5 of the Best Day Trips to Historical Places in Virginia

It’s no secret that the state of Virginia is full of history and central to the country’s past. When you visit Natural Bridge, all of that is right at your fingertips. From profound African American writers to Founding Fathers leaving their mark, here are our favorite day trips to historical places in Virginia.

Outside of our area’s rich history, there are countless other things to do and see! Access our free Natural Bridge Vacation Guide for a local’s perceptive on the best attractions, restaurants, and more.


Day Trips to Historical Places in Virginia

Natural Bridge and Natural Bridge Hotel & Conference Center

Location: Natural Bridge

The history of Natural Bridge and the Natural Bridge Hotel are tied together. In 1774, President Thomas Jefferson purchased 157 acres of land, including the Natural Bridge, from King George III of England for 20 shillings. Jefferson called the 30-story rock bridge “the most sublime of nature’s works” and surveyed the land himself. Natural Bridge quickly became a popular tourist attraction. During the 1880s, Colonel Henry Parsons owned the area as a resort. He built the first main hotel associated with Natural Bridge at our hotel’s current site, but it burnt down in 1963. In 1964, construction began on the present-day hotel and opened in 1965. Come experience the history for yourself and plan your stay at Natural Bridge Historic Hotel!

Stonewall Jackson House

Location: Lexington | Distance from hotel: 20 minutes

Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson was a Confederate general during the American Civil War who was shot and died as a result of complications from the injury. The preservation of the Stonewall Jackson House focuses on educating the public on his life as a professor, church leader, businessman, husband, and community leader before the war. Jackson lived in Lexington and taught at the Virginia Military Institute.

The Anne Spencer House & Garden Museum

Location: Lynchburg | Distance from hotel: 55 minutes

Anne Spencer was an important figure of the black literary and cultural movement of the 1920s. During her lifetime, she published more than 30 poems and was the second African American poet to be included in the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry. Much of her work focused on nature and was inspired by the garden in her home. Because she lived during segregation, she often sought refuge in her garden and the home she shared with her husband, Edward. He designed and built the house in 1903, and they lived there for 72 years. Today, The Anne Spencer House & Garden Museum is open to the public and celebrates and educates the life and work of Anne Spencer. We believe this is one of the most rewarding day trips to historical places in Virginia!

Swannanoa Palace

Location: Afton | Distance from hotel: 1 hour

Swannanoa Palace is perfect for a half-day getaway for fans of historic architecture and spooky stories. Featured on the show R.I.P. Files, Swannanoa Palace is a haunted estate in Afton, VA. James H. Dooley, a Civil War veteran and millionaire, owned this Italian Renaissance Revival mansion. It’s rumored to be a hot spot for ghost sightings, spectral orbs, disembodied voices, and more. Take a trip and see if you can witness any of these yourself!

Pocosin Mission

Location: Shenandoah National Forest | Distance from hotel: 1 hour and 35 minutes

Are you looking for a hiking trail and ghost town in one? Look no further than Shenandoah National Forest. This easy, two-and-a-half-mile hike winds through the abandoned ruins of Pocosin Mission. This location is not too far from the hotel, so it’s the perfect way to experience the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains while still enjoying comfortable elegance when you return.

Stay at a Historic HotelDeluxe King Room

After a day full of immersing yourself in the past, come back to a hotel with history running through its walls! We invite you to wake up each morning and head down to our Colonial DiningRoom for warm pancakes, savory bacon, and of course, hot coffee. Choose between one of four room types including our Main Inn Rooms, our Premium Second-Floor Balcony Rooms, our Guest Rooms on Cottage Hill, and our Veranda Rooms. Any overnight stay at the Natural Bridge Hotel also comes with access to our hotel amenities 

Check our availability to start planning your trip from Charlottesville, VA to Natural Bridge today!