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A Virginia Colonial Tour

Total Mileage/Average drive time
241 miles, 4 hours, 26 minutes

More than 2,000 military incidents occurred throughout the state of Virginia during the Civil War. From Manassas in 1861 to Appomattox in 1865, Confederate and Union soldiers fought on the mountaintops to the sandy beaches. Look for the Civil War Trails signs as you travel.

1. Shenandoah National Park - Starting Point
The Shenandoah National Park rises above the Shenandoah Valley and the Virginia Piedmont. The park includes 300 square miles of the Blue Ridge Mountains and hardwood forests. The Shenandoah National Park provides visitors with spectacular views, over 500 miles of trails to hike, an opportunity to explore nature in-depth and some unusual wildlife. Scenic Skyline Drive winds along the rim of the Blue Ridge Mountains, offering breathtaking vistas and a true sense of America’s compelling history.

Recommended Stopover:
Harrisonburg/Shenandoah Valley KOA
Broadway, VA (540) 896-8929

2. Charlottesville - 44 miles, 1 hour, 6 minutes
Located at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville is steeped in colonial-era history, and the spirit of Thomas Jefferson, which seems to linger here. Walk in Jefferson’s footsteps as you explore his distinctive mountaintop home, Monticello. It was a new type of architecture for a new nation, both constructed, in part, by Jefferson. Monticello was Jefferson’s true home, where he developed different approaches to agriculture, science and industry, yet always found solace in his gardens.

3. Ashland - 74 miles, 1 hour, 11 minutes
The history of war runs deep here. Ashland is in one of the most fought-over counties in the U.S. Civil War. Reflect on its cultural history and the two major Civil War battles fought here, including the Battle of Ashland at the Ashland Historical Museum. Then, head to Richmond, capital of the Confederate States of America from May 1861 to April 1865. Walk the numerous Civil War battlefields, visit the Confederate White House, and tour the American Civil War Museum, the country’s first museum to explain the Civil War from Union, Confederate and African American points of view.

4. Williamsburg - 63 miles, 1 hour, 3 minutes
History really does come to life in Colonial Williamsburg, with its new, multigenerational look at Colonial life and the American Revolution. Roving theater performers re-enact key episodes of Colonial history, exploring the causes, the characters, and the consequences of their actions. Visitors follow along, watching these momentous events unfold, as they happened in the 18th century. It's entertaining but authentic history for the 21st-century history lover.

5. Virginia Beach - 59 miles, 1 hour, 7 minutes
Walk in the footsteps of the 100 English settlers who landed here in 1607 and established the first elective government in the New World. Probe into the past at area museums, plantations, and historical sites, including Historic St Luke’s Church, the oldest English-built church in America, and the Adam Thoroughgood House, one of the oldest surviving Colonial homes in the area. Or explore the Ferry Plantation, where a ferry service originated in the 1640s and a witch was tried and convicted in 1706. The past and the present walk hand-in-hand in Virginia Beach.

Recommended Stopover:
Cherrystone Family Camping Resort
Cheriton, VA (757) 331-3063