Looking for fun things to do in Virginia’s Blue Ridge? Roanoke County offers a variety of indoor and outdoor amenities for your next family adventure. Whether you’re on vacation or looking for activities close to home, here are a few must-see attractions.
1) Explore Park
Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 115, Explore Park features hundreds of acres of rolling hills, pristine woodlands, hiking trails, river frontage, outdoor adventure and a visitor information center. Soar through the trees on the Treetop Quest aerial adventure course, featuring zip-lines and challenge obstacles for ages four and up. Stay overnight in a cabin, yurt or primitive campsite. Enjoy a craft beer or Virginia wine and cider at Twin Creeks Brewpub. Stop inside our visitor center to browse our gift shop featuring artisan crafts and parkway memorabilia. Explore Park is where adventure begins!
2) Splash Valley Water Park
Splash into the fun of two 34-foot high water slides, a current river and children’s sprayground. Splash Valley is a small water park which provides a great place to cool off during the summer months. Open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, look for weekly discounts and special events. Great for birthday parties or group visits. A concessions area within the park offers amusement park favorites like chicken tenders and pizza.
3) Read Mountain Preserve
Tucked back behind a suburban Bonsack subdivision, this passive recreation park is one of the area’s hidden gems. The main feature of the park is a 2 mile trail to Read Mountain’s summit known as Buzzard’s Rock. Choose from several other forested trails along the hillside to explore at your own pace.
4) Green Ridge Recreation CenterThis public recreation facility offers healthy fun for everyone! Green Ridge is a 76,000 square foot destination combining wellness with family recreation opportunities. The indoor pool is open year round, including water slides and a current river. An activity room offers games and activities for the kids, even when it’s raining outside. It’s also one of the favorite local places to work out, with a variety of group exercise equipment and classes.
5) Eleanor D. Wilson MuseumLocated within the Hollins University Visual Arts Center, the Wilson Museum features the work of renowned, emerging and regional artists. Three large exhibit spaces showcase traveling works as well as art from the permanent collection. With programming such as artist talks, workshops, and tours, the museum provides a forum for art through viewing, dialogue, and an understanding of the creative process.
6) Carvins Cove Natural ReserveThis natural reserve covers 12,700 acres and includes a man-made reservoir and abundant protected forestland. A highlight of Carvins Cove are 60 miles of trails used for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Kayaks and rowboats can be rented at the boat landing.
7) Showtimers Community TheatreFormed in 1950 by a group of amateur performers, Showtimers offers a year round schedule of theatrical productions. The intimate 138 seat theatre building is located in a historic church building, lovingly converted into one of the area’s best production spaces by dedicated volunteers.
8) Bottom Creek GorgeEnjoy spectacular scenery and views of the second highest waterfall in Virginia. Bottom Creek Gorge is operated by the Nature Conservancy, consisting of five miles of moderate trails. It’s a hotbed for rare aquatic species, providing critical habitat for four native species of fish: the orangefin madtom, the bigeye jumprock, the riverweed darter, and the Roanoke darter. It also contains approximately 10 percent of all fish species known from Virginia, including native brook trout.
9) Vinton History MuseumBrowse over 4,000 historic items, as well as a collection of photographs celebrating the history of the Town of Vinton. The Vinton History Museum is open several days per week, providing educational opportunities and preserving many key historical documents.
10) McAfee KnobHike to one of the most photographed spots on the Appalachian Trail. McAfee Knob offers a stunning, 270-degree panaramic view of the surrounding valley and mountains, along with its signature ledge which has become a popular place for photographs. Recognized by USA Today Travel as one of the most spectacular hikes in the US.