The steep ups and downs of the Appalachian Mountains are what Virginia wilderness lovers are looking for. At 1.8 million acres, the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest is the largest in the eastern United States. This massive forest is within a 2-hours reach of 10 million people and has ample size to accommodate hikers, hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts.
If you're up in a tall oak in a treestand or backpacking the more than 300 miles of the Appalachian trail, Virginia's national forest delivers amazing beauty for your excursion.
Virginia's Grayson Highlands in the state's Appalachian mountains is a must-do for backcountry backpackers. Hike through boulder fields to scenic mountain peaks standing over 5,000 feet in height. In Grayson’s valleys and mountain meadows, you are likely to catch a glimpse of wild ponies, descendants of Assateague and Chincoteague ponies. The United States Forest Service set these ponies free to munch on brush and control its growth on its thousands of acres of meadows.
Shenandoah National Park located in northern Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains is home to plentiful forests filled with birds and wildlife. Whitetail deer and black bear forage through this mostly forested park. Skyline Drive, Luray Falls and Whiteoak Canyon Falls are among Virginia's top attractions at this national park site.
Dip your paddle in the amber-colored, tannin-dyed water of the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, and you can canoe through 111,200 acres of dark flooded forests and lakes. This swamp and others all along the coastland are home to huge numbers of migratory birds and waterfowl. Steady ocean breezes push at your boat as you maneuver through hanging moss and flooded cypress to the perfect area to set up a blind. Pull up into wooded coves or head for more open waters to fish for crappie, yellow perch and pickerel. Spring is the best fishing season for crappie, and anglers routinely pull in a haul worthy of a friendly fish fry.
Virginias Atlantic coast brings sunrises, beaches and fresh seafood. On Tangier Island, you can look back towards the mainland and catch a sunset over Chesapeake Bay. Tangier Island is known for its soft shell crabs. Crab boats drift out into the bay and bring in blue crabs just after they molt their shells, by the thousands. On the island, the whole crab is battered and fried and eaten on a sandwich. These soft shell crabs are shipped all over the world.
With all of its natural beauty, it’s safe to say Virginia is for nature lovers.