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Virginia Tourbook Guide

Including hampton roads area, richmond and williamsburg.

Get to know Virginia with the digital AAA TourBook guide. From the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway to Colonial Williamsburg, the region has something for everyone. Travel to a destination of your choosing with the help of AAA's digital TourBook travel guide, available for mobile, tablet or desktop.

With this trip guide, you'll get advice from AAA travel experts about the best things to see and do, where to stay and how to plan the trip of a lifetime. You'll learn insider travel tips and answers to many top questions asked by travelers.

Here's a sampling of things you'll find in the Virginia guide:

  • Where the name Hampton Roads came from
  • Who Booker T. Washington was
  • How to get to Roanoke Star atop Mill Mountain
  • Where the Civil War ended
  • What presidents' homes are in Virginia
  • When Arlington Cemetery was established
  • Where to camp, hike and fish in state parks and national public lands

What are some of the must-dos covered in this guide?

We know no two travelers are alike, so we've included a wide variety of things to do in each TourBook guide, from recreational activities to museums and theme parks.

We cover the top outdoor activities, such as horseback riding and waterfall hikes in Shenandoah National Park. Plan a tour of Luray Caverns, near Shenandoah National Park, to see what's said to be the "world's largest musical instrument," the Stalacpipe Organ. Take time to ponder major Civil War sites, including Appomattox Court House, where Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant. Continue learning at Richmond's American Civil War Museum at Historic Tredegar. Then set aside some family-fun at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Experience early Virginia at Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown, where you'll find an assortment of museums and even costumed interpreters.

You'll find all these attractions and more in this digital destination guide.

Will this guide help me plan a road trip?

Yes, there are scenic drives and road trips throughout Virginia. One of the best known is the Blue Ridge Parkway within the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. Then there's the scenic George Washington Memorial Parkway. You also can use the high-quality maps to get started planning your own route.

Is national park information included?

Yes. The Virginia guide includes detailed information and travel tips for Shenandoah National Park, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, and many other national battlefields, historical sites and monuments.

You'll also find travel information about top public areas such as Cumberland Gap and Great Falls Park.

Explore the Virginia guide, and start planning your next travel adventure today!

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Hotel deals up to 20 % off, hilton vacation club the historic powhatan williamsburg, looking for something more specific.

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AAA Williamsburg Center is a travel agency in Williamsburg, Virginia. Whether you're planning a weekend on the coast or a cross-country excursion, a AAA Travel agent can customize a vacation that's right for you. As one of the nation’s largest full-service travel agencies, we are committed to value, service, and quality. We can help book cruises or tours, as well as flights, hotels, rental cars, and more. Contact us now to take advantage of our travel planning services.

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Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Busch Gardens Williamsburg

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Busch Gardens® Williamsburg   is a European-themed park with world-class roller coasters, natural beauty, and shared family fun. Voted the world's most beautiful theme park for 32 consecutive years,  Busch Gardens   offers culinary delights from around the world, unique shopping, live stage shows, and exciting thrill rides.

From thrilling coasters to world-class entertainment, there is something for everyone at Busch Gardens ®  Williamsburg.  Thrill-seekers travel at speeds of up to 73 mph on Pantheon, the world's fastest multi-launch coaster.  The adventures continue in 2023 with the addition of DarKoaster, North America's First All-Indoor Straddle Coaster.

Make memories in the Sesame Street® Forest of Fun™,   a family friendly area that Elmo, Cookie Monster and other Sesame Street friends call home.

With a fun-filled lineup throughout the year, guests can enjoy signature events from January-December.  Indulge in globally inspired food and drink during the annual Food & Wine Festival, fright into the night during Howl-O-Scream ® , Virginia's Premier Halloween Event and celebrate the holiday season with 10 million lights and specialty shows during Christmas Town™. Fun is always in season at Busch Gardens!

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AAA Car Care Center - Williamsburg

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10 Top Travel Destinations In The US For 2024

  • Domestic travel within the US is becoming increasingly popular, with more people choosing to explore the country due to economic turmoil and rising uncertainty worldwide.
  • San Antonio, Texas is a top vacation spot for 2024 due to its cultural landmarks, great food, beautiful weather, and the rare total solar eclipse occurring in April 2024.
  • Savannah, Georgia, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Washington, DC, San Diego, California, Williamsburg, Virginia, Traverse City, Michigan, Big Sur/Monterey, California, Miami, Florida, and Cape Cod, Massachusetts are also recommended destinations for 2024, each offering unique attractions and experiences at various price points.

As people go about planning their adventures for 2024, more than ever, the focus is on domestic travel within the United States. With ongoing economic turmoil and rising uncertainty in various parts of the world, many are staying closer to home and exploring the great destinations that the United States of America has to offer.

This list includes the top 10 vacation hot spots within America and details on what makes them such a great destination for an upcoming trip, as determined from an extensive review of multiple travel resources and ongoing trends, including the upward-rising dupe preference where travelers are looking for similar experiences they would get in a big city or destination, but in more budget-friendly locales. From mountain escapes to solar eclipses, options are available for everyone and their specific interests. The top travel destinations in the US for 2024 were determined based on studies from several reputable sources, including T+L , AAA , National Geographic , US News , and The Points Guy .

Related: 10 Luxury Escapes In The US That Are Surprisingly Affordable

San Antonio, Texas

One of the primary viewing points of the 2024 solar eclipse.

The city of San Antonio, Texas, is a great place to travel because of its cultural landmarks, phenomenal food, beautiful weather, and multiple natural and entertainment attractions . However, for 2024, a different type of event is attracting visitors to the city. On April 8, 2024, NASA projects that San Antonio will be a prime viewing spot for a rare total solar eclipse . In addition, there are many new events and renovations taking place in San Antonio , helping to propel the city to the top of the list for vacation-goers in 2024.

Because of this extraordinary occurrence and the enjoyable features of this southern Texas area, many are choosing to spend their 2024 vacation in San Antonio. National Geographic has listed the state of Texas on its "Cool List of 2024" for those looking for an exciting place to spend their vacation. Travel + Leisure also lists San Antonio as an award winner for one of the most visited cities in 2023.

  • Average Hotel Cost: $150 per night
  • Best Time to Visit: Any time of the year, but for the total solar eclipse viewing, you should go in early April 2024
  • Notable Attractions: San Antonio Riverwalk, The Alamo, San Antonio Botanical Gardens, Six Flags Fiesta Texas

NASA is continually updating the exact time of the 2024 total solar eclipse. To stay updated on when you can best see this rare sight, monitor the NASA website for accurate times.

Savannah, Georgia

Made aaa's list as one of the best vacation spots in the us to visit in 2024.

Being in Savannah, Georgia, is like escaping to another time period altogether. Not only do the days move slower, but the beauty that surrounds you is inescapable. The amount of history that encompasses the city provides endless opportunities to learn and explore while enjoying authentic Southern food and hospitality. Take in the fountain at Forsyth Park and pop in for ice cream at Leopold's.

AAA has listed Savannah, Georgia , in their guide to the 50 best vacation spots in the USA in 2024 because of its charming nature, unique architecture, and fun local boutiques. Savannah also claimed a spot in Travel + Leisure's most-visited destinations in 2023.

  • Average Hotel Cost: $200 per night
  • Best Time to Visit: March to July
  • Notable Attractions: Forsyth Park, Owens-Thomas House, Savannah Theatre, Bonaventure Cemetery

Related: The Perfect 3-Day Fall Weekend Itinerary In Charming Savannah

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Aaa has myrtle beach as a top-five pick for 2024.

You often hear of college students escaping to Myrtle Beach for their spring break. However, the iconic city offers exciting attractions for all ages. Families travel to Myrtle Beach throughout the year to take advantage of the ongoing beautiful weather and fun atmosphere, so much so that AAA has it as a top-five pick for 2024 . Throughout the summer, visitors will have high temperatures and sunny days. The temperature will cool down in the fall and winter but still provide enough warmth for many outdoor activities.

  • Average Hotel Cost: $70 per night
  • Best Time to Visit: Year-Round
  • Notable Attractions: SkyWheel, Broadway at the Beach, Myrtle Waves Water Park, The Bowery

Washington, DC

Made the top 20 list of places to visit in 2024 by us news.

Coming in on the top 20 list of places to visit in 2024 by US News is the metropolis of Washington, DC. Although this is one of the pricier cities to visit in the United States, there is a lot to explore and learn during your time in the capital. There are also many budget-friendly opportunities within the city limits. With a plethora of top museums and monuments, as well as multiple national parks and cultural events, the days spent in the city will fill up fast. Visiting in the spring and fall months allows tourists to avoid extreme weather that comes in the summer and winter.

  • Average Hotel Cost: $175 per night
  • Best Time to Visit: Spring and Fall
  • Notable Attractions: Lincoln Memorial, National Mall, The White House, Smithsonian Museum

Many tours require advance registration and fill up quickly. Be sure to book as soon as possible to ensure you have a spot.

San Diego, California

The points guy has the city on their list of the best places to travel to in 2024.

While many associate Southern California with the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles, San Diego offers all the wonderful assets of the area with a more natural and budget-friendly approach . In San Diego, visitors can enjoy the temperate weather year-round and enjoy the many natural attractions in the various parks and reserves. With many beaches to explore, families and travelers can easily visit a new location every day during their vacation.

The Points Guy has San Diego and neighboring Tijuana on their list of the best places to travel in 2024 due to their unique experiences and thriving cultural and art scene. Travel + Leisure also lists San Diego in their guide to their reader's favorite cities to visit for 2023.

  • Notable Attractions: San Diego Zoo, USS Midway Museum, Torrey Pines State Natural Preserve, Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

Williamsburg, Virginia

Made aaa's list of the 50 best vacation spots in the us for 2024.

It's not often that people can peek into the past and see how the world operated at an earlier time. Williamsburg, Virginia, offers a glimpse of what life was like during colonial times . With many historical attractions, such as the Jamestown Settlement, the George Wythe House, and Historic Jamestowne, visitors can get an education about the past while seeing the transition to the present day.

You can find Williamsburg, Virginia, in AAA's guide to the 50 best vacation spots for 2024 and Travel + Leisure's award winners for the most visited USA destinations in 2023. Loved especially for its history and fun attractions, AAA suggests a visit to the Colonial Williamsburg Museum as one of a traveler's first stops in the city.

  • Notable Attractions: Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center, Busch Gardens, Governor's Palace, Jamestown Settlement

Related: America's Colonial Williamsburg: The Largest Living Museum

Traverse City, Michigan

This quaint michigan town will give you the feeling of being in a hallmark movie, with all the wineries a person could dream of having..

Known for its cherries, the town of Traverse City, Michigan, hosts a Cherry Festival every year in the summer. Throughout the small, charming town, you will find many local boutiques selling a variety of cherry-inspired goods. Between wine, coffee, whiskey, candy, and soap, you can leave with an assortment of new products. The nature and fun activities surrounding the town, including many top beaches, are a big draw for visitors and tourists.

Traverse City also falls on the AAA list of best places to visit in the year 2024 . The company recommends booking a multi-day winery tour to take in all that the region has to offer in that specialty.

  • Average Hotel Cost: $115 per night
  • Best Time to Visit: Spring, Summer, and Fall
  • Notable Attractions: Mission Point Lighthouse, Dennos Museum Center, Mari Vineyards, Traverse City State Park

Big Sur/Monterey, California

One of the best small towns to visit in the us in 2024.

For those who are nature enthusiasts, a drive down Highway 1 in Monterey County, California, home to Big Sur, will have you captivated and enthralled. The beautiful Pacific Ocean stretches for miles upon miles and provides the perfect, relaxing backdrop to an ideal vacation. With many hiking trails, camping resorts, and beaches, visitors will find something new to do every day. Surrounding areas also offer additional options for accommodation and restaurants.

For the years 2023-2024 , U.S. News ranked Monterey within the top five for the best small towns to visit in the United States because of its beautiful landscape and charming nature.

  • Average Hotel Cost: $260 per night
  • Notable Attractions: Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Point Lobos State Natural Preserve, Partington Cove, McWay Falls

Miami, Florida

This electrifying city is a popular destination for those looking to have a great time on vacation..

While many find the excruciating heat of Southern Florida too much in the summer, visiting Miami earlier in the year is a great vacation option. With affordable accommodations, amazing attractions , fantastic nightlife, and an abundance of incredible food establishments, a traveler's time in Miami will be filled with good times and great memories.

For families, the local museums and sand-filled beaches provide the perfect respite for lounging and relaxing, and the various resorts provide a home away from home environment. National Geographic has listed Miami, Florida , on the "Cool List of 2024" for travelers looking to embark on a fun vacation.

  • Best Time to Visit: Winter and Spring
  • Notable Attractions: Perez Art Museum, Kaseya Center, Bayfront Park, Zoo Miami

Related: 14 Incredible Things Miami, Florida, Is Known And Famous For

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

One of the 50 best vacation spots in the us for 2024.

Tucked away on the edge of Massachusetts is the coastal town of Cape Cod. While the town is most popular in the summer for taking advantage of the many beaches in the area, some venture out in the off-season to take in the beauty with fewer crowds. There are many opportunities to explore nature and learn about the history of the highly walkable Cape Cod area . Additionally, vacationers can get their fill of fresh and local seafood from nearby fishermen.

AAA has listed Cape Cod in its directory of the 50 best vacation spots for 2024 due to its unique charm and intimate setting.

  • Best Time to Visit: Summer
  • Notable Attractions: Nickerson State Park, Cape Cod National Seashore, John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum, Nauset Lighthouse

10 Top Travel Destinations In The US For 2024

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Independent Travel to Moscow and St. Petersburg

My wife and I have traveled independently to many European countries and, after reading many of the comments in this forum, feel like we may be able to do so in Moscow and St. Petersburg as well, although we feel somewhat less comfortable than the other countries where we have traveled in Europe.

My biggest question is how much we will miss by visiting the main sites without a tour guide. In the other European countries we have visited on our own we have been comfortable and satisfied with the level of knowledge we have gained by studying and visiting on our own, although we believe a tour guide or tour company in any country would normally be able to provide greater insight than visiting a site on our own, but about in Moscow and St. Petersburg?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Unless you speak at least some Russian and read the alphabet it would be difficult without a guide. Very few signs in English especially in Moscow. Also not too many people speak English there.

I visited St Petersburg last Autumn for a protracted period , and did not find it anymore daunting than any other European city . As Ilja says , learning the Cyrillic alphabet is a big plus . I also found that it was fairly easy to grasp . It will , among other things , enable you to read signs with relative ease . I would answer the main part or your question ( about tour guides ) thus - I am not enamored of tour guides or tours. While I only use a tour under duress ( A sites rules prohibiting an independent visit - ie Glasgow School of Art , Municipal House in Prague , etc ) . Doing your own preparation and homework is the best way , in my opinion . My wife and I ventured through St Petersburg with nary a concern ,and made two day trips outside of the central district ( one was twenty five miles away , and no English speakers in sight ) Figuring out the logistical details , did not present any difficulties . While I never use tours , I am an inveterate eavesdropper , have done so many times , and find , that on balance , the information that they impart is fairly elementary . If you want greater detail , they are unlikely to supply it . I also prefer to go at my own pace , not being rushed and being able to dwell on things that most other visitors barely give a passing glance . If you are interested , let me know . I would be happy to provide you with information that will enable you to travel independently

Thank you, Steven. I am encouraged by your comments and feel the same way you do about tour groups. We are very much willing to prepare in advance and learn the basics of the Cyrillic alphabet to help us have a better experience.

I would be very interested in learning more about your experience in Russia and receiving any additional information you can provide on independent travel there, starting perhaps with obtaining the visa.

I am not opposed to hiring a private or small group guide for a specific site or for a day trip outside St Petersburg and Moscow, but, like you said, I much prefer the freedom of staying at places as long or short as I want and seeing the sites that interest me most. For example, neither my wife nor I are big into shopping, yet most tour itineraries leave afternoon time for just that. Not interested!

Please provide whatever you may feel would be helpful for us.

Russ , I see you are quite near San Francisco - you can start by looking at the VISA procedure , it's fairly straightforward . Since there is a consulate in San Francisco - look here http://www.consulrussia.org/eng/visa-sub1.html

And here - http://ils-usa.com/main.php

Having always traveled independently, we thought we could do a better job than any tour. How misguided (pun intended) we were. Now that we have had the experience of having someone native to the area walk us around and explain things through a personal perspective we realize how much we missed. For St. Petersburg I highly recommend http://www.peterswalk.com/tours.html . This is not a traditional guided tour, but an opportunity to receive some orientation to the area as well as insight into the "Russian soul". I think if you did this upon arrival the rest of your time would be much more meaningful. We really liked the http://www.pushka-inn.com . The location is superb (just around the corner from the Hermitage square), the rooms lovely, the included breakfast at the restaurant next door ample and overall an excellent value. We used this company to get our visa: https://www.passportvisasexpress.com/site/san_francisco_customer_service Note that it costs about the same for a 3-year visa as a one-year, and you never know if you might want to return within that more extended window of time. It is not cheap, so factor that into your planning.

If you like traveling without a guide in other countries and find this satisfying, the same will be true in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Of course it's not either/or - you can certainly take a guided walk or boat tour, for instance.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of learning Cyrillic if you're going on your own. The book I used was Teach Yourself Beginner's Russian Script, which was great. It breaks down the alphabet into letters that are the same as English, letters that look the same but are pronounced differently, etc. It's out of print, but you can get used copies on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Teach-Yourself-Beginners-Russian-Script/dp/0071419861/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1459701143&sr=8-2&keywords=teach+yourself+russian+script

Russia is indeed a bit more "foreign" than say, Italy. However, in Moscow and St. Petersburg, I found enough English to be able to get by. Many restaurants had English menus and/or English speaking staff, for instance. This was most emphatically not true in Vladimir and Suzdal (two cities in the Golden Ring outside Moscow). I went with my sister, a Russian speaker, and if she hadn't been there, I would have been in big trouble. So, if you want to see places outside these two big cities, use a guided tour (even if just for that part). Also, Moscow and St. Petersburg are huge cities. Coming from New York, I wasn't intimidated, but those not used to a megacity may not be so cavalier (even I found them overwhelming at times, especially Moscow).

I found both Lonely Planet and Rough Guide to be helpful, and both to have various errors. Look at both, buy whichever one has a more recent edition, and then be prepared to have to discard some of the advice therein. Also, these places change more quickly than places in Western Europe. Be very careful of outdated advice. For instance, I was there in 2001 and 2010, so I won't give you any specifics on getting a visa - that changes constantly.

Just as a teaser, two things I saw and loved that I doubt would be included in any escorted tour are the Gorky House in Moscow (an Art Nouveau wonder) and the Sheremyetov Palace in St. Petersburg (it's now a museum of musical instruments, and the decor is amazing, particularly in the Etruscan Room).

Thanks for all the good advice. Any additional thoughts are welcomed.

One of history's seminal works pertaining to Russian history and culture and a MUST for anyone contemplating a visit or simply interested , is this fine work from 1980 - http://www.amazon.com/Land-Firebird-The-Beauty-Russia/dp/096441841X

This is about you and not about Petersburg. Do you like guided tours? We don't and didn't find that a guide added to our experience in China where we did hire private guides mostly for the logistics; it was easy to have someone drive us places. But once at a site, we didn't need the guide. I felt the same way about our 9 nights in Petersburg. We did hire a guide for the trip to the Catherine Palace again for the ease of logistics for us Olds. Here is our visit: https://janettravels.wordpress.com/2016/01/23/an-easy-trip-to-the-catherine-palace/ There are also snapshots of the Church on Spilled Blood in this photo journal. Having someone pick us up at the apartment and get us in without line ups and shepherd us through the palace steering clear of the tour groups was lovely. But we didn't need commentary because we can read and prepare.

You certainly don't need a guide for the Hermitage (we spent 4 days there), the Russian Museum, the Kazan Cathedral or Church on Spilled Blood or the Faberge Museum. We enjoyed a number of self guided walking tours including a couple from Rick Steves guidebooks. We took the canal cruise suggested by RS that had an English commentator. I would not take one without that as you will be totally clueless. The commentator was not all that good but at least we had some idea what we were seeing. So for people like us who like to do our own thing and can read a guidebook and don't particularly like to be led about, a tour is not needed. If you enjoy tour groups, then go for it. Petersburg is easy to negotiate. It helps if you can read the cyrillic alphabet and it is also useful to have the google translate ap on your phone. We found ourselves translating packages in grocery stores with it and the occasional museum sign or menu. I have one food I need to avoid and so it was handy to have the translator to talk with waiters (I could either show them the sentence, or play it for them or play it to myself and then repeat it to the waiter -- that all worked well)

Dear Russ, I cannot help you with Moscow, but about four years ago, my husband and I went to St Petersburg on our own. But, we did use a private guide for 4 half days. We both feel that our guide absolutely made our trip (we stayed 6 or 7 nights). We used a company owned by Tatyana Chiurikova, www.tour-stpetersburg.com I cannot say enough good things about her and our experience. I emailed her and we worked out a schedule/ sights that was tailored to our interests. She also offered some recommendations, which we took. The guide will meet you at your hotel. And frequently, at certain places, with the guide, we were able to skip the long entrance lines. We had an half day driving tour of the city (car, driver, & guide). You are taken to & go in places such as Peter & Paul Fortress, some of the cathedrals, etc. We had a half day with the guide at the Hermitage which ensured that we would see the major sights there. And, of course, you can stay after your guide leaves or return another day. Also, we had the guide for Peterhof (a must & go by boat) and Catherine's Palace. I hope that you will go to the website. As I said, our guide made our trip. I am positive that we would have missed quite a bit on our own everyday. And I'm sure we would have wasted a lot of time trying to get to various place.This was the best of both worlds, a guide where needed and plenty of time on our own. Whatever you do, I'm sure that you will love St Petersburg! Ashley

I am curious about the lines as we encountered no lines on our trip -- but it was in September. We got tickets for the Hermitage at machines and skipped those lines and our guide for the Catherine Palace which was our only guided experience (as noted before, chosen for the logistics of getting there) had arranged tickets and we didn't have a line, but then we also didn't see lines. We did not find lines at any other site.

Both Moscow and St Petersburg I've done on my own, that is together with the Dear Partner. I can't remember any problem getting where we wanted to go. The Metro systems are well signed, and with a little exercise and patience you can recognize the station names. With a good map and a good guide - we had the Rough Guides - that part of the logistics is solved. The language is a major problem, but the usual tricks of pointing, looking helpless, and making a joke of it all do wonders. I would hate to be led by a guide, but for others it is a comfortable thought.

We also did both cities on our own. I found the DK Eyewitness guide for Moscow has the best map. I used the one from our library (kept the book at home). Took the smaller RS book for St. Petersburg ( his book on northern cities). His map and restaurant ideas were all good. We also downloaded the Google maps in our Android Samsung tablets/phones for both cities and then could get directions to any place we typed in. The blue ball guided us everywhere. I'm sure we missed somethings by not having a guide, but we just enjoy walking around and getting a sense of a place. If you like art, The Hermitage is great. We went 3 times and still missed alot. In St. Peterburg we stayed at the 3 Mosta which we loved (quite and not far from the Church of Spilled Blood.) We also loved the Georgian food in both cities. There's a great Georgian restaurant near the 3 Mosta hotel. We're now in Belarus- very scenic. Enjoy your trip!!

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