Malaria may have been a curse of the colonists who settled Virginia in the 17th century, but today the state poses no unusual health threats.
Although Virginia mosquitoes don't carry malaria, they are still rampant in the Tidewater during summer, especially in the marshes around Chincoteague, Assateague, and Tangier islands, so use plenty of insect repellent on the Eastern Shore.
What to Do If You Get Sick Away from Home -- Hospitals and emergency care facilities are widespread in Virginia, so unless you're deep in the backcountry, help will be close at hand.
In case of illness, consider asking your hotel concierge or staff to recommend a local doctor -- even his or her own. Most Virginia cities and towns have hospitals, and you can try their emergency rooms for assistance. Many have walk-in clinics for cases that are not life threatening. You may not get immediate attention, but you won't pay the high price of an emergency room visit (usually a minimum of $300 just for signing your name).
If you suffer from a chronic illness, consult your doctor before your departure. Pack prescription medications in your carry-on luggage, and carry them in their original containers, with pharmacy labels -- otherwise they won't make it through airport security. Visitors from outside the U.S. should carry generic names of prescription drugs.
For U.S. travelers, most reliable healthcare plans provide coverage if you get sick away from home. Foreign visitors may have to pay all medical costs upfront and be reimbursed later. Accordingly, you may want to buy travel insurance.
Most areas of Virginia are relatively free of street crime, but this is not the case in some parts of Alexandria, Richmond, Norfolk, Roanoke, and other cities. Ask your hotel staff or the local visitor information office whether neighborhoods you intend to visit are safe. Avoid deserted streets and alleys, and always be especially alert at night. Never leave anything of value visible in your parked car; it's an invitation to theft.
When heading outdoors, keep in mind that injuries often occur when people fail to follow instructions. Believe the experts who tell you to stay on the established trails. Hike in designated areas, follow the marine charts if piloting your own boat, carry rain gear, and wear a life jacket when canoeing or rafting. Watch for summer thunderstorms that can leave you drenched, send bolts of lightning your way, and suddenly flood otherwise peaceful streams. Mountain weather can be fickle any season.
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.