Virginia is a wonderland that’s ripe for exploration in spring, whether paddling at state parks, pedaling on bike trails, or sampling varietals from a picturesque patio at any one of more than 300 wineries across Virginia. Here are 15 Virginia bucket list ideas to check off this spring!

 1. Tiptoe Through the Tulips

Fields of Colorful Tulips at Burnside Farms Festival of Spring

Burnside Farms

As ukelele-playing singer Tiny Tim once sang (in falsetto, no less), “Tiptoe Through the Tulips”. In Virginia, there are you-pick farms that let you do just that, including Greenbrier Farms in Chesapeake and Burnside Farms in Nokesville, which allow visitors to stroll fields of flowers and pick colorful tulips to take home. The latter hosts a ticketed event called Festival of Spring over the three-week tulip season in early spring.

2. Cheer at a Minor League Baseball Game

Harbor Park

Norfolk Tides Stadium

Photo Credit: Cameron Davidson

Virginia is home to five official minor league baseball teams, including the Triple-A Norfolk Tides, a farm team for the Baltimore Orioles, and the Single-A Fredericksburg Nationals, one of six minor league affiliate teams for the Washington Nationals. Check team schedules for fireworks and theme nights like Mardi Gras Night and plan to cheer on the home team. Many teams also have Bark in the Park events so fans can bring their pups with them to the game.

3. Paddle at a State Park

Paddling in Kayaks at Claytor Lake State Park

Claytor Lake State Park

Virginia is home to 41 state parks, including 31 that have water access, whether a pond, a creek, a river, or a bay. Among them are York River State Park in Williamsburg, Mason Neck State Park in Lorton, and Claytor Lake State Park in Dublin. Bring your watercraft, rent one for a self-guided expedition, or sign up for a ranger-led paddle to savor a state park at sunset or twilight. The new Wandering Waters Paddle Quest initiative lets park-goers earn prizes for getting out on the water within our state parks.

4. Hike to a Cascading Waterfall

Falling Spring

Falling Spring Falls

Spring is a fantastic time for a waterfall hike, as the falls are running strongly after spring rains. There are all kinds of waterfalls in Virginia, too; some are tall, some are wide, and some have refreshing swimming holes. A favorite waterfall is Cascades Falls in Pembroke. An easy four-mile out-and-back hike lets visitors revel in this 66-foot-tall waterfall. Several waterfalls are just steps from a parking lot, including Dismal Falls in Bland and Falling Spring Falls in Hot Springs.

5. Tour Maple Sugar Camps

Back Creek Farms Maple Syrup

Back Creek Farms

Photo Credit: Valerie Lowry

Highland County, Virginia is home to seven maple sugar camps that can be visited on the Virginia Maple Syrup Trail, including Back Creek Farms in Monterey and Laurel Fork Sapsuckers in Hightown. Back Creek Farms even has a cabin rental on-site so you can stay overnight and learn about maple syrup with hands-on demonstrations. The middle two weekends in March (March 9-10 and 16-17) can attract upwards of 50,000 visitors who come for the Highland County Maple Festival, which celebrates the “opening” of the trees. Visitors can tour maple sugar camps and watch the maple syrup-making process.

6. Go on a River Float Trip

James River Tubing

James River Tubing

Photo Credit: John Henley

Spring is a great time to float on the river, when the water is high, or at least higher than in summer, which can occasionally be troublesome for rafts (i.e., easier to get stuck on river rocks). Book a family-friendly whitewater rafting trip on the James River with RVA Paddlesports. You can also go rafting on the Shenandoah River in Front Royal with Front Royal Outdoors. Wear water shoes and get ready to get wet as you paddle through Class I and II rapids.

7. Dress Up for a Spring Steeplechase

Virginia Gold Cup

Virginia Gold Cup

Photo Credit: Douglas Lees

Spring is horse racing season. More specifically, it’s time to dress up, don a gorgeous hat, and spend the day watching steeplechase races, like the Foxfield Races (April 27, 2024) in Charlottesville and the Virginia Gold Cup (May 4, 2024) in The Plains. Plan to tailgate, drink signature cocktails, like mint juleps, and ogle beautiful horses all day long.

8. Check Out the Cherry Blossoms

Old Town Alexandria Waterfront

Alexandria Cherry Blossoms

Photo Credit: Carol Stulan

The opening up of the delicate cherry blossoms is the sign that spring is truly here. From Alexandria, rent hybrid bikes or e-bikes with Unlimited Biking and pedal along the paved Mount Vernon Trail to see the cherry blossoms along the Potomac River. From the Alexandria Marina, you can also cruise in a water taxi to see the blossoms. There are plenty of cherry blossom trees in Buchanan too, which hosts the Buchanan Cherry Blossom Festival on April 6, 2024.

9. Pedal on a New Trail

Virginia Capital Trail

Virginia Capital Trail

Photo Credit: Big Orange Frame

Spring is a spectacular time to get out for a bike ride. It’s also a great time to explore a new bike trail, like the 12.5-mile Mendota Trail in Bristol or the I-66 Parallel Trail, the first segment of which opened in Vienna last May. Spring is also a great time to head out for a pedal on old favorites, like the 52-mile Capital Trail, which runs from Richmond to Williamsburg.

10. Fly a Kite

Atlantic Coast Kite Festival

Atlantic Coast Kite Festival

Photo Credit: Patricia Przybylinski, @pattipeaski

March may come in like a lion, but that’s good news for kite lovers. March’s windy days make perfect conditions for flying colorful kites. Climb to the top of Mount Trashmore in Virginia Beach to fly your own kite or head to the Virginia Beach Boardwalk for the Atlantic Coast Kite Festival on May 4-5, 2024. Roanoke also hosts a family-friendly kite festival, the Blue Ridge Kite Festival, which takes place on April 20, 2024.

11. Go Camping (or Glamping)

Camping in Shenandoah National Park at Old Rag

Camping in Shenandoah National Park

Photo Credit: Cliford Mervil, @cliford.mervil

Pitch a tent, book a cabin, or try glamping in an Airstream trailer at a family campground in Virginia, like Luray RV Resort & Campground on Shenandoah River, which re-opened in August 2023 after a full renovation. Look for a resort-style pool, pickleball courts, and a bike park. Another favorite is Sun Outdoors Cape Charles, which has a miniature golf course, fishing piers, and its own private beach. Many state and regional parks have campgrounds too, as does the world-famous Shenandoah National Park.

12. Attend a Spring Festival

Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival

Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival

Photo Credit: Christopher Hunter Photography

After a cold winter, there’s nothing better than strolling at a spring festival like the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester (April 25-May 5, 2024), which celebrates 100 years in 2024. More favorites include the Leesburg Flower & Garden Festival (April 20-21, 2024), the Chincoteague Seafood Festival (May 4, 2024), and the Wine Thyme Spring Festival in Stratford (May 11, 2024).

13. Fly Through the Trees

Go Ape Treetop Adventure

Go Ape Treetop Adventure

Photo Credit: Sam Dean, @sdeanphotos

Harness up for a treetop course at an aerial adventure park that challenges with obstacles, cargo nets, ziplines, tightropes, and swinging bridges. Check out the Adventure Park at Sandy River Outdoor Adventures in Rice or Go Ape, which has locations in Springfield and Williamsburg. It’s a great way to get outside and test your navigation skills while suspended up in the trees.

14. Tour a Historic Home and Gardens

Thomas Jefferson's Monticello Charlottesville

Thomas Jefferson's Monticello

Photo Credit: The Detour Duo, @thedetour_duo

In Virginia, we’re fortunate to have many historic homes, including George Washington’s Mount Vernon in Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville. These presidential homes are wonderful to see inside, but you won’t want to miss the lawns and gardens outside that burst with color in springtime. In particular, Monticello offers a guided tour of the gardens and grounds.

15. Sip and Relax on an Outdoor Patio

Pippin Hill Winery and Vineyard

Pippin Hill

There are more than a few gorgeous vistas to be enjoyed from outdoor patios at scenic wineries, breweries, and cideries all across Virginia. A few that are ideal and idyllic for whiling away the afternoon on picturesque patios and green spaces are DuCard Vineyards in Etlan, Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyard in North Garden, Bear Chase Brewery Company in Bluemont, and Burnbrae Vineyards in Forest.

 

Use this spring bucket list to create an unforgettable spring in Virginia this year!