Planning a weekend family fun day this spring? Living in Central Virginia means you’re never far from the mountains, state parks, historic sites, lakes and creeks, and many other getaway possibilities.
Here are our top picks for staycations and day trips in and near Lynchburg as well as some favorite road trip destinations for spring 2024. Spring break comes early in 2024 for students in Lynchburg area schools since Easter is celebrated this year on March 31.
Click on each link for more information.
Lynchburg Area Staycations
10 Lynchburg Area Places to Spring Into Outdoor Fun with Your Family – Get outside and play together! Eat breakfast or lunch at home, then enjoy a half-day getaway close to home. Fresh air, sunshine, and family fun. What more could anyone want!
10 Reasons to Enjoy a Virginia State Park Staycation in 2024 – With 42 Virginia State Parks across Virginia, there’s something for everyone! North, south, east, or west, there’s a Virginia State Park for your family to explore. Enjoy hiking and biking, history and nature, greenways and waterways. Stay in a cabin, camp in a tent or RV, or make it a day trip!
10 Things to Do at Percival’s Island – Percival’s Island is close to home and a great place for a family hike or bike ride!
Springtime in Central Virginia: Spring Gardens to Explore – Here are some beautiful places to Find Your Family Fun® during springtime in the Lynchburg area!
10 Family Picnic Sites in Lynchburg and Central Virginia – Gather up bikes, balls, bubbles, and other outdoor playthings; pack a picnic lunch, load up the kids, and head to one of our family’s top 10 picnic sites. It doesn’t get any easier!
Lynchburg Area Spring Hikes – Enjoy nature and get outdoors on a spring hike with the fam! Hiking is a great way to spend family time outdoors enjoying nature in any season. Spring hiking offers the opportunity to see spring flowers along the way. You’ll also enjoy cooler temperatures than later in the year.
5 Water Holes in the Lynchburg Area for Kids to Splash In! – Check out these five Lynchburg area spots where your family can cool off and Find Your Family Fun® on summery spring days!
Close to Home Day Trips
Mill Mountain Zoo in Roanoke and Virginia Safari Park (a drive-thru adventure) in Natural Bridge are both about an hour away. Visit the animals and let the kids see nature close-up. You can even feed the animals from your vehicle at Virginia Safari Park!
Learn about our country’s history at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park in Appomattox or the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford. If you want to stay closer to home, take a walking or driving tour of historic sites in Lynchburg.
Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a day trip to the Peaks of Otter near Bedford. Take a stroll around the lake on the Lake Trail or head across the road and take a short hike to Johnson’s Farm.
Drive to Crabtree Falls in Nelson County and hike up to the waterfalls. A short hike from the parking area brings you to the first viewing area. Allow a couple of hours or more if you plan to hike the entire 2.5-mile loop.
If you kids like hiking in the woods, head to the Appalachian Trail for an exciting family adventure. Hiking a short section of the 2,190+ mile AT will bring you face-to-face with nature. The AT stretches from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. With nearly one-quarter of the AT’s miles located in Virginia, there are many AT access points within an hour’s drive. Some of our favorite spots to jump on the AT are: James River Foot Bridge off Route 501 near Big Island, Tye River parking lot on Route 56 in Montebello, Thunder Ridge Overlook off the Blue Ridge Parkway, and multiple parking areas on the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive.
Center in the Square, located at One Market Square SE in downtown Roanoke, houses several aquariums, multiple museums and a theatre within a single building. The museums include: Roanoke Pinball Museum, Roanoke STARCADE, Harrison Museum of African American Culture, History Museum of Western Virginia/O Winston Link Museum, Kids Square, and the Science Museum of Western Virginia with butterfly garden. Hours of operation vary and some museums also offer Sunday hours. Visit one museum or purchase Center Passes to enjoy the entire Center in the Square experience. Check the website for ticket pricing.
Head to Smith Mountain Lake State Park, located about an hour from Lynchburg at 1235 State Park Road in Huddleston. Smith Mountain Lake State Park is very popular with local families all year round. There are 13 hiking trails, ranging from half a mile to three miles long, including family favorites Turtle Island Trail and Lakeview Trail, both with great views of the lake. The swimming beach is open seasonally from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. The fishing is great at Smith Mountain Lake and the water is perfect for boating too.
Visit Natural Bridge State Park, located about an hour from Lynchburg at 6477 South Lee Highway in Natural Bridge. The 215-foot tall Natural Bridge was once owned by Thomas Jefferson and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are more than 10 miles of hiking trails in the park, including the accessible Cedar Creek Trail that leads from the bridge to the Monacan Indian Village and Lace Falls with its 30-foot cascade.
If your family enjoys biking on the Blackwater Creek Bikeway, you’ll really love High Bridge Trail State Park. The former rail bed is 31 miles long and is wide, level and mostly flat — perfect for kids of all ages. Kids will love the High Bridge, which is more than 2,400 feet long and 125 feet above the Appomattox River. It’s the longest recreational bridge in Virginia and is among the longest in the United States. High Bridge, a Virginia Historic Landmark, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Danville Science Center, located at 677 Craghead Street in Danville, is open Wednesday through Sunday. There are many hands-on and interactive exhibits to teach kids more about science in a fun way. The Digital Dome offers a way to see the stars, travel underwater, and explore the universe on the big screen, while the Creativity Lab offers hands-on activities geared to children ages 8-13.
The Frontier Culture Museum, located in Staunton, is open daily. The outdoor museum includes Old World exhibits to experience farm life in the 1600s and 1700s in England, Ireland, Germany, and West Africa. There are also American exhibits, ranging from American Indians through the mid-1800s. Kids under 6 years are free and school-age kids receive discounted admission. Kids and adults can learn a lot about the history of thousands of people who migrated to Colonial America at the Frontier Culture Museum.
Hit the Road Trips
Metro Richmond Zoo, located at 8300 Beaver Bridge Road in Moseley, is open Monday through Saturday year round, except major holidays. This family-friendly zoo is easy to walk and has a large variety of animals, including penguins, tigers, cheetahs, chimpanzees, giraffes, zebras, and many others. Metro Richmond Zoo is about an hour and a half from Lynchburg.
Greensboro Science Center is located at 4301 Lawndale Drive in Greensboro, NC. You can enjoy an outdoor zoo, aquarium, and lots of interactive exhibits all in one place at Greensboro Science Center. There’s also a fun old school carousel to ride, shows in the OmniSphere Theater and Adventure Theater, and more. There’s also FLYWAY zipline and SKYWILD ropes and adventure course, both for ages 8 and older participants in good health, and both require additional fees. Greensboro Science Center is open year-round from 9 AM – 5 PM daily and closed on major holidays.
Kings Dominion, located at 16000 Theme Park Way in Doswell, is closed from early September through early March; open weekends only in late March, April, and early May; open daily from Memorial Day through mid-August; and weekends only from mid-August through early September. There are rides to suit every personality, from thrilling roller coasters to rides for the littles in the Planet Snoopy area. Soak City Waterpark is open from late May until mid-August.
Colonial Williamsburg, located halfway between Richmond and Norfolk, is about three hours from Lynchburg. You and your family can explore the history of Virginia in the 300 acres that make up Colonial Williamsburg, which is open daily year round. There’s a lot to see and many hands-on activities for the kids. Start your visit at the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center, located at 101 Visitor Center Drive in Williamsburg.
Busch Gardens, located at 1 Busch Gardens Boulevard in Williamsburg, is open weekends and some weekdays during the off-season and daily from mid-May through Labor Day weekend. Busch Gardens is also open daily during Thanksgiving week and the month of December. There are rides of all types, including many kid-friendly rides. The littles will love the Sesame Street Forest of Fun and Land of the Dragons areas. There are also many shows to enjoy.
Gather the family and head to Historic Jamestown. Although it’s only a few hours from Lynchburg, you’ll feel you’ve stepped back in time when you arrive. Explore the history of the Jamestown Settlement and learn about early America with your family. There are lots of hands-on learning activities for kids. Jamestown was founded in 1607. Your kids will love boarding replicas of the three ships that sailed from England to Virginia. You can also explore in the life-size recreations of the colonists’ fort and a Powhatan village. Historic Virginia comes to live at Jamestown.
North Carolina Zoo, located at 4401 Zoo Parkway in Asheboro, NC, is open daily year round, except Thanksgiving and Christmas. The zoo is home to animals from A to Z, including elephants, lions, cougars, giraffes, polar bears, rhinoceros, zebras, and many others. North Carolina Zoo is about two and a half hours from Lynchburg.
Take a trip to Washington, DC and visit the monuments, museums and memorials. With lots of memorials and museums from which to choose, there’s something that will please everyone in the family. When kids see these famous memorials for the first time, the looks on their faces are priceless. The Lincoln Memorial is a favorite of many children. The words of the Gettysburg Address and other famous speeches are engraved on the inner walls of the memorial. Everyone in the family will want to pose in front of the statue of President Lincoln. Favorite kids’ museums include the Natural History Museum and the Air and Space Museum. The Metro is the best way to get around in Washington DC. Your kids will quickly learn to follow the stops using metro guide maps.
Head to Virginia Beach, Myrtle Beach, or the Outer Banks for a beach getaway week or long weekend. The sun, the waves, the memories! Take a morning walk on the beach gathering seashells. Watch the sunrise each morning. Bring bikes and go exploring. Be sure to pick up souvenirs for your landlocked friends.
Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida is the ultimate spring break vacation for some families. The Magic Kingdom is truly magical and there are many other parks that are a part of Walt Disney World. Whether you like fast rides, exciting shows, or a stroll down Main Street to the beauty of Cinderella’s Castle, there’s something for everyone. You’ll feel like a little kid yourself as you enjoy the perfect world that is Disney. Enjoy favorite classics like Dumbo the Flying Elephant, It’s a Small World, the Mad Tea Party and Space Mountain. After dark, kids of all ages will love the fireworks and light show on Main Street, U.S.A. Disney World is one of America’s favorite vacation destinations. If you’re planning a trip to WDW, there are travel agents who know the ins and outs. You can also find a lot of helpful information in Facebook WDW groups.
Head to Gatlinburg TN for a Great Smoky Mountains getaway. With many places to stay within a short walk of the tourist area, there’s a lot to see and do. You’ll find an excellent aquarium, mini golf and mountain coasters, museums and arcades, and many other attractions for families to enjoy, right on the Parkway. If you enjoy heights and views, plan a visit to Gatlinburg Skylift Park while you’re there. The Gatlinburg SkyBridge is 680 feet long and the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America.
Spring Break is just around the corner. Plan ahead now and be sure to have an indoor backup plan in case it rains.
Plan ahead now for outdoor springtime family time in Lynchburg and beyond! 10 Lynchburg Area Places to Spring Into Outdoor Fun with Your Family
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