Best Virginia attraction? 10Best readers say Colonial Williamsburg!

Virginia Creeper Trail, Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest, Natural Bridge State Park and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in top five

Virginia, the birthplace of America, is steeped in history having witnessed many of the nation's most defining moments. But its heritage is only part of the appeal of Old Dominion. The state's natural attractions are as diverse as its history, from the shores of Chesapeake Bay and the beaches of the Atlantic coast to the Blue Ridge Mountains and spectacular Shenandoah Valley.

  • Arlington National Cemetery
    Arlington

    Arlington National Cemetery is perhaps the most famous burial ground in the nation. The 600-plus acres of green hills are lined with seemingly countless white tombs. This military cemetery honors people who have lost their lives in service to the nation, from the American Civil War forward. Visitors who take a tour of the cemetery can see John F. Kennedy’s grave site, the changing of the guard and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / OceanFishing

  • George Washington's Mount Vernon
    Mount Vernon

    Mt. Vernon, a historic site in Virginia, has roots to the nation’s first president; it was George Washington’s plantation. Visitors experience the 18th century for themselves as they stroll through the flowering grounds (four different gardens), the nearby woodlands and explore educational exhibits designed to pay tribute to Washington and his family. 
    Photo courtesy of Pierrette Guertin/iStock

  • Thomas Jefferson's Monticello
    Charlottesville

    Monticello in Virginia was the main plantation of Thomas Jefferson, as well as his family and workers, both free and enslaved. Jefferson was also buried on site, in what is now called the Monticello Cemetery, a National Historic Landmark. The 5,000-acre plantation lot and home in Charlottesville is now run by the nonprofit Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which aims to educate visitors about the time period and, of course, America’s third president. Leave time to stroll through stunning botanic gardens.
    Photo courtesy of Tony Fischer / Flickr

  • Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
    Appomattox

    On April 9, 1865 the Civil War came to a close with General Robert E. Lee's surrender at the McLean House in Virginia. Appomattox Court House National Historical Park preserves the sites associated with this important day, including restored original buildings.
    Photo courtesy of NPS Photo

  • Grayson Highlands State Park
    Mouth of Wilson

    Located on the iconic Appalachian Trail, Virginia's Grayson Highlands State Park offers access to the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, known as one of the nation's top hiking destinations. While exploring the park's 4,522 acres, it's common to encounter wild ponies, including newborn colts during late spring.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / jcarillet

  • Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
    Chincoteague Island

    Virginia's Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge ranks among the most-visited refuges in the United States. Established in 1943, the refuge protects 14,000 acres of coastal habitat for migratory and other birds. Visitors might also spot some Chincoteague ponies grazing within the refuge.
    Photo courtesy of Patrick J. Hendrickson

  • Natural Bridge State Park
    Natural Bridge

    The 215-foot-tall natural bridge, once owned by Thomas Jefferson, sits in the state park by the same name. The newest park in the Virginia State Park system, Natural Bridge State Park features 6 miles of hiking trails, including the accessible Cedar Creek Trail.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / zrfphoto

  • Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest

    While not as well known as Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's other home, Poplar Forest was where the former president would come to "renew his personal creativity" after leaving the White House. The National Historic Landmark is one of only two homes Jefferson designed for his own personal use.
    Photo courtesy of Margaret Hill / Flickr

  • Virginia Creeper Trail
    Abingdon

    Extended for 34.3 miles, the Virginia Creeper Trail follows the path of the historic steam engine that once wound into the Iron Mountains. The rail-to-trail path winds through two counties – a favorite among hikers and bikers.
    Photo courtesy of US Forest Service - Southern Region / Flickr

  • Colonial Williamsburg
    Williamsburg

    A visit to this unique living-history museum in Virginia is like stepping back in time. Across 300-plus acres, the museum encompasses an impressive selection of historical buildings, including reconstructed, re-created and restored buildings that paint a picture for life in Colonial Virginia, back when Williamsburg was the heart of the state. Guests can browse cultural and educational museums, play golf, go shopping and even relax in the spa in and around “Revolutionary City.” This is a destination like nowhere else.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / phakimata

We asked a panel of Virginia travel writers and photographers to nominate their favorite attractions in the state, and for the past four weeks, 10Best readers have been voting for their favorites.

The top 10 winners in the category Best Virginia Attraction are as follows:

  1. Colonial Williamsburg - Williamsburg
  2. Virginia Creeper Trail - Abingdon
  3. Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest
  4. Natural Bridge State Park - Natural Bridge
  5. Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge - Chincoteague Island
  6. Grayson Highlands State Park - Mouth of Wilson
  7. Appomattox Court House National Historical Park - Appomattox
  8. Thomas Jefferson's Monticello - Charlottesville
  9. George Washington's Mount Vernon - Mount Vernon
  10. Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Leonard M. Adkins (The Habitual Hiker), Ken Budd (650,000 Hours), Jason Frye, Gina Gallucci White, Charles McCool (McCoolTravel.com), Julie McCool (Fun in Fairfax VA) and Martha Steger were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of travel in Virginia.

Congratulations to all these winning attractions.

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Leonard M. Adkins

Leonard M. Adkins

Ken Budd

Ken Budd

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Gina Gallucci White

Charles McCool

Charles McCool

Julie McCool

Julie McCool

Martha Steger

Martha Steger