Spring Break is the perfect guilt-free excuse for a fun family trip. With the kids out of school and temperatures on the rise, you can spend an entire week exploring the Roanoke Region in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, and still not see it all!

The region is a mountain playground full of fantastic opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, including trails for hiking and biking, as well as waterways for paddling, fishing, and boating.

Virginia's Blue Ridge also features a unique history that has deep ties to its railroad heritage and surprising connections to various key figures and events in American history.

Spring Break Destinations for Families: Virginia's Blue Ridge

Looking for an exciting, out-of-the-ordinary spring break? With over 1,000 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and paddling, it's the perfect destination for your family to experience great outdoor recreation. You also have easy access to fun downtown areas with an exciting collection of special events and things to do - creating the unique combination of a family-friendly metro mountain adventure.

Here are some of the best ways to spend time with the family in Virginia's Blue Ridge!

  • Walkable Downtown Roanoke: Highlights include the Virginia Museum of Transportation, Roanoke Pinball Museum, Taubman Museum of Art, Kids Square Children's Museum, Center in the Square
  • Natural Bridge State Park: Walk along the scenic trails, explore the underground caverns and stand beneath the iconic 30-story tall Natural Bridge
  • Smith Mountain Lake: Get out on the water and enjoy gorgeous views while relaxing at Smith Mountain Lake. Boat & water toy rentals available via Bridgewater Marina & Boat Rentals
  • Explore Park: A family-friendly adventure park that features ziplining, trails for hiking & biking, water access, and camping & cabins available for overnight lodging.
  • Historic Sites: Take in the rich history of Virginia's Blue Ridge at historic sites such as the Booker T. Washington National Monument in Franklin County and National D-Day Memorial in Bedford
  • Outdoor Excursions: Take advantage of local guides and outfitters that can help you explore the outdoors. Twin River Outfitters can help you plan a paddling or tubing trip on the Upper James River Water Trail and Roanoke Mountain Adventures can help you shred the mountain bike trails at local trail systems such as Mill Mountain Park and Carvins Cove.

Walkable Downtown Roanoke

Family in Downtown Roanoke

There are lots of ways to keep your kids entertained and busy in Downtown Roanoke. From checking out classic cars and an amazing collection of over 50 pieces of rolling stock in The Railyard at the Virginia Museum of Transportation, to playing classic games at the Roanoke Pinball Museum, Spring Break memories are only a short walk away in Downtown Roanoke. Center in the Square is also home to the popular Kids Square Children's Museum.

The Taubman Museum of Art features Art Venture, an exploratory gallery where kids can take part in the creative process, and parents will love checking out the museum's exhibitions and permanent collection.

When you're not in one of the fantastic museums or attractions, make some friends at the Historic Roanoke City Market, one of the oldest farmers markets in Virginia. Now that your stomach is growling, check out Roanoke’s restaurant scene featuring creative, locally-sourced and locally-owned eateries.

Don't Miss: Center in the Square | Taubman Museum of Art | Virginia Museum of Transportation

Places to Stay in Downtown Roanoke >

Natural Bridge State Park - A Natural Wonder

Natural Bridge of Virginia

Discover why The Natural Bridge of Virginia was once considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. This incredible, 30-story tall natural bridge of solid rock is a National Historical Landmark that Thomas Jefferson purchased from King George III of England in 1774.

Today, visitors come to walk under this incredible structure and enjoy the trails and paths that surround the bridge, including the Cedar Creek Nature Trail.

Learn More: Natural Bridge State Park Website >

Book Your Stay: Natural Bridge Hotel & Conference Center >

Smith Mountain Lake - Water Activities

Smith Mountain Lake - Virginia

Over 500 miles of stunning shoreline await you at Smith Mountain Lake, which is well-deserving of its nickname as the "Jewel of the Blue Ridge."

Bridgewater Marina & Boat Rentals offers everything you need for a day on the water, including a great variety of watercraft and water toy rentals. The marina is also a popular spot for dining, shopping, and simply relaxing while taking in the gorgeous views of the lake.

You can enjoy beautiful views, trails, and water access at Smith Mountain Lake Community Park in Franklin County.

Leave time to see our favorite furry friends at Smith Mountain Lake Farm Alpacas, where everyone will love getting a chance to feed, touch, hold, and hug the adorable alpacas.

Other Resources: SML Weekend Itinerary > | Easy Ways to Get on the Water > | Boat Rental Guide >

Places to Stay at Smith Mountain Lake >

Roanoke County's Explore Park

Family Camping - Explore Park Cabins - Roanoke, VA

Explore Park in Roanoke County is one of the best options for family-friendly outdoor fun in Virginia's Blue Ridge.

You can soar through the trees on ziplines and take on aerial obstacles at Treetop Quest, or explore the park's network of trails for hiking and biking, which are all easily accessible from the park's various cabins and campsites that are available for overnight lodging.

Explore Park also features access to the Roanoke River Blueway, a popular option for fishing, paddling, and boating.

For food & drink, check out the Twin Creek Brewpub, which is located within the park at the Historic Brugh Tavern, or make the short trip over to the nearby Town of Vinton and its many great local restaurants.

Learn More: Outdoor Adventures at Explore Park >

Book Your Stay: Camping & Cabins at Explore Park >

Historic Sites

National D-Day Memorial

Who says there can't be a little learning during Spring Break? A visit to Virginia's Blue Ridge is not only fun, but it can also be educational as you re-trace the footsteps of the region's rich history!

Learn about the birthplace and early life of Booker T. Washington at the Booker T. Washington National Monument, or see where our nation's 3rd president used to take retreats at Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest estate.

You can also honor our nation's heroes by visiting the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, a town that suffered the nation's most severe losses during the D-Day invasion of Normandy in World War II. Now, the memorial and town stand as powerful tributes and reminders of the freedom we enjoy in the United States.

Learn More: Best Spots for History Buffs in Virginia's Blue Ridge >

Places to Stay in Virginia's Blue Ridge >

Outdoor Adventure Excursions

Roanoke Biking Trips

Sometimes all the options for outdoor adventure in Virginia's Blue Ridge can be a little overwhelming, but that's what makes outfitters like Roanoke Mountain Adventures and Twin River Outfitters so great.

Both companies feature a variety of outdoor excursions and guided trips, providing you and the family opportunities to experience the best of Virginia's Blue Ridge, while receiving the assistance of local experts. 

Whether it's a day of mountain biking at Carvins Cove with Roanoke Mountain Adventures or paddling along the James River with Twin River Outfitters, you're sure to make great memories in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Book an Adventure: Roanoke Mountain Adventures > | Twin River Outfitters >

Camping in Virginia's Blue Ridge >

With so much to see and do, it'll be tough to experience it all in one spring break trip. It's a good thing the kids have the entire summer off!

Request a free copy of our Visitor's Guide for more ideas on things to do in Virginia's Blue Ridge and be sure to sign-up for our monthly e-newsletter to get more information about the region!

Kid-Friendly Resources