If you want to spend a weekend in the beautiful mountains of Virginia, Charlottesville is the perfect place to start. This city has something for everyone. Charlottesville is also a great starting point if you want to spend a few days on a Virginia road trip.
Where to Stay in Charlottesville
Charlottesville is the city to visit if you love bed and breakfasts and boutique hotels! The Inn at Court Square has a lovely old world feel and Oakhurst Inn has a more modern feel. Or go completely modern with the lovely Quirk Hotel. Two beautiful resorts a bit out of town are The Clifton and Boar’s Head Resort. Or if you’d like to camp, Misty Mountain Camp Resort is close by.
Things To Do in Charlottesville
Walk the Downtown Mall in the center of historic Charlottesville. This brick-paved pedestrian area is home to a large collection of shops and restaurants.
Wander across the University of Virginia campus. The Academical Village is the heart of UVA campus and was designed by Thomas Jefferson. The U-shaped design included a rotunda, lawn, pavilions, student rooms, and gardens. Here you’ll find the Edgar Allan Poe Room and beautiful West and East Gardens. The University Chapel is an especially beautiful building. Spend a few moments in the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers on the east side of the campus, honoring those who built this national historic landmark.
Visit Shenandoah National Park. From Charlottesville, you’ll enter through Rockfish Gap and drive north on Skyline Drive.
Or you could drive south and take the Blue Ridge Parkway. Hike the steep but short trail to Humpback Rocks. Then drive a few extra minutes and stop at Ravens Roost Overlook, one of my favorites.
Go off-roading. Start Big Levels 4×4 Trail at Coal Rd and Mt Torrey Rd in Lyndhurst. Take your lunch and plan 4-5 hours to complete the trail north to south. When you’re done, return via the Blue Ridge Parkway, stopping at overlooks along the way. (LINK TO OFF ROAD POST)
Visit Carter Mountain Orchard for apple cider donuts and cider slushies. Pick peaches in the summer months or apples in the fall. Apple picking season is very popular and may require ticketed entry on weekends.
Just 10 minutes out of town, you’ll find Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, and just 10 minutes beyond that, James Monroe’s Highland. Spend the day learning about these two presidents, their historic properties, and the enslaved people who worked there.
What to Eat in Charlottesville
Downtown you’ll find beautiful upscale restaurants like Fleurie, The Alley Light, and Hamilton’s at First and Main. Or for something casual try The Whisky Jar, Millers Downtown, or Citizen Burger Bar.
Two breakfast spots you’ll love in Charlottesville are Farm Bell Kitchen and Quirk Café. Another fun spot is Iron Paffles & Coffee, which serves puff pastry waffle sandwiches. For coffee, you’ll also want to try Mudhouse Coffee Roasters. Find something tempting at downtown bakeries The Pie Chest or Albemarle Baking Company.
2-3 Day Charlottesville Itinerary
Day 1 – On your way into Charlottesville, stop at Monticello (and Highland if you have time). After checking into your hotel, head downtown to have dinner in the brick pedestrian restaurant and shopping area of Downtown Mall.
Day 2 – Have breakfast at Farm Bell Kitchen or Quirk Café and then walk the UVA campus. Spend the afternoon driving either the Blue Ridge Parkway or Skyline Drive with a picnic dinner. Stop at one of the west-facing overlooks for sunset.
Day 3 – Pick peaches or apples at Carter Mountain Orchard on your way out of town.
Find more Virginia Itineraries:
4 Day History Lovers Virginia Road Trip
4 Day Hiking & Off-Roading Virginia Itinerary
Charlottesville 3 Day Itinerary
Lynchburg 3 Day Itinerary
Roanoke with Kids
Big Levels Off-Roading
3 Virginia Campgrounds