15 Best Day Trips from Roanoke, VA

Roanoke, Virginia is a charming city with beautiful scenery. It is located between Mount Smith Lake and Virginia Tech in southwestern Virginia. Roanoke is also known as the “Magic City” or “Southern Star City”. Roanoke is the cultural heart of southwest Virginia, with great food, great people and diverse outdoor adventures. The experience here is unparalleled – you have to come here and see for yourself, because Google Earth can’t show it to you!

The buildings around Roanoke are built in the Appalachian architectural style. One of the main attractions here is the stunning view overlooking the Roanoke Valley, the perfect place to photograph Roanoke. If you want to get out of Roanoke and explore, we’ve compiled a list of the 15 best day trips from the city.

1. Blue Ridge Boulevard

Mabry Mill along Blue Ridge Avenue

This 469-mile scenic trail cuts through the spine of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. These scenic mountain day trips will give you the opportunity to enjoy breathtaking views.

The most visited part of the Parkway is the National Park System. While traveling along this world-famous road, visitors can enjoy some amazing experiences, such as the Mabry Mill.

The Parkway is the longest linear park in the United States, bounded by Shenandoah National Park to the north and Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the south. In most places, the main road borders on U.S. Forest Service property.

2. Vinton Township

Vinton, Virginia

The town shares an important border with the neighboring city of Roanoke. You’ll find that most of Vinton Township’s neighborhoods are bisected by the border between the two districts.

South of town, the Roanoke River Gorge has a 1.5-mile lakefront that’s totally worth a visit. The lake was created during the construction of the Niagara Dam in 1904. Visitors come to this side of the lake to experience steep wooded cliffs with stunning views of the neighboring city of Roanoke.

Another highlight of the Vinton tour is the coveted Vinton War Memorial. This landmark sits atop a picturesque 11.5-acre park in town.

3. Brush the mountain

Bush Hill Prison

These mountains are an isolated branch of the Blue Ridge Mountains at the northwestern tip of North Carolina. The most incredible thing about these mountains is that they span a total of five counties – Yadkin, Eredel, Wilkes, Alexandria and Caldwell.

The Shaggy Mountains are about 45 miles long and 6 miles wide. On your journey to these mountains, make sure you reach the highest peak, which rises to 2,680 feet.This point is called the pore knob

There are plenty of apple orchards in the area. Celebrations are held every year to celebrate the harvest.

You should also pass by Busch Hill Prison, which has reopened as a historic tourist destination. Visitors have the opportunity to visit the infamous former maximum security prison and buy some souvenirs at the nearby gift shop.

4. Salem

Salem, Virginia

The city of Salem is located in Roanoke County and borders the city of Roanoke. Salem was officially established in 1802.

The earliest history of Salem exists in the form of archaeological evidence indicating the existence of Native American tribes, dating from 8000 BC to the 18th century. There’s a lot to explore on a day trip to this historic town, originally named “Totero Town.”

Inside Salem, you’ll find a fort named after Andrew Lewis, Fort Lewis. The fort was built in 1752. Another must-see on a Salem day trip is the Salem Public Library, built in 1937.

5. Mill Mountain Star Park

Mill Mountain Star Park

The star is the largest independently luminous artificial star in the world. The colorful 88-foot Mill Mountain Star sits majestically on Mill Mountain. The star has been illuminated by neon lights since its construction in 1949.

The Mill Mountain Star is the Hollywood sign on the East Coast. It soared to a height of 1,045 feet and was visible from 60 miles in the air. The best time to see the stars is at night, just before midnight – this is usually when the stars turn off.

Scenic Mill Mountain Park features biking and hiking trails. These trails are some of the best in the area. This area has some of the best viewing decks and picnic areas.

6. Virginia Transportation Museum

Virginia Transportation Museum, Roanoke

This historic freighter doubles as a museum with a collection of Norfolk and Western locomotives. Some of the collections in the museum’s nostalgic exhibit include electric and diesel locomotives, antique cars and trucks, aviation and vintage steam locomotives.

Inside the Virginia Transportation Museum, you’ll find the Class A locomotive, known for its durability and power, and the only surviving locomotive of its kind, the Class J locomotive.

You really need to stand next to some of America’s finest railroad collections to fully appreciate them; locomotive wheels alone are as tall as the average person.

7. Virginia Discovery Park

Virginia Discovery Park

The park is located at Milepost 115 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It features houses and reenacters from different historical periods.

The largely wooded 1,100-acre park offers nature lovers a great opportunity to enjoy nature’s beauty and wildlife as they stroll through the area. There are over 14 miles of walking and biking trails sure to keep you busy on a day trip from Roanoke.

There are dozens of past buildings reflecting the history of southwestern Virginia, as well as various past cultural experiences. This will immerse you in the culture, bringing the past to life in a way that history books cannot.

8. West Virginia Museum of Science

Butterfly Garden, West Virginia Museum of Science

Topics on display at this museum include the environment and its health, computer coding, the healthy body, the scientific approach to engineering, a healthy planet and how it works, and science through toys.

The museum was leased in January 1970. Originally, it was located in a 400-square-foot basement in Cherry Hill, but moved to the abandoned 3,000-square-foot Tinker Creek School building six years later.

The West Virginia Museum of Science features a Tropical Butterfly Garden with butterflies from around the world. The garden changed from a habitat for exotic butterflies to a pollinator garden.

9. Green Ridge Recreation Center

swimming pool

This entertainment center was built with family fun in mind. The 76,000-square-foot facility offers top-notch attractions in a convenient location.

The indoor center offers family-friendly facilities such as a swimming pool, gym and fitness area. The outdoor area features an outdoor water area with a 34-foot slide, a spray field and a river.

The Green Ridge Recreation Center also features an indoor track with beautiful mountain views. If you are looking for a place to host your child’s birthday, this would be an ideal location.

10. Dixi Canyon

hiking trail

Bottom Creek Canyon has beautiful trails and stunning waterfalls.Including the second tallest waterfall in Virginia

Visit Bottom Creek Gorge for a quick hike through some old farmsteads full of woodland flowers. Also home to a wide variety of beautiful plants, wildflowers and wildlife, this creek is a breeding ground for rare species. There are three path options – red, blue and yellow.

Don’t miss the great photo opportunities offered by Dixi’s mighty stream – it’s a beautiful sight to behold.

11. Read Mountain Reserve

Read Mountain Reserve

Containing 243 acres of woodland, this preserve is designed to preserve the natural environment so future generations can enjoy it for many years to come. Read Mountain Preserve day trips are suitable for all ages, so be sure to bring your whole family – including the dog.

If you’re up for an enjoyable and challenging yet rewarding hike, you need to get to the top. This strenuous and enjoyable hike will provide you with a peaceful panorama.

The main feature of this hidden gem is a 1.9-mile moderately rugged trail that takes the average hiker about 2.5 hours to reach the summit.

12. Rock Castle Canyon Trail

rock castle canyon overlooking

The trail features beautiful colors from a wide variety of wildflowers, trees, and other plants.

Stroll along the trails and enjoy the views of the canyon. There is a lot to learn about the families who have lived here in the past. They use water from Rock Castle Stream to power their factory.

Rock Castle Canyon is home to over 200 wildflowers, 45 trees and 28 ferns. All of this is hidden within narrow confines deep in the canyon. This botanical paradise is almost untouched.

13. Otter Peak

Otter Peak

Otter Peak is known for its unique hiking trails that challenge fitness enthusiasts. Three peaks sit atop dense forests along the Blue Ridge Drive.

Otter Peak is a recreational haven, covering acres of steep terrain. There are many hiking trails and abundant wildlife, including rare birds that can be spotted around Otter Peak.

If you like fishing, you should fish at Abbot Lake; it has catfish, sunfish and bluegill. This 24-acre lake is the largest attraction in Otter Park Peak.

14. Buck Mountain Trail

Buck Mountain Trail

The Barker Mountain Trail takes you into a nearly unspoiled place in nature. There are lots of rocks to climb and lots of amazing places to sit and listen to the birds around. This experience is enough to help tourists taste the flavor of wild wood.

The trail is surrounded by trees, and these limit the surrounding views. If you want a great view, you should climb to the top.

The trail is not long but totally worth it as there are plenty of places to sit and read.

15. Bedford County

Fall Colors in Bedford County

Founded in 1753, the county was named in honor of British statesman and 4th Duke of Bedford, John Russell. Bedford County became an independent city in 1968 and covers an area of ​​769 square miles. Of this, 753 square miles are land and the remaining 16 square miles are water.

The area is mainly inhabited by indigenous people, who are mostly Sioux-speaking tribes. The county is bounded by Rockbridge County to the north and Campbell County to the south.

Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Roanoke, VA (VA)
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