island experience. While these nine towns vary significantly from one another, they collectively showcase the charm of Virginia's small towns.

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