Arlington Convention and Visitors Service, 735 S. 18th St., Arlington, (703) 228-0874, www.arlingtonvirginiausa.com/visiting.
Richmond County Museum and Visitor Center, Warsaw, (804) 333-3607.
Virginia Tourism Corp., 901 E. Byrd St., Richmond, (800) 932-5827, www.virginia.org.
Williamsburg Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Williamsburg, (800) 368-6511, www.visitwilliamsburg.com.
Busch Gardens and Water Country USA, Williamsburg, (757) 253-3350, www.buschgardens.com. Virginia's largest water park with 40 acres of water rides, slides, and pools chlorinated for your pleasure. Busch Gardens also has plenty of "authentic" shops, foods, and shows with a European flavor.
Chincoteague Island, Chincoteague Island Chamber of Commerce, (757) 336-6161, www.chincoteaguechamber.com. Not to be confused with Assateague, Chinoteague Island is world famous for its yearly pony swim, and also its oyster beds and clam shoals. Ponies! It's also a premier bird watching locale. Go and have a fishy, horsey, feathery good time.
Colonial Williamsburg, (800) 447-8679, www.history.org. Step back into a time when men wore wigs and the republic was just a young'un. It might be a fuzzy portrait of colonial life, but it's gotta be more realistic than the phony baloney "Europe" at Busch Gardens. Heck, visit them both for a glossy snapshot of reality that will make your grandparents fret over what the world has come to and tell you how good the good ol' days were.
Kings Dominion, 16000 Theme Park Way, Doswell, (804) 876-5000, www.kingsdominion.com. Kings Dominion boasts 400 acres of theme park fun, but don't be surprised when the characters you see are connected to Paramount in some fashion (as opposed to the WB characters hanging out at Six Flags).
Leesburg Animal Park, 19270 James Monroe Highway, Leesburg, (703) 433-0002, www.zoo-to-you.com. Get up close and personal with llamas, donkeys, squirrel monkeys, sheep, goats, ring-tailed lemurs, deer, and an assortment of exotic and domestic animals locked up for your (and your kid's) petting pleasure. Wagon and pony rides are also available.
Luray Caverns, Luray, (540) 743-6551, www.luraycaverns.com. Mother nature is full of wonders, so come and wonder at how drops of water and minerals cemented over a long, long, long time form stalagmites and stalactites, and try to remember which one is which.
Mount Vernon, near Alexandria, (703) 780-2000, www.mountvernon.org. So much to do and see at George Washington's old digs: mansion and grounds tours, a library and curatorial collection of domestic items, archaeological and restoration information, a farm, and places to eat.
Norfolk Botanical Garden, 6700 Azalea Garden Road, Norfolk, (757) 444-5838, www.virginiagardens.org. Visit more than 20 theme gardens, including a 3.5 acre Rose Garden and a healing garden. If your green thumb's not so green, go check out what other thumbs have been up to.
The Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington National Cemetery, (703) 697-2131, www.arlingtoncemetery.com/tombofun.htm. Be really patriotic and visit the grave site of those who lost not only their lives but also the chance to be remembered by name.
Virginia Beach Amusement Park, 15th and Atlantic avenues, Virginia Beach, (757) 422-2307, www.vabeachamusementpark.com. The beach is fun--the sand, the surf, the smell of suntan lotion--but what's more fun is going to an amusement park right on the beach. This park has all of the regular carnival-style rides and a water park, just in case the ocean's not wet enough for you.
Virginia Safari Park, 229 Safari Lane, Natural Bridge, (540) 291-3205, www.virginiasafaripark.com. Go on safari, not in Africa, but right here on the East Coast. The park features an assortment of indigenous species romping and frolicking along as if they were free. Be amused at how much smarter we humans are when you're back at work, sitting in your cubical, and reminiscing about your wonderful day on safari.
Virginia Zoological Park, 3500 Granby St., Norfolk, (757) 441-2706, www.virginiazoo.org. The zoo is situated on 53 acres alongside the Lafayette River and is home to more than 300 different species of animals, including Siberian tigers, elephants, monkeys, reptiles, birds, and other non-domesticated creatures.
Alexandria Red Cross Waterfront Festival, June 13-15, Oronoco State Park, Union and Madison streets, Alexandria, (703) 549-8300, www.waterfrontfestival.org. Ahoy matey! The theme for the 22nd annual festival is "Return of the Pirates," so break out your eye patch, wooden leg stump, and talking parrot and visit the ships and nautical exhibits.
American Indian Festival, June 7-8, Chesapeake City Park, 500 Greenbriar Parkway, (757) 382-6411, www.cityofchesapeake.net. Listen to Native American storytelling, watch traditional dances, and check out the native jewelry, crafts, and food while you're at it.
Annual African-American Cultural Arts Festival, July 26, Booker T. Washington Park, Preston Ave., Charlottesville, (434) 980-3164, www.cvilleafrican-amfest.com. Come out to see the stilt dancer Spiritwalker, dancers, craft vendors, performers, and storytellers at this 14th annual event.
Blackbeard Festival, May 31-June 1, Hampton Visitor Center, 710 Settlers Landing Road, Hampton, (757) 727-1540, www.hamptoneventmakers.com. Arrgh! Live action pirate battles, waterfront activities, shows at the Round Stage Barge Theater, and a Pirate's Ball.
Celtic Festival at Wintergreen, Aug. 9, Wintergreen, (800) 266-2444, www.wintergreenresort.com. Celtic music, dance, storytelling, cuisine, and, luckily, no Michael Flatley.
Elvis and the Stars of Yesteryear, May 30-June 2, Virginia Beach, (757) 491-7866, www.beacheventsfun.com. Who says you have to go to Vegas to see Elvis impersonators? A beachy day of look-a-like stars from the '50s, '60s, '70s, and '80s includes the Beatles, Sonny and Cher, Patsy Cline, Roy Orbison, Lionel Richie, and, of course, the King himself.
Occoquan Spring Arts and Crafts Festival, June 7-8, Occoquan, (703) 491-2168, www.visitpwc.com. Watch as hundreds of crafters, artisans, food vendors, entertainers, and the like block off streets in yet another American town.
Olden Days Festival, May 23-24, Main St., Historic District, Smithfield, (800) 365-9339, www.smithfield-virginia.com. Break out that lacy parasol you know you've been wanting to show off and head down to this festival featuring ghost walks, antiques, crafts, vintage cars, and live entertainment.
Summer Solstice at Farfelu Vineyards, June 21, 13058 Crest Hill Road, Flint Hill, (540) 364-2930, www.farfeluwine.com. Go ahead and spend the longest day of the year sipping wine and chewing cheese at Virginia's very first winery.
SPORTS AND RECREATION
Adrenaline Air Sports, 405 West Main St., Christianburg, (540) 296-1100, www.air-sports.com. Go jump out of a plane. Now. This facility is also home to Virginia Tech's Skydiving Club.
Adventure Challenge, 8225 Oxer Road, Richmond, (804) 276-7600, www.adventurechallenge.com. Whitewater and coastal kayaking, rafting, skiing, and river tubing.
Algonkian Regional Park and Golf Course, 47001 Fairway Drive, Sterling, (703) 450-4655, www.nvrpa.org/algonkian.html. This park has just about any outdoor activity you could imagine: a driving range and miniature golf for those who don't have much luck with the put, a boat launch, outdoor pool, and picnic shelters.
Appalachian Outdoor Adventures, 270 Flatridge Road, Troutdale, (866) 605-9687, www.appalachianoutdooradventures.com. Let someone else--call them the "experts"-- plan your next hunting, fishing, biking, camping, horseback riding, and wagon trail riding trip through Appalachia. So you don't have to.
Bon-Air Charters, Troy, (434) 589-5717, www.bonairecharters.com. Be like Dorothy and take a hot-air balloon ride over scenic rural Virginia, you know, instead of over Kansas and the land of Oz. Except Dorothy missed her ride. Whatever.
Motor World, 700 South Birdneck Road, 849 General Booth Blvd., (757) 422-6419, www.vbmotorworld.com. After relaxing on the beach, go ahead and let all of that pent-up rage out with a lap or two around the race track. Hey, you can't do this on the beltway.
Dixie Pottery, 17507 Lee Highway, Abingdon, (276) 676-3550, www.virginiablueridge.org/dixiepottery.htm. Aisles and aisles and rows and rows of any sort of pottery trinket imaginable.
Mamaw's House, 509 Main St., Appalachia, (540) 565-3018. Make Mamaw happy and come check out her antiques, collectibles, and down home country charm.
Packrat Willy's, 9394 Congress St., New Market, (540) 740-4300. Now this is a place where the name truly does say it all.
A Village Store, 1004 Gunstock Creek Road, Bedford, (540) 586-1271, www.aconnectingthread.com/act_avs_info.html. Take in the "ambiance of past, present and future" instead of re-circulated air and Muzak while shopping for crafty folk-art sort of things.
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201