Stay Fit and Fed with these Virginia Day Trips

Photo Credits: Brent McGuirt Photography – Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Hey Foodies, You Know The Formula: The More You Exercise, The More You Can Eat! So Maybe It’s Not Always That Simple, But A Feast Sure Feels Better-Earned After A Hearty Bout Of Physical Activity, Right?

Here in Virginia, we’re blessed to have such endless options for world-class outdoor recreation—and doubly blessed given they come backed up by such fabulous homegrown cuisine. Here are promising itineraries for getting active and getting fed in every corner of the state: paired destinations for fitness and food an hour or less apart!

Photo Credits: Roanoke Regional Partnership - Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge / Roanoke Natural Foods Co-Op
Photo Credits: Roanoke Regional Partnership – Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge / Roanoke Natural Foods Co-Op

Blue Ridge Highlands

Do: McAfee Knob
McAfee Knob’s rocky prow makes the 2,200-mile-long Appalachian Trail’s best-known photo op—no surprise, given the sublime view it commands of the Catawba Valley and a whole mess of gorgeous ridges. You’ll work for that knock-your-socks-off panorama: Hiking up involves 1,700 feet of elevation gain.

Eat: Roanoke Natural Foods Co-Op
Within shouting distance of McAfee Knob’s killer vantage, Roanoke Natural Foods Co-Op supplies all variety of trail snacks, a fabulous deli for post-hike munching, and an extensive local beer selection for properly toasting the climb.


Photo Credits: Richmond Rides / The Daily Kitchen & Bar
Photo Credits: Richmond Rides / The Daily Kitchen & Bar

Central VA/Richmond

Do: Discover Richmond Tours
Get your steps in while soaking up in-depth Richmond history on a Discover Richmond Food Tour. Learn the backstory of neighborhood spots and take in the architecture while pit-stopping at topnotch restaurants and bakeries. Or if you just want to enjoy the outdoors, try one of their Hiking Tours!

Eat: The Daily Kitchen & Bar
If you still have room for another bite, stop into Carytown’s The Daily Kitchen & Bar, offering healthy, cuisine-hopping entrees spotlighting loads of local ingredients. Too full from a food tour? Grab a kombucha mocktail at the bar!

Bonus Idea: Pay tribute to Richmond’s lifeblood with a hike, run, pedal, or paddle along the James River, then follow up with eats at the Daily Kitchen & Bar. And don’t stop there: Over at Ellwood Thompson’s, grab healthy, local fodder such as Farmstead Ferments and SVO Chicken for tomorrow’s menu.


Photo Credits: SNP / PULP / Katy Cain NPS
Photo Credits: SNP / PULP / Katy Cain NPS

Shenandoah Valley

Do: Shenandoah National Park
A no-brainer: Virginia boasts a world-class national park in 200,000-acre Shenandoah, what with its rich hardwood forests, gnarled ridgelines, dime-a-dozen waterfalls, and acorn-scarfing black bears. You’ve got 500-plus miles of hiking trails at your disposal (100 of them along the Appalachian Trail) for laidback dayhikes or multiday treks through Blue Ridge backcountry.

Eat: Pulp
The bowls and smoothies at Harrisonburg’s Pulp—made from the nutritious fruit of the Amazon’s acai palm—provide perfect fuel for a Shenandoah ramble: The café puts you an easy drive from the park’s South Entrance at Rockfish Gap.

Bonus Idea: Go spelunking down in Skyline Caverns.

Photo Credits: Bistro 1888 / Shangrila Guest Ranch
Photo Credits: Bistro 1888 / Shangrila Guest Ranch

Southern Virginia

Do: Shangrila Guest Ranch
Time to get back in the saddle—really! Savor Southern Virginia’s fresh air and scenic splendor by horseback at Shangrila Guest Ranch, where trail rides (offered year-round) weave through creek-laced forests and sunny glades.

Eat: Molasses Grill
A stone’s throw from Shangrila’s stables, is Molasses Grill, a restaurant featuring locally sourced southern-inspired cuisine.


Photo Credits: Zeke's Beans & Bowls / Pirate Parasail / Joshua Fitzwater
Photo Credits: Zeke’s Beans & Bowls / Pirate Parasail / Joshua Fitzwater


Do: Pirate Parasail
Haven’t you always kinda wanted to try parasailing? What better place to give it a go than Virginia Beach, where Pirate Parasail will give you a bird’s-eye view of the beachfront at up to 1,000 feet. You don’t even have to get your feet wet if you don’t want to (although we recommend it).

Eat: Zeke’s Beans & Bowls
Before going airborne, beeline for Zeke’s Beans & Bowls, where you can accompany a tasty acai or poke bowl with a steamy mug of locally roasted coffee.


Photo Credits: Cava Grill / The Bike Lane
Photo Credits: Cava Grill / The Bike Lane

Northern Virginia

Do: Biking Trails
Northern Virginia’s an all-out paradise for cyclists, whether you’re looking to bike gritty backwoods trails or rack up the mileage on paved routes such as the awesome 45-mile Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Trail between Shirlington and Herndon.

Eat: True Food Kitchen
On the heels of an appetite-inspiring bike ride, True Food Kitchen has the goods: Build yourself a decked-out rice or try one of their sourdough pizzas. It’s the perfect place to refuel.


Photo Credits: Brad Clinesmith / She Well
Photo Credits: Brad Clinesmith / She Well


Do: Lincoln Memorial Workout
We dare you to come up with a more inspiring place for a workout than the Lincoln Memorial, where in the shadow of Honest Abe you’ve got 145 stairs on hand for whatever huff-and-puff routine you desire. There are plenty of workout combos here you can try to put your body to the test.

Eat: Chaia
After a vigorous stair workout, it’s high time for a health-conscious taco or three over at Chaia. The tacos are loaded with local, seasonal vegetables so it’s guilt free grub – and don’t forget to try their seasonal shrubs to wash it all down.