Best Day Trips from Richmond, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia

The cool thing about Richmond, Virginia is that it’s situated pretty close to a lot of other places. If the little big city ever starts feeling a little too small, there is plenty to visit for a day trip!

Here I’ve assembled 7 good day trips, ranging in distance from really close to about 2 or 3 hours out. 

The closest day trip you can take from Richmond is a nature-lovers’ paradise! Pocahontas State Park’s almost 8,000 acres are criss-crossed by 58 miles of hike and bike trails. If you need a forrested retreat from city life, Pocahontas SP is what you want. 

Pocahontas State Park, Virginia
Pocahontas State Park, Virginia

Drive Time: ~1/2 hour

Hop on 95 South, then turn onto 288 in Chester. Follow signs. 

2. Charlottesville

Charlottesville has been called one of America’s most unique college towns. Nestled at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, it’s a great getaway if you need to get some fresh air and a certain dose of quirk. 

Charlottesville, Virginia / Photo courtesy of TheGuardian.com
Charlottesville, Virginia / Photo courtesy of TheGuardian.com

Drive Time: ~1-1/2 hours

Straight shot out on 64 West.

Bus Time: 1-1/2 hour

Greyhound departs from the bus station in The Diamond.

3. Norfolk

The closest city of decent size to Richmond is Norfolk, in Virginia’s Tidewater coast. While the city is home to a large military presence (Norfolk Naval Yard is the largest in the world), you’ll also find parks, museums, dining, and nightlife. 

Downtown Norfolk, Virginia
Downtown Norfolk, Virginia

Drive Time: 1-1/2 hours

Straight shot down 64 East.

Bus Time: 2-3/4 hours

Greyhound departs from the bus station in The Diamond.

While you’re there, why not head on down to…

5. Virginia Beach

When a lot of people think Virginia, they think Virginia Beach. Home to the world’s longest pleasure beach, this is the summer getaway of choice for people all across the Commonwealth. 

Virginia Beach
Virginia Beach

Drive Time: 1-3/4 hours

Pretty much a straight shot down 64 East, then get on 264 East to head to the beach. Be aware that traffic in the Tunnel can get pretty congested.

4. Shenadoah National Park

One of my personal favorites. Shenandoah National Park is known as either the end or the beginning of both the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Skyline Drive, both magnificent drives. It’s also an excellent place to go hiking and camping. 

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Drive Time: 1-1/2 hours

Get on 64 West until you get close to Waynesboro. There will be plenty of signs for either Shenandoah National Park or the Blue Ridge Parkway; they begin at the same point, just be sure to go North for Shenandoah.

6. Ghost Fleet of Mallow’s Bay

This is an interesting little attraction that I happened upon almost by accident. Would you believe that this Maryland stretch of the Potomac River is home to the largest concentration of shipwrecks in the western hemisphere? 

Ghost Fleet of Mallow's Bay, Maryland
Ghost Fleet of Mallow's Bay, Maryland

7. Washington, DC

The crown jewel of Richmond day trips: Washington, DC! 

DC is a city that needs no introduction. Home to the Smithsonian collection of museums and no shortage of parks and nightlife, DC has been called a millennials’ playground. Close enough to drive to for the day or to take the train to for a long weekend, you’ll feel recharged after a quick getaway to the nation’s capital. 

Washington, DC/ Image courtesy of IVCTechnologies.com
Washington, DC/ Image courtesy of IVCTechnologies.com

Drive Time: 2 hours (heavily dependent on traffic)

Hop on 95 North and drive on up. Be aware though that traffic can get extremely congested during rush hour, so plan accordingly. 

Bus Time: 2-1/4 to 2-3/4 hours

Greyhound is your best bet.

Train Time: 3 hours

The Northeast Regional Amtrak departs from Main Street Station (with recently expanded service!) in downtown Richmond, and from Staples Mill Station in Henrico County. I’ve been on trains that were there in barely more than 2 hours, and they drop you off right in the heart of it all at Union Station, so I recommend the train.

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