national parks in Virginia

The 10 Best National Parks in Virginia to Explore

No visit to Virginia, known as the Mother of States and Presidents is complete without a visit to one of its national parks.

In Virginia’s 22 national parks, you can expect to find epic hiking trails, impressive nature spots, historic landmarks, and so much more, but where should you visit? 

With so many Virginia national parks to explore, deciding where to go can be tough, but we’re here to help! 

In this post, you’ll find a list of the best national parks in Virginia. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about each park and why you should visit. Let’s get started!


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The 10 Best National Parks in Virginia

1. The Appalachian Trail

It only seems right to start with one of Virginia’s most famous national parks. The Appalachian Trail is a monumental American national park that spans 14 states. 

The state of Virginia is home to a major part of it. 

You’ll find almost 550 miles of this famous hiking trail in Virginia. A visit to the trail will treat you to incredible mountain views, diverse flora and fauna, Virginia’s highest peak, Mt. Rogers and one-of-a-kind hiking experiences. 

There are hundreds of options for day hikes and opportunities for hiking and camping vacations, too.

The Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian Trail
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

2. Shenandoah National Park

In our opinion, Shenandoah National Park is one of the most picturesque Virginia national parks. Found in the heart of the state, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this national park is home to mountains, dense forests, wilderness reserves, and powerful waterfalls.

As a result, it is easily one of the best places to visit if you’re looking for a nature escape. 

One of the great things about this park is its accessibility. The 105-mile Skyline Drive snakes through the park, providing visitors access to historic sites, hiking trails, camping grounds, 70 scenic viewpoints, and over 200,000 acres of protected park.

Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

3. Appomattox Court House National Historical Park

If you’d prefer to learn more about Virginia’s rich history, visit Appomattox Court House National Historical Park. A suitable destination for people of all ages, you can find this national park in South-Central Virginia, roughly 25 miles from Lynchburg.

Open all year, this park is famed for being the site of the final events of the Civil War.

The park allows tourists to step back in time on historic tours. You’ll explore historic buildings, learn more about the Civil War, and explore the park on a four-mile history trail.

Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

4. George Washington & Jefferson National Forests

Spanning across West Virginia, Virginia, and Kentucky are the protected George Washington & Jefferson National Forests.

These forests offer adventurers and nature lovers the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of busy city life because they’re both relatively quiet and largely underdeveloped. 

Therefore, you can let your hair down and peacefully explore the great outdoors. It is worth noting that the recreational options in the forests are plentiful, too. 

You’ll find miles of hiking trails, biking trails, campgrounds, rock climbing areas, and whitewater rafting spots. Needless to say, you’ll be treated to extraordinary vistas too!

5. Assateague Island National Seashore

One of Virginia’s most unique national parks is Assateague Island National Seashore, which can be found in Virginia and Maryland. 

Easily one of the state’s most alluring national parks, the seashore sits on the Eastern Shore, north of Chincoteague. The best thing about this park is how much it changes. Assateague also makes the list of best Virginia beaches.

Assateagues’ marshes, sandy beaches, and maritime forests change throughout the year due to seasonal changes and the tide. Stretching for 37 miles, this park is part of Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and is famous for its wild horses and lighthouse.

Assateague Island National Seashore
Assateague Island National Seashore
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

6. Booker T. Washington National Monument

Up next on our list of Virginia national parks is the Booker T. Washington National Monument.

What makes the park so unique is its rich history. It was once home to Booker T. Washington, one of the most famous people in African American history. 

Found in Hardy, Virginia, visitors can learn more about Washington’s life as an enslaved person and his rise to prominence as a speaker and author. They can also walk along the Plantation Trail where he once lived.

7. Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway is a world-famous national park that spans almost 500 miles through Virginia and North Carolina. You should visit this national park to experience hiking trails, nature, history, and adventure.

This scenic park connects the Shenandoah National Park with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It has more than 15 million visitors annually, making it one of the most visited parkways in the United States.

The park offers some of the most picturesque roadways in America and one-of-a-kind views of Piedmont and the Appalachian Mountains. It also features attractions like the Blue Ridge Music Center.

Blue Ridge Parkway
Blue Ridge Parkway
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

8. Colonial National Historical Park

Colonial National Historical Park might be one of America’s most important national park sites. Spanning three National Park Service units – Historic Yorktown Battlefield, Jamestown, and the Colonial Parkway, this park is jam-packed with exciting history. 

The park is where General George Washington defeated the British and John Smith created the Jamestown colony – two significant events in American history.

The park offers an incredible insight into the colonization of North America, and its two areas are connected via a walking trail.

Colonial National Historical Park
Colonial National Historical Park
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

9. Great Falls National Park

Despite being in Virginia, Great Falls National Park is only 15 miles from Washington, D.C. Therefore, you could also visit the nation’s capital.

This 800-acre park is spectacular. At the falls, the Potomac River throws itself into Mather Gorge over a series of towering, jagged rocks.

The park offers an array of opportunities to explore history and nature through landmarks and scenic hikes.

Great Falls National Park
Great Falls National Park
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

10. Manassas National Battlefield Park

The final Virginia National Park we have for you is Manassas National Battlefield Park, where you’ll find the site of the first clash between Confederate and Union armies during the Civil War. 

Situated in Northern Virginia, visiting this park will give you a fascinating insight into both armies. You can retrace the movements of soldiers, learn more about the battle, and find out how local communities were impacted. 

The First Battle of Manassas was the first battle in what became the bloodiest war in American history, so don’t miss this spot!

Manassas National Battlefield Park
Manassas National Battlefield Park
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Virginia’s National Parks Are Incredible

Virginia has 22 incredible national parks, making it hard to choose where to visit.

Luckily, we’ve shown you exactly what to expect from the best Virginia national parks, so you should find it a lot easier to pick out the best places to visit. 

All you must do now is decide which national park to visit first. Good luck!

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Jack Bolton is a content writer and blogger from the UK. He has a strong passion for travel and has an endless bucket list that he’s making his way through!

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