Home of Richmond International Raceway
A lot of NASCAR fans tend to get caught up in raceday excitement and forget that there are other things to do around the tracks. Sometimes, race fans don't always want to just hang around the track. I have not been to or visited all of these places but many of these have been suggested by fans or natives of the towns and states or even by folks in the NASCAR industry themselves! Others have come from websites or the chambers of commerce. So sit back and take an armchair road trip with me across the circuit...
Virginia Beach, VA – suggested by Carolyn from Virginia Beach
Just about an hour and a half from the track lie the beaches of Virginia. I know, it doesn’t sound as romantic as it could, but a beach is a beach, right? Carolyn says “Get on I-64 and only 96 miles away and about 1 1/2 hours drive, more or less depending on traffic, is the Atlantic Ocean and mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. You'll want to keep on driving past Colonial Williamsburg, because it's hot and you're heading for the beach!”
Also near the beach is the lighthouse. “The lighthouse is on Fort Story, a military base, so be prepared to show identification. You can climb to the top and see where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Chesapeake Bay and beyond.”
Photo credit: www.virginiawind.com
Carolyn’s favorite place to visit is the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center. It's very hands on and interactive. They offer Dolphin Watching Trips as well. I've gone with friends on their boats out on the Chesapeake Bay to watch the dolphins and it is a sight.” More information can be found at the aquarium’s website.
The Virginia Civil War Trails – suggested by VisitRichmondVa.com
If you’re a history buff and interested in the Civil War, there are plenty of historic sites around Virginia which aren’t too far away and they are in great abundance. Even if you aren’t really much into history, it’s important to take a step back and learn about our nation’s past. Of course, it’s only a matter of opinion.
If you have enough time and get into Virginia early enough to take some time exploring these historic sites, I would suggest taking the opportunity to follow one of the Civil War trails. You can create your own itinerary here or follow one of the preplanned itineraries here.
The Edgar Allan Poe Museum- suggested by VisitRichmondVa.com
You can visit the museum of American thriller author, Edgar Allan Poe, and lies only a few blocks away from Poe’s first Richmond home and his first place of employment.
Walk through the museum and you can see such collections of Poe’s things as furniture, personal items, art, photographs, manuscripts and rare first editions of Poe’s works. The museum also houses many treasured items belonging to either Poe or his wife.
In addition to the museum, they have small reenactments such as the Tell-Tale Heart trial in which participants are able to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused and a mock crime scene where participants get to “investigate” a murder from one of Poe’s murder mysteries. However, these activities may only be for students, so it’s recommended to call the museum before you head out just to assure that you can participate.
To visit the museum, you can find directions on their website. The hours are also posted on the site on the same page as the directions.
Canal Walk- suggested by travelers on TripAdvisor.com
While there doesn’t appear to be an abundance of information on the Canal Walk, what I’ve seen from reviews is very good. A 1.25 mile walk along the banks of the Haxall Canal carries you through a part of historic Richmond.
Also, you can take a historic canal cruise. The rates are actually very reasonable, even if you are on a budget. For families with young children, this is definitely recommended. Be sure to check out their websites here and here for driving and pricing information.
Bizarre: Roadside Attractions in Richmond- suggested by RoadsideAmerica.com
From giant milk bottles to a Confederate pyramid, if you’re into the bizarre, the offbeat, and the downright weird, RoadsideAmerica.com has plenty of things to see and do. Most of the suggestions are made by travelers and visitors on the site so you may see the same thing posted up more than once but it’s always nice to get a second opinion.
There are a total of 29 roadside attractions listed on the website for Richmond and the surrounding area. You can view a map here and make a day of it by creating an itinerary of attractions you’d like to visit. The map comes complete with addresses so you can GPS them or just print up a copy of the map. Either way there are plenty of quirky things to see in Richmond.
Photo credit: RoadsideAmerica.com