Did you know that there are 37 state parks across Virginia, one within an hour drive from anywhere in the state? Whether you’re a big family or a family of one, there’s something for everyone.
Get L.O.S.T. geocaching! Listen. Observe. Sense. Try., that is. When you visit a park, make sure to participate in the Geocaching Adventure. Using a GPS unit, you’ll search for the parks’ cache, or a hidden collection of items, which includes a card that describes an activity for you to do that involves textures, colors, senses and imagination. You can also win prizes if you do more than five geocache adventures.
Many of the parks host family friendly events and festivals – music, historic, cultural – you name it. From the Strawberry Festival at Sky Meadows State Park and Pork, Peanut and Pine Festival at Chippokes Plantation State Park, to the Star Parties at Staunton River State Park, and Music at the Marina at Leesylvania State Park, spring and summer is the perfect time to attend an event that suits your fancy. While there, stay for a while – camp, stay in a cabin or lodge, or try out a yurt, the perfect balance of camping meets cabin.
Maybe a smaller event is your style – one that gets you up close with nature and in the elements. Or one that educates you on flora and fauna or wildlife found in parks. Selfguided or ranger-led programs are available at each park. Visit the Visitor Center to see what you can do on your own or check the schedule to see what’s happening while you’re there. A popular program is the ranger-led night hike where the moonlight is your guide and you learn about the critters that come out at night. Don’t miss out on that one. You may spot an owl if you’re lucky.
Have you ever tried standup paddle boarding? Or kayaking on the James River? Or a hike that leads you to a breathtaking overlook? You haven’t lived until you have. Get the family out on a trail where you can take a leisure walk, a hike, bike, or a horseback ride. For the best view, see the park from the water. Most of the parks are on a lake, a river, or the beach – or just relax on the shore or by the pool. Head west to discover the mountains and panoramic views that you’ll have to snap a picture of andshare. Rent a kayak, canoe, or john boat, or pull your boat up to the boat dock and fish or go crabbin’.
PETS ARE FAMILY TOO
Pets are family too so bring Butch along. All cabins are pet friendly (except False Cape State Park), including nearly all overnight accommodations, as long you keep your fury friend on a leash. They’ll appreciate you for getting them outside for a run or a walk under the sun. Or even better, a splash in the water.