5 Family Friendly Getaways Less than 2 Hours from Richmond
Haven't planned your Spring Break itinerary yet? Don't worry - I've got you covered!
I've curated a list of Spring Break worthy adventures that are perfect for families! These spots are easy to get to because they are less than 2 hours from Richmond, and they offer unique family activities like sledding without the ice and exploring the Narrows, just like Blackbeard, the famous pirate!
The best part? We tried them all out this past year, so I have the tips and tricks to help you have the best adventure!
1. Great Wolf Lodge’s Indoor Water Park: Great Wolf Lodge is about an hour from Richmond, and it’s a really easy getaway for families. The resort has a lodge vibe with family suites & themed suites - some have cabins or tents for kids to sleep in! While the main attractions are the indoor & outdoor water parks, the resort also has restaurants, an arcade, a bowling alley & so many family friendly activities on property.
Great Wolf Lodge even offers day passes to the water park if you want to make a quick day trip. Groupon has a deal for day passes & the weekday passes are much cheaper than weekend ones ($30ish vs 100ish).
*Check here for more tips.
2. Lynchburg: At just about 2 hours away, Lynchburg is an easy drive from Richmond, even for the littlest kids. While we like this spot as a day trip destination, we also love staying at The Virginian .
The Virginian is in the heart of downtown Lynchburg, near Amazement Square (the children’s museum). The hotel has three restaurants - The Marigold Cafe, a casual cafe with breakfast and lunch, The Skyline Grill, a roof top lunch & dinner spot, and William & Henry Steakhouse, a fancy, adults only dinner one. Both the cafe and the grill offer meals to go, so it's easy to enjoy your meals in your room, too.
Liberty Mountain’s Snowflex: Snowflex is a mountain top recreation center with ski slopes, mountain tubing & a sledding hill. The mountain is covered in Snowflex - a special surface that’s slippy & grippy, essential for snow sports, plus it’s soft to fall on (no hard ice or packed snow)! All ages are welcome & you can even schedule a beginner lesson for any of the snow sports. The views from Liberty Mountain are gorgeous too!
It’s open on Monday–Friday From 3–10 p.m., Saturday From 10 a.m.–10 p.m, and Sunday Noon–6 p.m. Costs per hour: tubing is $13, sledding is $5, and the trampoline is $5. This includes the tube & sled. 2 & under can sled for free with a paying adult. You can also grab a day pass for a great deal.
*Check here for my full review.
SeaQuest: SeaQuest is a 20,000 square feet petting zoo aquarium that opened in 2019. There are about 1,500 animals - turtles, sting rays, sloths & more. You get to touch & feed animals from around the world!
My littles loved this as a day trip when they were 1 and 3 years old, and they enjoyed it even more on our recent trip. Some of their favorites this year were feeding sting rays, touching the wallaby, and feeding the giant tortoise & iguanas. Our visits are between an hour and a half to two hours.
The Depot Grill in Lynchburg is 11 minutes from SeaQuest. This casual restaurant has a large green lawn, views of the river & the train tracks. The menu is very kid friendly too!
*Check here for my full review.
3. Jamestown: Jamestown is just over an hour from Richmond, and you can enjoy historical adventures, ride a ferry, enjoy a beach day - or try them all!
Here are 4 adventures that are less than 30 minutes apart.
Historic Jamestown: A little over an hour from Richmond, America’s first permanent English settlement started in 1607. At this living history site, visitors can explore a recreated James Fort, Powhatan Village & 3 ships, Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery. There are both indoor & outdoor exhibits & experiences, plus the property is stroller friendly & has beautiful views of the James River!
While this activity is best for elementary aged children through adults, my children (under 4 when we visited) really enjoyed wandering through the Powhatan yahakins, walking on the dock + exploring the boats & watching the feather threading.
Tickets cost $18.00 for adults & $9.00 for ages 6-12. Children under 6 are free.
Jamestown Beach: This beach is just over an hour from Richmond in Jamestown, Virginia. Jamestown Beach is ADA accessible, family & dog-friendly. This is a much closer option than Virginia Beach, and it’s a really easy day trip.
Parking is free right now. There is a parking fee between Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day ($4-$7 depending on day).
*Check here for my full review.
VDOT Ferry: Jamestown-Scotland Ferry is located between the Jamestown Settlement & Jamestown Beach. It’s free to ride this ferry, and it takes about 30 minutes to cross the James River. Chippokes Plantation State Park is in Surry, less than 10 minutes from the ferry’s dock.
*Check here for my full review.
Chippokes Plantation State Park: Located across the James River from Jamestown, Chippokes Plantation is one of the country’s oldest working farms (1619). You can tour the antebellum mansion, walk through the formal gardens, visit with the animals or check out the outdoor Farm and Forestry Museum (antique farm equipment).
The park has 12 miles of trails, and the most popular one is College Run Trail. It’s 1.2 miles and goes from the Visitor Center, along the James River to the historic area. There is also a beach front area, but use caution - there are a lot of shells (wear water shoes) and if it’s a particularly hot day, this is a rough walk with children under 5.
Parking costs $7.
4. Virginia Beach: While we’ve made day trips to Virginia Beach, we definitely prefer to stay the night when we drive to the beach. We recently had the best experience at Marriott’s Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel & if you are looking to make an overnight stay in Virginia Beach, I definitely recommend it.
We were really impressed with the hotel - it’s the sister hotel of The Cavalier so you have access to that resort too, but at a more reasonable price. It’s family friendly with an indoor zero entry pool and heated outdoor pool. The Marriott Virginia Beach Oceanfront has dining options on property and room service is available.
Nauticus & The Battleship Wisconsin: Located in Norfolk, this maritime museum has interactive exhibits on the environment, industry and military. Nauticus has rotating exhibits & permanent exhibits, a discovery center, STEM programing, and the Battleship Wisconsin! They also have a sailing school & camps.
We only had two hours to visit, but I definitely recommend 3ish. The highlights of our recent visit were touring the Battleship Wisconsin (this is a walking tour/self-guided), the aquariums, and “changing channels” exhibit (we got to move around the water flow & race our boats down).
Tickets cost $15.95 for adults and $11.95 for kids (2 & under free, seniors & active duty military receive a discount).
Norfolk Botanical Gardens: Located in Norfolk, this botanical garden has over 60 different gardens, including a children’s garden. WOW Children's Garden has a world-themed splash park, passport gardens, a nature walk with habitat gardens, and so many opportunities to learn & play. There are over 15 miles of trails (most are stroller friendly).
My children loved the “Prickly Pear Lair” that has a variety of cactuses growing and a log cabin. We also enjoyed doing the “Quests” throughout the garden - each quest has different challenges & items to find - it’s like a scavenger hunt through QR codes on your phone. Our favorite area was the huge sand pile with a slide, tunnel and climbing structure.
It costs $15 for adults, $13 for seniors & Military, and $13 for children 3-17. They also offer free admission to all Lewis Ginter members! You can rent a wheelchair for free, but they do not offer stroller rentals. Make sure you bring a wagon or stroller - the botanical garden is much larger than Lewis Ginter in Richmond.
First Landing State Park: Located in Virginia Beach, First Landing State Park is the most visited state park in Virginia! There’s a lot of history here - it’s the location where the first English colonist landed in 1607. Legend also has it that Blackbeard (the pirate) hid in the Narrows area of the park. The park was built in part by an all African American Conservation Corps between 1933-1940.
It has over 20 miles of trails & 1.5 miles of beach front. It has really easy beach access, and with parking costing $7 on weekdays and $10 on weekends, it’s cheaper than most VB oceanfront day parking options. The waves are very small, making it kid friendly (it’s on the Chesapeake Bay). We used a stroller from the car to the beach (just leaving it on the boardwalk).
5. Massanutten: This four-season resort is a little under 2 hours from Richmond, making it a very easy trip with little kids. We also drove through Gordonsville -- we love visiting this cute town to eat at BBQ Exchange or to explore Market at Grelen and Montpelier.
Throughout the 6,000 acre property are hiking trails, parks and playgrounds that guests can use free of change. The Fitness and Rec Club has free movies, an arcade, a swimming pool, sand volley ball courts and basketball courts. It also has an ice skating rink in November through the winter months. We also enjoyed the gem mining & the amazing indoor water park! There is a giant water-powered playhouse, lazy river, tube slides, body slides, and an area just for children 36" and smaller. There is also a snack bar and a floor filled with arcade games. They offer day passes to the water park.
Depending on when your next family vacation is planned, you may be able to try snow tubing or summer tubing. Summer tubing is offered between April and October, and it is set up on two lanes that drop 120 vertical feet over the course of 600 feet.
For more on Massanutten, check out my full review.
Looking for more adventures for Spring Break? Check out these 5 beaches less than 2 hours from Richmond.
For more details on these getaway spots and more Virginia adventures, follow our family on @thewestendmom on Instagram!