If you are looking for stunning natural beauty, Southwest Virginia is a place where peace and tranquility come in dramatic form, from the highest mountain peaks in Virginia to the most diverse river ecosystem in all of America. For early explorers and hunters, scenic Southwest Virginia was a peaceful and fertile land, rich with game and ripe for settlement. For Shawnee and Cherokee Native American tribes, it was a hunting ground. You can gain a new appreciation of America’s beginnings on the first frontier of Southwest Virginia. Glimpse the past along roadsides and byways, see costumed interpreters, craftspeople and musicians bring recreated forts, farms, settlements and blockhouses to life. And trace the struggles that defined a nation.
Whether taking scenic drives to view the Fall color, following Daniel Boone’s footsteps along the Wilderness Road, or simply fishing, floating or paddling on a meandering river, time spent in the region adds up to something much more than a simple getaway.
Let the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center and Marketplace be your gateway to the region! At the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center and Marketplace you can see the work of regional artisans and musicians and find out about Southwest Virginia’s history, heritage, outdoor recreation and scenic beauty via stories and first-person narratives.
But it’s much more than a visitor and sales center. It’s the keystone in our effort to build a regional economy focused on our cultural heritage and natural beauty. We’re revitalizing downtowns as cultural centers and developing historic sites and outdoor recreation opportunities throughout the region. Artisan studios, cafes, coffee shops, restaurants, music venues and outfitters spring up nearby to enrich the experience of both visitors and the folks who make their home here. We’re making sure the world knows what a special place this is – and providing the tools to plan a vacation – or a lifetime.
The Blue Ridge Parkway, America’s Favorite Drive, winds its way at a sedate 45 miles per hour along the crest of the Blue Ridge, with spectacular mountain views and overlooks. Stay at Rocky Knob campground and hike the nearby Rock Castle Gorge Trail. Get a taste for history at Mabry Mill, and learn about America’s roots music at the Blue Ridge Music Center.
Nearby are opportunities to explore nature, play disc golf, take a long hike, get in a little fishing. Each spring, the Mount Rogers Naturalist Rally brings speakers and guided walks to celebrate the flora and fauna of the region, and nearby Primland Resort provides recreation opportunities of every kind.
In spring, dogwood and redbud line the roads followed by rhododendron and wildflowers galore. In October, the trees flame with autumn color, and winter reveals a palette of grays and bare branches.
A visit to the region, also known for its hospitality and incredible craftspeople, will make you feel like you’re already home, and maybe you are… it’s another side of Virginia and it’s an incredible place to spend a lifetime!