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  • Writer's pictureThe West End Mom

The Best Virginia Getaways for Families

Updated: Mar 4

The countdown to Spring Break and Summer Vacation is on for kids in Virginia! And if you're looking to stay local, Virginia has so many family-friendly getaways that all ages will enjoy.

I have 11 Virginia destinations for you and your family to try this year. These are the best Virginia destinations we've tried with our kiddos, and they are fun in any season. Each one of these Virginia getaways has been approved by my kids. While they have been 6 or younger on each vacation, these are Virginia resorts and hotels are surrounded by fun for all ages. The best part? All of these spots are 3 & half hours or less from Richmond.

*Follow @thewestendmom on Instagram for things to do with kids in Virginia!

1.Hot Springs, Virginia: Opening in 1766, The Homestead Resort is located on 2,300 acres in the Allegheny Mountains & it’s hosted 23 presidents! It’s just under 3 hours from Richmond, so it’s the perfect getaway for families. 

We love the historical aspect of The Homestead Resort and their resort activities. You can pick from guided hikes, zip lining, horseback riding, skiing & more. Our favorites are the Smore’s Express, fly fishing & putt putt. Also, I highly recommend a spring/summer getaway because the outdoor pool is so much fun - little kids’ splash zone, lazy river & water slides! 

Here are 4 tips when booking your stay at The Omni Homestead Resort:

  • Sign up for the free Omni Loyalty Program. You’ll receive discount codes regularly. 

  • Check out the events calendar before booking your stay. If you’re visiting during a holiday, there will be lots of festivities like resort BBQs, concerts, games, etc. 

  • Reserve a first floor room in the Deluxe Garden Wing. The rooms are larger & the French doors go directly to the lawn. Our kids loved running around outside our room. 

  • Make dinning reservations when you book your stay. If you want to eat at The Jefferson, select an earlier dining time. We also loved Woody’s & the main dining room. 

Distance from RVA: 2 hours, 48 minutes

2. Cape Charles, Virginia: The charming beach town of Cape Charles is located on Virginia's Eastern Shore, and it has about 5 blocks of beachfront on the Chesapeake Bay. It's Virginia's best beach for families because of the calm, shallow water.

While most families stay in beach rentals, Hotel Cape Charles is a boutique hotel located ~3 blocks from the beach. This hotel offers complimentary breakfast, beach towels & chairs for guests. You can also rent your golf cart through this hotel if you are staying 2 or more nights.

I love Hotel Cape Charles for quick getaways because it has everything you need - you don't need to pack any bear gear. We only stay on the first floor, since we need 2 queen beds and the hotel doesn't have an elevator. Climbing the stairs is rough with tired kids! The first floor rooms also open into a large courtyard. This was really nice once we put the kids to sleep, we could enjoy the outdoor space without waking them up.

Heads up: the water is usually too cold to swim in between November and April. But it definitely depends on your preference and the current weather.

Distance from RVA: 2 hours, 30 minutes

3.Irvington, Virginia: Located on Carter's Creek, The Tides Inn has a casual, but elevated style.The backside of the resort has water views from every spot - the outside dining area of Chesapeake Restaurant, the lawn, the pool, and Fish Hawk. Not all rooms have river views, so if this is a priority to you, make sure you book one with water views instead of garden views.

The resort offers complimentary activities. Bikes are available for all guests without a fee- they have 12 inch bikes and up, plus there are bikes with baby seats on the back. They have yard games like cricket and bocci ball, and there are board games in the hall next to the lobby. You can also ride watercraft like kayaks, canoes and paddle boards. The Tides Inn Marina office has maps of Carter's Creek and a guide to wildlife you can see around the peninsula.

Bayside Explorer Kids Club is a program created to inspire and entertain children ages 4-12 with supervised activities around the resort and Carter's Creek. Activities such as painting, nature excursions & history tours are from 9am-2pm daily. This is for resort guests only, and there is an additional cost to participate in the programs.

I also highly recommend trying one of the excursions. We tried the oyster excursion when my children were 4 years old and 2 years old, and we absolutely loved it! Captain Will taught us so much, and we got to learn a ton about oysters and the bay.

Heads up: the water is usually too cold to swim in between November and April. But it definitely depends on your preference and the current weather.

Distance from RVA: 1 hour, 33 minutes

4. Rice, Virginia: Sandy River is not your typical hotel experience. This laid back adventure resort has glamping tipis & log cabins. As a family of 4, we stayed in The Thunder Bird with a king bed & queen futon. The tipis have a variety of bedding options, bathrooms, a kitchenette, TV & heated floors! You also get a fire pit, grill, chairs & a picnic table.

Sandy River Outdoor Adventures offers paddling boarding, zip lining & mountain biking. You can try boating & fishing on Sandy River Reservoir - it’s 740 acres & full of wildlife. The outdoor pool is also heated, so you can enjoy it most of the year (closed November to beginning of March). While you can visit just for activities, staying on property gives you a 20% discount on all adventures activities!  

Sandy River Distillery is also on property. They also have live music every Friday & Saturday night and you can try a tasting. Sandy River also hosts special seasonal events like their annual Easter Egg Hunt, Spring Festival, Snacks with Santa & more! 

The annual Easter Egg Hunt & Spring Festival is from 4-7pm on March 30, with the egg hunt at 4:30. There will be a petting zoo, live music, food trucks, a bounce house & the Easter Bunny himself! 

High Bridge State Park, Bear Creek Lake State Park and Twin Lakes State Park are all less than 20 minutes away.

Distance from RVA: 1 hour, 6 minutes

5. Virginia Beach, Virginia: We have had the best experiences at Marriott’s Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel when we've traveled to Virginia Beach. 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.

Besides playing at the beach, we like to check out Nauticus. 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!

We also love to visit 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). Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden members can visit for free!

Don't miss out on visiting First Landing State Park while you're in Virginia Beach either.  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.

Heads up: the water is usually too cold to swim in between November and April. But it definitely depends on your preference and the current weather.

Distance from RVA: 1 hour, 33 minutes

6.Roanoke, Virginia: On of our favorite Virginia hotels is in Star City--Hotel Roanoke. This stunning Tudor-style hotel is surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains & is on the National Register of Historic Places (built in 1882). The hotel’s food is delicious plus there is a Starbucks in Steam Coffee & Eatery in the conference center.

It’s right next to Market Street Walkway, and there’s a glass tunnel that goes over the train tracks. It has a map of spots in Downtown Roanoke: Virginia Museum of Transportation, Elmwood Park, Mill Mountain Greenway & Taubman Museum of Art.

It’s about 10 minutes from Mill Mountain - the big STAR! Mill Mountain has biking & hiking trails, a zoo & a playground. The views are gorgeous from the top!

Distance from RVA: 2 hours, 48 minutes

7.Williamsburg, Virginia:  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.

In addition to playing at the resort, you could add on a trip to Busch Gardens Williamsburg or Colonial Williamsburg.

Distance from RVA: 44 minutes

8.Lynchburg, Virginia: 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.

When you are lynchburg, I highlight recommend visiting Seaquest and Snow Flex.

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!

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)!

9.Massanutten, Virginia: 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 visiting Massanutten Resort with kids, check out my full review. 

If you'd like more details on snow tubing, check out my guide to snow tubing with kids around Virginia.

Distance from RVA: 1 hour, 33 minutes

10. Chincoteague, Virginia: Located on Chincoteague Bay, the Key West Cottages are a nautical-inspired place for families to stay on the Eastern Shore. These pastel cottages have all the perks of a hotel with all the privacy of a vacation rental. The private retreats have one room or two room layouts. Each cottage has views of either the Chesapeake Bay, the pool or the private beach. With 38 cottages & all different layouts, you can find accommodations that work for your family.

The hotel is very family-friendly! We saw a lot of families with children of all ages. The pool is zero entry, going from 1 foot to 5 feet. There’s also a private beach. While there’s no water access, it has stunning view of the bay, yard games, chairs & grills.

Assateague Island Nation Seashore is 8 minutes from Key West Cottages. It costs $10 per vehicle for a day or you can get a week pass for $25. You’ll find swimming beaches with lifeguards, restrooms & a NPS visitor center! Chincoteague Island also offers one of the most magical experiences in Virginia — you get to see wild ponies!

Heads up: the water is usually too cold to swim in between November and April. But it definitely depends on your preference and the current weather.

Distance from RVA: 3 hours, 24minutes

11. Richmond, Virginia: If we are doing a staycation in Richmond, my top choice is The Jefferson Hotel. I like it because The Jefferson has an indoor pool, so kids can play and swim all year. You can enjoy Afternoon Tea or Sunday Brunch, all while being close to home.

RVA Tuk Tuk picks up for tours at The Jefferson Hotel too. They offer many family friendly tours including scavenger hunts and bakery tours all year, and Tacky Light Tours in December. This would be such a fun kid-friendly experience to add on to your RVA staycation!

Things to do with kids in RVA, Things to do with kids in Virginia, the best beaches for children in Virginia, Virginia family vacations, Virginia's Eastern Shore, family travel, family vacations on the East Coast, spring break ideas in Virginia, Virginia getaways,

Looking for more Virginia Getaways? Check out this guide on places to visit 2 hours or less than Richmond. If you are ready to take a day trip, check out my guide on the best day trips from RVA!

For details on these Virginia places and more things to do with kids around Richmond, follow our family on @thewestendmom on Instagram!

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