Virginia, one of America’s most well-known and historic states, isn’t typically considered one of the nation’s “must visit” places. But that doesn’t mean that the state doesn’t have much to offer – you just have to know what to look for. If you ever find yourself visiting to or traveling through Virginia, check out some of our favorite unusual sites and landmarks before you leave.
Located deep in the Appalachian Mountains is a 300 yard long natural tunnel that has been used by trains for more than 100 years. The tunnel isn’t always open for visitors, but if you go on Railroad Day, the state allows the public to explore the beautiful site and see the natural wonder up close. Hiking and swimming are also popular activities to do in the area.
After seeing a local mini-golf course with a prehistoric theme in the 1960s, the owner of what is now called Dinosaurland was inspired to create his own dinosaur themed gift shop. Over the course of the next 40 years, Dinosaurland has become a Virginia roadside treasure and a must-visit for anyone traveling through the state. Who wouldn’t want to see more than 50 awe-inspiring dinosaur statues on the side of the road?
If you are at all interested in cemetaries, you owe it to yourself to visit Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. Opening in 1849, Hollywood Cemetery is the final resting place of U.S. Presidents James Monroe and John Tyler, in addition to about 18,000 confederate soldiers. If you end up visiting, keep an eye out for a haunted, man-like creature that was first spotted in 1929 covered in blood, heading into the mausoleum.
If you don’t have the funds or interest to visit Egypt, the Egyptian Building in Virginia is a great place to tour through. Built during America’s interest in revival Egyptian architecture, the building features detailed doors, windows and mosaic tiles. Seeing authentic, Egyptian-inspired architecture does not have to break the bank – this building is cheaper to visit than Egypt while staying true to the characteristics that make up ancient Egyptian buildings.
Built in 1773 in Williamsburg, Eastern State Hospital was the country’s first public mental health facility. However, that doesn’t mean that the treatment that went on was ethical or effective. Before Dr. John Galt changed the hospital for the better and treated patients with respect, many slaves were subjected to awful treatments like electrocution. What’s left of the original building is a great place to visit if you want to learn some of our nation’s earliest health history, and serves as a stark reminder of how far we’ve progressed as a society.
Charlottesville is a city that anyone traveling through Virginia should stop through, but if you’re into literature or history, the Raven Room is a must-see. What was once Edgar Allen Poe’s personal dorm room and workspace in 1826 is now a mini-sanctuary for the author and a place where the secretive Raven Society inducts new members.
Just below the nation’s capital are miles of beautiful rolling countryside dotted with amazing sights and rich history. Here visitors can find everything from horse farms, vineyards, incredible restaurants, artist havens and excellent shopping.