At the center of the Roanoke Valley lies its namesake, the City of Roanoke, a vibrant city that combines pulsating urban energy with genuine southern charm. As the largest Virginia city west of Richmond, Roanoke is the cultural and business hub of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The city is home to a thriving arts scene that includes a symphony, ballet, theatre, lots of art galleries and the nationally known Taubman Museum of Art. Downtown Roanoke is a treasure trove of unique shopping and eclectic restaurants. It's truly a great place to include on any visit to the region, but to fully understand the Blue Ridge Mountains you'll have to explore the rest of the scenic valley.
Botetourt County is one of Virginia's oldest counties and remains one of its most beautiful places. You can roam the streets once walked by Lewis & Clark, who departed from Fincastle to begin their historic journey of discovery. Two centuries later, visitors love exploring Botetourt's back roads, trails and rivers. Hikers and bikers pass through on the famous Appalachian Trail and the TransAmerica Trail. And paddlers flock to the Upper James River Water Trail to experience the mighty James as it winds through the Blue Ridge Mountains on its way to the Chesapeake Bay.
The City of Salem is an idyllic mountain community - rich in history and civic pride and home to lots of one-of-a-kind events like The Salem Fair and Olde Salem Days. Big name acts roll into town to perform at the Salem Civic Center . Salem is best known for its love of sports. Not only is it home to the Salem Red Sox minor league baseball team, the city also hosts numerous amateur and collegiate tournaments throughout the year including four national championships.
Bluegrass and clear blue water are just down the road in Franklin County. You can find live music every night of the week, as Franklin County is proud to be the eastern gateway to the Crooked Road - Virginia's Heritage Music Trail. One of the fastest growing areas in the Roanoke Valley is at Smith Mountain Lake, a man-made lake with 500-miles of shoreline. Take a cruise on a jetski or a guided fishing excursion and you'll see why. Franklin County is also home to a network of blueways on three different rivers, providing paddlers with nearly 80 miles of canoeing and kayaking fun.
Roanoke County surrounds the City of Roanoke, providing a scenic and rural playground for Roanoke Valley residents and visitors alike. The famous Blue Ridge Parkway passes through the county, offering some of the most spectacular views anywhere on the east coast. Roanoke County is the place to find great shopping, dining and special events, like the Vinton Dogwood Festival.
From urban delights to small town charm. From front row at the symphony to rugged outdoor recreation. The Roanoke Valley features more opportunities for fun and adventure than other destinations in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. We hope you'll stay a few days and explore every corner of this beautiful valley.