Aerial view of Farmville, Virginia.

9 Most Memorable Small Towns In Virginia

Virginia is a state that can be explored in many different ways, including hiking up the beautiful Appalachian Trail and relaxing on the Eastern Shore beaches. While these would make for amazing holiday experiences, there is one way to travel through Virginia that perhaps surpasses all others- visiting the small quaint towns of the state, which speak of its history, culture, and core character. Here are nine small towns in Virginia that should be on every traveler's itinerary!


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

Western Virginia is home to a beautiful little town called Abingdon, perfect for those who love historical getaways and outdoor adventures. With the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background, this town is surrounded by the grandeur of nature. Tourists visiting the town can expect to enjoy a host of fun activities like horseback riding, biking, and hiking at the Virginia Creeper Trail, which extends for almost 34 miles! The town also has the famous Historic District with cobblestone sidewalks that offer the perfect setting for a historical stroll. The area has 20 grand square blocks with historical and cultural excursions. For those interested in the arts, watching a show at Barter Theater is highly recommended. The William King Museum of Art is another popular tourist attraction in the town, along with The Arts Depot, which was originally a railroad station.


The Bristol Virginia-Tennessee Slogan sign, a landmark in the twin cities
The Bristol Virginia-Tennessee Slogan sign, a landmark in the twin cities.

In the context of country music folk tradition in the US, Bristol holds huge importance. Situated on the border between Virginia and Tennessee, this small town is where some of the foremost recordings of local country music took place. Tourists visiting Bristol may like to explore the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, where they can learn about several historic moments synonymous with the town's musical heritage. For more insight into the local history and culture of the town, tourists can plan a trip to the Paramount Center for the Arts and the Bristol Train Station. The town organizes an annual Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion Festival in September, which is great entertainment for the locals and tourists alike.


St Lukes Church and Cemetery in Smithfield Virginia
St. Lukes Church and Cemetery in Smithfield, Virginia.

Smithfield is another small, peaceful town in the state of Virginia. To begin with, this town is most famous for its legendary ham, which is popular all over the world. Smithfield was found near Jamestown on the famous Pagan River and eventually became known as the "Ham Capital of the World." Smithfield is a town known for its unique community spirit, which is at its peak during the hosting of local events such as town concerts and community BBQs. Tourists should make the most of the beautiful historical downtown when visiting Smithfield. It has some exquisite churches, historic homes, and boutique accommodations. Check out Smithfield Station Waterfront Lodge for a nice, comfortable stay in the town.


Front Street in Coeburn, Virginia.
Front Street in Coeburn, Virginia. Image credit: Brian Stansberry via Wikimedia Commons.

Coeburn is a town located in Southwest Virginia near the Jefferson National Forest. Considered among the best small-town getaways, Coeburn is especially loved by outdoor adventurers as they can enjoy biking and hiking expeditions along the beautiful Rails-to-Trails Guest River Gorge Trail. Some of the other famous trails in this town include the Little Stony National Recreation Trail and the High Knob Lake Trail. When it comes to food and dining, tourists can expect to enjoy a hearty meal at top restaurants like Oma's Haus Restaurant & Bakery (known for serving mouthwatering German cuisine). Another highlight of the town is the Historic Lays Hardware Center for the Arts, where the locals gather every Friday for informal jams, dancing, and other entertainment!


Historic Downtown Staunton Virginia
Historic downtown of Staunton, Virginia.

Staunton is the perfect holiday destination for those interested in art, history, and culture. Perhaps the most popular attractions in the town are the Blackfriars Theater and The American Shakespeare Center. Music lovers should not miss a trip to the Heifetz Institute for Music as well as the Museum of the American Frontier Culture. Staunton has more to offer than just galleries and museums; it hosts a variety of festivals, such as the Summer Blues and Jazz Festival and the Hot Glass Festival, enjoyed by tourists and locals alike. Charlottesville is the closest major city to Staunton.


The Red Fox Inn Middleburg, vIRGINIA.
The Red Fox Inn Middleburg, Virginia. Image credit: Ron Cogswell via

Middleburg is another small town in Virginia's Loudoun County. With a population of less than 1,000, the town boasts an abundance of history. Visit the Middleburg Historic District to view some of the most beautifully maintained buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries, including the famous Red Fox Inn. Built in 1728, it is known to be among the oldest operational inns across the United States. Middleburg has a reputation for being an excellent destination for steeplechase and fox hunting events, which is why it is also called the "Horse and Hunt Capital of the United States." Travelers can learn more about the sporting history of this town at the National Sporting Library. Another interesting activity for tourists in Middleburg could be visiting some of the beautiful vineyards like the Boxwood Winery and the Greenhill Winery & Vineyards.


Market Street in Onancock, Virginia.
Market Street in Onancock, Virginia. Editorial credit: John Blottman /

Onancock is an inviting seaside town on the eastern shore of Virginia that offers itself as a relaxing weekend getaway. Explore the town on foot and enjoy seeing some beautiful Victorian homes, art galleries, and boutique shops. The Eastern Shore Historical Society and Maritime Museum are popular among tourists. Onancock is known for its artful flare, which can be experienced at the Roseland Theatre. There is also a Farmer's Market in the town that is open between May and October. Enjoy live music at this market while shopping for fresh local produce! To learn more about the town's history, tourists can visit the Waterman's Museum or Ker Place. When in Onancock, don't miss the opportunity to watch one of the most splendid sunsets at The Onancock Creek!


Downtown Farmville, Virginia.
Downtown Farmville, Virginia. Image credit: Puritan Nerd via Wikimedia Commons.

Farmville is located close to the High Bridge Trail State Park in Virginia. One of the major attractions of this quaint town is Longwood University, one of the earliest public institutions in the country. May is particularly exciting, thanks to the Heart of Virginia Festival hosted by the town. This festival brings together local businesses, musicians, and vendors from across the country to showcase their arts and crafts, fireworks, traditional cuisine, and much more! The High Bridge Trail State Park provides a dramatic bike or hike ride to outdoor adventurers. Wilck's Lake, a natural area covering almost 150 acres of land, is also worth a visit.


Greenery in Damascus, Virginia.
Greenery in Damascus, Virginia.

Despite being a small town in Virginia, Damascus has earned itself the title" Trail Town USA" thanks to the water, biking, and hiking trails running through it. Located in the spectacular Blue Ridge Mountains, this town is home to the Appalachian Trail as well as the famous Virginia Creeper Trail, making it a huge attraction for outdoor enthusiasts. May is one of the best months to visit Damascus because of the ongoing Appalachian Trail Days Festival. While in town, tourists can also plan a visit to the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, which has Virginia's highest peak!

Though Virginia may be known for many things, such as natural beauty, history, and outdoor adventure, it is the wealth of small quaint towns and local communities that attracts people to come and explore the state.

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