There is no denying that Virginia is one of the most beautiful (and fun) states. It’s full of history and you just can’t beat the landscape. Virginia is home to tons of attractions, museums and parks but often a day of family fun is accompanied by a hefty price tag. We’ve put together a list of incredible free places in Virginia!
This family friendly farm is home to over 150 domestic and wild animals spread out over 60 acres. If the animals don’t keep you busy enough, there is also a nature trail, duck pond, playground, garden and arboretum and picnic area!
Crabtree Falls is on of the classic free places in Virginia. If you have a social media account, chances are you’ve seen a fair share of pictures from friends (or even posted them yourself) from the top of the mountain at Crab Tree Falls! This is such a beautiful spot to really soak in the beauty of Virginia. The hike up Crab Tree Falls is totally doable, even if your family isn’t accustomed to hiking. There are flat rocks at the top which make the perfect seat for a family picnic with a killer view! Keep in mind there is a parking fee.
The Edith J. Carrier Arboretum is such a beautiful way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy nature. The Arboretum and Botanical Garden spreads out over 125 acres. This is a great day trip for the whole family, or even a parent’s day out! The Arboretum has events going on all throughout the year (some of these do cost) so check out their calendar when you’re planning your trip to see what will be going on during your visit!
Natural Bridge, VA
Talk about incredible places in Virginia! If you can’t see the real Stonehenge, this is the next best thing! This full size replica is build out of well foam, hence the name Foamhenge! If your kids have learned about Stonehenge in school, this would make for a fun summer field trip! While Foamhenge itself doesn’t offer any additional events or activities, it is right near Natural Bridge and Nature Bridge Zoo (additional costs).
Get a glimpse at what farming was like in the 1920’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. The farm buildings and equipment are original from the early 1990’s. The Kidwell Farm area of the park allows kids to get up close and personal with animals and get a behind the scenes look at what the farm hands do! You can also catch a wagon ride throughout the farm while you’re there!
The thought of packing the family up for a day at the swamp might not sound very appealing to some of you, but hear us out! This swamp is one of the most beautiful free places in Virginia, and not only that, but it also doubles as a National Wildlife Refuge! You’re sure to spot some of that wildlife so don’t forget your binoculars and camera. There are also a lots of trails for hiking, biking and walking. If you’re a fishing family, click to link to find out more about boating and fishing at the Great Dismal Swamp.
This observation point boasts one of the most incredible, unobstructed views in Virginia. Sitting 4,223 feet in the air, the Washing and Jefferson National Forests website claims that when the sky is clear, you can see 5 states from the tower. They have an online guide that helps to determine which landmarks to look for!
One of the incredible free places in Virginia is right in our backyard! There are so many ways to enjoy the great outdoors at James River Park. From hiking, to fishing, bird watching to just sight seeing, you could easily spend a whole day at any one of the James River Park locations. Huguenot Flatwater, Pony Pasture Rapids, The Wetlands, Manchester Climbing Wall, Ancarrow’s Landing/Manchester Docks, Pumphouse Park, to name a few. Pack a lunch and enjoy a day on the river with the family! There are lots of fun organized activities (some do cost) worth checking out as well.
Cape Charles, VA
This is another great family field trip opportunity! During World War II, 24 concrete ships were contracted by the U.S. Maritime Commission. 6 of the 24 now sit in Cape Charles and they are something to see! This ships are located near the fishing pier about ¼ of a mile off shore.
If you live in Richmond, you’ve probably been to Maymont and know how fun it is! Over 100 acres of beautiful landscape and gardens are reason enough to visit Maymont, not the mention the petting zoo, children’s farm and wildlife exhibit, nature center, and the mansion! Maymont also has tons of events going on throughout the year, so check out their calendar to see what will be going on during your visit.
There is no better place to get a look at the night sky than the McCormick Observatory! Bring the family out to see the stars like never before through the high power telescopes. Keep in mind the observatory is only open on the first and third Fridays of each month.
This location is a haven for lovers of the outdoors! Spanning across nearing 200,000 acres, this location boasts hundreds of miles available for hiking, biking and walking. There are beaches for fishing or just sun bathing! For the more adventure members of your family, the hike to the top of Virginias highest mountain! If a day trip isn’t enough, there are plenty of camping locations.
Virginia Beach, VA
The name may not be the most appealing, but believe it or not this is one of the prettiest free places in Virginia! The part got its name because the largest mountain was man man using solid waste and clean soil! There is no shortage of family fun at Mt. Trashmore! The park contains 2 large playgrounds, a skate park, various fitness stations, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, plenty of picnic areas and public restrooms.
These are really something to see! Years ago this area was covered in water and as the sea slowly faded, it left behind these giant pillars of sandstone. The Chimneys are part of Natural Chimneys park which is home to lots of other family friendly activities, so you could easily make a day of it. A few of the attractions, like the Junior Olympic size pool and tot pool do have a small charge ($2 for kids and $3 for adults), but there are plenty of trails and site seeing that are free of charge!
Talk about a good deal! The Nation Air and Space museum in Chantilly, Virginia is open to the public free of charge! While most of our free places in Virginia take advantage of the great outdoors, this is a good option for a rainy day. If your kids are into airplanes, this is an experience they will never forget! The museum houses thousands of air and space artifacts, exhibitions, science demonstrations, learning labs, IMAX theater, simulators, discovery stations and an observation tower (some of these attractions cost). Too much to handle on your own? Take a guided tour with a museum expert! While the museum is free, there is a parking fee.
Virginia Beach, VA
Who doesn’t love the beach? When it comes to free places in Virginia, this is a staple. Virginia Beach is only (roughly) a 2 hour trip for Richmond which makes it perfect for a family day trip! While there is a parking fee during the summer but the beach is free and there are public restrooms all along the boardwalk. If you go all the way to the end of the board walk (opposite end of the pier) you can find cheap parking, a public restroom right off the sand and a huge play area for the kids!
Know of some other incredible free places in Virginia? Share them with us and we’ll add them to our list!