Around the Region
Staying in Destination Bedford puts you in the middle of a lot of action. It’s where the Piedmont Plateau meets the Blue Ridge Mountains. A lot of fun and interesting places are within a two-hour drive.
About a 30 minute drive east of Bedford will put you in Lynchburg, Virginia, home of Liberty University Lynchburg is home to great restaurants, historic sites and the beautiful riverfront park along the James River. It’s no secret that Lynchburg is full of history and breathtaking views, so while you’re here, take in quiet vistas, pop into a coffee shop or two, and discover the real beauty of our city.
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A little further east is Appomattox, Virginia, where General Lee and General Grant met to officially end the Civil War.
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Located on the other side of Smith Mountain Lake is Franklin County – the gateway to Virginia’s Rail Heritage Region and The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. With traditions steeped in heritage through arts, music, and culture, you will discover an array of things to see and do.
Experience a jam session along The Crooked Road or an exciting range of entertainment at the Harvester Performance Center. Discover local arts and hand-made crafts around the historic towns of Rocky Mount and Boones Mill. Find your outdoor getaway with a hike on scenic trails, padding more than 70 miles of blueways, reeling in trophy bass or taking a splash at Philpott Lake and Smith Mountain Lake.
No journey to Franklin County is complete without visiting the cultural and historic exhibits at Booker T. Washington National Monument, as well as the Blue Ridge Institute and Farm Museum, where you will learn about life and culture in the Blue Ridge region. Franklin County even came to be known as the “Moonshine Capital of the World” due to the region’s heavy involvement in the illegal moonshine industry that occurred during Prohibition. Every April they mark this designation with Moonshine Heritage Month.
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About 30 minutes west of Bedford on Route 460 is the Roanoke Valley, where you’ll find arts, culture, extensive dining options and great sporting events. Check out the view from the Roanoke Star atop Mill Mountain. Browse the shops on the historic downtown farmers market, where you will also find museums at Center in the Square and the magnificent Taubman Museum. If you’re lucky, you can take in a Salem Red Sox baseball game, a Roanoke River Dawgs hockey game or one of the many collegiate championships played throughout the year around the valley.
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Click here to find out more about the New River Valley and plan your visit.
The charming town of Buchanan is the gateway to Botetourt County and a perfect place to rent canoes, kayaks or tubes to enjoy a float on the Upper James River Water Trail. Much more outdoor recreation can be found in Botetourt County, including hiking on the Appalachian Trail or at Roaring Run, a very popular waterfall hike.
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A scenic drive across the county will take you to the neighboring Alleghany Highlands, where you can check out the historic Humpback Bridge, the oldest remaining covered bridge of its design in America. Plus, enjoy amazing mountain bike trails at Douthat State Park, paddle or fish on the Jackson and Cowpasture Rivers or simply explore the quaint downtowns of Covington and Clifton Forge.
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Lexington & Natural Bridge
History and charm are on display in the picturesque town of Lexington. The beautiful downtown district is filled with unique shops and restaurants. Its streets are perfect for strolling, although a horse-drawn carriage ride is also a great way to see the site. The campuses of Washington & Lee University and Virginia Military Institute are on the edge of downtown.
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Just outside of Lexington is the town of Natural Bridge, which is home to the state park and iconic geological formation of the same name. The site was once owned by Thomas Jefferson and surveyed by a young George Washington. Also nearby is Virginia’s Safari Park, which has become of the Shenandoah Valley’s most popular attractions for families with kids.
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Click here to find out more about the Shenandoah Valley and plan your visit.