While winter means less time outside (especially during COVID-19), it doesn't mean all of Virginia's scenic beauty is gone! Winter brings some incredible sights you won't find at any other time of the year, from uninterrupted views made possible by bare tree lines and awe-inspiring frozen waterfalls to coastal towns where the cold air brings clear sunrises every morning and the off-season beaches offer inviting loneliness.
If you need some inspiration for some of Virginia & # 39; s truly Instagrammable winter destinations, read on and plan a few weekend trips to explore some of the most beautiful spots in the Commonwealth this winter.
Crabtree Falls – Montebello
Photo Credit: Beth-Anne Norman Driskill, IG Account: @thecabinsatcrabtreefalls
Hikes to the Virginia Falls take on a magical atmosphere during the winter months, as some parts of the flowing water freeze into sheets of sparkling ice. One such spot is Crabtree Falls, the tallest vertical drop waterfall east of the Mississippi River. Prepare for chilly temperatures by bundling up for the 3-mile hike, but on the plus side, the cooler weather means less traffic on the trails.
Beverley Street – Staunton
Photo Credit: Warren Faught
Nestled in the Shenandoah Valley and cradled by the Blue Ridge Mountains, Staunton is the perfect base camp location for outdoor enthusiasts all year round, but the city's historic streets are another charming draw for visitors in the winter months. The buildings along Beverley Street offer examples of stunning architectural styles, while quaint local shops and restaurants offer unique shops and eateries. During the holiday season, the city streets are adorned with festive lights and garlands, creating a scene straight out of a classic holiday movie.
The Roanoke Star – Roanoke
Photo Credit: Creative Dog Media, IG Account: @creativedogmedia
Perched atop Mill Mountain, the views from the Roanoke Star are breathtaking all year round, but the winter months mean clearer skies and the lack of vegetation allows for sweeping views of the city. After seeing the sights from the star, hit the Blue Ridge Parkway for even more epic vantage points.
Photo Credit: Cameron Davidson
Skyline Drive is one of the most popular routes in Virginia during the spring, summer, and especially fall, but in the winter this scenic mountain route is much less frequented, giving you time to cruise the winding roads at your leisure. pace. Along the way, you'll get clear views over the leafless trees and see frozen springs covering the mountain's natural waterways. In the evening, the clear skies of the surrounding Shenandoah National Park are great for star gazing.
Luray Caverns – Luray
East America's largest and most popular cave system, Luray Caverns maintains a constant temperature of 54 degrees all year round, making it an excellent winter vacation destination. The town of Luray is also known as the & # 39; Cabin Capital of Virginia & # 39; so whether you're looking for a luxury lodge, cozy cabin for two, or a rustic getaway, Luray has dozens of cabins to suit your needs meet. Want to explore some of Virginia's other caves? There are eight unique cave systems in the Southwest and Shenandoah regions, providing temperate and awe-inspiring destinations for the winter months.
Alexandria old city
Photo Credit: Sam Kittner for Visit Alexandria
Between Christmas decorations and plenty of restaurants and cafes to stop for a nice hot cup of cocoa and some delicious seasonal treats, Old Town Alexandria's historic charm shines during the winter months. Don't miss a stroll down King Street, lined with over 200 boutiques and restaurants, all the way to the open-air public art exhibits along the Potomac River waterfront.
The Boardwalk – Virginia Beach
Photo Credit: Darren Seay
The only remaining covered humpback bridge in the United States, Humpback Bridge has become an iconic Virginia destination, but when you catch it after a fresh winter snow, the bridge is absolutely magical. In addition to this unique wooden structure, the Humpback Bridge LOVEwork along the banks of the river makes for an excellent photo opportunity, especially when decorated for the holidays. While this is a popular LOVE work, there are now over 200 LOVE works in the state, many of which are adorned with festive garlands, lights, and seasonal finishes.
Sandy River Outdoor Adventure Resort – Farmville
Southwest Virginia "Park has everything you could want from a beautiful winter scene: mountain walks through evergreen trees to some of the highest points in the state, the chance to see wild ponies grazing in untamed meadows and rock outcroppings that create a offer open views of both the rolling countryside, winter evenings give campers the chance to gaze at the night sky, and with towns and villages miles away, the stargazing opportunities are among the best in Virginia.
Colonial Williamsburg – Williamsburg
Virginia is known for its rich and storied history, and for visitors wanting to explore these historic sites, Colonial Williamsburg is a must. In winter, walk through the historic district to spot a colonial-era holiday decor such as a fresh garland and wreaths adorned with fruit. You can also participate in seasonal activities such as sipping a steaming cup of hot chocolate from the colonial taverns to ice skating at the Liberty Ice Pavilion.
The Omni Homestead Resort – Hot Springs
Photo credit: The Omni Homestead Resort
If luxury is on your list this winter, book a stay at the Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, where you can ski, ice-skate and relax in their world-class spa. The ski slopes are known for being very family-friendly, so bring the kids for a winter holiday in the mountains.
Shadow Mountain Escape – Luray
Photo Credit: Karen Riddle
We can't think of a better winter retreat than staying in a cozy mountain cabin, and the cabins at Shadow Mountain Escape in Luray are a great option for couples looking for a romantic getaway. These luxury cabins are located just 3 miles from the entrance to Shenandoah National Park and there are multiple wineries nearby. Spend an afternoon conquering a scenic hike through the mountains, then reward yourself with a wine tasting at a nearby vineyard. Each cabin comes with a wood-burning stove or fireplace, so after a day in the cold winter temperatures, warm up in front of a roaring fire (hopefully with a bottle of Virginia wine picked up on your getaway!).
Wintergreen Resort – Wintergreen
Photo Credit: Sam Dean, IG Account: @sdeanphotos
For some snow fun, head to one of four Virginia winter resorts, such as Wintergreen Resort in Nelson County. Fly down the slopes on skis, snowboards or tubes, where you can fill your adrenaline while also getting a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains under a blanket of soft snow. In addition to winter sports, Wintergreen has an indoor pool, full-service spa and several on-site dining options, and accommodations range from doubles to chalets for up to 18 people. The resort has also implemented extensive cleaning and security measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
These are just a few of the countless scenic winter destinations in Virginia; tell us where are your favorite places to take stunning Instagram-worthy winter photos in Virginia?