Budget Travel

11 Free and Cheap Things to Do in Virginia

Free and Cheap Things to Do in Virginia

Virginia is a top destination for fun-loving people and there are plenty of free and cheap things to do in Virginia. You will find everything from free museums to bike trails all over this state, making it an exciting and affordable travel destination. We have listed some fun and inexpensive things to do while here which will entertain you without putting a strain on your wallet. Also, you can check some pocket-friendly things to do in West Virginia.

If you are a minimalist, find out the best cheap things to do in Virginia in minimum time; Browse through the below slides!


11 Free, Fun, and Cheap Things to Do in Virginia

We have listed here 11 free and cheap things to do in Virginia. Let’s check them.

1. Shenandoah Caverns

This natural geological formation– Shenandoah caverns– is worth exploring. The mile-long collection of tunnels and caves passes through seventeen connecting chambers with different formations such as the Capitol Dome, Diamond Cascade, Oriental Tea Garden, and the Rainbow Lake.

You will be intrigued with the many hidden passageways waiting to be explored within the caverns. The guided tour will last just an hour long and you will learn numerous fun facts about the history of the land and the creation of the formations.

2. George Washington’s Mount Vernon

This iconic American landmark is a reminder of the legacy and the life of the first president of the US. Mount Vernon, a vibrant plantation in the 18th century, is now one of the most loved historic sites in the nation.

Each of the 18th-century homes has been constructed in an authentic form. Visitors can explore them with much ease. There are lush gardens and grounds in the surroundings as well as intriguing museum galleries. There are numerous immersive programs and exhibits in the museum filled with George Washington’s legacy. 

3. Norfolk Botanical Garden

Along with top-rated nightlife in Norfolk, the city also exhibits Virginia’s largest botanical garden. Norfolk botanical garden is open all year round and has a lovely indoor exhibit in the Baker Hall Visitor Center. You can explore exhibits of painting, photography, and other forms of art at this center. There are different things that you can take part in while at this botanical garden. Young visitors can explore the Children’s Adventure Garden or the Bristow Butterfly Gardens while adults can tour the garden with bikes.

There are numerous themed gardens including a rose garden, a Japanese garden, and Annette Kagan healing garden which is filled with streams and medicinal plants. You can take a tram driven by a guide that goes around the garden and stops at various locations in between. You can also enjoy a boat ride in Lake Whitehurst.  

4. The Natural Bridge

This is a sacred site for Native Americans and was owned by both Thomas Jefferson and King George III. This place is often cited as a great wonder of the natural world. This massive natural limestone arch has been carved by Cedar Creek over years.  It is the largest natural land bridge that can be found on the North American continent today.  

The Natural Bridge

This 215-foot long bridge is believed to be sacred to the Monacan tribe and was well-regarded by the colonists. The site was surveyed by George Washington in 1750. Thomas Jefferson called this bridge as one of the most sublime works of nature when he purchased over 157 acres of land including the bridge in 1774 from King George III of England. 

A biblically themed evening light show is projected on the bridge every night since 1920. This show is the longest-running light show in the US. Other prime attractions in the nearby regions include a wax museum and a living history Monacan Indian village. The Natural Bridge became Virginia State Park in 2016. Passes for admission for children aged 6-12 is $6 and anyone above the age of 13 must only pay $8 to witness this natural wonder. 

5. Virginia’s Natural Tunnel

This 300-yard long tunnel runs through a ridge deep in the Appalachian Mountains. A stream flows through the tunnel alongside the railroad tracks that have been in use for over 100 years. This impressive tunnel is often mistaken for the Natural Bridge. The railroad is in use and trains do occasionally cross the path near the tunnel entrance. You can walk directly on the tracks but you need to keep your eye on the lighting instructions provided by the park management. You shouldn’t miss this place while exploring the top cheap things to do in Virginia.  

6. Great Channels of Virginia

This maze-like slot canyon is popular for its fascinating geological area. The canyon weaves through soft sandstone and comprises a small part of the Channels Area National Preserve. Geologists are of the opinion that the maze of crevices was shaped during the last ice age. Ice wedging and permafrost carved the canyons into 400-million-year-old soft sandstone. 

Although slot canyons are quite common to come across in the western United States, it is rare to come across them on the Eastern coast. Unlike others that are present in a desert environment, these are nestled in a lush swath of greenery. You can take a 6.5-mile hike that takes you to the summit of Middle Knob on Clinch Mountain where you can enjoy picturesque views of nature.  

7. Dinosaur Land

What once operated as a small gift shop, Dinosaur Land is now a massive park with over 50 dinosaur statues. The place originally had five dinosaur statues made with fiberglass, wooden frames, and covering wire mesh. New sculptures with better designs and moving parts were added regularly. A wooly mammoth statue was added which had flapping ears and a moving trunk.

Dinosaur Land

Currently, the park has over 50 creatures that have now chipped and weathered over the years. However, the style and the imagination of the creator can still be felt in the sculptures. The gift shop is still open and offers every kind of souvenir that you can imagine. This is undoubtedly one of the best cheap things to do in Virginia.   

8. Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

This wildlife refuge covers about 14,000 acres of beach, marsh, dunes, maritime forest, and more. It is a haven for nature lovers, with the highlight of this refuge being the wild herds of Chincoteague ponies. It also provides environmental education to visitors along with recreational activities such as wildlife observation, photography, fishing, and more. It is free for those who want to bicycle or walk through the property. A small fee is charged for those who access the refuge via cars. 

9.  Cheap Things to Do in Virginia Beach – Virginia Beach and Boardwalk

This is the longest commercial beach you can find in America. The three-mile boardwalk made of concrete is frequented by strollers, roller bladders, and bicyclists. The place offers nightly entertainment during the summer. This vibrant attraction features outdoor recreational activities and family activities all year round. There are plenty of shopping opportunities and restaurants that you can explore. Spending time at this boardwalk is one of the best free things to do in Virginia.     

10. James River Park Pipeline Walkway

This concrete nature walk is popular for sieges of herons, urban industrialism, and whitewater rapids. This pipeline park can be accessed through a small pipeline cutting across the James River in Richmond. The walkway is just above the water level and the water flows high here occasionally. A small island across this pipeline is a nesting area of large Great Blue Herons. You can watch them nest and raise chicks. It is quite rare to get such a close view of herons and it is quite fascinating to watch them.

James River Park Pipeline Walkway

Apart from birds, this pipeline overlooks a section of Class III whitewater. This place is popular amongst kayakers and rafters. Visitors may also prefer to picnic, swim, sunbathe, fish, and stroll on the large sandy beach at the end of the park. There is also a swimming hole nearby where you can have a great time during the summer months. 

11. Roanoke Star

The Roanoke Star is a 100-foot illuminated star that sits on the top of the Mill Mountain. Built in 1949, this star is lit every night until midnight, features numerous color combinations, and offers breathtaking views of the surroundings. The largest man-made illuminated star in the world, it serves as a welcoming star to visitors and is one of the most photographed attractions in the region. This popular stop offers far-reaching views of the surroundings.

In summary

Virginia is a top destination for travelers who love having wonderful experiences without breaking the bank. There are plenty of cheap things to do in Virginia and you are bound to have a great time here exploring places of natural beauty, visiting free museums, taking free bike trails, and much more. If you own a property in Vermont, then you can turn it into a vacation rental for a profit. You can list your property on Rentaltrader.com through a simple signup process. If you are a visitor, then you can choose from numerous properties listed on the site close to the top attractions in the region. For more information about Rental Trader, see our Contact page to fill out the web form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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