Step Outside - Virginia WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 Step Outside - Virginia 144 144 Tue, 26 Mar 2019 16:12:11 -0500 5 Best Ski Destinations in Virginia If you live on Virginia’s east coast near the beach, you could be forgiven for not knowing that the northern and western areas of the state are rich with wonderful ski destinations. But for those adventurous few who venture out into the rest of the state, you will be rewarded with unparalleled skiing opportunities, particularly as you get closer to West Virginia. Read on to discover the best ski options for families in Virginia! 

Wintergreen Resort may be known as Virginia’s largest tubing park, but it is also one of the best ski destinations around. Combine your tubing ticket with the opportunity to learn to ski for a special rate.

We love to see your smiling faces! Thanks @cjfiala for sharing with us!

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The Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre is part of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. It is located at the top of the university’s 5,000-acre mountain, and “is the country’s premier point for year-round skiing, snowboarding, and tubing,” according to the website descriptions. 

The Omni Hotel and Resort is one of the most famous retreats in Virginia. The retreat sits on over 2,000 acres and has hosted 23 U.S. presidents since 1818. No matter what season you visit, there’s plenty to do, but the winter brings excellent skiing and snowboarding options.

Bryce Resort in Basye, Virginia, is open year-round, but their winter sports are well worth the trip by themselves. Stop in for skiing, snow tubing, and snowboarding for the entire family.

๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿผif you can’t wait to play on the slopes with us this season!

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Massanutten Resort is one of the most famous destinations in the Shenandoah Valley, partially because of its jaw-dropping snow tubing and skiing. The resort sits on 6,000 acres and offers farm-to-table dining experiences, shopping, and a full-service spa in addition to its winter sports! 

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10 Best Ice Skating Rinks in Virginia When the weather starts to cool, nothing quite puts you in the mood of the season better than lacing up a pair of skates and hitting the ice! Whether you’ve been skating since you were five years-old or you’re just finding your footing for the first time, there’s an excellent rink in Virginia to accommodate. Here are the 10 best in the state! 

The Main Street Arena in Charlottesville, Virginia, is part of a 40,000-square-foot facility that houses mixed martial arts and the Virginia film festival. During the winter, the ice takes over for public skating, skating schools, figure skating, and hockey.

he was a skater boy she said see u later boy

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The ice skating rink in Reston Town Center is an open-air pavilion with seasonal ice skating. From early November to March, ice skaters take over, with Friday Rock ‘n’ Skate events and Cartoon Skate Saturdays. They’re also available for fundraising and birthday parties.

#iceskating -The great equalizer๐Ÿ˜‚โœ…๐Ÿ’ฏ

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The Richmond Ice Zone provides Richmond, Virginia, with a fantastic place to practice or learn ice skating. Take a look at their website for a full schedule of events, including a Holiday Ice Show. The rink even has a live IceCam to show you what’s going on right up to the minute! 

The Hampton Roads Iceplex in Yorktown, Virginia, is open for daily public skating. Visitors can also sign up for parties, group lessons, figure skating, and hockey. Host your next fundraiser at the Iceplex.

I’d better get the award for BEST BIG GAY UNCLE ๐Ÿ•บ๐Ÿป #figureskating

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The Parks and Recreation Department of the little Shenandoah Valley town of Bridgewater opens their ice skating rink at Generations Park in November. The rink is the perfect spot for a fun evening with friends and is quite affordable. Make sure to bring your own skates, as rentals are limited.

Well I won't be going to the olympics for ice skating anytime soon๐Ÿค•

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The Fairfax Ice Arena has public skating, skating lessons, hockey, camps, competitions, and parties. They’re known for frequent specials, including holiday specials that include lessons and skates. Reach out to learn more about fundraisers and renting the rink.

what's cooler than being cool?

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Skate in the largest outdoor ice rink in Northern Virginia at Pentagon Row. With a newly expanded rink, ice skate on almost 7,000 square-feet of ice near the capitol. They also provide skating schools, birthday parties, and fundraisers.

โ„๏ธ He’s beauty and he’s grace, he’s Miss United Skates! โ›ธ

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The Ashburn Ice House is the go-to ice rink in Loudoun County, Virginia. They offer learn to skate lessons, parties, events, and camps. Check out their pro-shop for new equipment before working on your skating and hockey skills on the ice.

happy birthday!!๐Ÿ’˜

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The Prince William Ice Center in Woodbridge, Virginia, offers holiday camps, leagues for adults and kids, ice rental opportunities, clinics, advanced training, strength training, and more. Make sure to check out their online calendar for a full schedule of events.

Chilled Ponds offers Learn-To-Slate, learn-to-play, figure skating, adult hockey, and hockey leagues to the Chesapeake, Virginia area. General admission rates are only $12. Enjoy glow-n-skate nights every Friday and Saturday. 

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'Tis the season my friends ๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ

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10 Best Winter Camping Spots in Virginia Winter camping in Virginia is a treat, even with the somewhat unpredictable weather. Most years it gets cold and snowy in the mountainous regions of the state while staying fairly warm along the coast. But be prepared for all kinds of weather. Before heading out to any of the following 10 winter camping sites, make sure to check their websites to ensure there aren’t any closures. Once you’ve dotted all your I’s and crossed all your T’s, get ready for the winter camping trip of your life.

Grayson Highlands State Park, open year-round, is home to Virginia’s two highest mountains with peaks surpassing 5,000 feet. Take advantage of discounted winter rates to experience the grandeur of Virginia’s mountain ranges.

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Grayson Highlands, Jan 5 - 6 #testing12 #instagramvirgin

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Greenwood Point Campground rewards those who enjoy a challenge, and who crave solitude. The wooded campsites have no road access, meaning visitors will need to hike or paddle to the campground. But once you’ve made it to the site, there’s nothing quite like it.

Glampers, rejoice. Camp Karma Campground in Bedford, Virginia, has taken care of everything so you can enjoy the winter wonderland before you without worrying about setting up anything. They provide a tent, two cot mattresses, wood, ice, and utensils.

Winter in Shenandoah National Park is magical. Visitors have a good chance of seeing all kinds of animals through the snow. Keep in mind that most amenities are closed from November-March, but backcountry camping is available year-round with a permit! 

Hungry Mother is a “family favorite known for beautiful woodlands and a placid 180-acre lake in the heart of the mountains,” along with sandy beaches, campgrounds, cabins, and a six-bedroom family lodge nearby. The “Legend of Hungry Mother” captures children’s imaginations immediately, adding an extra layer of engagement to any winter camping trip.

The New River Trail State Park offers campsites year-round, but be warned: there is no vehicle access to any of the four campgrounds. The campgrounds are all primitive and include Cliffview, Millrace, Double Shoals, and Baker Island. Make sure to make a reservation ahead of time or risk losing your spot, even in the less busy winter months.

History buffs will love camping at Prince William Forest Park for its proximity to Manassas, the site of two of the most important Civil War battles, just 15 miles south of the battle site. That’s not to say that the forest park doesn’t have its own splendor; quite the contrary! It has been known as a quiet respite for the weary since the Great Depression and offers over 100 cabins, tents, and RV campsites year-round. 

Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield, Virginia, is the state’s newest park to be open year-round for campers. They have bathhouses and hookups available, along with yurts. Stop by the 2,000-seat amphitheater for the Pocahontas Premieres series of concerts and look online for a full listing of events and tours.

Douthat State Park’s cabins have “rustic furniture, heat and AC, a kitchen and small bathroom with a shower,” making for relatively comfortable winter camping. Cabins come in one-bedroom log, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom varieties, along with a six-bedroom lodge atop the mountain overlooking the park. Douthat is of note for being listed on the National Register of Historic Places “for the role its design played in the development of parks nationwide,” according to the park website. 

With seven miles of shoreline, diverse wildlife, and eight unique wetlands within the park, Belle Isle State Park provides the perfect spot to delve into Virginia’s winter ecology. The full-service camping season ends in December, but primitive camping is year-round. Consider reserving your spot ahead of time. 

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Best Weekend Winter Getaway in Shenandoah National Park The Shenandoah National Park is one of Virginia’s most prized treasures. Just over 75 miles from Washington D.C., nestled between the Blue Ridge mountains, the park is home to over 200,000 acres of protected lands, waterfalls, hiking trails, and wildlife. If you’re on the lookout for a winter getaway weekend in Virginia, you could do no better than exploring the Shenandoah.

Skyline Drive is one of the most picturesque public roads in Virginia, running 105 miles along the Blue Ridge and through the park. Before entering for your weekend of camping, hiking, and wildlife watching, enjoy the wintery scene from the comfort of your vehicle. Feel free to stop at any of the 70 overlooks for better views.

While most park facilities close for the winter months, the Byrd Visitor Center remains open on weekends throughout the season. We recommend stopping in to check up on the latest weather advisories, ask any last-minute questions, and pick up any books or supplies still needed.

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Many campsites in the Shenandoah are closed during the winter, but the park is open and available to any who can muster backcountry camping. Before you head out, make sure you plan your route ahead of time. The park recommends calling a Ranger so you know exactly where your spot will be and what you’ll need for success. Rangers can be reached from Monday through Thursday at (540) 999-3500x3720.

Winter temperatures in Shenandoah National Park can range from 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit and even colder, so make sure to wear an extra sweater as you head out onto the trail. With over 500 miles of trails, you’ll never run out of options. Stay safe by bringing a map, marking your trail as you go, and making sure you have extra batteries for your flashlight and water. With proper preparation, you’re in for one of the most beautiful hikes of your life. 

Shenandoah is home to hundreds of unique animal species, but you’ll have a better chance of seeing squirrels, turkeys, and other woodland animals during the winter. If you’re lucky, you might come across a few foxes and bobcats, too. Bird watchers look for nuthatches and woodpeckers. 

Hunting is prohibited inside the Shenandoah National Park itself, but several roads and trails connect the park to the nearby Rapidan Wildlife Management Area and private property where hunters can enjoy their sport. Make sure to read up on all of the latest regulations for the season. Fishing is available onsite, too.

While you’re in the area, why not stop by the whimsical Virginia Beer Museum? Even those who normally aren’t museum-goers will find something to enjoy here. Learn about the history of Virginia’s beer and distilleries, including George Washington’s beer recipe and much more. 

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While you’re enjoying the Shenandoah Valley’s exterior natural wonders, why not see what’s going on inside? According to their website, the Skyline Caverns is “one of the only places on Earth where rare Anthodites are displayed.” Go underground and see the amazing formations for yourself. 

Near the Shenandoah National Park, Glen Manor Vineyards sits right in Virginia wine country. The land has been used as a vineyard for over one hundred years, earning the distinguished recognition of being a Century Farm by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Plan your visit ahead to sample their wines before heading out to dinner. 

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Minutes away from Shenandoah National Park, Joe’s Steakhouse offers upscale dining: The perfect way to reacclimate yourself to life outside the park. Enjoy steak, seafood, or a dinner special while reflecting on the incredible weekend you just had. 

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5 Cool Spots for ATV Off-Roading in Virginia There aren’t many activities that provide the same kind of visceral excitement as off-roading on an ATV through the Virginia wilderness. Climbing over mud pits, zooming through trails, and maybe catching a little air can be an intense experience. Here are five great spots for ATV off-roading in the Old Dominion. 

Big Boys Playground is steeped in ATV culture and isn’t for the faint of heart. The owner is a die-hard off-roading lover and hosts events on the Playground at least once a month. Hundreds of people and at least 100 trucks come to each event to try to tackle the 150-foot long mud hole. Check out the rock course, single-track trails, and become the first to make it through the notorious “Hell Hole” mud pit. 

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Virginia’s oldest motocross track, Actiontown MX Park in Dillwyn, Virginia, is one of the state’s most popular, but requires riders to jump through a few hoops before hitting the trail. Riders must have an active American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) membership and a District 13 membership. Both are available for purchase onsite. Actiontown is known for its mile-long track, but is only open during sanctioned events, so make sure to check in before heading out. 

The Cove Campground is a privately-owned tree farm covering 3,000-acres near the Appalachian Mountains. The ATV and motorcycle trails are open all year, consisting of loops that range from two to 22 miles. Take note: most of the trails are intended for intermediate to experienced riders, although beginners can take part in the beginner loop. Make sure to check the website for availability, as ATV access is limited on some holidays. 

Elkhorn Lake Campground and ATV Trails offer over 560 acres of recreational areas on the pristine Elkhorn Lake and over 31 miles of ATV trails. While trails are open daily, inclement weather could cause closures, so make sure to call ahead. While on-site, consider making your visit a camping weekend. As a paid guest, you’ll have beach access, use of three swimming pools, and admission to live musical entertainment. 

Birch Creek Motorsports Park in Danville, Virginia, is a red clay track with whoops, sand, and tabletops. It is perhaps best known as the host for regularly sanctioned ATV and AMA events, including the ATV Motocross National Championship Series, Loretta Lynch Qualifier, Demolition Derby’s, National Championships, Grand Prix, and more. Join the fun every Saturday except during events. Follow them on Facebook for the most up-to-date information regarding events, hours, and pricing. 

*Note: Age restrictions, special licenses, and other requirements for off highway vehicles vary from state to state. Before heading out on your OHV, please consult your local regulations.

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5 Stunning Foliage Hikes in Virginia Virginia’s devastatingly gorgeous foliage is one of the commonwealth’s most spectacular features. With hundreds of hikes to choose from, it can be difficult to figure out which will yield the greatest reward. Below, you’ll find five sure-fire paths to help you enjoy the striking fall foliage. 

Virginia fall foliage is best experienced in groups, and Roanoke Mountain is an excellent option because it is accessible to nearly everyone. The top of the Roanoke Mountain in Roanoke, Virginia, is a four-mile, easy breezy loop that provides fantastic views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. 

On the other end of the spectrum are the Tinker Cliffs, and the Andy Lane Trail specifically. The hike is over 7.5 miles with 2,000 feet in elevation. Part of the Triple Crown (along with McAfee Knob and Dragon’s Tooth, both worthwhile foliage hikes, too), Tinker Cliffs offers wondrous views of the Roanoke Valley at its height.

Take a drive down Skyline Drive to enjoy the golden brown foliage of the Shenandoah Valley before heading into the Shenandoah National Park. Once inside, head straight to Hawksbill Mountain for a rewarding 360-degree view of the valley. Keep in mind that Hawksbill is the highest peak in the park at over 4,000 feet, but the trails vary in steepness from moderate to difficult.

Hungry Mother State Park in Marion, Virginia, is home to Molly’s Knob, one of Virginia hikers’ favorite trails. At only 1.6 miles, this narrow and steep trail can be difficult, but reaching the summit at over 3,200 feet offers a stunning view of the park. Make sure to enjoy the 108-acre lake and the 12 miles of additional trails, too. 

The Crabtree Falls Trail is one of Virginia’s gems. It is the highest vertical-drop cascading waterfall this side of the Mississippi and features five major waterfalls. Hikers can choose between a three-mile trail or sticking to the first overlook, at just a few hundred feet from the parking lot. No matter which you choose, you’ll get an eye full of fall along this trail. 

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ATV Off-Roading Adventure at Peters Mill Run and Taskerโ€™s Gap If you’re a thrill seeker with a love for off-roading, Virginia’s great ATV locations provide excellent opportunity to escape into the wilderness. If you’re clamoring for your next off-roading adventure and don’t know where to start, we’re here to help. Start your engine and head to George Washington and Jefferson National Forests for an adventure you won’t forget.    

Bridgewater Coffee Co. is a quaint coffee shop in the small town of Bridgewater, but their coffee packs a punch. Get yourself a big, steeping mug of hot goodness and a bagel before heading out on the road. It’s the only way to start your adventure out right.

The George Washington and Jefferson National Forest is one of the most popular off-road destinations in Virginia, and for good reason. They’ve got tons of trails open to motorists throughout the year (except from the third Monday in January to the third Monday in March). For this itinerary, stick to the Peters Mill Run and Tasker’s Gap area. Check out the map to find which trails are easy, intermediate, and more difficult. You’ll enjoy hours of off-roading fun here.

The Shenandoah Caverns are one of Virginia’s most famous attractions. While you’re in the area, might as well stop by and take in the “breathtaking natural wonders, incredible geology and extraordinary crystalline formations on a one-hour guided tour.”

After a long day out in the forest, you’ve earned yourself a carb-loaded meal. Prosecco Ristorante serves delicious pizza of all kinds, calzones, pizza rolls, soups, pasta, chicken dishes, great apps, and more. 

By the Side of the Road in nearby Harrisonburg offers romantic luxury cottages, manor house suites, and spring water cottage suites for you to choose from. Consider signing up for an all-inclusive package for extra perks. Complimentary breakfast is served in the morning! 

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5 Best Fishing Spots in Virginia Virginia boasts some of the best fishing on the East Coast. Whether you’re looking to wrangle monster catfish or explore 2,800 miles worth of trout streams, there’s something for anglers of all varieties. The fishing spots across the Commonwealth have you covered and here are a few of our favorites.

Bear Creek lake in Cumberland, Virginia, is only an hour away from Richmond and offers some of the most spectacular views and serene waters in the Old Dominion. The 40-acre lake offers boat launches, fishing pier, and boat rentals. The park opens at 8 a.m. and closes at dusk, so make sure to time yourself accordingly. Species include largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, black crappie, and channel catfish.

Lake Anna is one of the largest freshwater inland lakes in Virginia, covering over 20 square-miles across three counties. With over 30 unique fish species, Lake Anna is prime fishing real estate. The most sought after fish in include the largemouth bass, striper, and crappie, among others. The surrounding park has picnic areas and boat launching ramps. For bait and other supplies, stop in at Fish Tales in Mineral, Virginia, before you hit the water! They’ll have everything you’ll need from live bait to other fishing equipment. 

The James River cuts its course directly through the heart of the urban downtown Richmond area. Nestled between steel buildings and concrete, the river oasis provides for a welcome burst of natural beauty, history, and excellent fishing. Small mouth bass is most commonly fished for, although flathead, blue, and channel catfish are present throughout. Nine fishing spots exist all along the river and have various access points with slightly different fish present. Need to gear up with some supplies before you hit the water? Stop in at Fin and Skin Bait and Tackle right in Richmond.

Lake Moomaw in western Virginia is a man-made lake covering 2,530 acres and is great for winter fishing. The lake is stocked with both warm water fish, like bass, sunfish, crappie, and catfish, and cold water fish, such as trout. Trout varieties include rainbow, brown, and brook trout. Alewives, too, are present. Trout fishing at Moomaw doesn’t require a license or a National Forest stamp. Regulations for different sizes of fish exist, so make sure to check the website before taking any home.

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Mossy Creek is famous for its incredible fly fishing. Even expert fly fishers may have trouble at this challenging limestone creek, as fish must be caught from the banks instead of from the water itself. The brown trout that live in the creek can be up to 25 inches, and are stocked regularly. Head to Harrisonburg’s Mossy Creek Fly Shop if you are in need of fly fishing gear. This shop also provides guide services so you can make the most of your fishing adventure! Anglers must have a Virginia fishing license and signed permit card with them to fish the creek. 

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5 Awesome RV Campsites in Virginia Steeped in history and culture, Virginia is one of the most exciting states to visit on vacation. Whether you prefer the beaches to the east or the Shenandoah Valley in the north, you won’t find a better place to make new memories with your family and friends. These five great RV campsites will help you become better acquainted with the Old Dominion. 

Outlanders River Camp in Luray, Virginia, is located along the Shenandoah River, surrounded by the Blue Ride and Massanutten mountains. Outlanders offers 33 full hook-up RV sites, 20 primitive camping sites, five electrical tent sites, and 10 tent sites called “Hog-Pens.” You won’t find many 21st century amenities at Outlanders, as the owners have chosen instead to highlight their natural surroundings. If you’re looking for a true nature getaway, then Outlanders might be right for you.

Fort Chiswell RV Park offers visitors full RV hook-ups for any size motorhome. Enjoy the heated pool or go for a hike. Stop by the game room or start a game of basketball. If you’d like to fish, the pond on-site has bass and catfish. Internet access, picnic area, and playground liven things up. Nearby amenities include miniature golf and river rafting.

Lake Ridge RV Resort in Hillsville, Virginia, stands out by hosting unique themed weekends during peak season, like Hawaiian Weekend, Christmas in July, Pirates and Princesses, and others. In addition, Lake Ridge has full hook-up access for most kinds of RVs, including electrical, TV, Wi-Fi, and concrete pads. Stop by the rope courses, water slides, craft area, or recreation room for the full Lake Ridge experience.

Bethpage has been named the “Best RV Resort in the Nation” and has won the “National Park of the Year” award three times, given by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds. Everything about Bethpage lends to a luxurious stay. From their website: “From the moment you drive through our front gate you’ll know you have arrived somewhere special! The sprawling water park greets you to the right. The beautiful fresh water lake, beach, and aqua trampoline catching your eye to the left.” The water park, mini golf, aqua jump, and river cruises are just a few of the awesome activities offered to their guests.

The American Heritage RV Park allows you to experience historic Colonial Williamsburg like never before. Eight miles from historic Williamsburg, the park is also close to Jamestown, Yorktown, Water Country USA, and Busch Gardens. The park itself has 70 acres of woodlands with pull-throughs, full hook-ups, and concrete patios. If you’re visiting Virginia’s historic triangle, the American Heritage Site is the perfect place to put home base. 

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5 Perfect Fall Camping Spots in Virginia Let’s be honest: perfect campsites in Virginia are easy to come by. That’s because Virginia fall is one of the most gorgeous seasons anywhere in the world. Can’t decide where you want to spend your next camping trip taking in the changing colors? Let us suggest five spots that should be atop anyone’s list. 

Burke Lake Park in Fairfax Station is one of the most well-loved campsites around and it’s clear why. The park covers over 800 acres, including a 218-acre lake with fishing, boating, camping, and a golf course. You’ll need a reservation to camp, but you can easily make one online or over the phone.

The New River Trail State Park near Max Meadows, Virginia, follows an abandoned railroad right-of-way for 57 miles. The trail has a gentle slope, and is a favorite for bikers, hikers, and horseback riders. Stay at any of the four primitive campgrounds to immerse yourself in the beauty of the park.

Crabtree Falls Campground is “Virginia’s Best Kept Secret.” The Falls Campground is pet friendly and offers many amenities, including a game room, playground, and bathhouse. Take your furry friend with you to see the exquisite Crabtree Falls, a series of five major waterfalls and several smaller ones that total 1,200 feet combined. 

Take advantage of the crisp weather at the North Bend Park and Campgrounds near Boydton, Virginia. Operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the campgrounds sit on a 50,000-acre reservoir with 55,000 additional acres of surrounding land. The pet-friendly campground includes tent and trailer camping with the option for primitive or electric sites.

The Christopher Run Campground on Lake Anna offers cabins and hundreds of wooded campsites. Whether you want to enjoy an afternoon out on the water or prefer to hike through the campground, Christopher Run has everything you could ask for. The site is particularly good for children, too, as it has volleyball, horseshoes, shuffleboard, and a playground. 

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10 Best Archery Outfitters in Virginia Virginia archers are afforded a wealth of opportunities. Whether you’re an avid bow hunter or you stick to shooting targets, there’s an assortment of high-quality archery outfitters all across the state. Find all of the bows, arrows, quivers, and stabilizers your heart desires at the 10 best archery outfitters in Virginia! 

HNS Archery stocks tons of great equipment for archers and hunters in the Henrico, Virginia area. In addition, they have a full-service pro shop and two indoor rangers, capable of shooting up to 40 yards. Can’t afford the latest bow? Consider financing.

Hoffman Archery styles themselves as “Virginia’s #1 Archery Pro Shop.” Those in Warrenton, Virginia, know that Hoffman’s pro staff are more than happy to help you with any of your archery needs.

Watch your back we got a new archer in the family #familyarchery #archery #familytime

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Need to upgrade your bow? Want to see the latest from PSE, Parker, Genesis, and others? Then Bowes and Arrows Archery is for you. Since 1987, Bowes and Arrows Archery has provided Woodbridge with fantastic service and products, and continues to do so.

Shooters Archery in Beaverdam, Virginia, consists of a 30-acre, 7,200-square-foot pro shop, a 3D course, and indoor and outdoor ranges. Visitors to the retail area will find full lines of PSE, Prime, and Obsession bows, among others. 

Buggs Island in south central Virginia provides bow set up and tuning, string replacement, arrow fletching, crossbow and compound repairs. They carry Hoyt, Parker, Elite, and Bear bow lines, among others.

The Old Dominion Sports Center, a Winchester, Virginia, institution, sells firearms, pistols, fishing equipment, and archery gear. For over 30 years, Old Dominion Sports Center has provided tips and tricks as well as bows, crossbows, arrows, and targets to archery nerds (we mean that in the best way possible!).

Heartland Outfitters in Dayton, Virginia, services the Harrisonburg and Staunton areas with archery and fishing supplies, as well as animal feed. Bow options include crossbows, recurve bows, compound bows, and youth bows. In addition, you’ll find sights, stabilizers, quivers, broad heads, and more. 

Green Top Hunt and Fish in Ashland, Virginia, has been in business since 1947. Originally a gas station and gun store, they have grown over the years to a 55,000-square-foot behemoth, with the best products on the market. Today, they supply all kinds of hunting and archery equipment.

Since 1954, Wilcox Bait and Tackle in Newport News, Virginia, has provided many of the best archery products on the market. Stop by for their indoor archery range and to check out their inventory of Mission bows and more.

Miller’s Ace Hardware in Stephens City, Virginia, sells countless outdoor power equipment, paint, hearth products, and sporting goods, including firearms, hunting supplies, fishing supplies, and archery equipment. Pick up the latest from Bowtech, Obsession, PSE, and get tips from the world champion archer, employee Curtis Ashcraft, at checkout. 

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10 Best Bait and Tackle Shops in Virginia Fishing is one of Virginia’s most important industries, with perfect access to the Chesapeake Bay and many other bodies of water. Whether you’re heading out on a full-on fishing expedition or you’re simply spending the day relaxing with your line in the water, take a look at the following great bait and tackle shops in Virginia. 

Jake’s Bait and Tackle in Winchester, Virginia, carries name brands, from Bass Pro Shops, Denali, Gary Yamamoto, and much more. Not only do they sell bait and tackle, but they offer fantastic tips and tricks for the area.

Chris’s Bait and Tackle in Capeville, Virginia, stocks fresh and frozen bait, along with tackle, rods, and reels. They provide fishing and shooting equipment. You can read a little more about their products online, but it’s best to check them out for yourself in person.

Winning Fish! #teambowmovement

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Oceans East in Virginia Beach, Virginia, is open early and sells a wide array of name brands, including equipment for fresh and salt water fishing. You can shop by brand or order custom riggings and rods. 

Get me outa here before I spend all my money!!!!

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Hooker Bait and Tackle services all the fishing needs in Toano, Virginia. They invite you “to come visit us for a pleasant, efficient shopping experience,” according to their website. They’ve been in business since 2000 providing the best bait and tackle on the market.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Virginia Beach is one of the biggest fishing spots in the state. You’re only 15 minutes away from the beach and premier fishing spots nearly anywhere in the city. Long Bay Pointe Bait and Tackle offers huge lines of beverages, snacks, ice, apparel, fuel services, rod, reels, and bait and tackle.

Surfside Bait and Tackle provides Mechanicsville, Virginia, with live bait, including minnows, goldfish, eels, crickets, blood worms, red worms, and more. They also stock frozen bait, including squid, shrimp, finger mullet, and chicken neck. Owned by a championship fisherman, the shop has everything you could need.

Wallace’s Bait and Tackle in Hampton, Virginia, is under new ownership as of February 2017. The new owners have expanded the shop’s offerings, adding beer and snacks to their wide range of bait and tackle.

Chesapeake Bait and Tackle in Chesapeake, Virginia, sells eyelets and tips for your favorite rods, along with a full-service bait and tackle shop. Recently under new ownership, you’ll find just about anything you could ask for here.

Virginia Guide Bait Co. in Chesterfield, Virginia, is a small, but consistently great bait shop. Featured products include Zoom worm, salty tubes, swamp crawlers, and hogs. Give them a call or stop by to see their entire line.

Hopkins Gun and Tackle in Mechanicsville, Virginia, sells firearms, clothing, gifts, knives, and fishing equipment. Live and frozen bait options include blood worms, red wigglers, mealworms, night crawlers, minnows, and much more. 

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Best Places to Fish in the East This Fall A smorgasbord of baitfish is served up to striped bass in the fall as they make their way south along the Atlantic coast from Maine to their wintering waters in the mid-Atlantic.

Hot Spots To Fish: Deservedly, Montauk, NY at the eastern end of Long Island is considered a storied mecca for striped bass fishermen. If you’re not going surf fishing on the beach or fishing from a jetty, Gone Fishing Marina (631-668-3232, can set up a charter trip for you. If it’s booked up, try Star Island Yacht Club (631-668-5052, or Montauk Marine Basin (631-668-5900,

Find the best fishing spots near you:

Down south, talk to the folks at Captain Hogg’s Charter Service (757-876-1590, about fishing around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. Overdrawn Charters  (252-202-4623, in Manteo, N.C. can help as well.

Tackle You’ll Need: Stick with 30- to 50-pound braid or monofilament and a 60-pound-test shock leader of fluorocarbon, with saltwater-ready spinning tackle heavy enough to handle 10- to 14-foot rods. Penn, Quantum and Okuma specialize in fairly inexpensive surf-fishing rods, and reels to match. If you have a reel, but no rod yet, the new Black Inshore Rods from Lamiglas are up to the task. The five spinning and five casting models range from a 6-foot, 10-inch light finesse spinning rod to a 7 ½-foot casting rod rated for lures from 3 to 12 ounces in weight.

Quick tip: The most successful anglers are those who spot gulls or other wheeling seabirds feeding on baitfish driven to the top by stripers and who then cast into the melee without dispersing the bass. From a boat, the trick is to approach schools carefully and take advantage of wind or tide to drift to within casting range. The stripers will stay up as long as the baitfish are hemmed against the surface.


Best Lures/Baits: The 4 1/2-inch Acme Kastmater XL spoon, the 1 ½-ounce Odin Popper, and the 5-inch pencil popper from Tsunami are popular artificials up and down the Atlantic seaboard. Other popular options include the 6- or 7-inch Savage Gear Sandeel Swimbait, 9-inch Sassy Shad swimbait and the 6-inch Rapala X-Rap SubWalk.

Find the best bait and tackle shops near you:

For anglers who’d rather soak baits from a boat or in the surf, live or cut bait, such as Atlantic menhaden (peanut bunker), herring, porgies, eels, bloodworms, anchovies and mullet, can flip the switch on chaotic striper blitzes.

Photograph Courtesy of Maine Office of Tourism The classic approach to surf fishing is still a great way to take advantage of the striper run along the Atlantic coast. Thu, 11 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
Best Places to Fish in the South This Fall Redfish are starting to move inshore and set up at the mouths of bays, inlets and deltas as their annual spawning run commences. The bottom line for fishermen is outstanding fishing from late September through November in the northern Gulf.

Likewise, bass fishing is starting to pick up again as the weather begins to cool. Huge schools of threadfin shad are starting to filter away from open-water ledges into bays and tributaries where feeding conditions and water temperatures are more optimum.

Bass follow the food, first setting up on ledges at the mouths of inlets and creeks to waylay shad, then migrating back toward shallower water to keep up with their quarry.

Fall Script for Southern Bass

Bass rule in Dixie and cooler weather brings out an army of anglers who go after them. Whether largemouth, smallmouth or spotted bass, they’re available in most waters and sometimes all three varieties are present in a fishery, ready to aggravate or gratify those who seek them.

Hot Spots To Fish: When it comes to the South’s best lakes for fall fishing, the big TVA impoundments fit the bill. Because this is bass tournament country, dozens of YouTube videos and Facebook sites of pro anglers offer useful advice on where and how to catch autumn largemouths. Likewise, guide services are plentiful; just Google “fishing guides” for the lake you’re visiting or type in the town nearest the lake you wish to fish on the interactive map on this page.

Tackle You’ll Need: A 7-foot medium/heavy rod such as the St. Croix Premier Cranking, a baitcasting reel like the Abu Garcia Revo Winch and 10- to 14-pound-test monofilament makes a good combination to fish downsized lures.

Quick tip: This is strictly a match-the-hatch deal. Use lures that are about the same size as wandering shad. If young-of-the-year threadfins are on the bass menu, try small swim baits fished on drop-shot rigs.


Best Lures/Baits: Shad-colored, shallow- and medium-diving square-billed or coffin-billed crankbaits are autumn standouts. Popular lures include the Strike King 6XD, Bandit 100 or 200, Duo Realis M65, Livetarget Magnum Shad BaitBall Squarebill, Megabass S-Crank, Lucky Craft Squarebill 2.5, Storm Arashi and Rapala Shad Rap.

Fish them around shoreline cover and on the flats between creek drop-offs and the bank. Other fallback baits include spinnerbaits like the Booyah Super Shad, Stanley Vibrashaft and Nichols Pulsator. Good buzzbait options can be found from Lunker Lure, Damiki, Santone and Dirty Jigs.

Rendezvous With Redfish

Along the northern Gulf Coast from Carrabelle, FL, to Grand Isle, LA, the redfish season begins in late September and continues in stages through December. Some anglers fish in the surf with cut bait, while others station themselves on area piers or in boats on relatively shallow flats near channel cuts.

Hot Spots To Fish: For boating anglers, a couple of spots stick out. Pensacola Bay Pass is a must-fish for boaters. Anchor up on the broad flat between old Fort Pickens and the channel, set out lines as the tide changes to incoming, and hang on. Need more help? Redfish University Pensacola Fishing Charters (850-748-4368, specializes in the big drum.

At Grand Isle, LA, book a trip with Gotta Go Fishing Charters (225-921-3642, The marshes and inshore waters around Venice, LA, are primo redfish haunts as well. Captain Mike Frenette (504-782-0924, or ( is a top guide here.

Photograph Courtesy of Strike King Lure Company 
Louisiana’s coastal waters are ground zero for the hottest autumn redfish action along the northern Gulf Coast. A variety of natural baits and artificials get the job done.

Tackle You’ll Need: “Rat” reds of 3 pounds and up, or real bruisers weighing in excess of 20 pounds require a range of tackle options. Bass fishing tackle – whether spinning or baitcasting – is perfect for handling smaller fish and for casting jigs or swimbaits that weigh less than an ounce. A Shimano Stradic spinning reel and 7-foot medium-action Shimano Compre rod with 14-pound-test monofilament.

For bigger fish, consider a Penn Battle II BTLII5000 with 20-pound-test monofilament or 40-pound-test braid, and a 30-pound-test fluorocarbon leader. A 7-foot medium-heavy spinning rod (such as the Penn Battalion BATIN1220S70) should handle any bait rigs or lures and wear down a bull redfish in short order.

Quick Tip: Incoming tides in late evening or at night are primo times for reds as the fish free-spawn then in the mouths of coastal bays and estuaries. If you can’t fish any other time, make sure you fish the incoming tides.


Best Lures/Baits: Redfish aren’t particular about their dietary requirements and will eat anything from blue crabs to halved mullet. Swimming spoons such as the Johnson Sprite (, swimbaits and jigs or even topwater poppers, such as the Heddon Saltwater Spook, will elicit strikes.

Photograph Courtesy of Strike King Lure Company Photo By Garrick Dixon Shallow- to medium-running crankbaits probably account for more bass than any other lure in the fall when the fish are on the prowl for shad in feeder creeks and coves. Thu, 11 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
10 Best Outdoor Fall Activities in Virginia The leaves are changing, pumpkins are growing, and cideries are cranking. That can only mean one thing: Fall is almost here. While we’re sad to see summer go, we couldn’t be more excited to dive into all of the incredible outdoor fall activities Virginia has to offer. From fear forests to guided hikes and sandcastle greatness, we’ve got big plans. Here are the best fall activities to check out in Virginia! 

Part of the greater Neptune Festival held annually in Virginia Beach, the Sand Sculpture Festival attracts sculptors from around the world who showcase their talents with mind-blowing sand sculptures. We’re not talking about your average sand castle here, kids. We’re talking life-like pirates and fortresses that would make Winterfell blush. This is a must-see fall activity.

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See the Blue Ridge Mountains like never before from the gorgeous 105-mile path known as Skyline Drive. Boasting 75 scenic overlooks, no matter where you choose to stop you’ll be treated to dazzling colors and picturesque views. 

One of the best corn mazes in the state, Hess’s Corn Maze is a Shenandoah Valley-area favorite. Hess’s offers a wonderful corn maze in addition to pumpkin patch picking and more. It’s a perfect outing for the entire family. 

One of Virginia’s premiere Halloween experiences, Busch Garden’s Howl-o-Scream delights and frights from mid-September 15 through late October. Enjoy haunted houses, escape rooms, live shows, and outdoor scare zones while you get into the holiday spirit.

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Cair Paravel Farm offers many lodging accommodations, including yurts, a greenhouse, and a vintage 1986 Airstream among the trees. According to their website, “the magnificent deck brings you into the trees and treats you to incredible seasonal views.” For those looking for a unique camping experience, you won’t get much more unique than this. 

With beautiful waterfront views and activities, picnic shelters, lodges, cabins, and more, Lake Anna State Park is a beautiful place to camp in the fall. The opportunities for hiking, fishing, boating, and horseback riding makes this a great destination for everyone.  

Experience all fall has to offer at the Outdoorsman Park and ATV Trails in Martinsville, Virginia. Open on the weekends, you can take your off-road vehicle out to drive on their trails or consider fishing at their on-site catfish pond. It’s $15 per machine per day and $5 per day for catch and release fishing. 

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The Appalachian Trail is massive, but a decent chunk of it resides in Virginia’s back yard. Not sure where to begin? That’s where Excihiking Treks comes in. According to their website, they delight in helping hikers “camp near mountain streams in pristine forest; find fossils, go sightseeing, backpacking, kayaking, and much more!” What more could you ask for in a guide company?

Bold Rock Cidery takes full advantage of its location in beautiful Nellysford, Virginia. Upon arriving at the cidery, visitors are greeted to dazzling mountain views and tasty hard cider. Check out their website for an updated calendar of events to better time your visit, or simply stop by to appreciate the cool fall breeze with a delicious drink.

Throughout the year, Cox Farm is a working farm. But during the fall, it transforms into the terrifying Fields of Fear! Take a hay ride before experiencing the Lost Circus, Clown Chaos, bonfires, fear games, and more. Be sure to check their site to view their hours before planning your spooky trip.

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