From the very beginning, Virginia has played an outsized role in American history. Memorials and monuments dot the Virginian landscape, covering everything from Founding Fathers to the Civil War and Civil Rights. Such historical sites in Virginia afford hikers seemingly endless opportunities to explore the Old Dominion's history and natural beauty all throughout the year.
Yes, for RV travelers who like to explore the great outdoors Virginia is a treasure trove. It's time to have a look at the best national parks in Virginia to see where you, your RV rental, and your boots might be exploring next.
An Introduction To the Best National Parks in Virginia
Virginia's National Park system is a mix of different options for visitors. There are several National Battlefield Parks (a testament to Virginia's central importance in the Civil War), along with scenic and historical trails, National Monuments (Virginia being the birthplace and home of historical figures such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson), parkways (featuring beautiful scenic drives), and more.
Fun fact: There is actually only one "national park" designated as such (Shenandoah) in Virginia. However, given the overall richness of Virginia's natural beauty, RV road trippers and hikers will soon find just how many trails, monuments, and battlefield parks throughout the Commonwealth offer fantastic opportunities for a trek.
Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah is one of the most visited national parks on the East Coast, and for good reason. The beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains is on full display at Shenandoah National Park, and there are 500 miles of trails to traverse –– meaning you won't be able to take it all in with just one visit.
Many of the trails offer stunning waterfall views you won’t want to miss. Birders will love Shenandoah National Park, as will anglers, cyclists, and photography enthusiasts. With over a million and a half other people visiting this most beautiful of national parks in Northern Virginia each year, it's about time you saw what all the fuss is about.
Historic Jamestowne (Colonial National Historical Park)
Colonial National Historical Park is a 23-mile roadway along which can be found locations of paramount importance to both Virginian and American history. Within Colonial National Historical Park are two areas of particular interest: Historic Jamestowne and the Yorktown Battlefield.
Jamestowne is where England's colonial project in the New World met its first real success, enabling the expansion of settlement on the continent. In addition, the first slaves to be imported into North America arrived at Jamestowne, and Pocahontas married John Rolfe at Jamestowne in 1614.
The importance of Jamestown to the future of America in a variety of ways cannot be overstated, so tag along on a park ranger-led tour to learn all about the area's sites, events, historic architecture, and more.
Yorktown Battlefield (Colonial National Historical Park)
When you're done with Historic Jamestowne, drive over in your RV to Yorktown Battlefield, the site of the last major battle of the American Revolution. British forces under Lord Cornwallis surrendered to a combined force of Americans and French at Yorktown in 1781, and legend has it that a British army band played "The World Turned Upside Down" as the Redcoats laid down their arms. You can't go on the tour roads in a motorhome, but you can explore miles of the area where American independence was well and truly won on foot or by bicycle.
Manassas National Battlefield Park
Citizens of both the North and South thought the Civil War originally would be a quick conflict. However, the heavy bloodshed of the war's first major battle, at Manassas (also known as Bull Run) in July 1861, put that idea to rest. Another battle, and yet another Union loss, at Manassas just over a year later seemed to put the Confederacy on a path to permanence.
Visit Manassas National Battlefield Park and go on a guided tour to learn about the first and second battles of Bull Run, and see just how close the Union came to losing the war (and Washington, D.C.!). When you're done, 40 miles of hiking trails await!
Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
The surrender of General Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia to Union Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865 helped end the Civil War. You can visit McLean House, where the surrender meeting actually took place, or hike along the 8 miles of trails available. Historical artifacts aplenty can be found here, including the pencil that Robert E. Lee used to sign the surrender documents, along with Union and Confederate uniforms and tools.
Tour National Parks in Virginia in an RV Rental
Virginia has no shortage of historical and natural wonders, and you owe it to yourself to visit the Old Dominion and see all of the national parks in Virginia yourself. If you want to visit the best national parks in Virginia, but you're questioning how to get there, Cruise America has the answer: in an RV rental!
You can rent a Cruise America RV in Virginia to explore the length and breadth of Virginia in a comfortable, modern vehicle. Get in touch with Cruise America today to see what makes Virginia for lovers, hikers, and RVers!