Two summers ago, my husband and I rented a 38’ recreational vehicle, loaded the then 9 and 13 year old kiddos into it and headed out for a “let’s see western Virginia” vacation. We had never “RV’d” before, or to be honest, even really camped that much, but we embraced it like we were card-carrying members of The Happy Camper Club (which we were not and in hindsight probably would have saved us some money).
We were in over our heads as my husband Matt, who drives a Prius in real life, pulled the RV with its “Bigger is better” gigantic decal on the back (not kidding) out of the RV rental lot. As we approached the highway, the kids were rolling around on the master bed in the back, while the food and supplies I had put away began attacking. Who knew that RV cabinets need to “catch” in a certain “only true RV’ers would know” sort of way as you close them to actually contain your canned goods?
I could go on about the RV experience; for now, I want to say that my family learned two important things on that trip: 1) We could survive with one kitchen knife, which we affectionately called “Knife” for 10 days, no problem, and 2) there are so many nice mini vacation spots in Virginia.
This summer, particularly if you don’t have a big vacation planned, consider planning a one or two night stay at one or more of the following places in western Virginia:
Getting off the Grid
Located off Route 56 in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Montebello was the only location on our RV adventure where nothing wireless worked. It was heaven. We were “off the grid” for two days and more relaxed than I can remember. We did two fun things while there – hiked (not hard) Crabtree Falls which is the highest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi and rode horses. Both were fantastic excursions. We stayed at the Montebello Camping and Fishing Resort and rode horses through Appalachian Horse Adventures.
We also visited Natural Bridge and Luray Caverns in our home on wheels. These two gems are about an hour and a half apart, so we did both in one day. The next day, we took in some other area sites the best of which was the Virginia Safari Park in Natural Bridge.
This 180-acre attraction provides “up close and personal” views of wild animals from 6 continents – giraffe, zebra, emu, ostrich, and more. These are friendly wild animals that spend their days roaming the grounds and happily sticking their heads in your car window for a snack (bucket included with admission). We all agreed this was one of our favorite parts of the trip.
Old School Beach Vacation
This didn’t make our RV route, but Chincoteague Island is a beautiful part of Virginia’s Eastern Shore and perfect if your idea of a beach vacation is more beach and less high rises, mini golf, and traffic jams. Start planning your mini vacation here. We Good Life bloggers have a friend named Mike who swears by “The Sea Shell Motel” as the one and only place to stay on Chincoteague. I can’t vouch for it as I haven’t been yet, but Mike likes friendly people and easy-going places, so the Sea Shell is probably a good bet. I’ll let you know later this summer, as my family is planning a stay there in August.
Please let me know if your summer plans include any of these destinations, or any other great places in Virginia. And while bigger may be better for RV’s, a good vacation doesn’t have to be big or long. A couple of mini vacations for a night or two might be just what your family needs this summer. Have fun!