Enjoy the historic charms and scenic beauty of one of America’s first states – Virginia – on this leisurely 15 day/14 night self-drive tour. Enjoy the excitement of the nation’s capital city – Washington – with its fabulous museums, galleries, public buildings, dining and shopping on this, the best of the Virginia holidays. Then venture into the rolling hills of western Virginia and the Blue Ridge Mountains and lovely Shenandoah National Park. Explore the rich history of the American Civil War at Richmond and the early Colonial history at Williamsburg and Jamestown. Then hit the beach for some recreation at Virginia Beach before heading up the Chesapeake coast of Maryland and Delaware to Annapolis, your final stop on this popular tour. These Virginia holidays operate between mid-April and late-October (Virginia’s autumn colours are stunning – late October is usually best for leaf-peeping!).
Day 1. Arrive Washington D.C. Days 2 & 3 Washington D.C. Day 4. Washington DC to Shenandoah National Park (approx. 80 miles). Day 5. Shenandoah National Park. Day 6. Shenandoah National Park to Charlottesville (approx. 125 miles). Day 7. Charlottesville. Day 8. Charlottesville to Richmond (approx. 72 miles). Day 9. Explore Richmond. Days 10. Richmond to Williamsburg (approx. 51 miles). Day 11. Williamsburg. Day 12 Williamsburg to Virginia Beach (approx. 62 miles). Day 13. Virginia Beach. Day 14. Virginia Beach to Annapolis (approx. 226 miles). Day 15. Annapolis to Washington,D.C. (approx. 62 miles).
Day 1. Arrive Washington D.C. Begin your Virginia holiday! Upon arrival at Washington’s Dulles Airport make you own way to your city centre hotel. Overnight: Capitol Skyline Hotel (Standard) or Omni Shoreham Hotel or Palomar Hotel (Superior).
Days 2 & 3 Washington D.C. Two full days to explore the museums, galleries, shopping and diverse nightlife of this lovely city. In fact three days is barely sufficient to get to know Washington. A great way to get your bearings is to take the Big Bus double-decker sightseeing tour. A two-day pass will allow you to hop-on and hop-off at the many stops on the route while the informative narration gives you plenty of tips, history and guidance about the city (see Washington,DC sightseeing). The International Spy Museum, the Smithsonian Institute, the Kennedy Center, Historic Alexandria, The White House, the Capitol Building and much more will leave you wishing you had more time. After a busy day of sightseeing and shopping head back to your hotel to relax before exploring the nightlife, restaurants and late night shopping at nearby Georgetown. Overnight: Capitol Skyline Hotel (Standard) or Omni Shoreham Hotel or Palomar Hotel (Superior).
Day 4. Washington DC to Shenandoah National Park (approx. 80 miles). After collecting your car at the downtown rental depot, head west through rolling countryside, past the Manassas Natl.Battlefield and through pretty small towns to the Appalachian Mountains and the beautiful Shenandoah National Park. The short, leisurely drive today should allow you plenty of time to explore the region en route to Shenandoah, or give you time to enjoy Shenandoah this afternoon. Overnight: Skyland Lodge (Standard & Superior).
Day 5. Shenandoah National Park. Enjoy a full day exploring the Valley, visit the Caverns at Luray, historic Front Royal or hike part of the Appalachian Trail. Overnight: Skyland Lodge (Standard & Superior).
Day 6. Shenandoah National Park to Charlottesville (approx. 125 miles). Drive south along the famous Skyline Drive following the mountain ridge and exit close to Charlottesville. Overnight: Hampton Inn (Standard) or Omni Charlottesville (Superior).
Day 7. Charlottesville. This is Thomas Jefferson Country; the former president lived near Charlottesville and founded the University of Virginia in the town. The house and gardens at Jefferson’s home – Monticello – are a Virginia highlight and are well worth a half-day visit at least. Overnight: Hampton Inn (Standard) or Omni Charlottesville (Superior).
Day 8. Charlottesville to Richmond (approx. 72 miles). Arrive at the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia – Richmond. Visit the historic ‘White House of the Confederacy’, The Edgar Allen Poe museum, the State Capitol Building and the Richmond Civil War Battlefield. Overnight: Comfort Inn Richmond (Standard) or Omni Richmond (Superior).
Day 9. Explore Richmond. A full day to explore Richmond. Overnight: Comfort Inn Richmond (Standard) or Omni Richmond (Superior).
Days 10. Richmond to Williamsburg (approx. 51 miles). A leisurely drive this morning brings you to historic Williamsburg. Overnight: Hampton Inn & Suites Historic District (Standard & Superior).
Day 11. Williamsburg. A full day to enjoy the Williamsburg area. Williamsburg was the capital of the early British colonies in the 18th Century after the Jamestown statehouse burned down in 1698. The historic district was rebuilt and restored over a 30-year period by the Rockerfeller Foundation and today much of the old town is a living museum, with costumed ‘in character’ guides to explain the life of the early colonists. Nearby Jamestown is well worth a visit to learn just how difficult life was in the early 17th Century for those first British settlers. Of course Pocahontas played her part too, and children will enjoy learning more about this heroine and the area in which she lived. Close to Williamsburg is the Busch Gardens theme park – great fun for all the family. Overnight: Hampton Inn & Suites Historic District (Standard & Superior).
Day 12 Williamsburg to Virginia Beach (approx. 62 miles). Take it easy today and enjoy the beaches and attractions of Virginia Beach. Overnight: Best Western Plus Oceanfront (Standard) or Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Resort (Superior).
Day 13. Virginia Beach. Hit the beach today, or relax and enjoy the facilities of your hotel. Overnight: Best Western Plus Oceanfront (Standard) or Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Resort (Superior).
Day 14. Virginia Beach to Annapolis (approx. 226 miles). Take the spectacular Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel this morning (toll) and cross the Chesapeake Bay. This incredible bridge-tunnel is considered the world’s longest bridge-tunnel complex and measures over 17 miles and is made up of more than 12 miles of low level trestle, two 1-mile tunnels, two bridges and almost 2 miles of causeway, four manmade islands and 5.5 miles of approach roads totaling 23 miles. The bridge-tunnel offers an alternate route back to Washington,DC. Soon after crossing the bridge-tunnel, you will arrive in Maryland and head north through the picturesque farmland and coastal villages to Annapolis, home of the U.S. Naval Academy. The historic tree-lined streets of old Annapolis with there brick pavement, querky shops and fabulous restaurants make for a great setting for the final night of your holiday. Overnight: Best Western Annapolis (Standard) or The Historic Inns of Annapolis (Superior).
Day 15. Annapolis to Washington,D.C. (approx. 62 miles). Linger this morning and enjoy Annapolis before taking the short drive to Washington,D.C. Return your rental car at the airport car rental depot and check in for your overnight flight to the UK.
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* 14 nights hotel accommodation including local taxes.
* Maps, guides and itinerary.
Not included: Flights, car rental, travel insurance, meals, petrol, road/bridge tolls, national park admissions and personal expenses.
Children under 12 yrs are free when sharing a room with 2 adults and using existing bedding at hotels (max. 2 children per room).
Just America will be pleased to assist with transatlantic flights from the UK, car rental, additional hotel accommodation and sightseeing excursions.
Location No.nights Standard Hotels Superior Hotels Washington,DC 3 Capitol Skyline Omni Shoreham or Palomar Hotel Shenandoah National Park 2 Skyland Lodge Skyland Lodge Charlottesville 2 Hampton Inn (full bkfst) Omni Charlottesville Richmond 2 Comfort Inn Richmond (Cont.bkfst) Omni Richmond Williamsburg 2 Hampton Inn (full bkfst) Hampton Inn (full bkfst) Virginia Beach 2 Best Western Plus Oceanfront (full bkfst) Hilton Oceanfront Resort Annapolis 1 Best Western Annapolis (Cont.bkfst) Historic Inns
Tour prices:The prices shown in the price panels are for the accommodation elements only, they do not include flights or car rental (unless indicated). This enables you to choose the airline and car of your choice and add them to the accommodation package to create your holiday. Our reservations staff will be pleased to help you with flight availability, to suggest which is the best airline for your itinerary and to advise you of any special offers the airlines may have introduced.
Hotels:Hotels featured in our flydrive and independent tours are chosen for their location, value for money and facilities. Whenever possible we offer a choice of Standard or Superior hotels. There is no recognised 'star' system throughout North America for classifying hotels, motels and resorts. The hotel ratings for our tours are subjective and are provided to give you an understanding as to the level of facility. They are either the hotel's official categorisation as per the Official Hotel & Resort Guide, or Just America's. Standards vary from location to location, therefore ratings in the remote areas can differ from those in the cities. Standard hotels would be those classified as Moderate, and Superior hotels would be First Class, in the Official Hotel and Resort Guide. National Park accommodations are more rustic and are chosen almost entirely because of their location. It should not be assumed that because an hotel is listed as Superior that it has certain amenities. Often a hotel is classified as Superior due to its position, views or room standard, it does not always follow that a superior hotel will have a swimming pool, hair-dryers, room service etc. We will try to provide information on individual hotels on request although the internet is usually the quickest and most accurate source of information. Hotel rooms in North America usually have one or two double beds. Triple and Quad rooms have two double beds. Very few hotels in North America have three or four beds. It is sometimes possible to have a rollaway bed which can be requested, but cannot be guaranteed. Occasionally hotels are chosen purely for their location - i.e. half-way between two points of interest - and may be included as a one night stop to break up an otherwise long journey. Such hotels may not have the full facilities normally associated with a Standard or Superior hotel, but sometimes we don't have any other choice. Where possible hotels providing free car parking have been included, however in some locations, such as city centres, the hotels may make a charge.
Note:Hotels are not usually ready to accept guests until after 3 or 4 pm, so please try not to check in before mid-afternoon. Check out time is usually before 11 am or 12 noon. It is sometimes possible to arrange late check out, or the storage of luggage, but this is at the discretion of the hotel.
Tour notes and itineraries:On several of our tours the tour notesand itineraries are provided at the first hotel. On other tours this information is forwarded with the travel documents approximately 14 days prior to departure. We will endeavour to provide the best information we can to help you, but it is not our policy to provide mile by mile detailed route guides, the frequent changes to local road conditions, layouts etc., makes this impossible. We do provide maps, guides to the major attractions en route, and directions to hotels whenever possible. These are independent self-drive holidays and you will be required to read a map and locate attractions and hotels. Sat.Nav. is available from the car rental companies - at a charge - and you may find this useful, however all technology is prone to failure so we always recommend that you keep the maps handy.
Tailor-made holidays:We will be pleased to discuss your own ideas and itineraries and help you plan your holiday. If you would like to email, fax or mail an outline of your tour with dates, number of people, ages of children etc., to us we will be happy to advise you. We request that you include your daytime telephone number on all correspondence. Where you have chosen the route and we have designed a tailor-made holiday for you, it may not be possible to provide you with a detailed tour itinerary. We recommend that you purchase a road atlas such as the excellent National Geographic Road Atlas to the USA and Canada (Just America can provide these - currently £15 plus P & P). We suggest that you read up about the area you are planning to visit well in advance, preferably before you book the holiday. Insight Guides cover almost every region of North America and are about the best on the market. Just America can also provide a some tourist information subject to availability, but we do not have detailed route information to cover every area of the Continent. You might find the internet to be the best source of free, up-to-date information.
National Park Passes:Both the US and Canada charge entrance fees for their national parks, and if you are visiting a number of parks, this cost can add up to a significant amount. We recommend that you purchase a Parks Pass at the first national park you visit. For the US the pass costs $80 for up to four adults (children under 16 are free). In Canada a family pass costs $136.40. Both passes provide unlimited visits to that country's parks for 12 months. The passes can only be used in the country of purchase. Full details available at www.nps.gov (for USA) and www.pc.gc.ca/index_e.asp
Just America will be pleased to adapt this tour – we recommend that you consider a few days on the beach at Virginia Beach, or book an extra night/s in Annapolis to enable you to take this route more leisurely.
ATOL & ABTA protected.
All mileages are approximate. Hotels/Lodges are subject to availability at the time of booking.