10 Fun things to Do in Southwest Virginia
We know Southwest Virginia is a fun place to visit. We have a lot to offer from shopping, dining, and enjoying the great outdoors. Today, we wanted to share with you some great trip ideas you may not have thought of! Here’s our list of 10 fun things to do in Southwest Virginia!
1. Sugar Hollow Park, Bristol Virginia
Sugar Hollow is a nice little park and recreation area located just off I-81 in Bristol, Virginia. This park features bike trails, walking trails, camping options, playgrounds, and a sports complex. It’s not as tucked away as some of our other parks, in fact, it is easily accessible and has a lot to offer. Truly one of the most majestic portions of this park is a forest of perfectly lined trees. It’s truly a sight to see and a great perfect photo opportunity. More information on the park can be found here: Sugar Hollow Park
2. See the Murals across Small Towns
If you are a fan of art and history, Southwest Virginia is full of both! One way you can enjoy the two together is by checking out murals in small towns all across the region. These murals were painted by local artists and they tell the stories and history of the towns they are located in. Each mural has its own story to tell and it’s own artistic style in which it was created. A few locations which have some great murals to check out include:
- St. Paul
- and many more
3. Saltville, Virginia lookout point & Tumbling Creek
Saltville, Virginia is known for is vast salt production since the 1780s. Salt isn’t the only thing the local community has to offer, it also has some scenic outdoor locations you might also enjoy. The first stop is the Highway 107 lookout point coming into Saltville from the neighboring community, Chilhowie, Virginia. This lookout point will give you a fantastic view of the entire town. This lookout is a great photo opportunity and gives you a great insight into the landscape of the region.
After heading into town and perhaps grabbing a bite to eat, it’s time to head out into the wilderness. Tumbling Creek is a slight drive outside of town limits, but it is a great outdoor location to visit, especially if you enjoy trout fishing. Tumbling Creek is a part of the Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area. Along the road to Tumbling Creek, you’ll encounter beautiful landscapes, wildlife, and river beds. The gravel road does get a little narrow in parts, therefore it’s important to stay safe and cautious.
4. Whites Mill, Abingdon, Virginia
Historic Whites Mill in Abingdon is a Grist Mill that will take you a step back in time. The mill has served the community since the 18th century and still to this day provides grits and cornmeal. The mill was purchased in 2001 and began renovations and a complete makeover to preserve its use and history. The grounds also feature a Merchantile which sells goods such as art, fabric, music, and more. Just a few miles outside of Abingdon town limits, Whites Mill is a great little destination to visit. To find out more about Whites Mill and Merchantile, you can visit their website to find out about upcoming events and products for sale.
5. Spot the LOVE Signs
“Love lives here” as a park of Virginia is for Lovers “Love Works” campaign is a great addition not only to Southwest Virginia but the state as a whole. Love works showcases “Love” signs in locations all over the state. These signs and paintings are created and commissioned by artists, towns, businesses, and communities. They are each unique, a great sight to see and make for great photo opportunities. We think of the LOVE signs like a scavenger hunt and try to see how many we can find and take pictures with! To learn more about Love Works and this fantastic art project, you can find out more from Virginia is for Lovers.
6. Historic Markers around Southwest Virginia
Virginia is known for its deep roots in history books. Virginia was one of the original 13 colonies to the new world and was also the 10th state admitted into the Union. Throughout Southwest Virginia, you can still see to this day our rooted history from colonial days (Abingdon, Virginia), Civil War times (Saltville, Virginia), and all the way to modern-day restoration and living history. Our historic markers help tell the story of Virginia’s history from its origins, music and cultural heritage, food, and just about any more history your heart desires. To find out about more specific markers and types of Southwest Virginia history, be sure to stop by a travel or tourist information center.
7. Sinking Springs Cemetery, Abingdon, Virginia
For old-style cemetery visitors, Sinking Springs is full of history. The cemetery was established for members of the Sinking Springs Presbyterian Church. It was originally settled in 1773, where church members built a small log church house on the 11 acres of land. The cemetery contains over 200 years’ worth of history from Washington County. On the opposite side of the road, you will find burial sites for people of color who lived in Washington County during the time. Today, both cemeteries are owned by the Town of Abingdon, Virginia.
8. Hidden Valley Lake
Hidden Valley Wildlife Management Area is located in Washington County and borders Russell County, Virginia. A smaller lake area than neighboring South Holston Lake, Hidden Valley has a certain peace you won’t find anywhere else. The area has a beautiful lake area, trails, and houses many great fishing opportunities. The views heading back down the mountain towards Route 19 are simply stunning as well. Hidden Valley Lake is maintained by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and does require an access permit under certain conditions. For more information on Hidden Valley Lake, please visit the VDGIF website.
9. Drive-in Movie Theatre, Marion, Virginia
Built-in 1954, Park Place Drive-In still operates today! Re-opened and updated in 2000, the drive-in features movies, putt-putt golf, snacks, games, and ice cream. Park Place is a great option if you’re looking for an old-time way to enjoy movies. The drive-in is located inside of Marion, Virginia, and only about a five-minute drive from Hungry Mother State Park which offers a lot of great camping and outdoor options. For more information on the Drive-In, be sure to check out their website Park Place Drive-In.
10. Stand in two states at once, Bristol, Virginia / Tennessee
They say it’s impossible to be in two places at once, but not if you’re on State Street in Bristol! Right down the middle of the historic State Street in Bristol is a line between the Virginia and Tennessee borders. Each side of the street is full of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Bristol is also home to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion. If you’re a fan of good food, local products, breweries, and quality entertainment, Bristol just might be the place for you. If you would like to learn more about Bristol’s downtown you can visit: Believe in Bristol