Exploring WanderLOVE Destination, Marion Virginia

Exploring WanderLOVE Destination, Marion Virginia

Adventure is the destination. WanderLove is about reconnecting with what you love: the quaint small towns, the calming waterside views, and the winding roads in between. Plan your next road trip at visitesva.com.

Today we are taking you to Marion, Virginia to learn about all the possibilities and fun things to see and do!

*Please note some locations may have different hours/operations due to COVID 19. Please check with the locations for more information.

About Marion

Marion, Virginia is a small town located in Smyth County, Virginia. Marion has a population of just under 6,000 and is the county seat of Smyth County. The town is named after revolutionary war officer, Francis Marion. Marion is one of few towns designated as both a Virginia Main Street Community as well as a National Main Street Community. The town is located off I-81 and can be accessed by three exits 45, 47, and 50.

Marion is known for being the birthplace of Mountain Dew. The original formula of Mountain Dew was made in Knoxville, Tennessee, however, the flavor we all know and love today was revised by resident William H. “Bill” Jones. Due to the success of the revised formula, the Pepsi Corporation purchased the Tip Corporation in 1964. Marion also hosted the Mountain Dew Festival for more than 50 years.

Named “America’s Coolest Hometown”, Marion has a lot of fun things to offer including an annual chili cookoff, arts and crafts festival, drive-ins, and more.

Marion Events

Chili Cookoff

Image provided by Marion Virginia

The annual Marion, Virginia Chili Cookoff is a family-friendly, two-day event in Marion’s Downtown. The event kicks off on a Friday evening with a block party featuring live entertainment. It’s a great time to bring a lawn chair and enjoy music and dancing with friends and family.

The main day of the event takes place on Saturday and features multiple musicians, food and item vendors, a car show, and of course the chili cookoff! This is a great time to explore downtown Marion and enjoy the company of your family and friends.

Hungry Mother Arts and Crafts Festival

The annual Hungry Mother Arts and Crafts Festival is another big event to take part in. The festival typically runs during the same weekend as the Chili Cookoff. The event begins on Friday and runs through Sunday. The Arts and Crafts festival stretches across a large portion of Hungry Mother state park, where there is plenty to see and do.

The Arts and Crafts Festival features handmade arts and crafts, great food, music, and more.

Summer Cruise-in Series

Image provided by Marion Virginia

If you’re a fan of classic or collector cars, the summer cruise-in series may be what you’re looking for. The cruise-in happens every last Friday afternoon during the summer. Broad Street in downtown Marion gets shut down to feature various rides, music, and food.

Downtown Marion

Downtown Marion is full of shopping, dining, places to stay, and entertainment options. Rather you are just stopping by or are planning to stay, here are a few things you might want to try.


Sisters Cafe – great cafe and coffee shop – also with gifts for purchase

Wolfes BBQ – delicious local BBQ

The Wooden Pickle – classy dining with great foods locally sourced

Moondog – brick oven pizza, subs, salads

Waterlily Cafe – A casual farm to table dining experience

Macados – general dining with a menu of plentiful items

Dip Dog Stand – while not in downtown Marion, this staple just had to be mentioned!


Hester’s Country Store – great selection of local decor, souvenirs, food, and more

Past Time Antique Emporium – a selection of antiques and locally sourced goods

Downtown Resale Boutique – boutique clothing and finds from all through time

Blue Ridge Outfitters – outdoor and recreational gear and accessories

Laural Springs Farm and Store – local beef, meat, foods, and gifts

Just Believe Boutique – local boutique with great shopping options


Image provided by Marion Virginia

The Lincoln Theatre – beautiful Myan style theatre in downtown, host of Song of the Mountains

The Wayne Henderson School – home of crafts, art, music, and Wayne Henderson luthier workshop

Park Place Drive-in – drive-in movie theatre with games, ice cream, and family fun

Origin Escape Games – fairly new escape game business


General Francis Marion Hotel – a beautiful historic hotel located in downtown

Outdoor Recreation

  • Hungry Mother State Park – one of many State Parks located in Southwest Virginia. Hungry Mother offers campsites, fishing, boating, hiking & biking, and fresh outdoor air. We also made a fun little virtual visit video at Hunger Mother, which you can view here!

  • Back of the Dragon – this roadway boasts a 32-mile scenic winding road from Hungry Mother to Tazewell, Virginia. This road is well sought after by car enthusiasts, motorcyclists, and photographers.

Nearby Locations