Virginia is a place for sightseers, especially in the fall. Thanks to the trees lining the region’s forests, the state’s skyline and roadways are painted with the warm colors of red, orange, and yellow.
But you don’t necessarily have to be visiting Virginia’s countryside to experience the visual beauty that it has to offer. There are many roads throughout the state that offer scenic views. In fact, more than 2,500 miles of roadways are officially designated as scenic byways, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Whether you’re looking for some scenic views, or simply interested in checking out some of the lesser-traveled parts of Virginia, we’ve put together a few of the most picturesque routes within the state:
1. Route 39
The Route 39 corridor is one of Virginia’s busier roads, running through Lexington, the capital city of Richmond, as well as historic Williamsburg. But it’s also filled with places to go and venues to visit. The stretch of road combs through the Alleghany Highlands, where equestrian enthusiasts can see the Virginia Horse Center that’s open year-round. Goshen Pass is also found along the 39, where nature lovers take advantage of freshwater fishing and kayaking. The George Washington National Forest is another prominent site that really pops in autumn when foliage colors are at their peak.
2. Route 15
Generally speaking, the northern half of Virginia tends to be most “colorific” in the early part of the fall, but fortunately, the kaleidoscope of colors usually sticks around for awhile, as you’ll discover on Route 15 in Loudon County. Parks paint the landscape on this lengthy strip of roadway, including Oatlands Plantation in Leesburg, Ball’s Bluff Regional Park, or Morven Park, where an average of 150,000 people stop by to visit per year. Upcoming events at Corven Park include the Great Pumpkin Shootout as well as mansion and museum tours, which are weekend regulars.
3. Route 52
If you live in or have never been to the southern region of Virginia, there are plenty of spectacular views – particularly along Route 52 out of Wytheville. Few places in the country offer mountains and ocean views, but the Commonwealth has both and then some, including Big Walker Mountain Lookout, where you can see for miles and miles and miles, as rock and roll legends The Who once sang.
4. Chesapeake Bay Driving Tour
If the coast is where you get your visual kicks, Chesapeake Bay is the perfect place to sit back and enjoy the view. There’s a ton of sights to see here that are meant to be savored, including the Chesapeake Bay Driving Tour. The excursion stretches out over more than 6,500 acres of nature’s best and 1,100 miles of shoreline.
Bonus scenic drive: Don’t forget about one of the most famous scenic byways in the state, the Blue Ridge Parkway which stretches through the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Be sure to visit Virginia.org for other stunning venues in the Old Dominion State.