Day Trip: Spotsylvania
Find Your Historic, Adventure and Relaxation Spots in Spotsylvania
As you explore Spotsylvania, you can expect to find a diverse mix of rich history, outdoor recreation and one-of-a-kind activities surrounded by beautiful rural landscapes. Conveniently located directly off Interstate 95, Spotsylvania has become one of Virginia’s fastest growing communities and is home to multiple historic landmarks and Civil War battlefields. With all Spotsylvania has to offer, it won’t take long for everyone to notice—and feel—something that is simply unique.
Historical Attractions in Spotsylvania
Spotsylvania, also known as the “Crossroads of the Civil War,” is rich in historical resources. Several major battles were fought here including one of the top five most significant battles in the war—the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, fought from May 8–21 as part of General Ulysses S. Grant’s Overload Campaign. Being one of the bloodiest battles in the war, it caused more than 100,000 combined casualties.
The battle included nearly 20 hours of brutal hand-to-hand combat over a section of the Confederate defenses, which eventually became known as the “Bloody Angle.” Today, this infamous site, along with other portions of the battlefield, are preserved as a part of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Battlefields’ National Military Park, a unit of the National Park Service commemorating four major battles of the American Civil War.
Witness scenic attractions, such as the Historic Courthouse and the Old Jail, or take a guided tour led by park historians through 25 different battle sites where historic battles were fought during armed conflicts that shaped the development of the United States. Stop by the Chancellorsville Battlefield Visitor Center where General Robert E. Lee had his greatest victory throughout his entire career.
Traverse the African American Heritage Trail, a trail dedicated to educating the public, inspiring local pride and promoting appreciation for the county’s African American contributions. The driving tour is 75 miles throughout 407 square miles of Spotsylvania’s lush countryside. Or, at Spotsylvania’s many historical museums and attractions, you will find special displays of artifacts and photographs.
Outdoor Attractions and Activities in Spotsylvania
Besides the rich history, there are plenty of family-friendly activities around the area that will bring an afternoon of fun and laughter. Visit the Wilderness Presidential Resort, the local Civil War themed mini-golf course. Live like monkeys for an afternoon as you make your way from treetop to treetop while zip lining, swinging or walking across a Rickety Bridge at the county’s only zip line obstacle course.
For more outdoor fun, Wilderness Presidential Resort boasts over 600 acres for you and your family to camp, park your RV or stay in a cabin while you explore the area’s forests and waterways. Your quest for nature continues as you head to the award-winning Patriot Park or the popular Loriella Park where there are open sports fields, a swimming pool and Frisbee golf. Or become one with nature at the area’s natural attractions such as the Ni River Reservoir or the Hunting Run Reservoir. These two areas offer fishing, boat rentals, picnic shelters and endless fun outdoor activities.
Don’t miss the Spotsylvania Courthouse Historic District. Pick up the walking tour map at the Civil War Trails marker, or download the tour to your iPhone. Follow the map and pictures for the historic district using the pictures and the GIS map. Go to GIS.Spotsylvania.VA.us/Tour_Courthouse
The popular Civil War Trails Map, Lee vs. Grant, is available at the Spotsylvania Visitor Center. The National Park Service Spotsylvania Battlefield is open year-round, and in the summer, there is a NPS historian available to enthrall you with the Civil War History of Spotsylvania.
An attraction not to be missed is Dominion Raceway & Entertainment, located in Thornburg. This multipurpose motorsports and entertainment facility has four distinct racetracks in one location. Exciting races, amazing concerts and family-friendly events can all be found here.
Beer, Wine and Spirit Tasting in Spotsylvania
Looking for an adult only diversion? The Grapes and Grains Trail is the perfect daytime activity for some fun and relaxation. Located in Spotsylvania, Stafford and Fredericksburg, the trail includes five wineries, five breweries and a distillery. Stop by one at a time or spread your visits out throughout a couple of days. The $15 ticket (plus tax) expires after one year and comes with a collectable stemless tasting glass, a VIP tour of each facility and discounts at the gift shops of all of the trail’s stops. All are conveniently located right off of Interstate 95, making this the perfect opportunity to escape the highway and treat yourself to a delicious, locally produced glass of wine or craft beer!
Trolley Tours of Fredericksburg has teamed up with four area wineries to bring you a unique winery experience and a day to remember! Tours run on select Sundays from April to November. The five-and-a-half-hour guided tour travels to each winery allowing you to relax and enjoy your day—no driving needed! Tasting fees are included at each of the four wineries along with a light snack box of winery-appropriate fare. As you’re en route to the next winery, learn a little bit of history as you pass through historic Spotsylvania County.
Summer in Spotsylvania
If you’re here after the summer months, then you’re in luck! The annual Route 208 Sale Trail event lasts two days and is held every fall. The trail follows Route 208 from Four Mile Fork to the Spotsylvania County line at beautiful Lake Anna. The event will feature multifamily yard sales, business sidewalk sales, antiques and much more!
Rainy Day Activities in Spotsylvania
If it’s raining outside, don’t fret! The county is home to numerous indoor activities that offer entertainment for all ages. Spend an afternoon at one of the county’s cinemas—with some movies available in 3-D—the arcade or local bowling alley for some good quality time with the family. Discover more indoor fun at one of the several museums throughout the county that dive even further into Spotsylvania County’s place in history.
Shopping in Spotsylvania
If you are hoping for a day of shopping while in town, then Spotsylvania Towne Centre is definitely a must. Not only does this massive shopping destination offer more than 160 shops and eateries, but it also hosts special events throughout the year. If you’re in need of a new fashion wardrobe that you won’t see anyone else wearing, Towne Centre’s charming and one-of-a-kind boutiques have the solution for you. Shopping for the young ones or even need to redo your kitchen? Spotsylvania Towne Centre has got you covered. With all the name-brand stores, specialty shops and dining offered at this convenient shopping destination, the only problem you’ll have is making it to all your favorite stores before closing time.
Dining in Spotsylvania
After you get some shopping in, satisfy your hunger at one of the many restaurants available in the county. Spotsylvania has over 100 choices, ranging from fast food to fine dining, where you can enjoy a delicious meal. Splurge at one of the ethnic specialties or try something new at one of the locals’ favorites. You will certainly find a place everyone can agree on!
Whether you are here for just the day, a couple nights or simply passing through, there is always a reason to stop in Spotsylvania. Visit VisitSpotsy.com and take a closer look at what makes Spotsylvania unique. With its mix of landmarks, attractions, history and beautiful rural landscapes, you will quickly discover why, as the locals say, “Spotsylvania is a great place to live, work, play and shop!”