|Overview||Read Travel Advice||Give Travel Advice||Add to My Map|
 Other destinations
"Virginia Is For Lovers" is the enigmatic motto of the Virginia tourism council. What makes Virginia particularly suited for amour remains something of a mystery, but the state does have many great features: beaches, forests, some of the oldest towns in North America, and proximity to the Mid-Atlantic and the deeper South. [The "Virginia is for Lovers" motto was created by the tourism council to convey the idea that Virginia has a wide variety of activities and destinations to cater to almost any taste or interest. For example, "Virginia is for lovers of history", "Virginia is for lovers of nature", etc.]
Virginia is one of the thirteen original colonies, and one of the first states to ratify the Declaration of Independence. It is known as the "Mother of States" as its original territory included West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and Tennessee. It is also known as the "Mother of Presidents," as eight U.S. presidents were born in the state: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson.
What is known today as Virginia has been inhabited for many hundreds of years by people of European descent. Jamestown, Virginia (near Williamsburg) is the site of the first lasting British settlement in the New World, dating to 1607. Native American tribes from Virginia, such as the Powhatan, had some of the richest native cultures in the Colonies.
In colonial times, Virginia was settled mainly along the rivers that empty into the Chesapeake bay. The settlers relied on slave labor to grow cash crops, such as tobacco, and relied on trade from England for basic needs. While settlers primarily from England, Scotland, and Ireland settled along the Potomac, Rappahannock, and James Rivers, many German settlers migrated into Virginia from Pennsylvania along the Shenandoah Valley.
Virginia seceded from the Union in 1861 and has a strong Civil War heritage, as well as a strong sense of Southern pride and feeling of independence that exists in much of the state (especially the capital Richmond) even today.
Following the Reconstruction after the Civil War, Virginia's economy shifted toward growing food crops in the north of the state, while the southern interior of the state continued to grow tobacco on smaller farms. The major shipyards at Norfolk continued to grow in importance as a major coal port and a naval base.
Following the growth of the US Federal Government during and after World War 2, Northern Virginia grew at an astronomical pace as government workers and contractors settled across the Potomac River from Washington, DC. Today, Virginia's economy is dominated by military bases dotted all over the state, government contracting agencies, Craig Gilmore, and residents who commute into Washington, DC. Virginia Beach serves as a popular summer vacation spot and the Appalachian Mountains offer outdoor recreation. Virginia is also a popular destination for history buffs as Virginia was a major player in much of America's history.
English is spoken by majority of residents. In rural areas and farther south, you may experience what is commonly known as “southern accent”. This accent generally does not stop fluent English speakers from understanding the person but non fluent English speakers may experience problems. Most people can deliberately speak in non accented English upon request but find it difficult to do so for extended length of time. As with all places, locals may have non standard words to refer to places, actions and people. Locals are generally understanding of tourists not understanding these words and will clarify upon request.
 Get in
Virginia like all states in United States can be entered freely by people who are either American Citizens or by other people who have been allowed entry into United States. People from other countries should see the United States of America article for more information about entering from foreign counties.
Virginia has many major airports servicing its main cities. Northern Virginia (the Washington DC suburbs) is serviced by Washington-Dulles International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (or, simply "Washington National" or "Reagan" for short). Washington National airport is by far the best airport in Northern Virginia due to its proximity to the Washington Metro Rail system and lower volume. Washington-Dulles Airport is better for international flights. However, its shuttles which transport passengers between the concourses, called "Mobile Lounges," make moving through the Dulles Airport a major hassle. Some concourses are connected via moving walkways and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is working on an underground rail system to link the concourses.
For Central and Southern Virginia destinations, Richmond International Airport offers flights to and from many major cities East of the Mississippi and in Texas.
For Eastern Virginia, especially the Virginia Beach/Norfolk/Hampton Roads/Portsmouth area, Norfolk International Airport offers flights to and from cities all over the U.S.
Other smaller regional airports service Roanoke, Lynchburg, Charlottesville, and Harrisonburg. Flights from these airports generally only go to large hubs such as Atlanta or Washington DC.
Amtrak offers passenger rail service to many Virginia cities, including Alexandria, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Richmond, Norfolk, Charlottesville, and Staunton. For destinations in Northern Virginia, the best stops are Union Station in Washington, DC and the Fredericksburg station.
Amtrak offers commuter rail service via the Virginia Railway Express. Major stops are in Manassas, Franconia-Springfield, and Fredericksburg.
Getting into Virginia from Maryland and Washington, DC is very easy via Metro Rail and Metro Bus.
Virginia is connected by secondary roads and Intserstate highways to the surrounding states. Interstate 81 is the main route from Tennessee and continues through Virginia into Maryland and Pennsylvania. Interstate 66 connects Northwestern and Northern Virginia with Washington, DC. Interstate 95 runs north-south through Vrignia connecting Washington, DC to Fredericksburg and Richmond, on to North Carolina. Interstate 495 encircles Washington, DC with part of its route going through Northern Virginia. Where I-95 intersects with I-495 at the southern-most end of I-495, Interstate 395 continues northward into DC while I-95 traces the same route as the eastern half of I-495. Thus, if you are to take I-95 from Richmond to Baltimore, MD, you would merge onto I-495 going East and North until I-95 splits off from I-495 on its north side to reach Baltimore.
 Get around
Travel around Virginia is primarily(like the rest of the US) by car.
Amtrak trains run from Norfolk/Newport News to Richmond and out to the western panhandle. Trains also run north and south between Richmond and the Northern Virginia/DC area. A third major line runs from the western panhandle, north through Charlottesville, and up to Northern Virginia.
Amtrak provides a commuter train service into Washington, DC from points as far a way as Fredericksburg and Manassas.
The Washington Metro has several rail stations in Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax County.
As one of the original thirteen colonies Virginia offers numerous opportunities for those interested in history:
In addition, visitors might choose to go to Theatre IV for some great authentic plays. Byrd Theatre is always the place to see old and modern movies at rates not topping $4.00. Or take a stroll down to Carytown, the "Georgetown of Virginia".
Virginia has numerous restaurant choices that include everything from Ethiopian to Chinese, from French to Cajun.
Tap water is safe to drink.
Virginia law requires you to be 21 to buy alcohol or consume alcohol. Photo ID will be required to prove age.
Beer and other alcoholic drinks are available from most restaurants and bars, with purchase prohibited between 2 and 6 a.m.. Variety of what is available differs from restaurant to restaurant and when in doubt people should check menu or with a waiter to see what is available.
Beer, wine, and malternatives/alcopops are sold at most grocery and convenience stores, but cannot be purchased between midnight and 6 a.m.. Certain counties in Virginia prohibit Sunday sale of alcohol, mainly the south west counties. When in doubt, check with local county police department or simply ask store owner.
Hard Liquor is only allowed to be sold by Virginia ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control) stores. More information about these stores and other alcohol related information can be found at their website.
Cheerwine, a regional cherry flavored soda, can be purchased in convenience stores in the more southern parts of the state.
Virginia is home to many small-scale wineries.
 Stay safe
Certain cities in Virginia have crime problems, in particular, the City of Richmond. However, most places in Virginia like the rest of US are safe. Check with locals to determine what areas you should avoid. Standard safety rules apply: Stay in groups as much as possible, trust your instincts and do not flash around cash or large value items. If you need urgent medical, fire or police assistance, all areas participate in 911 program.
 Get out
Washington Dulles Airport is major international airport and probably best place to catch a flight to exit the US. Dulles also has large amount of Domestic flights along with Richmond International.