Self-Guided Nature Exploration in Virginia State Parks

September 06, 2021

hiking boots in the forest with text overlay saying take a nature adventure in Virginia State Parks

Have you ever wanted to forget about the chores and stressors of modern life and head for a peaceful natural landscape to relax and unwind—even if just for the day? Do you dream of taking a "digital detox" to escape emails, text messages, and social media? 

If so, a self-guided nature adventure in one (or more!) of the 93 Virginia State Parks, Wilderness Areas, and Historic Districts should be on your short-list! 

Benefits of Going on a Nature Exploration

Self-guided hikes and nature explorations can be so beneficial to our bodies, minds, and spirits. Here are a few reasons to set aside time to explore nature preserves and state parks:  


    Although expert-led hikes and nature-based activities offer excellent learning experiences, it's not always possible to fit these into our busy schedules. Self-guided adventures allow you to schedule time in nature that works for you. 

    Go at Your Own Pace 

      If you are someone that likes to go at your own pace, maybe lingering along a tranquil stream or sitting beside a meadow of wildflowers to journal or draw, self-guided explorations allow you to take your time. You won't have to follow a guide's instructions to move to the next area of interest. Taking your time to truly experience a spot that feels meaningful to you can be very relaxing and life-giving!  

      Health and Wellness Boosting

        Spending time in nature has so many incredible health and wellness benefits that can ease the tension of modern life. Exploring the natural world positively engages our mind and rewards us with unique experiences.

        Uncover Area History

          Gaining a more in-depth understanding of a location's geographical history and the roles humans played in shaping the land is an excellent way to strengthen our connection to a particular area while broadening our understanding of human behavior, too. 

          Help Kids Spend Time Outdoors

            Self-guided hikes and nature explorations, like scavenger hunts, create positive and engaging ways to spend time as a family outdoors. In a world where even children spend more time in front of screens than playing outside, taking a self-guided nature exploration with the kids is a richly rewarding activity!  

            Schedule time as a family or take a solo outdoor adventure for some much-needed respite. Any motivation you can find to get outside and explore is a really good thing! 

            Virginia State Parks With Self-Guided Nature Explorations

            The park rangers at the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation have put together some excellent resources for visitors looking for a self-guided experience in the following Virginia State Parks. 

            Check them out and start planning your next outdoor adventure today! 

            Use these ranger-designed guides or craft your very own self-guided nature exploration at any of the beautiful Virginia State Parks—each offering something unique and unforgettable! 

            So Much To Explore in Virginia State Parks!

            Virginia is home to such a wide array of natural wonders, from the Blue Ridge Mountains to vast open meadows with gently rolling hills to deep caves and coastal beaches along the Atlantic Ocean. 

            Whether you choose to enjoy "Old Dominion's" endless natural beauty on self-guided hikes or a ranger-led event, you'll most certainly need a Virginia State Parks Bucket Journal to record all of your outdoor experiences.  

            Commit to exploring as many Virginia State Parks as you can to reap the benefits of spending time in nature. Deepen your connection by journaling about your experiences at each one!  

            We're curious—do you prefer self-guided or group-based nature activities?  

            hiking boots on a grassy path with text overlay saying explore nature Virginia state parks

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