Top 5 Day Trips from Hampton Roads for Adventure Seekers

Top 5 Hampton Roads Va Day Trips

Looking for exciting day trips that you can take from Hampton Roads? You're in the right place. Hampton Roads offers a variety of destinations perfect for a day away. Whether you're interested in history, nature, or unique small towns, there's something nearby for you.

I will discuss this in more detail below, but one great option is a visit to Jamestown, the first English colony in America. It's just a short drive up Interstate 64 from Hampton Roads, making it convenient and educational. This is a popular spot for school field trips in our area simply because it's close by and very educational.

If you enjoy being outside and the chance to see some wildlife, then another fantastic destination is the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, where you can explore diverse wildlife habitats and enjoy some fresh air.

I personally like heading into the mountains of Virginia and for those who love caves, the Luray Caverns are an incredible choice. A bit farther but worth the drive, these caverns offer stunning underground views and fascinating history.

These spots ensure your day trip from Hampton Roads is memorable and fun. These are some of my top day trip picks. However, this isn't them all, as we will review some more of my favorites below.

Williamsburg, Virginia, USA

Historical Excursions

Hampton Roads offers several fascinating trips for history buffs. From early colonial settlements to key Civil War sites, you'll find meaningful experiences in several storied locations. While some of these are a short drive outside Hampton Roads, the area also has many historical sites located within the Hampton Roads area.

Colonial Williamsburg & Jamestown

Colonial Williamsburg is a living history museum in Williamsburg, Virginia. Costumed interpreters recreate daily life in the 18th century, and you'll see historic buildings, reenactments, and craftsmen at work. My family and I enjoy visiting during the Christmas season, as they do a great job decorating for the season.

Just a short 65 miles away from the Southside Hampton Roads, Jamestown is America's first English settlement. You can visit the original fort and learn about early colonization efforts here. The Jamestown Settlement Museum offers exhibits and reconstructed ships that sailed to Virginia in 1607.

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Yorktown and American Revolution Museum

Yorktown is another key historical spot known for the last major battle of the American Revolution. The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown features interactive exhibits, films, and outdoor living history. For the history buffs, this is a perfect spot to spend a whole day taking in the experience and attractions.

You can walk the battlefield where General George Washington led American forces to victory. The town has charming streets and historic buildings, adding to the experience. Guided tours provide deeper insights into the events that led to America’s independence.

Civil War Trails and Historical Sites

Hampton Roads played a significant role in the Civil War. Follow Civil War Trails to major sites like Fort Monroe, known as the “Freedom’s Fortress.” It was a Union stronghold throughout the war and a refuge for enslaved people seeking freedom.

Visit historical markers at the Hampton Roads Harbor, which saw the famous battle between the ironclad USS Monitor and CSS Virginia. Many local tours, such as the Norfolk Tour Company, offer in-depth views of these events, giving you a tangible connection to history.

Norfolk Virginia

Natural Getaways and Parks

Explore Virginia’s stunning parks and natural reserves to experience breathtaking landscapes, wildlife, and outdoor recreational activities. Read on to learn about two incredible day trips that my family and I thoroughly enjoy, and they're perfect for nature lovers.

Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive

Located along the Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah National Park offers rich hiking opportunities and breathtaking views. Stretching over 200,000 acres, the park is home to lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and diverse wildlife.

One of the standout features is Skyline Drive, a scenic route that runs 105 miles along the crest of the mountains. The drive features 75 overlooks, each with unique and panoramic views. Hiking trails, like the well-known Old Rag Mountain and Whiteoak Canyon, provide challenging and rewarding experiences.

The park is not just about hiking; you can also enjoy camping, picnicking, and bird watching. Autumn is particularly beautiful, with vibrant foliage. In my opinion, for the best experience, plan your visit during a less crowded weekday.

Scenic view of the Shenandoah National Park under dawn sky at sunrise in Virginia, United States

Chesapeake Bay and Eastern Shore Adventures

The Chesapeake Bay and the Eastern Shore of Virginia offer a blend of serene beaches, coastal beauty, and wildlife refuges. Activities abound, from kayaking and boating to crabbing and fishing in the tranquil waterways.

Key spots include the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park. Back Bay is ideal for birdwatching and hiking through scenic trails. False Cape, accessible only by foot, bike, or boat, offers undeveloped beaches and abundant wildlife, making it perfect for a secluded adventure.

Further up the Eastern Shore, you'll find charming towns where you can enjoy fresh seafood and local hospitality. Whether you prefer water sports or relaxing on the beach, this area provides diverse options for a memorable day trip.

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Beach Outings and Water Activities

In Hampton Roads, you have plenty of beach day options and water activities. From the bustling shores of Virginia Beach to the scenic charm of the Outer Banks, these locations offer unique experiences for every beach lover.

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Virginia Beach Day Escapes

Virginia Beach is a top destination for a fun and relaxing day trip. Its famous boardwalk stretches for three miles, providing a scenic route for walking, biking, and rollerblading. Waterfront restaurants line the boardwalk, offering fresh seafood and stunning ocean views.

Virginia Beach offers numerous kayaking and fishing opportunities for adventurous visitors. Rudee Inlet is a popular spot where you can rent kayaks and jetskis and venture into the calm waters or join a fishing charter. The beach also features Grommet Island Park, a fully accessible beach park perfect for families.

Outer Banks and Currituck Exploration

Just a short drive south of Hampton Roads, the Outer Banks in North Carolina offer a tranquil escape. The Barrier Islands feature long stretches of pristine beaches and are known for their natural beauty. One of the biggest attractions here is Jockey’s Ridge State Park, home to the tallest sand dunes on the East Coast and ideal for kite flying and sandboarding.

Currituck is famous for its wild horses that roam the beaches and offers unique waterfront restaurants where you can enjoy a meal with views of the Currituck Sound. The Wright Brothers Memorial in Kitty Hawk is also a must-visit, adding historical significance to your trip. Whether you’re into sunbathing, exploring history, or engaging in water sports, the Outer Banks have something for everyone.

These destinations offer a mix of relaxation, adventure, and natural beauty, making them perfect for your next beach outing.

Bodie Island North Carolina

Frequently Asked Questions

Here you can find answers to common questions about the top day trips from the Hampton Roads area. Explore destinations perfect for couples, historical sites, family-friendly activities, scenic drives, cultural experiences, and highly rated weekend getaways.

What are the best day trip destinations within driving distance of Norfolk, VA for couples?

Couples can enjoy romantic spots like visiting Jamestown for its historical charm or spending time at botanical gardens in the area. Consider a wine tasting at Hague Winery or Oak Crest Vineyard for a delightful day.

What family-friendly attractions should be included in a day trip itinerary from Virginia Beach?

Families can explore the Virginia Aquarium, the Adventure Park at the Virginia Aquarium, or the Hampton Roads area for its beaches and wildlife refuges. These spots are great for both education and fun.

What are some recommended scenic drives within a few hours of Hampton Roads?

Take a drive along the Colonial Parkway, which connects Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown. This route offers beautiful views and significant historical landmarks. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is another scenic drive with stunning water views.

If there is anything you think I missed or you have any questions about the Hampton Roads area, please comment below or reach out to me here.

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DJ Parker is your local Realtor and guide to Hampton Roads, Virginia. As a native of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, Virginia for over 30 years, he has the local knowledge you need. He has helped clients with Real Estate throughout Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Suffolk and all of Hampton Roads Virginia.

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