“Small Towns, Big Backyard” Road Trip in Lexington, VA View All ItinerariesDownload Itinerary PDFWhether you’re looking for a weekend escape or a week-long adventure, your “SMALL TOWNS, BIG BACKYARD” road trip begins in Lexington, a Virginia Main Street Community. Rockbridge County is the southern gateway to the Shenandoah Valley. Conveniently located at the junction of I-81 and I-64 W, visitors have fast and easy access to our “big backyard” – 100,000 acres of public forests, parks, recreation areas and two rivers where outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels can hike, bike, paddle, fish and camp. Downtown Lexington, VA Lexington is the perfect base camp for this outdoor lover’s itinerary. The historic downtown is completely walkable and boasts over 65 indie-owned shops and eateries, in addition to numerous museums, historic sites and tours. Stay at one of the three hotels within walking distance of the historic district and universities: Hampton Inn Col Alto, The Georges Inn named the second-best hotel in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure in 2020 (Historic Hotel of America) and The Gin Hotel (an Ascend property). For those looking for a more rustic or rural setting, the area offers many B&Bs, cabin and vacation home rentals including properties specializing in outdoor recreation such as Sugar Tree Inn, Fox Hill B&B, Steeles Manor Tavern B&B/Cabins and Hummingbird Inn. And for the most down to earth lodging options, 8 campgrounds offer options from primitive tent sites to RV hook ups and everything in between. View additional area Hotels, B&Bs, Inns, Cabins, Vacation Rentals and Campgrounds in the Lodging directory. DAY 1 Natural Bridge State Park Cross the NATURAL BRIDGE STATE PARK off your bucket list. The geological wonder is an awe-inspiring 215ft high limestone arch carved from Cedar Creek and is estimated to be 450 million years old. Purchased by Thomas Jefferson from King George III in 1774, he called it “the most subline of nature’s works.” Today, the Virginia State Park offers educational programs, a Monacan Indian Living History Exhibit, over 6 miles of trails and the Children’s Discovery Area (Kids in Parks Track Trail and a NatureExplore play area). You’ll want to remember your “Small Towns, Big Backyard” road trip with a photo in front of the Natural Bridge State Park LoveWORKS. Located outside the park’s visitor center, the LoveWORKS’ backdrop is the Blue Ridge Mountains. Designed by Mark Cline – famous for his life-size fiberglass dinosaurs and Foamhenge, a true to scale replica of Stonehenge. This installation includes elements that represent Rockbridge County including the Natural Bridge, Lace Falls, wildlife such as deer and eagles, paddling on the James River and rock formations…what Rockbridge County is named after! #LOVEVA Fuel up at Layne’s Country Store, famous for its Virginia Country Ham and Hoop Cheese sandwich, which was ranked in the top 10 “Top 50 places in Virginia to get a country ham sandwich” by USAToday. And is the only location where you can (legally) purchase moonshine in Rockbridge County! Or grab an Elvis Burger at Pink Cadillac Diner while enjoying the nostalgia of a 50s diner. Upper James River Water Trail Get a new perspective of the Blue Ridge Mountains! Spend the afternoon paddling, fishing and wildlife viewing on the 65 miles of the UPPER JAMES RIVER WATER TRAIL. 59 miles of the James River and 19.25 miles of the Maury River are designated part of the Virginia Scenic River System. The UJRWT features Class I-III rapids, ensuring paddlers a segment suitable to their skill level. Bring your own equipment or utilize an outfitter who will provide gear and shuttle transportation. Great Valley Farm Brewery & Winery After a jaunt on the river or trail, “Drink in the Shenandoah Valley” with a cold craft brew along the SHENANDOAH BEERWERKS TRAIL. Relax and enjoy the companionship of good friends amidst beautiful farms and mountains, breathe in the scent of ancient forests on a hike, explore a fascinating new community, taste the fresh flavors of a farm-to-table meal, or listen to music under the stars as you discover a new favorite band. Rockbridge County is home to 4 breweries – Great Valley Farm Brewery & Winery, Devils Backbone Outpost Tap Room & Kitchen and Heliotrope Brewery and Rockbridge Vineyard and Brewery. Don’t forget to get your Beerwerks Passport stamped at 8 of the 19 breweries to receive a commemorative Beerwerks t-shirt and bragging rights. DAY 2 Cycling in Goshen Pass Get an early start on 2 wheels as you breeze past pastoral landscapes, quaint cities and towns, and historic, natural and cultural resources with a “BIKE THE VALLEY” cycling route. Experts can start in charming Buena Vista and climb their way to the iconic BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY, “America’s Favorite Drive.” The Lexington/Goshen Pass Loop will wind along the Maury River on Rt. 39, APPALACHIAN WATERS SCENIC BYWAY with many pull-offs to enjoy river access and views of GOSHEN PASS, a 3-mile-long gorge in the Goshen and Little North Mountain Wildlife Management Area. Or peddle around the VILLAGES OF FAIRFIELD, RAPHINE AND BROWNSBURG on a “tour de farm” route visiting farms, a vineyard, grist mill, community museum and more rural beauty than you can imagine. Many of the stops are members of the FIELDS OF GOLD FARM TRAIL. And for those looking for an epic cross-county experience, cycle a segment of the TRANSAMERICA BIKE TRAIL along Scenic Byway Rt. 56. And for those who wish to explore the natural beauty from behind a windshield, any of these routes make the perfect SCENIC DRIVE. Grab a bite at Gertie’s Country Store and Deli in Vesuvius, a finalist on the Blue Ridge Parkway Foodie Tour with their infused pulled pork BBQ sandwich. The store’s walls are covered with signatures from visitors from around the world and is a convenient stopover for travelers on the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail, who can camp out back for free. Boxerwood Nature Center and Woodland Garden Take a peaceful moment and discover the flora and fauna tucked away just 1.6 miles from historic downtown Lexington. BOXERWOOD NATURE CENTER AND WOODLAND GARDEN is a 15-acre arboretum featuring over 12,000 trees and native and unusual plant specimens, with walking paths intertwining within fields, woodlands, ponds. There is a Kids Play Trail and Fairy Forest and a summer music series for the young at heart. DAY 3 Glen Maury Park Put on your walking shoes and explore GLEN MAURY PARK in Buena Vista. This 315-acre park includes camping, hiking/mountain bike trails, fishing on the Maury River, an Olympic-sized pool, playing fields, picnic areas and the 18-hole Rick Jacobson designed links course. Catch a bluegrass, gospel or beach music concert. Stroll the BUENA VISTA RIVERWALK, a 2-mile flood wall that connects the park to the Chessie Nature Trail. The CHESSIE NATURE TRAIL parallels the Maury River, connecting Lexington and Buena Vista. A 7-mile rail-trail, the Chessie’s path is comprised of a portion of the old Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad bed as well as canal towpaths and boat lochs. It’s the perfect place to hike and run because it’s easily accessible while also boasting abundant natural beauty, wildlife, and farmsteads. Chessie Nature Trail Get your fill of fall-off-the-bone BBQ or wood-fired pizza at JJ’s Meat Shak. Blue Ridge Parkway BUENA VISTA, an Appalachian Trail Community, is the gateway to the BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY or the APPALACHIAN TRIAL. Enjoy a short hike with breathtaking views and wildlife watching. Looking for more activities or to extend your visit? OUTDOORS If you are into geocaching, search for caches along the GEMS OF ROCKBRIDGE GEOCACHING TRAIL consisting of 10 geocaches that are strategically placed to highlight the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the gateway communities along the Blue Ridge Parkway: Vesuvius, Buena Vista, Lexington, Glasgow and Natural Bridge. Complete the passport to redeem a commemorative coin! Gems of Rockbridge Geocaching Trail Visit RockbridgeOutdoors.com for additional hiking, cycling, paddling and fishing options. FAMILY ATTRACTIONS Make the most of a three-day weekend by visiting Rockbridge County, Virginia. More than 30 attractions are located within a mere 30 miles of one another, so it’s easy to pack as much adventure as you’d like into your stay. Virginia Safari Park VISITOR INFORMATION Stop the Lexington Visitor Center to pick up a Downtown Lexington Walking Tour Map with 46 points of interest, including Washington and Lee University, Virginia Military Institute and the historic residential district. COVID-19 PACT — Protecting All Citizens and Travelers is our hospitality pledge. Learn how Lexington, Buena Vista and Rockbridge County, VA is keeping your family safe in 2020.