If you want to think beyond big boxes and wrapping paper this holiday season, consider giving someone on your list the gift of time with a Virginia experience they’ll always remember. We’ve rounded up a list of Virginia excursions perfect for wine lovers, nature enthusiasts, families with kids, foodies, and those simply seeking some rest and relaxation.
FOR WINE LOVERS
Sip and Stay
Did you know there are a number of wineries throughout Virginia that offer overnight accommodations? One such destination is The Farmhouse at Veritas, located on the property of Veritas Vineyards in Afton, west of Charlottesville. The Farmhouse is known for its four-course dinner and wine pairing, which requires reservations. A chef-prepared breakfast, wine hour, and complimentary bottle of wine are included in every stay. Check out other wineries that offer overnight accommodations here.
Plan a Leisurely Lunch Outing
Venture to Madison for a delicious wine pairing lunch at Early Mountain Vineyards. Make reservations to enjoy a menu featuring regional and seasonal ingredients created by critically-acclaimed Executive Chef Tim Moore. Bonus? The stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains that surround this incredible winery.
FOR NATURE ENTHUSIASTS
Cast a Line on a Guided Fishing Excursion
If someone you know loves being out on the water, consider gifting them a guided fishing excursion. In Meadows of Dan, guests at Primland Resort, an Orvis Double Endorsed Lodge, can take advantage of half and full-day excursions. While fishing is available year-round at Primland, prime season is April through November. At Rose River Farm in Madison County, guests can enjoy guide services, private instruction, and luxury cabin rentals.
Paddle along Protected Barrier Islands - or to a Vineyard
On Virginia’s Eastern Shore, join Burnham Guides for paddling on the Seaside Water Trail. Day trips include kayaks, gear, guide service, and lunch, and can be booked online here. Also on the Eastern Shore, Chatham Vineyards and Southeast Expeditions offer a seasonal “Paddle Your Glass Off” experience that’s perfect for a beginner paddler or any paddler who loves Virginia wine. Keep an eye out for 2024 dates.
Support Others with a Gift for a Good Cause
Virginia’s Department of Wildlife Resources offers an online store with a wide selection of items, including clothing, guides, gear, and collectibles. Proceeds from this store are used to fund grant initiatives connecting youth to the outdoors. Available items, like this DWR logo hat, would be the perfect addition to any Virginia outdoor adventure!
FOR FAMILIES WITH KIDS
Splash Through Winter at Massanutten Indoor Water Park
Do your kids get cabin fever after the holidays? Head to Massanutten to take advantage of the Indoor WaterPark. Filled with slides, pools, and floats, this massive water park has something to offer for kids and families of all ages.
Learn Year-Round with a Museum Membership
Want to give something that will allow for memory-making the whole year through? Consider giving a membership to the Richmond-based Science Museum of Virginia, which includes a year of free admission, members-only programming, and exclusive discounts. Other Richmond memberships to consider for families include Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and the Children’s Museum of Richmond.
Snuggle Some Baby Goats
Yes, you read that correctly. In Esmont, Caromont Farms offers goat snuggling each spring. Information for 2024 hasn’t been announced yet, but keep an eye out here for more information on upcoming snuggle sessions.
FOR ADRENALINE LOVERS
Fly Over the Grand Canyon of the South
Zip lining, anyone? At Breaks Interstate Park, adventure seekers can zip through over 2,300 feet of lines with the assistance of highly trained guides. While booking is closed for the season, you can give an IOU for when booking reopens in Spring 2024.
Go on an ATV Adventure
In Southwest Virginia, Spearhead Trails offers miles of ATV trails surrounded by the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains. Gift a trail permit or day pass so someone you love can check out these trails for themselves.
Discover Richmond Food Tours
A gift certificate for a food tour is sure to hit the spot with any food lovers in your life. You can choose to give a specific tour, like a pizza and ice cream tour (sign us up!) or a specific monetary amount, but you really can’t go wrong when it comes to food tours! Other tour options include a Scott’s Addition Booze & Bites tour or a Carytown food tour.
Paddling with Blue Pete’s Kayaking Adventure
Blue Pete’s Dinner Tour - a kayaking excursion that leads to dinner - is one of two destination tours offered by Ocean Rentals in Sandbridge. Participants can take in the Back Bay’s wildlife and serene views before enjoying dinner at Blue Pete’s in Pungo. To gift this special experience, call Ocean Rentals to schedule.
Savor a Once-in-a-Lifetime Memorable Meal
For a truly unique and luxurious dining experience - perfect to celebrate a significant life milestone or a special occasion - treat someone you love to dinner at the award-winning The Inn at Little Washington. Across the street, the recently-opened sister restaurant Patty O’s provides a more casual option for the food lovers you know that are more low-key but would still be interested in a menu developed by Chef Patrick O’ Connell.
Get Hands-On with an Aquatic Culinary Experience
Take your food lover for a weekend getaway to the Tides Inn, a waterfront retreat on the Chesapeake Bay, and book their Chesapeake Gold Tour to head out on the water and learn all about the oyster population found within the Bay. After a brief class where you’ll hear about the history of Virginia’s oyster populations, you’ll take to the water to harvest the bivalves straight from the Bay, then return to the inn where the chef will roast the oysters for you to enjoy with a glass of wine. These tours are not available during the winter months, but contact the inn to book ahead for spring or summer!
FOR RELAXATION SEEKERS
Gift a Day Pass to Balian Springs
A day pass to Balian Springs in Alexandria will grant your loved one access to saunas, indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy pools, plunge pools, steam rooms, lounge areas, an aqua lounge, and a fitness center and wellness workshops. Learn more about the daily membership-based wellness retreat here.
Surprise Them with a Spa Package
In Middleburg, you can find a spa destination worth the trip at Salamander Resort & Spa. Open daily, the spa offers a variety of massage, facial, and body treatments by reservation.
Soak in the Warm Springs Pools
Gift a getaway to the Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs and take advantage of the Warm Springs Pools by making a reservation for a 50-minute soak. Located five miles away from the resort, the Warm Springs Pools are filled with history - the original stone basin that held the water for bathing was built in 1761, establishing it as the first spa structure in America.
We hope these gift ideas provide some fun inspiration for one or more people on your list - and that maybe you’ll get to join them for the fun!