Exploring the Scenic Drive Routes in Virginia for Car Enthusiasts
Virginia, also known as the “Old Dominion,” is not only rich in history and natural beauty but also offers a plethora of scenic drives that will enthrall car enthusiasts. From winding mountain roads to coastal highways, the state provides a diverse range of landscapes to explore. So buckle up and get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure through some of the most picturesque routes in Virginia.
Skyline Drive – A Journey through the Blue Ridge Mountains
The Skyline Drive, located in the Shenandoah National Park, is a must-visit for any car enthusiast seeking breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This iconic 105-mile drive runs along the ridge of the mountains and offers stunning vistas, lush forests, and abundant wildlife.
Starting at Front Royal, Virginia, the northern entrance of the Skyline Drive, you’ll wind your way south through the park. Along the route, there are numerous overlooks where you can stop to admire the panoramic vistas and take memorable photographs. Be sure to keep an eye out for black bears, deer, and other wildlife that call the park home.
As you drive, the road twists and turns, providing a thrilling experience for those who enjoy the thrill of a winding mountain road. The speed limit is a leisurely 35 mph, allowing you to soak in the scenery at a leisurely pace. Autumn is a particularly enchanting time to visit, as the foliage transforms into a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors.
After a leisurely drive, you can end your journey at the southern entrance of the park in Waynesboro, Virginia. From there, you can explore the nearby town or continue your adventure by exploring other scenic routes in the area.
The Blue Ridge Parkway – A Serene Drive through Virginia’s Countryside
If you’re looking for a longer scenic drive, the Blue Ridge Parkway is the perfect choice. Spanning 469 miles and connecting the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, this drive offers a serene journey through the heart of Virginia’s countryside.
Starting at the northernmost point of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Afton, Virginia, you’ll wind your way south, passing through charming towns, rolling farmland, and majestic mountain ranges. The speed limit is a comfortable 45 mph, allowing you to relax and enjoy the picturesque surroundings.
One of the highlights of this drive is the opportunity to visit the James River Visitor Center, located at milepost 63.6. Here, you can learn about the history and significance of the James River, as well as enjoy scenic views of the river and surrounding landscape.
As you continue your journey, make a stop at Mabry Mill, located at milepost 176. This historic mill is a popular attraction along the Blue Ridge Parkway and offers a glimpse into the region’s past. Explore the mill and surrounding grounds, and if you visit during the fall, you’ll be treated to a stunning display of autumn colors.
Further along the route, you’ll reach the Peaks of Otter, located at milepost 86. This area offers hiking trails, picnic spots, and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Take a break from driving and stretch your legs as you explore the natural beauty of this picturesque spot.
Continuing south, you’ll pass through the Blue Ridge Music Center at milepost 213. This center celebrates the rich musical heritage of the region and hosts live performances, exhibits, and educational programs. Immerse yourself in the sounds of traditional Appalachian music and learn about its cultural significance.
Finally, as you approach the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, you’ll reach the Virginia-North Carolina border, where you can either conclude your journey or continue on to explore the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The Coastal Virginia Loop – A Scenic Drive Along the Atlantic
For car enthusiasts who enjoy the coastal breeze and stunning ocean views, the Coastal Virginia Loop is an ideal choice. This scenic drive takes you along the Atlantic coastline, passing through charming coastal towns, wildlife refuges, and pristine beaches.
Starting in Virginia Beach, you’ll head north towards the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, a remarkable feat of engineering that connects the Eastern Shore of Virginia to the mainland. As you cross the bridge-tunnel, take in the panoramic views of the Chesapeake Bay and enjoy the thrill of driving over the water.
Once on the Eastern Shore, continue your journey along Route 13, also known as the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Scenic Byway. This route takes you through quaint towns like Cape Charles and Onancock, where you can explore charming Main Streets and sample fresh seafood at local restaurants.
As you drive along the Eastern Shore, make a stop at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge is home to a variety of wildlife, including the famous Chincoteague ponies. Take a drive along the Wildlife Loop, where you may spot ponies grazing in the marshes or catch a glimpse of migrating birds.
Continuing south, you’ll reach the scenic Assateague Island National Seashore. This barrier island is known for its pristine beaches, wild ponies, and abundant birdlife. Take some time to explore the island, go for a swim, or simply relax and enjoy the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean.
After soaking up the coastal vibes of Assateague Island, head back towards the mainland and make your way south along Route 13. As you approach the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, be sure to make a stop at the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge offers excellent birdwatching opportunities and scenic trails where you can stretch your legs and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
Finally, cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel once again and return to Virginia Beach, where you can conclude your journey or continue exploring the vibrant beach town.
Virginia’s scenic drive routes offer a wealth of opportunities for car enthusiasts to explore the state’s natural beauty and diverse landscapes. Whether you prefer the winding mountain roads of the Skyline Drive, the serene countryside views of the Blue Ridge Parkway, or the coastal beauty of the Coastal Virginia Loop, each route promises an unforgettable adventure. So fuel up your car, grab your camera, and get ready to embark on a scenic drive through the Old Dominion.