Best Small Towns In Virginia – The Appalachian Mountains stretch for hundreds of miles through Virginia, from the heights near Cumberland Gap in the southwest to Maryland.
Virginia’s mountain towns lie between these mountain ranges and deep valleys. Citizens of these settlements are lucky enough to live amidst lush green forest-covered peaks to call home, free-flowing rivers and streams, and hiking trails to explore beyond. While we may not all live in a Virginia mountain town, we can always visit them and enjoy some of the things that come with living in such a beautiful place.
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In Virginia’s mountain towns, you’ll find places to eat, places to sleep, places to recreate, and of course, plenty of outdoor activities. Read and relax in a Virginia mountain town where you can explore and create outdoor adventures.
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The real-life town of Big Stone Gap, made famous by the movie and novel series Big Stone Gap, is located on Powell River, surrounded by the mountains of Southwest Virginia. Downtown is home to attractions ranging from the Museum of Southwest Virginia to the Meador Coal Museum, which details the interconnected nature of coal and what people call the Big Stone Gap.
In the open field, the city’s offerings are filled. Stone Mountain rises above the Great Stone Gap. Powell Valley Overlook offers a stunning panorama of the heart of Appalachia’s heartland, and perhaps the most photographed vista in the area, the view is irresistible to every visitor. Drive to the restored High Knob control wheel where you can see 5 positions. Hike the 20-mile Benge Scout Trail. Sections of the trail begin conveniently in the highlands of High Knob Lake and Bark Camp Lake. See the Devil’s Bath waterfalls and cool swimming holes.
See another geological wonder at Natural Tunnel State Park. Cyclists can enjoy the 5-kilometer River Trail, a railroad-style railroad. Anglers enjoy swimming and fishing on the Powell River, a day swim that starts in downtown Big Stone Gap in Bullitt Park and runs 12 miles to Dryden on US 58.
Big Stone Gap has over 30 restaurants to choose from, including Big Cherry Brewing Company, Good Times at the Gap Pizza & Pub, Moon Dog Brick Oven Pizza and Curklin’s.
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Play disc golf at two of the city’s courses, the 9-hole Duck Park Disc Golf Course and the newest 18-hole course, The Ridge. Big Cherry Lake is a beautiful mountain lake where visitors can fish, boat, and hike.
A National Historic Landmark, the State Park Museum of Southwest Virginia has an 1890s Victorian stone mansion and a collection of historic artifacts that includes more than 60,000 artifacts. The museum’s exhibits tell the story of Southwest Virginia’s exploration and development from the pioneer days of the 1700s to the mining boom of the late 1800s.
Virginia’s Lone Pine Trail—Virginia’s official outdoor drama—is a must-see summer event. The production is the longest-running outdoor drama in the state of Virginia. Based on the novel by John G. Fox, it tells the story of the coal boom days and life in Southwest Virginia. In addition, five nights a week there is live music in the city center.
Surrounded by mountain rapids, Damascus is literally a crossroads, with the famous Appalachian Trail running through downtown, while the venerable Virginia Creeper Rail Trail also bisects the city. You can boat and fish for trout in the streams that flow between the mountain.
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The Virginia Creeper Trail is the ultimate draw. Here the outfitters will rent you a bike, drive you to Whitetop station, and then you’ll ride 17km through a mix of forests and small communities/lots of streams and creeks on a former railway bed. Alternatively, you can take the Virginia Creeper Trail west to Abingdon and back without a car. Walking is also very attractive here. Climb Mount Rogers to experience miles of high mountains, wild ponies, and Virginia’s highest point. Fish Whitetop Laurel or Beaverdam Creeks, then return to your lodge.
Damascus is home to Rogers Mountain Outfitters, a trail shop in downtown Damascus. AT passes the shop. It’s a tradition for walkers to come in and say hello to owner and Damascus resident Jeff Patrick.
If you love mountain music and mountain vacations, the mountain town of Galax is for you. Located in the heart of waterways, railroads, and hiking trails, Galax offers Virginia outdoor recreation at its best, with old-time rock and bluegrass background music.
Galax is a terminus of the 50-mile+ New River Railroad, a railroad that follows Virginia’s relocated New River. The New River Road – a great attraction for cyclists – follows the countryside along the Chechen River first from Galax, where you can find the Chechen River and then the New River. On the New River Road, visit Virginia’s Historic St. John’s Revival and the nearby Foster Valley Preserve. Drive to Foster Valley from New Austinville. Gentle rapids and bucolic views make it attractive for everyone. There are clothes. Take a scenic drive to Grayson Highlands State Park on US 58. Here, see wild ponies in the meadows and mountains of a mile-long park. There are also trails, picnicking and camping. Drive through Blue Ridge Parkway to visit the most photographed spot in the park at Mabry Mills.
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You should also come for the mountain music. The city has been hosting the Galax Old Fiddler Convention since 1935! It was on this basis that music developed here. The city’s historic Rex Theater hosts musical events. Located just 12 miles away in Blue Ridge Park, the Blue Ridge Music Center hosts shows during the warm season.
See the town where the lower New River and Appalachian Trail pass under the mantle of Mount Peters. Nestled against the West Virginia border, blessed with a river and mountain retreat, Pearisburg is on a scenic mountain trail. Walk through historic streets with brick buildings that transport you to another place. Visit the Andrew Johnston House, an antebellum home that can also be found at the Giles County Historical Society. Giles County is located 37 miles from the New River and 50 miles from the Appalachian Mountains, providing the high-end Virginia mountain beauty you’ve come to expect.
An official Appalachian Trail community, you can hike the world’s most popular hiking trail from Pearysburg to Angels Resort, where you can enjoy sweeping panoramas of the New River Valley. Take a look at the Wilburn Valley in Mount Pearse, Virginia Beach. Hike the spectacular and majestic Cascade Falls in nearby Pembroke. It also points to a new river. Canoe, kayak or canoe, the sometimes tumultuous, always beautiful stretch of waterway features mostly calm stretches interspersed with Class II rapids. Clothes are close at hand to serve you with boat rentals and shuttle service. It is a new and also nationally recognized small-scale fishery. The biggest little one I ever caught was in the New section.
Stay at the Inn at Riverbend, where your room overlooks the New River. The owners take pride in their facilities and your panoramas from the property extend to the deck where the tranquility of the surroundings enchants you.
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You might call it a mountain town rather than a city, but despite its size, Roanoke is steeped in cultural and outdoor activities deep in Appalachia. Mill Mountain, home to the magnificent Roanoke Star, is the symbol of this city on the banks of the Roanoke River, with the Blue Mountain Range to the east and numerous mountains to the west.
Outdoor activities run the gamut. You can drive, picnic, hike, and photograph Virginia’s mountain scenery at Blue Ridge Parkway. Mountain bikers have plenty of trails in the wooded valley of Carwins Cove, where the reservoir opens up opportunities for mountain biking. Canoes and kayaks can be rented on site. Boat docks can cross the Roanoke River through nearby Salem, which is not only a fun river float, but also a greenway for casual cyclists and hikers. Walking around the grounds is wonderful. Some of the highlights of the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail are nearby – the climb to Dragon’s Tooth, the panoramas of McAfee Knob, and the far reaches of Tinker Cliff. Other hiking spots include wilderness, waterfalls, and historic attractions, including Roaring Run Falls & Furnace, the Audie Murphy Memorial, and the Fenwick Mines Walk.
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