Virginia is a land of variety, with something for everyone: Beaches and mountains, bustling cities and sleepy small towns, historic attractions and theme park playgrounds. With spring break coming up, many of us are looking to beat cabin fever with a road trip to enjoy some of the fun our Commonwealth has to offer.
Our firm presents the following suggestions:
Trips for Families
A theme park vacation is the classic choice for families with young children. Virginia features many exciting choices.
Kings Dominion near Richmond offers one of the East Coast’s largest collections of roller coasters among its rides, shows and play areas. Busch Gardens in Williamsburg offers a multi-cultural theme and award-winning shows to go along with its thrill rides.
If the weather is warm for your spring break, family beaches like Norfolk’s Ocean View Beach or Buckroe Beach at Hampton are great choices for sun and sand, or you can still splash all you want at indoor water parks like Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg or Massanutten Resort Water Park in McGaheysville.
Children with an interest in our country’s history will be fascinated by the living history exhibits, including a colonial fort and three English ships, at Jamestown Settlement, or they may be interested in watching the historic reenactors at Colonial Williamsburg.
Trips for Teens
Your teens may need something a little more up to date than colonial attractions to stimulate their sense of wonder.
How about an exploration of the Virginia Air & Space Center in Hampton Roads? The center’s galleries and exhibits include the Apollo 12 Command Module and aircraft from throughout the history of manned flight. Additionally, visitors can view a Mars meteorite and a 3-billion-year-old moon rock, and they can enjoy the 3D IMAX® Theater, with 16,000 watts of digital-sound.
Thrill-seeking teens may be interested in Valley Ballooning, which provides one-hour hot air balloon flights over the scenic Shenandoah Valley. On the ridge in the Shenandoah, Shenandoah National Park offers the scenic 105-mile long Skyline Drive, several parks and countless overlooks, trails, waterfalls and other outdoor attractions. Don’t forget Luray Caverns and other attractions in Luray and Page County, which are down in the valley.
In the southwest Virginia mountains, you can teach teens interested in music about some of the roots of what they are listening to today. The area features a number of musical stops along the “Crooked Road” such as Bristol (“Birthplace of Country Music”) and Carter Family Fold. These venues offer live traditional music and dance every Saturday night. Dozens of smaller musical venues offer live performances, open jam sessions, dances, classes and workshops.
Trips for College Students
College kids planning for spring break do not have to be told about Virginia Beach. The city offers 28 miles of beaches, three miles of boardwalk and a week’s worth of restaurants, bars and nightclubs to explore.
Of course, Washington, D.C., is also a lively spring break destination for college students, with a diverse nightlife and plenty to see and do during the day. Take note of spring’s famous cherry blossoms and the National Cherry Blossom Festival from March 20 to April 12.
Young adults looking for a more sedate getaway for spring break might look toward the Eastern Shore. The other side of the Chesapeake offers such attractions as Chincoteague Island (with the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge) and Assateague Island National Seashore – both famous for their wild ponies and beautiful coastal landscapes.
Another laid back attraction is Onancock, a tiny harbor town of less than 2,000 people established in the late 1600s in Accomack County on the Eastern Shore.
Be Careful on Spring Break
Regardless of your age or your agenda, there is always a risk that your spring break could be cut short by a car accident.
As you enjoy your well-earned vacation, avoid costly mistakes than can be caused by driving while impaired by alcohol or by fatigue. Do not drive while distracted, either. Do not text while driving or use a cell phone in any way while you are getting to your destination.
You may want to share driving duties so that every licensed driver in your group takes their turn being the driver who concentrates on making sure everyone else is safe. (This is the perfect time to teach responsibility to young drivers in your group.)
If you are under 18 and traveling on your own in Virginia, make sure you know about the state’s driving restrictions on young drivers. These rules include a limit to one passenger and a prohibition on the use of cell phones while driving – even hands-free phones.
Spring break visitors of any age can get up to speed on Virginia driving laws by checking out Drive Smart Virginia (click on “Traffic Safety Law” in the left-hand column).