Seasons come and go, and for that, we’re thankful. Watching the transition from summer to autumn leaves us awestruck, and seeing the leaves blown away as the air grows cold is equally impressive.
Beauty abounds regardless of the season on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
While you’re cruising the slower pace, note there are “must see” places to mark on your map. These are popular, selfie-worthy destinations to be enjoyed with your favorite someone.
Don’t miss these eight great experiences during your next road trip in Virginia’s Blue Ridge!
1. Mabry Mill | Milepost 176
Constructed in 1903, Mabry Mill’s history includes use first as a blacksmith and wheelwright before becoming a sawmill and later a gristmill. Today it’s the centerpiece of a historic collection of sites with milling demonstrations for visitors and has become the most photographed spot on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia.
Blacksmith and weaving demonstrations, plus a restaurant and gift shop are also part of the experience.
“We love this place. My husband can’t have enough photos of this mill.” – Donna C.
“Mabry Mill is a must stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway. A beautiful area with a couple buildings showing weaving and blacksmiths.” – Richie C.
“Well worth seeing. We must have spent an hour taking pictures. Very peaceful setting.” - JeffinNewJersey
2. Chateau Morrisette Winery & Restaurant | Milepost 171
One of Virginia’s oldest wineries is Chateau Morrisette. The vines were planted in 1978 and the first wines were available by 1982.
A visit to the winery today offers not only a great tasting experience but also fabulous dining in a beautiful timber frame building. In fact, it’s built from salvaged timber and is one of the largest salvaged timberframes in North America.
“We have been coming here for 6 years & always look forward to our yearly trip. The atmosphere is beautiful & the wines are some of our favorites.” – Christine W.
“We come here yearly for a visit because of the great views and location!” - HavePassporTKA
3. Rocky Knob Recreation Area | Milepost 169
With a visitor center, campground, picnic areas, and numerous trails for hiking, there are a variety of ways to enjoy a stop at the Rocky Knob Recreation Area. The Saddle Overlook provides a stunning view of the nearby valley and you can also make the trek down the Rock Castle Gorge Trail.
“Whether your love of the outdoors focuses on vistas, camping, picnic, or wild-life watching, you will find that and more in this stretch of the Parkway.” – Susan M.
“This is one of our favorite areas on the BRP.” – 276Sherry
4. Mill Mountain & Roanoke Star | Milepost 120
If you’re looking for “the world’s largest” anything, you’ll actually find one just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. The “world’s largest freestanding illuminated man-made star” is the Roanoke (or Mill Mountain) Star. At 88.5 feet tall, the star is comprised of 2,000 feet of neon lights.
The overlook at the star provides an iconic view of downtown Roanoke and is a popular spot for locals to take visiting friends and family. Check out the trails and Mill Mountain Zoo while you’re up on the mountain.
“We loved viewing the city from above, and seeing the Star in person.” – JetsLikeTaxis
“So gorgeous! Beautiful view and loved it at night.” – Sharon C.
5. Explore Park | Milepost 115
Great for photo ops, picnics, and adventure, the Explore Park is 1,200 acres of recreation and history. Check out the restored historical buildings or crank up your adrenaline with a bike ride or kayak trip down the Roanoke River.
“Best sunsets in the valley can be found here.” – Cameron T.
“Beautiful with lots of trails. So close to Roanoke.” – Sahar Alee K.
6. Peaks of Otter | Milepost 86
Three peaks make up the Peaks of Otter with Flat Top Mountain being the highest at 3,994 feet. Abbott Lake and the Peaks of Otter Lodge and Restaurant make this stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway a weekend destination for a variety of travelers.
“Beautiful surroundings. The restaurant is good, affordable and convenient. There are great views from the decks and patios. A paved trail around the lake makes for nice easy walk…” – mlj3u
“Peaks of Otter is a family friendly nature honoring getaway.” - JLFPHD
7. Apple Orchard Mountain | Milepost 76.5
The highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia is Apple Orchard Mountain. The unique characteristic of the area are the gnarly trees that resemble an apple orchard and a large FAA radar near the open summit. You can also check out the rugged hike to Apple Orchard Falls.
“This was a great hike with water everywhere. So many great photo opportunities.” – Sterling
“I hiked down to the falls from the Blue Ridge Parkway. We enjoyed the crispness and coolness of the air.” – Adrienne
Virginia’s Blue Ridge offers numerous Blue Ridge Parkway scenic overlooks and all of them offer impressive views. Three have been mentioned above and here are five more that will take your breath away!
- Purgatory Mountain Overlook | Milepost 92.1
- Pine Tree Overlook | Milepost 95.2
- Roanoke River Gorge | Milepost 114.9
- Roanoke Mountain Overlook | Milepost 120.3
- Cahas Mountain Overlook | Milepost 139
There’s no reason to wait. Hop in your favorite ride and take America’s Favorite Drive this weekend. For a place to rest during your adventure, check our list of accommodations along the Blue Ridge Parkway. You can also refer to our Blue Ridge Parkway Map for info on access points in Virginia's Blue Ridge.
Remember to share your photos with us on social media by using our #BlueRidgeDay hashtag and tagging us at @visitvbr!