Are you a history buff looking for all the best historical sites in Virginia? You have come to the right place this list if full all the most interesting places to visit. Virginia is essentially where America was started way back in 1607 so you know there must be hundreds of places to visit full of rich history. In fact this beautiful southern state is known as the birthplace of the nation and as the Mother of presidents because four of the first five presidents were born in Virginia.
From Northern Virginia down to Virginia Beach there are so many different types of historical sites in Virginia to visit. You could take an epic road trip and try to visit a bunch in a weekend, or maybe rent a camper van or try your hand at glamping and spend a whole week trying to find the most famous landmarks in Virginia. Whatever you decide make sure to save this list for your trip.
15 Interesting Historical Sites in Virginia you Must Visit
Americas First Light House
The Cape Henry Lighthouse is one of the most famous Virginia Beach historical sites. After it was finished in 1792 it was America’s first completed federal work project. This beautiful lighthouse is located in the Fort Story Military Base, but it is open to all visitors you just have to check in at the front gates and tell them you would like to go to the lighthouse.
You can climb the stairs all the way to the top of the Cape Henry Lighthouse and look out the glass windows. You will see the beautiful Atlantic Ocean, as well as the new lighthouse that was built in 1881 and is still used today. These two lighthouses are some of the most famous landmarks in Virginia and might just be the prettiest.
Virginia State Capitol
There are so many historical places in Richmond, Va to visit. The Virginia State Capital building is one of the prettiest and America’s oldest state capitol buildings. Thomas Jefferson designed this beautiful building and it was first occupied in 1788. Since then two wings have been added and in the early 1900s it went through a 105 million dollar renovation.
You may tour the building every day for free starting at 10 am, except for Sunday when the tours do not start until 1 pm. The tour is of the underground extension and the restored part of the Capitol building. There is also a cute gift shop, cafe, and changing exhibits in the gallery. Don’t miss your chance to visit one of the most famous buildings in Virginia while in Richmond.
Colonial Williamsburg historic area is a living history museum where people dress up from the early 1600 and show you what life what like back then. Make sure to check out their website for updated events, they put on new shows and presentations for each season. Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown are known as the historic Triangle, and Williamsburg is in the center of them both.
They are open every day of the week and have many different souvenir shops to explore and find something speical to take home. There are blacks smith shops, historic taverns and dining experiences, art museums, carriage rides, and even haunted houses. You will not want to miss all the historical sites in Virginia when exploring Colonial Williamsburg Historic area. Don’t forget to check out our list of Best Restaurants In Williamsburg for your visit.
This Yorktown historic site was the last major battle of the Revolutionary War. When you come to visit Yorktown you will be able to explore the grounds and learn about what took place back in 1781. They are open to visitors every day of the week starting at 9 am and stay open until 5 pm.
There are also other historic sites on the grounds including The Cemetery Lodge, Poor Potter House, The Moore House, The Nelson House. You are not allowed in these houses but the grounds are open for you too walk around and look at them.
Appomattox National Park
The Appomattox National Park is one of the most important historical sites in Virginia. It was here in April of 1865 that the army of Virginia signaled the end of the civil war. This happened in the McLean house but there is so much more in this national park there is a, theater, hiking trails, a park souvenir shop, and a museum.
They are open every day of the week, and offer tours of the McLean house upon request. It is recommended to start at the visitor center that is in the center of the historic village, there you can get all the info you need about your visit one of the most famous landmarks in Virginia.
Historic Jamestown Settlement
Jamestown Island is where America was first settled back in 1607. There are so many different things to when visiting the one of the oldest colonial sites in Virginia. There are history and archaeology walking tours that all start at the Tercentennial Monument.
They are open every day except for major holidays from 9 am to 5 pm , make sure to check out their website for special days and tours. There are also archeology sites for that are current being dug, visitors are allowed to visit and ask any questions they maybe have. You can expect your visit to last 2-3 hours when walking around one of Thebe’s historical sites in Virginia.
Monticello is one of the best historical sites in Charlottesville and was once home to Thomas Jefferson the third president of the United States and the author or the Declaration of Independence. Monticello was also home to 400 enslaved people, and while visiting one of the largest historical sites in Virginia you will be able to learn about the people who helped build and keep Monticello running.
They are open every day of the week from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm, and change up events with the seasons. It is recommended to buy your tour ticket before you arrive because the house and garden tours do sell out. There are 4 different tour tickets at you can purchase, it just depends on how much of the house and grounds you would like to see.
Crystal Spring Pump Station
For over 50 years The Crystal Spring Pump Station used water from the Crystal Spring and pumped it into downtown Roanoke. This is one of the historical sites in Virginia that you can only visit by appointment on Saturdays and Sundays.
The pump station was recognized by the Smithsonian as one of the very last examples of this former technology. It is free to take a tour and all the info that you will need to set it up is on their website. When visiting the blue ridge mountains don’t forget to check out one of the coolest historic sites in Roanoke.
Arlington National Cemetery
Located across the Potomac River near Washington D.C. The Arlington National Cemetery offers tours that will show you where some of the most famous Americans are buried, including John F. Kennedy. There are 400,000 people laid to rest here, it is considered a great honor to be laid to rest here.
The Arlington National Cemetery is open every day from 8 am to 5 pm. If you are visiting one of the most famous landmarks in Virginia you will be able to witness the changing of the guards. They do this ceremony between every hour and every half hour depending on the time of year you visit.
Edgar Allan Poe Museum
This museum in Richmond has been open since 1922 to Honor Edgar Allan Poe, whose hometown was in Richmond, Virginia. He never actually lived in the home, but it was the birthplace of his written career. The grounds are inspired by his famous poem “To One in Paradise”.
You can visit one of the more interesting historical places in Richmond Tuesday-Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, and on Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm. The Old Stone House is the oldest residential home still standing in Richmond, Virginia.
St. John’s Church
St. John’s Church ,was once known as Henrico Parish Church, and was visited by Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Patrick Henry. This church is known to be the place where the revolution against Great Britain was decided upon, and where Patrick Henry said his famous words, “Give me Liberty or give me death”.
When visiting here you will find 9 actors portraying the second Virginia Convention, on the liberty of death tours. You can expect the tour to last 30 minutes and sometimes they hold special events too. Don’t leave one of the most famous buildings in Virginia of your tour of Richmond.
First Landing State Park
First Landing State Park is one of the oldest Virginia Beach historical sites and is the first planned park in all of Virginia. It gets its name because this is where Christopher Newport first landed back in 1607. There is so much to do when visiting First Landing, you can fish, camp, relax on the shore, and it is one of the only dog friendly beaches during the summer in Virginia Beach.
The park is open every day from 7 am to until dusk, and in the summer time is it recommended to get there early because once the parking lot fills up guests are turned away. You might forget that you are visiting one of the oldest historical sites in Virginia while sitting on the beach here.
Built in 1711 by William Buckner the Yorktown Windmill is one of the oldest historical sites in Yorktown, Va. It was not only a working mill that produced flour, but it was a significant guidepost for travelers on the York River.
The Windmill is in the famous painting, Washington and his Generals at Yorktown from 1784 and it appears in many other paintings from the time. They restored the windmill in 2008 for others to enjoy and learn from one of the most famous Virginia landmarks in Yorktown.
George Washingtons Office Museum
George Washington held his office here in this small log cabin from September 1755 to December 1756. Since then it has been resorted for visitors to come and see this one of the best historical sites in Virginia. Located in Winchester, Va this small museum is only open from April to October, so make sure to plan your visit then.
On the grounds of the George Washington Office Museum, there is an old cannon and a number of artifacts on display in the office, and they even have some of George Washingtons’ hair on display. Be sure check out one of the more popular colonial sites in Virginia.
While you are at it, make sure to take a look at our list of the best things to do in Winchester VA.
Colvin Run Mill
The Colvin Run Mill is a working water-powered gristmill that is over 200 years old. Located in Northern Virginia in the city of Great Falls, Va it is about a 30-minute drive from Washington D.C. There is also a general store, barn, and blacksmith shop near the Calvin Run Mill that you can visit all on the same day.
They are open Thursday- Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm and the tours are at 11 am , 1 pm and 3 pm and should last about an hour. They also sell tea made by the mill during the tours and at the gift shop. On the grounds, there is also places to hike and have a picnic. You could easily spend a day here exploring one of the best historical sites in Virginia.