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Virginia

General   Weather   Airports   Attractions   Activities  

Introduction

Timber Hollow Overlook ©Shenandoah National Park

Natives of the Commonwealth State of Virginia on America's east coast are enormously proud of their local history and have put a great deal of effort into preserving their historical landmarks, homes and public buildings. The bountiful land of Virginia is where America's first permanent English colonists put down roots, founding the town of Jamestown in 1607. They stepped ashore originally on a sandy beach at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, a large estuary that became their gateway to the scenic hinterland.


Following the rivers inland, the early pioneers found rolling hills and then the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains towering over fertile valleys in the western part of the state. Today, 400 years later, a great deal of Virginia's wilderness areas remain in their untouched pristine condition, making it the perfect destination for lovers of the outdoors as well as for those intent on discovering some living history.


Virginia has not just preserved its historic relics, it actually uses them as settings for living history displays. Historic parks and even whole towns, like Williamsburg, act as time machines to transport visitors to a bygone age, where bewigged gentlemen stroll the streets and craftsmen ply their trades along cobblestone streets.


The State has also preserved numerous battlefields and monuments associated with the Civil War, in which Virginia played a central role, with its capital, Richmond, being the seat of the Confederacy. Many of Virginia's sons have played a vital role in politics during the centuries: the state has produced eight United States presidents, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, whose homes are national treasures and open to the public.


Even Virginia's popular seaside resort city of Virginia Beach is steeped in history, so visitors who come simply to enjoy the State's many miles of Atlantic Coast sandy beaches cannot help but absorb some of the region's historic importance along with their suntans.


Virginia's worth as an enjoyable destination can be proven by the fact that tourism is a main source of state revenue.


Climate Info

The Virginia climate is a coastal one, mild and humid, with the four seasons experienced slightly differently in the different regions. The Tidewater regions, where Virginia's major rivers drain into the Chesapeake, are low-lying and experience more moderate temperatures - with warm to hot summers and mild winters. As one moves westward and altitudes increase, temperatures tend to drop and particularly in the more mountainous regions and the northeastern areas winters tend to be far colder, with heavy snowfall in the Appalachians. Summers, however, tend to also be mild and pleasant, and the average summer temperature statewide is close to 80°F (about 26-27°C). Winter temperatures in January, usually the coldest month, are usually about 30°F (-1°C). Severe weather, including tornadoes, tropical cyclones, hurricanes, and winter storms, impacts the state on a regular basis. There are an average of seven tornadoes per year in western Virginia, most occurring between May and August. Hurricanes striking coastal Virginia tend to be on the decline as they come north from the Gulf of Mexico, and flooding from torrential rains is the biggest concern.


Getting Around

The Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC) runs the public bus system that serves the Richmond metropolitan area, with a basic adult fare of $1.50 that is only accepted in exact change. Those who don't want to fuss with exact change can buy a Go-Card at almost any convenience or grocery store. The bus routes access most of the major cultural attractions in Richmond and are therefore useful for tourists. Richmond is well supplied with more than 40 taxi companies, with cab ranks outside most major hotels, the airport, Amtrak and the Greyhound terminal. The city also offers plenty of walking tours and is relatively compact and easy to negotiate on foot. It is worth hiring a car to explore the outlying regions, but not entirely necessary if staying in town; traffic is usually fairly light and parking relatively easy to find which makes driving in Richmond a pleasure.


Richmond International Airport (RIC)

LocationThe airport is situated seven miles (11km) southeast of Richmond.
Time DifferenceGMT -5 (GMT -4 from March to November).
Contacts

Tel: +1 804 226 3000.

Getting to city

The Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC) offers public buses to Richmond. Taxi, shuttle and limousine services are also available outside the baggage reclaim area.

Car Rental

Desks for rental car agencies are situated on the lower level of the terminal building. Represented are Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, National, Dollar, Thrifty and Hertz.

Airpor Taxis

Galaxy Cab Co. and Richmond Flyer Taxi operate at the airport and taxis are available from the first flight departure to the last flight arrival every day. Rates vary according to destination and taxi company.

Airport Facilities

A bank located in the main lobby on the ground floor offers full service banking including foreign currency exchange. Airport facilities also include ATMs, several bars, cafes and restaurants, shops, wifi, conference rooms, and a Visitor's Information Center.

Car Parking

The hourly lot charges $2 per hour, after the first hour which is free; the daily rate is $24. The daily lot charges $3 per hour, up to a daily maximum of $12. The economy lot is connected to the terminal via a free shuttle service and charges $1 per hour, up to a daily maximum of $7.

Depature TaxNone.
Websitewww.flyrichmond.com


Norfolk International Airport (ORF)

LocationThe airport is located less than four miles (6km) northeast of central Norfolk.
Time DifferenceGMT -5 (GMT -4 from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November).
Getting to city

There is no public transport offered to Norfolk Airport; however, taxis, shuttles and rental cars are available and some local hotels offer free shuttle service to guests.

Car Rental

Rental cars are available from Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz and National. The rental car offices are located in the baggage claim area below the main terminal lobby.

Airpor Taxis

Taxis are available from outside baggage claim.

Airport Facilities

Airport services include ATMs, a bank, currency exchange, mail drops, conference facilities, a lost and found, USO services, and a variety of retail shops and dining options.

Car Parking

Short-term parking is charged at $1 every 30 minutes, with a maximum of $24 per day. Long-term parking is $1 per 30 minutes up to $9 per day.

Websitewww.norfolkairport.com


Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport (ROA)

LocationThe airport is located three miles (5km) northwest of Roanoke.
Time DifferenceGMT -5 (GMT -4 from March to November).
Getting to city

The Smart Way Bus stops at Roanoke Airport every one to two hours between 6.35am and 7.05pm Monday to Saturday, making a number of stops between Roanoke and Blacksburg. Some local hotels offer free shuttle transfers for guests.

Car Rental

Rental cars are available from Avis, Budget, Hertz, Enterprise, and Alamo. Offices are located on the first floor, near baggage claim.

Airpor Taxis

City Cab offers a taxi service from the airport; it is advisable to call to book in advance.

Airport Facilities

Airport facilities include ATMs, workspaces, mail drops, a pet relief area, vending machines, and various shopping and dining options. Disabled facilities are good.

Car Parking

Parking at Roanoke Airport is free for the first 15 minutes in the short-term lot. After 15 minutes, short-term parking is an extra $1 per half hour, up to $16 per day. Long-term parking is also free for the first 15 minutes and $1 per half hour up to $9 per day.

Websitewww.roanokeairport.com


Charlottesville–Albemarle Airport (CHO)

LocationThe airport is located eight miles (13km) north of Charlottesville.
Time DifferenceGMT -5 (GMT -4 from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November).
Getting to city

There is no public transport to Charlottesville Airport; however, a dozen local hotels offer free shuttle transfers for guests, and taxis and rental cars are available.

Car Rental

Rental cars are available from Avis, Hertz, National, and Budget.

Airpor Taxis

Yellow Cab provides metered taxi service from the airport, but flat rates are charged to a number of destinations; the fare to downtown Charlottesville is about $25.

Airport Facilities

Terminal facilities include ATMs, conference facilities, and a number of shopping and dining options.

Car Parking

The first 30 minutes in the short-term lot are free. After that the rates are $2 for the first hour and $1 per 30 minutes thereafter, up to a daily maximum of $10. The long-term lot charges $10 per day, while the economy lot charges $8 per day. There is a parking shuttle for transport to the terminal from outlying parking lots.

Websitewww.gocho.com


Capitol Square


Richmond's Capitol Square is a glorious oasis of old trees and green lawns in the heart of the downtown area, perched on a hilltop. The magnificent centrepiece is the neo-classical State Capitol building, designed by Thomas Jefferson, which has been in continuous use since 1788. In the C
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Virginia State Capitol ©Anderskev



Museum and White House of the Confederacy


Civil War buffs flock to the Museum of the Confederacy, which houses the most comprehensive collection of Confederate artefacts, personal memorabilia and art to be found anywhere in the United States. The exhibits include 550 battle flags, 215 uniforms, including those of well-known offi
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Museum and the White House of the Confederacy ©Rifleman 82



Richmond National Battlefield Park


Between 1861 and 1865, Union armies repeatedly set out to capture Richmond, strategic capital of the Confederacy, and end the Civil War. Three of those campaigns came within a few miles of the city. The park commemorates 11 different sites associated with those campaigns, including the b
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Richmond National Battlefield Park ©Sarah Stierch



Virginia Museum of Fine Arts


Richmond boasts an exceptional Fine Arts Museum, which presents a panorama of world art from ancient to modern, including the largest public Fabergé imperial Easter egg collection outside of Russia, consisting of roughly 150 jewel-encrusted creations made for Tsars Alexander III and Nic
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Virginia Museum of Fine Arts ©Morgan Riley



St Johns Episcopal Church


St John's Church has stood on Richmond Hill above the James River since 1741, and is known for having been the venue for the second Virginia Convention in 1775, attended by George Washington and other historic personalities. The church is also where legendary Pocahontas was baptised and
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St. John's Church ©Billy Hathorn



Virginia Science Museum


The hands-on Virginia Science Museum allows visitors to touch, feel, observe and explore the impact of science on their lives, covering everything from astronomy to computers, and crystals to flight engineering. Permanent exhibitions include Foucault's Pendulum, Gravity Alley, Electriwor
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Virginia Science Museum ©David Bjorgen



Shenandoah National Park


Following the Blue Ridge Mountains for 100 miles (161km) through west Virginia, the Shenandoah National Park is a wilderness area where tens of thousands of animals, including deer and black bears, roam among about 100 species of trees on the forested slopes.


More than 500 mi
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Shenandoah National Park ©AlbertHerring, Virginia State Parks staff



Lexington


The sedate town of Lexington, 138 miles (222km) west of Richmond in the Shenandoah Valley, boasts one of the most picturesque downtown areas in America, its fine old buildings having been preserved and restored so it appears that the clock stopped here in the 1800s.


Tourists
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Lexington Historic District ©Cville dog



The Chrysler Museum of Art


Originally founded in 1933, the Chrysler Museum of Art is located on the waters of The Hague, in the Ghent district of Norfolk, and is home to the art collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. Over time it has increased its collection significantly and is one of Norfolk's most esteemed attra
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Chrysler Museum of Art ©Gosscj



Nauticus


Nauticus is a valuable attraction for families on holiday in Norfolk. This maritime-themed science centre and museum now stands where Norfolk's banana pier once was and features exhibits, interactive theatres and shark touch tanks, as well as a weather station. Open since 1994, the museu
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Nauticus ©Ewelch1



Mount Vernon


One of Virginia's most popular tourist attractions and the highlight of any historical Virginia tour, Mount Vernon is the colonial estate of George Washington. The plantation has been restored to look just as it did during Washington's era, having been purchased by the Mount Vernon Ladie
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Mount Vernon Estate, Mansion ©Martin Falbisoner



Monticello


Monticello was the estate of Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence. The distinctive neoclassical building of the main house was designed by Jefferson himself, and he continued to improve and add to it throughout his life, ove
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Monticello ©Moofpocket



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