Virginia is the perfect state for anyone who loves fresh seafood, invigorating mountain air, soft sunshine, moderate temperatures, and fantastic cities and towns. Choose a waterfront Virginia vacation rental along the miles of sandy beaches on the Chesapeake Bay, or a cozy cottage near the blue-hued, misty Blue Ridge or Alleghany Mountains. Take the kids to a state park for a geocaching adventure, or check out the splendid natural caverns. Turn spring break into an unforgettable vacation when you stay at one of these charming towns in Virginia.

1. Damascus

river and bridge
Source: Flickr/anokarina

Damascus, a small town in Virginia’s high country, is situated in a rugged and beautiful mountainous region along the Appalachian Trail. Damascus is known as Trail Town USA, since seven nationally known trails intersect in Damascus, making it an ideal destination for outdoor recreation. Rent a bike from The Bike Station, and set out on the 34-mile Virginia Creeper Trail. Explore dense forests, open meadows, and gurgling streams along this rail-trail that runs between Abingdon and Whitetop. On the way back from a rejuvenating, nature-filled trip, stop by the Damascus Old Mill Restaurant for a great meal.

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2. Norfolk

norfolk
Source: Facebook/Visit Norfolk Today

Norfolk is a calm, coastal vacation destination. Kids enjoy the hands-on experiments that demonstrate the power of the sea at the Nauticus maritime science museum. Young ones also enjoy climbing aboard the USS Wisconsin, the world’s largest battleship. The Norfolk Southern Museum is a must for railroad historians. If you’re looking for a quiet, natural retreat, explore the Virginia Zoo. A harbor cruise aboard the Spirit of Norfolk is a great way to take in the breathtaking views. End your afternoons by spending some time at Harbor Park, the downtown waterfront. While there, head to The Grilled Cheese Bistro, which offers an amazing taste of down-home goodness, or stop by the Handsome Biscuit for house-made sodas and biscuits overflowing with insanely good fillings.

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3. Harrisonburg

Shenandoah National Park
Source: Flickr/Scott Edmunds

Harrisonburg is a mix of rural charm and busy downtown streets nestled in the Shenandoah Valley. The Explore More Discovery Museum lets kids experience career opportunities in the Kitchen and Farmers Market, the Construction Zone, or the Medical Center. Take a leisurely drive along Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park. The landscapes in spring are lush and green, and there are lots of photo ops as you hike the winding trails through the park. Refresh and recharge your batteries with a tasty pizza or pasta dish at Bella Luna Wood-Fired Pizza.

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4. Williamsburg

greenery
Source: Flickr/Jeff Kubina

It’s always fun to visit Old Williamsburg, where the entire town stays in character 24 hours a day and you can get a taste of colonial life. The Eagle Ridge at Busch Gardens is home to America’s majestic national bird, and raptors, wolves, and foxes hang out in Wolf Haven. Visit the Jamestown Settlement, where history comes to life as you wander through Continental Army tents, explore the ships and the town’s colonial fort, and visit the interactive Powhatan Indian village. Enjoy a hearty Italian meal at Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant, or for diner-style fare, try Rick’s Cheese Steak.

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5. Luray

Luray Caverns
Source: Flickr/Javcon117*

Spring break is an excellent time for educators and kids to tour the underground caverns and learn about the geology, chemistry, and history behind the stunning Luray Caverns. These impressive, naturally formed mineral caverns are well-lit and warm at 54 degrees and 87-percent humidity. Exit the caverns, step next door, and enjoy a stroll through the Car and Carriage Caravan Museum. The Luray Zoo cares for rescued animals, such as an alligator snapping turtle, and it’s easy to traverse, so even little ones can enjoy exploring. Toy Town Junction has a vast collection of circus miniatures, dolls, and several thousand toy trains. The West Main Street Market is a great place for a quick dinner. After a great meal, stop for an ice cream at Flotzie’s.

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6. Chincoteague Island

Chincoteague Island
Source: Flickr/Zach Frailey

This small 7-mile long and 3-mile wide island is connected by a publicly accessible beach to Assateague Island, where feral horses run wild. Chincoteague Island is a charming blend of small town and wilderness, and there are miles of hiking and biking trails that wind through marshes and forests. Obtain a perspective on this gorgeous area by boat. Several tour companies, including the Saltwater Pony Tours and Pirate Ship Adventure, offer scenic nature cruises that expose you to the abundant wildlife and unspoiled nature of Chincoteague and Assateague Islands. Don’s Seafood is a casual, friendly restaurant in the heart of downtown, where you can eat crab cakes and oysters dockside.

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7. Virginia Beach

Virginia Aquarium Marine Science Center
Source: Flickr/Rain0975

There are many quiet places in Virginia Beach during Spring Break. Learn about Virginia’s diverse marine environment at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center that has more than 300 hands-on exhibits, a natural trail, aviary, and two animal touch-pools. The Adventure Park at the aquarium is a great place to burn off some energy climbing ropes, zipping through green marshlands, or following wildlife along a trail. Take a family fun cruise aboard Cap’t Jack’s Pirate Ship Adventure, where you are sure to encounter cannon fire, limbo dancing, and dolphin-spotting. Locals recommend North End Pizza or Pop’s Diner for a cozy meal.

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8. Newport News

Newport news
Source: Facebook/newportnewsvirginia

The Virginia Living Museum is a combination zoo, aquarium, botanical garden, and science center. Get up close to eyeless fish and frogs that change color, touch live horseshoe crabs, and walk in fossilized dinosaur tracks. Walk the deck of a full-scale USS Monitor at the Mariners’ Museum, which offers a captivating vestige of centuries of seafaring adventures, including the ‘Battle of the Ironclads.’ Tour the Civil War-era Endview Plantation, which served as a Confederate hospital in 1862, then a Union position until 1864. Enjoy everything seafood at the Shrimp Shack, or stop by the County Grill for prime rib or a pulled chicken sandwich.

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