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The majority of Virginia's visitors arrive by car, and most of them are families. Accordingly, the state's major attractions and resorts are well equipped to entertain and care for children. It's a great place for kids to learn about American history while enjoying a good time at the beach or one of three major amusement parks.

  • Shenandoah National Park: Two lodges in the most popular part of Shenandoah National Park make this a great place for family vacations. The kids can participate in ranger programs, hike to waterfalls, or go for a pony ride in the forest.
  • Colonial Williamsburg: The Historic Area of Colonial Williamsburg is the best place for children to get a quick lesson in American history. On the streets, they might run into Thomas Jefferson (actually, an actor) and have a conversation about the Declaration of Independence, or drill and march with the 18th-century militia. As soon as they get bored, head for Busch Gardens Williamsburg or Water Country USA, two nearby theme parks.
  • Virginia Beach: First there's the beach, 4 miles or so, with lifeguards during summer -- but that's not all. Rainy days can be spent at the local Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, the state's most popular museum. Norfolk's NAUTICUS, Hampton's Virginia Air & Space Center, and Colonial Williamsburg are all just short drives away.
  • Chincoteague & Assateague Islands: The fishing village was the setting for Marguerite Henry's classic children's book Misty of Chincoteague, and there are plenty of wild horses (called "ponies") in Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island, which also has a guarded beach for swimming during the summer. The best time to see the horses is during the annual pony swim the last week in July, but the kids can ride one in a small equestrian center.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.