By Yuhan Xu
Finally spring starts blooming. One of the best things to do in the springtime is to embrace the fresh outdoors by taking a scenic drive along the mountains, through the towns or by the sea. Luckily, we have them all in Virginia. We’ve mapped out three great spring drives—routes that offer gorgeous views and a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
In the Mountains
See the blooming trees and flowers color the mountains in green, pink, yellow. Meander through 105 miles of the Skyline Drive along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park. Roll down your windows, feel the breeze and experience every turn of this drive. There are 75 overlooks along the way offering stunning views of the Shenandoah Valley to the west or the rolling Piedmont to the east. The views are spectacular, especially during spring when the wildflowers are in bloom and the deer come out to graze in meadows and along roadsides. If you’re lucky, you may see black bears too! A continuation of the Skyline Drive, Blue Ridge Parkway runs along the Blue Ridge crest south to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. Along the way you’ll find cabins to stay overnight, restaurants, wineries, stores, hiking trails and visitors center.
Through the Towns
Take a break from city life and get a taste of life in historic towns by driving on the 23-mile Colonial National Parkway. One of the best, beautiful drives to enjoy, this national scenic byway connects Historic Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg and the Yorktown Battlefield. Free of any modern commercial development, the Parkway was designed to provide visitors experience of motoring through nearly 400 years of American colonial history. Traversing a diverse environment, the Parkway is a peaceful meander, giving you dramatic open vistas of the James and York rivers and tidal estuaries as well as shady passageways through pine and hardwood forests. Along the way, you’ll see Colonial Williamsburg, one of America’s best family destinations, as well as Historic Yorktown, which has a vibrant waterfront and historic homes. In addition, Jamestown’s attractions showcase the history of the earliest permanent English settlement in the New World along with the Virginia Indians who lived here long before.
The Colonial Parkway is a 23-mile scenic roadway; 148 miles from Fairfax.
- Historic Jamestown
- Jamestown Settlement
- Colonial Williamsburg
- Yorktown Battlefield
- Yorktown Victory Center
By the Sea
Why rush off to Key West when there’s a scenic drive here in Virginia where you can see the ocean? Over, under and through the sea, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is a 23-mile, open water drive across the deep blue Chesapeake Bay. The Tunnel connects the Virginia mainland at Virginia Beach near Norfolk with Virginia’s Eastern Shore. To drive across this award-winning engineering marvel and one of the seven man-made wonders of the world, start in either the Norfolk-Virginia Beach area going north, or Cape Charles, on the southern tip of Delmarva Peninsula, going south and follow U.S. Route 13 over a series of trestles, causeways, bridges and tunnels. Along the way, you can stop and enjoy views of the glistening Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. You can eat in a bayside restaurant, buy some gifts at the gift shop, or fish at the 625-foot fishing pier.
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is 23 miles long; Pay tolls; 201 miles from Fairfax
- Sea overlook
- Restaurant and gift shop