Blue Ridge Travel Association

Six Excellent Family Adventures in the Blue Ridge Highlands

Soar on Hungry Mother’s New Zip Line

Hungry Mother State Park is the quintessential state park, offering miles of trails, camping, and lake activities, but the newest activity includes the longest, highest, and fastest zip line in the state of Virginia. With nearly a mile of lines through five sections, flying over valleys and through the tree tops, this heart pounding excursion will leave you wanting to go again and again! Zip lines build strength, athletic skills and self-esteem for the whole family.

Experience Virginia’s Most Interactive Zoo

Take the family on a safari! Fort Chiswell Animal Park offers the rare opportunity to interact with animals from six continents! You don’t have to travel to Africa and this safari won’t break the bank. Meet animals who are as eager to see you as you are to see them. At Fort Chiswell Animal Park, you’re invited to experience these animals for yourself with an up-close and interactive adventure you won’t forget!

Can You Canoe the New?

Towering palisades like castles line the water’s edge as your canoe glides through the bends of the New River in Giles County. This paddling adventure follows the course of pioneer woman Mary Draper Ingles as she reached the end of her long journey home in 1755 after escaping from Shawnees. Your trip is considerably easier than Mary’s as you let the river draw you along at 1-2 miles per hour over gentle Class I and II rapids interspersed with flatwater pools. The New River supports remarkable populations of largemouth bass, rock bass, and muskellunge here, so give in to the urge to try some fly casting if you’re an angler.

Pick Blueberries on a Berry Farm

Tucked into a valley between Galax and Independence, lies a treasury of blueberry bushes for your whole family to choose from on this DIY adventure. Everyone knows blueberries are sweeter when you’ve picked your own! Stroll through the mowed paths between the rows, baskets provided for your bounty. V-G Berry Farm ties up the bush branches for easy, no-bend picking! Plan your Blue Ridge Highlands adventure during late June-July for blueberries.

Mug with the Mastodon in Saltville

The Saltville area has been a human community for 14,000 years, so that is how far back the Museum of the Middle Appalachians starts its exhibits. Pose for your picture with the mastodon, giant beaver, or woolly mammoth. Learn more about the Ice Age history of this salt-rich valley, its two Civil War battles, and the part that salt has played in the town’s history. Then drive out by the salt flats, home to one of the region’s largest heron rookeries.

Frolicking with Butterflies at Beagle Ridge

Beagle Ridge Herb Farm near Wytheville erected the area’s first butterfly house to delight visitors with the antics of swooping swallowtails, monarchs, painted ladies, and other native butterflies. Fluttering, frolicking, and alighting on their guests, these beauties seem to resemble “flying flowers,” the name Ellen Reynolds gave to the clear plastic butterfly house in her sprawling herb garden. Flying Flowers opens May 11, when Reynolds’ releases her newly hatched lepidoptera into the flower-festooned butterfly house. Reynolds hosts a tea with the butterflies every Saturday afternoon in June and July, and celebrates the September Saturday when she and guests release the monarchs for their southward migration. Beagle Ridge also offers ATV excursions for those who want an immersion experience in the surrounding Blue Ridge forest.