Apr 13, 2023

Top Rated Parks in Virginia

As the weather begins to warm, many of us find ourselves looking for the perfect outdoor destination to explore. Luckily, there’s no shortage of breathtaking natural landscapes here in Virginia to traverse anywhere from just a few hours to a few days! With so many amazing potential destinations, we’ve decided to put together a list of the top rated parks in Virginia to help you narrow down your search.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, here are the top rated parks in Virginia you’ll definitely want to explore this coming Spring and Summer!

Great Falls Park | McLean, VA

Google Rating: 4.8

Location: 9200 Old Dominion Dr, McLean, VA 22102

Hours: Daily from 7:00 AM–Sunset

Fees: $10 per person entering by foot, bicycle, or equestrian; $15 per motorcycle; $20 per non-commercial vehicle; $35 season passes available 

Pet Policy: Dogs and other pets permitted on leash

Located just 15 minutes from the nation’s capital, Great Falls Park is home to the Great Falls of the Potomac River and Mather Gorge, the narrowest portion of the Potomac River and one of the nation’s first canals. In addition to exploring these amazing natural scenes, visitors also enjoy biking, horseback riding, picnicking, fishing for bass, catfish, and carp (license permitting) as well as rock climbing and whitewater rafting for more experienced adventurers. 

With over 800 acres of nature and history to explore, Great Falls Park is a great destination for outdoor fun. Be sure to get there early on weekends as there is usually a line to get into the park, especially if the weather is nice!

Sky Meadows State Park | Delaplane, VA

Google Rating: 4.8

Location: 11012 Edmonds Ln, Delaplane, VA 20144

Hours: 8AM–Dusk

Fees: $10 per vehicle; $20 per high occupancy vehicle (9-15 passengers); $40 per bus (16+ passengers)

Pet Policy: Dogs and other pets permitted on leash

Sky Meadows State Park “[connects visitors] with farming practices that formed its unique pastoral landscape.” With 10.5 miles of bridle trails, 22 miles of hiking trails, 9 miles of biking trails as well as Appalachian Trail access across nearly 1,900 acres, visitors have no shortage of nature to explore! There’s also fishing, primitive hike-in camping, and so much more – all at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Natural Bridge State Park | Natural Bridge, VA

Google Rating: 4.8

Location: 6477 S Lee Hwy, Natural Bridge, VA 24578

Hours: 8AM–Dusk

Fees: $6 per person (ages 3-12); $9 per person (ages 13+)

Pet Policy: Dogs and other pets permitted on leash

Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1988, Natural Bridge State Park is best known for its 215 ft bridge-shaped limestone gorge carved out by Cedar Creek. Natural Bridge State Park is also home to Lace Falls, a 30 ft cascade at the end of Cedar Creek Trail. Beyond taking in these magical local wonders, visitors also enjoy exploring the breathtaking forests and rolling meadows, surrounded by mountains and the James River. 

Natural Tunnel State Park | Duffield, VA

Google Rating: 4.8

Location: 1420 Natural Tunnel Pkwy, Duffield, VA 24244

Hours: 8AM–Dusk

Fees: $5 per vehicle; $13 per high occupancy vehicle (9-15 passengers); $30 per bus (16+ passengers); chair lift free for children under 3; all others $5 round trip; $4 one way; $3 for 10 or more; $8 for a daily pass (1 person, unlimited trips)

Pet Policy: Dogs and other pets permitted on leash

Known for its 10 ft long & 10 story high cave, Natural Tunnel, Natural Tunnel State Park is one you won’t wanna miss! Visitors can enjoy cave tours and chair lifts to the tunnel floor. Plus, campgrounds with cabins, lodges, and yurts for rent, canoe tours of the Clinch River, and so much more!

Hungry Mother State Park | Marion, VA

Google Rating: 4.8

Location: 2854 Park Blvd, Marion, VA 24354

Hours: Daily from 8AM–10PM

Fees: $7 per vehicle; $15 per high occupancy vehicle (9-15 passengers); $35 per bus (16+ passengers)

Pet Policy: Dogs and other pets permitted on leash

Known for its 108+ acre lake and breathtaking woodlands in the heart of the mountains, exploring Hungry Mother State Park is a must! As one of the six original Virginia State Parks, Hungry Mother State Park has it all, including hiking, biking, boating, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and camping. Visitors can also enjoy the park’s sandy beach for the day or stay overnight in a cabin or yurt!

Happy Exploring!

We hope you were able to find the perfect outdoor destination for your solo adventure or time spent with family or friends! Please remember to always be safe and never underestimate the power of nature, especially when traveling alone. Always plan ahead and let someone know where you’re traveling to and when you plan to return as cell phone reception can often be spotty or nonexistent within some of these settings.

For more information on Virginia State Parks fees, rates, and seasons, visit their website.

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