Last year we gave you more than 30 options for family fun in Virginia that cost $10 or less. We double checked; those still qualify to remain on the list, but we know you want more!
— FOR FREE —
Wind your way to the top of the recently restored and repainted Assateague Lighthouse on Chincoteague Island. Dating to 1867, the current lighthouse is actually the second on the site. The original was built in 1833 and nearly 100 feet shorter; inadequate for the need. The lighthouse is open weekends from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., April through November. Donations are accepted, but there is no longer an admission fee.
The view from atop Assateague Lighthouse
Children will love A Dream Come True Playground in Harrisonburg, but children who rely on a wheelchair will find joy beyond measure when they are able to swing as the others do! Many of the features at this playground are unique to the area or actually one-of-a-kind. A Dream Come True was conceptualized by a Girl Scout Troop seeking a community service project for their Gold Award. They identified the need for an inclusive, accessible playground where children of all abilities could play together.
Of Note: Liberty Swing (one-of-a-kind wheelchair swing that is fully lockable and can be set to a maximum swing height; read more) * Rubber Surface * Many Shaded Areas
Arm yourself with bug spray and a stick to ward off the bugs that kids either love or love to complain about. Then set off on an adventure to seek out beautiful wildflowers and stunning waterfalls.
Dark Hollow Falls at Shenandoah National Park
Whether you’re passing through, staying a while, or just want to go for a family bike ride without purchasing equipment, Martinsville’s Bike Loan Program is for you. Head to Activate Bike Barn at the Doyle Street Trailhead to borrow a bike and helmet. The 4.5-mile Dick & Willie Passage Trail is waiting.
Activate Bike Barn, Martinsville
Head to the beach! Which one? You choose. Virginia has beaches of all kinds – the vibrant resort beach in Virginia Beach, the laid-back family atmosphere at Sandbridge Beach, the local beaches of Buckroe in Hampton, Ocean View in Norfolk, Cape Charles Beach on the Eastern Shore, Colonial Beach, and more.
Of Note: JT’s Grommet Island Park in Virginia Beach is a 100% accessible oceanfront park and playground. Its very distinct design allows children and adults of all abilities to enjoy a day at the beach, and it’s the first of its kind in America.
JT’s Grommet Island Park
Boxerwood Nature Center & Woodland Garden is just outside of historic downtown Lexington. Your youngster will love The Play Trail. It’s a special place where children seven and younger will let their imaginations run wild with stumps, digging pits, a mud kitchen, tunnels, a creek, tiny treehouse, and more. For the older kids and the rest of the family, the trails lead to fantastic discoveries like the Giant Chair, the Eye, the Great Oak, and a fun zig-zag bridge through the wetlands.
Learn about the sun, moon, stars and planets every Thursday night at 8 p.m. at the Chesapeake Planetarium in Chesapeake. Seating is limited; call ahead for reservations even though there is no admission fee.
— $10 OR LESS —
Take them out to the ball game — minor league baseball, that is. As one of our readers pointed out in 2014’s version of this article, “Do not forget any of Virginia’s 9 minor league baseball teams, 3 Coastal Plain League teams, 3 Ripken League baseball teams, and the Virginia Valley League teams. All of these towns that host baseball teams, you can get tickets for less than $10.” Hat tip to Jonathan!
Minor League Baseball in Virginia:
- Norfolk Tides at Harbor Park – Tickets
- Potomac Nationals at Pfitzner Stadium – Tickets
- Richmond Flying Squirrels at The Diamond – Tickets
- Lynchburg Hillcats at City Stadium – Tickets
- Salem Red Sox at Lewis-Gale Field – Tickets
- Bristol Pirates at Boyce Cox Field at DeVault Memorial Stadium – Tickets
- Pulaski Yankees at Calfee Park – Tickets
- Danville Braves at Legion Field – Tickets
Lewis-Gale Field, Salem, VA
You don’t have to be a camper at Bethpage Camp-Resort in Urbanna to enjoy 18 holes of fun at Bethpage Miniature Golf & Ice Creamery. For just $5 per person, you and your family can take on those 18 holes. Then celebrate with an ice cream cone (choose from 20 flavors), all for under $10!
Bethpage Miniature Golf & Ice Creamery. Courtesy photo.
Visit Flying Flowers, Virginia’s only butterfly house, at Beagle Ridge Herb Farm in Wytheville. For $5, you can walk among and enjoy at least 32 species of butterflies. No more than 10 people are allowed in the house at a time, as the visit is truly about the experience of interacting with these beauties while not disturbing their routine.
- Science Museum of Western Virginia at Center in the Square, Roanoke – $7.60
- Danville Science Center, Danville – $6-$7
Old Cape Henry Lighthouse is the only lighthouse besides Assateague that is publicly accessible. You’ll find this 1792 sentinel in Virginia Beach at Fort Story. From it, you can get an aerial view of the “new” Cape Henry Lighthouse (1888) just 357 feet away. It is the tallest cast iron lighthouse in the United States.
Old Cape Henry was commissioned by George Washington and is the oldest lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay, and the third oldest still standing in the United States. Children 12 & under are $6 each; Adults are $8
Old Cape Henry Lighthouse, c.1792
The Virginia MOCA Museum (Museum of Contemporary Art) in Virginia Beach “is a non-profit institution which exists to foster awareness, exploration, and understanding of the significant art of our time.” The first thing that is sure to catch your child’s eye is the incredible Mille Colori by Dale Chihuly. You can’t miss the enormous colorful glass chandelier suspended from the ceiling. Plan your visit to coincide with Family Fest, a free hands-on event for your family that includes a scavenger hunt and refreshments. Regular admission is $5.50 for children ages 5 to 17, and $7.70 for adults.