Day Trips

These activities are all a bit out of the Stafford area but are great fun for kids and the entire family. Some may require an overnight stay, but most are manageable with an early morning departure.

Virginia  |   West Virginia  |   Maryland  |   Pennsylvania  |   Museums

At the Virginia Living Museum natural heritage comes alive. Virginia’s natural heritage comes alive through living exhibits that encompass all the state’s geographic regions from the mountains to the ocean. Each exhibit tells a story. There is the predator-prey relationship between the chipmunk and the corn snake; the survival adaptations of the flounder and puffer fish; the endangered status of the once plentiful sturgeon, and the geological changes that have created caves. (~2.5 hours)

Colonial Williamsburg is the world’s largest living history museum in Williamsburg, Virginia—the restored 18th-century capital of Britain’s largest, wealthiest, and most populous outpost of empire in the New World. Here they interpret the origins of the idea of America, conceived decades before the American Revolution. The Colonial Williamsburg story of a revolutionary city tells how diverse peoples, having different and sometimes conflicting ambitions, evolved into a society that valued liberty and equality. Americans cherish these values as a birthright, even when their promise remains unfulfilled. In Colonial Williamsburg’s 301-acre Historic Area stand hundreds of restored, reconstructed, and historically furnished buildings. Costumed interpreters tell the stories of the men and women of the 18th-century city—black, white, and native American, slave, indentured, and free—and the challenges they faced. (~2.5 hours)

Luray Caverns are the largest caverns in Eastern America. For more than 125 years, Luray Caverns has been renowned as a spectacular natural wonder. Today the caverns remain as magical and majestic as when they were first discovered in 1878 by a tinsmith and a local photographer. (~1.5 hours)

Natural Bridge is one of the oldest tourist destinations in the United States. The Bridge has been included in several "Seven Natural Wonders of the World" lists, mostly in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It has been designated a National Historic Landmark, a Virginia Historic Landmark, and is listed in the National Register of historic Places. (~3 hours)

Virginia Safari Park opened in the spring of 2000 and allows people to see wild animals in a much more natural environment than had previously been available. At VSP you'll be able to see animals run and frolic with abandon ... or block your path ... or lay flat-out in the sun ... the choice will be theirs; they are free to roam—no pacing back and forth in front of a barred exhibit! You drive your car through the park and can even purchase food to feed right from your window. Don't forget your camera! (~3 hours)

Hull's Drive-In Theater is still in operation today. Originally opened as Lee Drive In on August 5, 1950. If you make the trip down to Natural Bridge, you should make the time to take the kids to a drive-in movie... brings back memories of your childhood, doesn't it??!! (~3 hours)

Skyline Drive runs 105 miles north and south along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park and is the only public road through the park. A slow meander down Skyline Drive will give you a whole new driving experience. It takes about three hours to travel the entire length of the park on a clear day. The maximum speed limit is 35 mph, so you can roll down your windows, feel the breeze and experience every curve and turn of this beautiful drive. There are 75 overlooks that offer stunning views of the Shenandoah Valley to the west or the rolling piedmont to the east. The park purposely leaves the roadsides unmowed so wildflowers put on a show all year long. Deer, black bear, wild turkey, and a host of other woodland animals call Shenandoah home and regularly cross Skyline Drive in their daily travels. (~2 hours)

West Virginia
Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad is one of America's most beautiful train rides. For three hours enjoy a narrated excursion through a tranquil and pristine mountain valley. View historic farms and lush mountain greenery. Around every curve you are rewarded with the splendor of native wildflowers, evergreens, and mixed hardwoods in an unspoiled countryside environment. Experience "The Trough," a spectacular narrow mountain valley. Below you runs the South Branch of the Potomac River, where the water is so clear that you can see fish as they lie resting in the shade. Above you the high mountain walls and thick forest help keep a secret few have discovered. Prepare yourself to see America's National Symbol in it's natural habitat.

Scenic West Virginia Rail Excursions cutting directly through the center of this wilderness (Monongahela National Forest) are the four great trains of the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad. With departures from different towns and small cities along their route, these trains transport you into some of the best scenery this side of the Rockies. Our unique collection of trains roll through deep canyons featuring narrow passages beside sheer rock walls with vivid views of unspoiled mountains. Along the way our trains travel beside three scenic cascading rivers, climb to over 4,000 feet in elevation, burrow under mighty Cheat Mountain (via an 1,800 foot tunnel featuring an “S” curve of the track inside), and negotiate the two sharpest mainline railroad curves in the U.S.!

The Balitmore and Ohio Rail Museum Both children and adults will delight at the Museum’s family friendly exhibits and activities. Throughout the Museum campus, visitors will enjoy hands-on exhibits that make learning fun! From viewing exciting railroad flicks in our theatre car to climbing into the cab of a steam locomotive, there is plenty to SEE and DO here! Our seasonal family activity area is full of fun for the entire family. Climb aboard our wooden train play set, participate in a pump car demonstration or watch toy trains make their way through our G-scale garden layout.

Strasburg Railroad provides you with the opportunity to stroll through the historic East Strasburg Station and the neighboring town of Strasburg, explore the engines and rail cars up-close and ride beautifully restored trains. It's so much fun that you'll almost forget that you're immersed in a richly educational experience … learning about steam railroading, agriculture, Amish culture and PA Dutch heritage.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania houses one of the most significant collections of historic railroad artifacts in the world. Don't miss the neat events they have scheduled for their Family Day.

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