If first-time visitors and lifetime locals can agree on one thing, it’s this: A day spent in Charlottesville is a day well spent.
From walkable day and nightlife to historic small-town charm, Charlottesville has a lot to offer! But if you want to venture out of this little town and find something new, you don’t have to travel far.
There are tons of interesting spots just outside the city that don’t require full days of driving to reach. So whether you’re looking for a day trip or a long weekend somewhere new, you can always find an exciting adventure waiting around the corner.
Here are the top five things to do and places to visit near Charlottesville, VA!
Top 5 Things To Do Near Charlottesville, VA
- Take a Hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains
- Wine Tasting in Charlottesville
- Shenandoah Rafting
- Check out the Surrounding Historical Sites
- Explore the University of Virginia
Take a Hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains
The Blue Ridge Mountains offer a unique and beautiful outdoor experience with endless horizons, mysterious foggy vistas, rolling, tree-covered hills and several stunning outlooks.
Even a drive in this area will grant you access to impressive views, but you can get the best of the best on one of the several hikes in the area. With over 2,000 miles of trails, there is a hike for everyone, from novices to experienced hikers. The Blue Ridge Mountains are one of our favorite places to visit near Charlottesville, VA.
Old Rag Mountain is a challenging yet popular 9-mile hike with unparalleled views from the summit. As you climb the peak, you’ll pass through beautiful forests, rock scrambles, and stunning vistas.
McAfee Knob is another popular hike that offers incredible summit views. The trail is about 8 miles long and is known for its iconic “ledge” at the top, where hikers can take photos with a stunning view of the valley behind them.
Wine Tasting in Charlottesville
With over 40 Charlottesville wineries to choose from, this unassuming VA town offers an underrated wine-tasting experience. You can enjoy scenic vineyard views and delicious wines while learning about wine-making from friendly and passionate winemakers. The area is mainly known for its excellent Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, and Viognier varieties.
Barboursville Vineyards is just 30 minutes from Charlottesville and has a glowing reputation for a romantic atmosphere and for producing excellent wines, including their award-winning Octagon blend.
King Family Vineyards is a family-owned vineyard west of Charlottesville and offers a range of wines, including their popular Meritage blend. This winery also hosts many events that pair perfectly with a glass of wine, like salsa dancing, trivia and polo matches.
Rafting on the Shenandoah River
The waters of the Shenandoah River are an approachable spot for water sports that are welcoming to all levels of paddlers. Rent a watercraft for some solo fun, or take a guided tour to learn about the area’s history and wildlife. There’s no wrong way to tackle some fun on the river!
Shenandoah rafting trips – Set your sights on a rafting trip that is both approachable and exciting. You can choose from short excursions or multi-day trips to make the most of your time!
Shenandoah kayaking rentals – Learn the ins and outs of the river on a kayak! From solo trips to tandem kayaks, how you navigate the river is up to you!
Tubing in Virginia – Our most popular summer trip, our lazy river tube rentals, is the definition of summertime relaxation. They come with river transportation, so all you need to worry about is enjoying the calm current.
Canoeing trips – This safe and stable boat is perfect for family adventures or fishing trips. There’s no better time to sing “Just Around The Riverbend”!
Fishing Charters – Our expert team can guide you to where all the fish are biting on the Shenandoah River.
Check out the Surrounding Historical Sites
Charlottesville was established in the 1700s, so it has a lot to offer to history buffs. You can find several spots that significantly impacted the birth of our nation. Even if you’re only working with a high school-level understanding of US history, you’re bound to connect some dots on a tour back in time around Charlottesville!
Just outside the city, you can find Monticello – the home of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States. You can tour the house and gardens and learn about Jefferson’s life and legacy.
The historic Michie Tavern was built in 1784 and was a gathering place for many thought leaders living nearby. Today, visitors can enjoy a meal in the tavern’s restaurant, explore the museum and gift shop, and experience life in the late 18th century.
Explore the University of Virginia
You don’t need to be a Cavaliers fan to appreciate the impressive neoclassical rotundas of this renowned college.
Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, the University of Virginia is a National Historic Landmark and one of the most architecturally significant campuses in the country. Visitors can tour the grounds and buildings to learn about the university’s history and architecture. The university is one of the most iconic places to visit near Charlottesville, VA.