12 Exciting Weekend Trips from Richmond, VA (+ Map)

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As much as I love Richmond, sometimes you do need an escape from the city and to wake up with different scenery. These are some diverse weekend trips from Richmond VA that you can jaunt off to for a few days!

I grew up in Richmond and I love the place. However, I spent most of my weekends playing sports in random cities and towns around the state and even out of state.

Babcock State Park in West Virginia
Babcock State Park in West Virginia

This list is a random mix of places – some are very obvious places (like Washington DC) and some are not so obvious. Some are far away, like Charlotte, and some are closeby but are best seen over the course of a few days.

Of course, I would love more recommendations! So, please let me know your favorite weekend getaways from Richmond VA in the comments! Thanks!

Weekend Getaways from Richmond VA – Map

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Best Weekend Trips from Richmond VA

Below, you will find a list of some of my favorite Richmond weekend trips, including reasons to visit the destination, how long it will take you to get there, and some of the best things to do once there.

Cape Charles (Virginia)

Distance: 128 miles
Driving Time: 2 hours 6 minutes

One of my favorite places in Virginia is Cape Charles, a quiet Chesapeake Bay town on the Eastern Shore.  It took me so many years to check the town out but when I finally did, I was pretty blown away.  How does this place remain such a hidden gem!?

Cape Charles has fantastic seafood (stop by Shanty Restaurant), a quiet and clean public beach, and over 500 historic homes in its downtown. You’re also close to Savage Neck Dunes Natural Area Preserve and Kiptopeke State Park, two essential places to visit on the Eastern Shore.

Cape Charles - best weekend trips from Richmond VA
Cape Charles – best weekend trips from Richmond VA

You can enjoy the calm waters of the Chesapeake Bay and take in the beautiful scenery of the Eastern Shore by waking up early and taking a boat on the water or going jet-skiing. You can also take a quick day trip to Chincoteague!

Reaching Cape Charles is easy as it is one of the first places you’ll come across after heading over the Chesapeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel. There are fantastic Airbnbs in Cape Charles to consider for an overnight, as well. This truly is one of the best weekend trips from Richmond VA!

Charlotte (North Carolina)

Distance: 293 miles
Driving Time: 4 hours 13 minutes

Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina. The city is known for its amazing restaurants (oh how I miss North Carolina BBQ in various cities in NC!), history, and unique attractions.

There are several parks, restaurants, and museums within the city. You can use Charlotte as a base for day trips or you can plant yourself there and explore it without leaving.

Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina

You will find many attractions, and one of the most popular ones is the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Another fantastic thing to do in Charlotte, especially if you are traveling with children, is to visit Carowinds, an amusement park.

Some other popular favorites are visiting the US National Whitewater Center, Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, Discovery Place Science, Freedom Park, McDowell Nature Preserve, and more!  Click here to see some of the amazing trails near Charlotte if you’re into hiking!

New River Gorge National Park (West Virginia)

Distance: 265 miles
Driving Time: 4 hours 8 minutes

The nation’s newest national park is the beautiful New River Gorge National Park & Preserve in West Virginia.

Encompassing over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, this is actually one of my favorite natural areas in the United States and it is famous for its whitewater rafting, cultural and natural history, and many hiking trails.

New River Gorge National Park in West Virginia
New River Gorge National Park in West Virginia

While it is a bit of a drive from Richmond, it is the ideal weekend getaway if you have a long weekend or get an early start.

Some of the most popular highlights of New River Gorge National Park & Preserve are the New River Gorge Bridge, Sandstone Falls, Fayette Station Road, Grandview, Thurmon, Nuttallburg, and more.

You’re also close to the amazing Babcock State Park… so really, you should just turn this weekend trip into a week trip! There are so many epic destinations in West Virginia to visit on a long weekend from Richmond.

George Washington and Jefferson National Forest (VA, KY, WV)

Distance: 177 miles
Driving Time: 2 hours 44 minutes

The George Washington and Jefferson National Forest is a great stretch of land that spans across the states of Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky over 1.8 million acres. There are several riveting activities that visitors can participate in, including hiking and mountain biking.

Big Schloss in George Washington National Forest
Big Schloss in George Washington National Forest

Several hiking trails are accessible to the general public, including the world-famous Appalachian Trail. This woodland also serves as a track for marathon and trail runners.

Some of the most popular places in the National Forest are the Blue Ridge Parkway (the northern portion winds through there!), Mount Rogers (Virginia’s highest peak), Breaks Interstate Park, Roaring Run Furnace, and the ghost town of Lignite, Virginia.

Natural Bridge (Virginia)

Distance: 148 miles
Driving Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Natural Bridge (town) was named after its most famous attraction, the stone arch monument that is by some considered to be one of the seven wonders of the modern world.

This phenomenon is located west of Richmond, in close proximity to George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. The 215-foot high natural bridge provides a scenic and photo-worthy view, especially at night when multi-colored lights are directed at the surface of the stone, making it even more incredible.

Natural Bridge State Park in Virginia
Natural Bridge State Park in Virginia

Apart from Natural Bridge State Park, the town boasts other attractions like the historic Rockbridge Inn and Vine Forest, both of which are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Luray Caverns (Virginia)

Distance: 124 miles
Driving Time: 2 hours 18 minutes

At every corner, Luray Caverns dons mineral deposits, usually in the form of stalactites and stalagmites. This is the most famous cavern in Virginia!

One of the most famous attractions in the caverns is a body of water called Spring Lake. The lake casts an illusion with its mirror-like appearance.

Luray Caverns in Virginia
Luray Caverns in Virginia

The stalactites above reflect in the water, creating a mirror image so real that the stalactites seem like genuine stalagmites to observers. The cavern is open every day of the week and it is one of the largest complexes in the US. It takes around 45 minutes to walk through and tour.

Another interesting place to visit within Luray Caverns is the Wishing Well, one of the most famous attractions. The wishing well also casts illusions like Spring Lake.

While the lake creates the illusion of a stalagmite, the well plays with the depth perception of the observer. It appears to be three feet deep but it actually is around seven feet deep. Luray Caverns is located just west of the town of Luray, VA.

Looking for what to do after visiting the caverns? Be sure to check out our guide of the best things to do in Luray VA!

Winston-Salem (North Carolina)

Distance: 229 miles
Driving Time: 3 hours 20 minutes

Winston-Salem is an artistic city, famous for its inhabitants’ love of music, especially jazz. There are various interesting places to visit in the North Carolina city such as Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Kaleideum (Downtown and North – two locations), Korner’s Folly, and so much more!

Nature lovers will love the green spaces of the city such as Paul J Ciener Botanical Garden, the popular Salem Lake Trail, Muddy Creek Greenway, and Tanglewood Park.

Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Winston-Salem is also famous for its food! Be sure to stop by the Salem Kitchen for their famous cheese straws whenever you’re in town!

If you’re traveling with your family, you can take your children to the Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem or you can all kick back at the Historic Bethabara Park and enjoy the beautiful scenery with a picnic.

Ocean City (Maryland)

Distance: 225 miles
Driving Time: 3 hours 53 minutes

Ocean City is a town of many attractions that are perfect for solo travelers or families and it is one of the best places to visit in Maryland. You can dive into the seaside city’s history at the Ocean City Life-Saving Museum or view the museum’s exhibits that include various artifacts that were recovered from old shipwrecks.

It also has several family-friendly amusement parks and an excellent choice of souvenir shopping (saltwater taffy, anyone?). The Ocean City Boardwalk and Outlets Ocean City are the two most famous shopping areas in this Maryland beach city.

Ocean City, Maryland at sunrise
Ocean City, Maryland at sunrise

Of course, the most famous attraction is Ocean City Beach but some other popular places are Jolly Roger Amuseument Park, Northside Park, Splash Mountain Water Park, Art League of Ocean City, and more. This is the perfect place to go jetskiing, play mini-golf, and more!

Hershey (Pennsylvania)

Distance: 231 miles
Driving Time: 3 hours 33 minutes

Hershey, Pennsylvania is one of the most famous (and delicious!) cities in the United States.  And, it is one of the best weekend trips from Richmond… in my opinion.

There is a lot of history in the city from the Hershey Public Library to the Hershey Story Museum.  Hershey Gardens is home to several butterflies, many of which only exist in the United States.

Hershey Park PA
Hershey Park // Editorial credit: George Sheldon / Shutterstock.com

But, to no one’s surprise, the most famous thing that this Pennsylvania city is famous for is Hershey’s Chocolate World! When I visited Hershey, you could actually smell chocolate throughout the city and I still remember that so vividly in my mind!

Of course, many people travel to Hershey to visit the world-famous amusement park, Hersheypark (founded in 1906). There are also many places to go shopping in Hershey, such as the Crossroads Antique Mall, built by Milton Hershey.

There are several things to do in Hershey, making it an excellent choice for a weekend trip!

Kerr Lake State Recreation Area (North Carolina)

Distance: 113 miles
Driving Time: 1 hour 41 minutes

Kerr Lake State Recreation Area is a somewhat overlooked place for us Richmonders. This North Carolina reservoir actually stretches into the state of Virginia and covers over 50,000 acres.

This is one of the best campgrounds near Richmond and you can head there for a weekend of peace and relaxation with nothing but the wilderness at your feet.

Kerr Lake State Recreation Area in North Carolina
Kerr Lake State Recreation Area in North Carolina

There are hundreds of campsites available, including RV hookups. You will also see several boat ramps to launch from. This is a popular place to go fishing or have a family gathering.  This is also a fantastic place to visit to enjoy early summer and spring in North Carolina as it is never too crowded!

Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)

Distance: 92 miles
Driving Time: 1 hour 26 minutes

Virginia’s only national park has over 500 miles of hiking trails and is home to the famous Skyline Drive.  It is truly one of the most spectacular places to visit in Virginia and you will find several waterfalls in Shenandoah that offer some great day hike opportunities.

Crescent Rock in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Crescent Rock in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

One of my favorite things to do in Shenandoah National Park is to cruise along Skyline Drive and stop by all of the magnificent viewpoints along the way. There are also many hikes that take you to some of the park’s most breathtaking vistas.

If you’re looking for an easy day hike in Shenandoah under 3 miles (and with amazing views), consider hiking along Hawksbill Trail, Blackrock Trail, Stony Man Trail, or Compton Gap Trail.

Washington DC

Distance: 108 miles
Driving Time: 1 hour 43 minutes

Probably one of the most obvious weekend getaways from Richmond VA is Washington DC (and for such good reason)! The city has more things to do than just about anywhere I’ve ever visited.

You can visit one of the Smithsonian museums, enjoy the theater, relax at the opera, or just enjoy a stroll throughout the city.  I really love Washington DC in spring!

Washington DC
Washington DC

Some of the other main attractions in Washington DC that make it a perfect weekend trip from Richmond are the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, National WWII Memorial, and more.

If you’re seeking cheaper accommodation, opt for something in Arlington or outside of DC itself.

Do you have any amazing weekend trips from Richmond VA that you recommend taking?

I know we could list so many so I hope that you can offer your input on your favorite weekend getaways from Richmond in the comments! Thanks!

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