The love of history and nature seems to find a wonderful common ground with the young and the not-so-young. And Virginia is full of great offerings where those of several generations can discover, explore and revel.
With nuclear families busier than ever, more and more grandparents are offering to take the kids on vacation, whether it's to an RV resort or a theme park. And just as often, it's the other way around, with young adults introducing their parents or grandparents to their favorite soft adventure.
Let these Virginia destinations be the spark for a multi-generational vacation or a family reunion in the Old Dominion.
Recreational vehicle clubs, rallies and caravans are fun for young and old with themed dinners, games and social gatherings. Virginia's state parks and private campgrounds provide the base camp from which groups can visit historical, cultural and natural attractions together via local transportation.
History is fun for all ages when a tour combines theme parks like Busch Gardens Europe and Great Wolf Lodge's indoor water park, with Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown, all conveniently located in the Historic Triangle. On a behind- the-scenes tour at the Virginia Living Museum in nearby Newport News, groups see where the coyotes sleep, participate in a trout feeding, and see how sick and injured animals are cared for.
Readers young and old will delight in the coal-mining, yet literary, town of Big Stone Gap in far southwest Virginia. While the ladies take a walking tour of sites portrayed in Adriana Trigiani's best-selling novel trilogy, dads and grandads can take the kids to the Harry W. Meador Jr. Coal Museum. Meet up in the evening at the Trail of the Lonesome Pine Outdoor Drama, based on the novel by town native John Fox, Jr.
State-of-the-art galleries at Mount Vernon show George Washington not just as an elder statesman, but as a young land surveyor. The National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico shows marines in action, while the Claude Moore Colonial Farm takes visitors back to the days of subsistence living.
The thrill of victory transcends age at the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in Portsmouth, where visitors learn about Virginia's sports stars through interactive exhibits. Follow up with dinner and a movie at the restored Art Deco Commodore Theatre. From your table, pick up the phone to place orders, then sit back and watch a first-run film.
Rough it as much or as little as you'd like at Primland Resort, an outdoorsman's paradise with amenities for the entire family. Guided hunting and fly-fishing, mountain golf, ATV, mountain bike and horse trails will tire everyone out. They'll rest up in their choice of cozy cabin or luxurious lodge.
Ascend the nation's tallest indoor climbing tower and explore its pathways, tunnels and glass elevator at Amazement Square, The Rightmire Children's Museum in Lynchburg. Garden-lovers in the group will delight at the antique roses and daffodils at Lynchburg's Old City Cemetery, while the kids can get spooked at the cemetery's Civil War 'house of pestilence,' complete with a horse-drawn hearse.
Explore marshy creeks and barrier island beaches by kayak on the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Water Trail, which traces Smith's 1608 journey mapping the Chesapeake Bay. Guided trips on the Eastern Shore include Blackbeard's Cove, where the legendary pirate holed up for ship repairs in 1717.
The indoor/outdoor water park at Massanutten Resort entertains all ages, from a baby water play area and floating on a lazy river to challenging water chutes and a wave pool. Steps away, the Blue Ridge Buffet is affordable and all-you-can eat.
Step into the 18th century at Virginia's Explore Park where mountain life is on display daily, see massive locomotives and tiny model trains at the Virginia Museum of Transportation, and ride the Zoo Choo at Mill Mountain Zoo, all in the Roanoke area.