17 Great Outdoor Adventures

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    Massanutten ResortSpearhead TrailShenandoah National ParkJames RiverShangrila Guest RanchVirginia Creeper TrailFranklin County Blueways
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    Don't let the beauty pass you by.

    Take a break and enjoy all that Virginia's outdoors have to offer.

    Virginia's outdoor adventure potential is limited only by your imagination and willingness to go farther and seek more. Trails for all activities, waterways for whatever floats you, and a sky that yields amazing views of sacred, historic grounds are only the beginning.

    1. Virginia boasts more miles (544, to be exact) of the famed Appalachian Trail than any other state, and 101 of those miles are within the 196,000-acre Shenandoah National Park. Be right at home backcountry camping or hitch a ride with a Trail Angel into one of the Appalachian Trail Communities.

    2. If you enjoy your adrenaline with a cityscape backdrop, you must visit Richmond. The James River courses through downtown and provides up to class IV rapids to canoe, raft and kayak.

    3. How remote can you go? Give False Cape State Park south of Virginia Beach a try. It's only accessible by foot, bicycle, boat or park service vehicle, and is one of the last few undeveloped areas along the Atlantic Ocean.

    4. Take a long downhill stroll on the Virginia Creeper Trail. At 34.3 miles from Whitetop to Abingdon, the Trail follows an old railway bed. Horses are permitted on the trail and cycling outfitters can equip you or shuttle you to Whitetop.

    5. Have an adventure in the sky when you parasail or hang glide over Coastal Virginia.

    6. More than 111,000 acres make up the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge near Suffolk, and more than 200 species of birds call it home. Bring your bug spray and paddle through the canal for an ultimate aquatic wilderness experience.

    7. Can you pull in a monster catfish? Virginia currently holds the IGFA World Record for a 143 lb. blue catfish pulled from Kerr Lake in Clarksville. It was wrestled in by a father and son team on Father's Day weekend, 2011. See other fishing destinations.

    8. Does singletrack mountain biking make you salivate? From National Forest to Liberty Mountain, state parks and beyond, you can get your fix in Virginia.

    9. Bouldering takes on new meaning when you visit The Channels Natural Area Preserve near Saltville. The hike is 5.5 miles to get to the gigantic sandstone outcroppings, but you'll have a ball playing hide-and-seek among them.

    10. Looking for the world's greatest swimming hole? We might just have it, but you'll have to work to get there. Devil's Bathtub is a naturally smooth swimming hole complete with a rock slide. You'll have to scramble boulders and cross the water several times to get to it on the 7.2-mile Devil's Fork Loop Trail in Scott County.

    11. If you think you love the outdoors but could do without some of the packing in, bugs, campfire cooking, etc., try glamping. From people who will pitch your tent for you to the arrangements that make you say, "this is my kind of 'camping,'" five destinations have nailed it all down for you.

    The Omni Homestead Resort

    12. Get your motor runnin', but not in too high of a gear. You'll want to keep it low as you wind your way through the ribbon turns of the Back of the Dragon. Meandering from Marion to Tazwell on Route 16, this is a favorite road for motorcyclists.

    13. Mud is the word when you take to one of Virginia's ATV destinations. The newest and most rapidly growing is Spearhead Trail System in St. Paul. The trails are for ATVs, side-by-sides and dirt bikes; no horses allowed.

    14. Ziplining is an adrenaline rush that accommodates most ages. Tether on and feel the wind in your face as this family-friendly activity continues to grow across Virginia.

    15. Horseback riding across the Virginia countryside is a beautiful thing. Pull your own mare in or ride one at an awaiting ranch, but stick to the designated trails to ensure the safety of your four-legged companion.

    16. A round of golf isn't simply a round of golf in Virginia. Here you'll find one of the world's great mountain courses, one of the world's great golf destinations, and courses designed by the world's biggest names.

    17. Blueway trails are emerging across Virginia. Some are based on historic travels while others are purely for recreation and beauty. Slide your kayak in the water near Mathews or Rocky Mount and breathe in nature's glory. More rivers and streams.

Last Updated: 10/8/2014 3:30 PM
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