Virginia has its share of natural beauty. Scenic drives are a great way to take in the glory of nature just a tank of gas ride away from Richmond.
The route of the Blue Ridge Parkway follows mountain and valley landscapes to link Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks. Its location was selected to provide the best in a variety of scenic, historic, and natural features that evoke the regional image of the central and southern Appalachian Mountains. To maximize scenic views and give visitors the impression that they are in a park with boundaries to the horizon, the Parkway was located in mountainous terrain that roads would normally have avoided. The Parkway extends 469 miles through the Blue Ridge, Black, Great Craggy, Great Balsam, and Plot Balsam Mountains. It is known for spectacular mountain and valley vistas, quiet pastoral scenes, sparkling waterfalls, colorful flowers and foliage displays, and interpretation of mountain history and culture.
This May 2020 Blue Ridge Parkway officials are increasing recreational access to sections of the motor road previously closed to motor vehicle traffic in Virginia. The National Park Service is working with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor current health issues and use a phased approach to increase access to the Parkway and park sites across the country. All Parkway trails, and all other sections of the motor route in Virginia previously accessible to motor vehicle traffic are now open. Check the Blue Ridge Parkway for updates and information about road closures.
UPDATE MAY 23, 2020
Shenandoah National Park will begin its phased reopening at 8:00 a.m., Saturday, May 23. During this phase Old Rag, Whiteoak and their associated trails, as well as all boundary trailheads and picnic areas remain closed. Skyline Drive and other trails will be open from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Entry fees apply and restrooms are limited. For important information about what’s open and what’s closed and what you need to know, visit https://www.nps.gov/shen/phase-one.htm
You could always just drive out to and around Waynesboro. There are those two scenic overlooks on 64 between Charlottesville and Waynesboro.
The National Forests are still open, but you may need a high clearance vehicle and/or 4×4 to pass some of the fire roads. Blue ridge parkway is open further south— you can take 29 south from Charlottesville to go down near Crabtree & Spy Rock. Check the NPS website.
Closer to Richmond, Virginia State Route 6 is a lovely, meandering route from Richmond to Scottsville with numerous vineyards and cideries along the way.
The Montpelier Wine Trail in Orange and Greene Counties offer beautiful vistas and a view of the agricultural bounty.
See more scenic drive ideas.
More things to do in and around Richmond:
- The Ultimate List of RVA Parks and Playgrounds
- Richmond MetroZoo open for drive thru tours
- Richmond area farmers markets
- RVA Dog-Friendly Parks
- Orchards and Berry Farms
- Special Resources
- Richmond boat launches and marinas
- Richmond Historic Cemeteries offer quiet solace of nature, window to the past and notable art