Whether you’re planning a getaway to beautiful Southwest Virginia or thinking about moving to the area, you may be wondering what activities you and your family can enjoy in the region. Located in the heart of the mountains of SW Virginia, Smyth County is a growing destination for outdoor adventurers and those looking to live in a place offering small-town charm. Smyth County, VA consists of three small towns, Chilhowie, Marion, and Saltville, packed with things to do for all ages and are stunning areas to call home. We’ve put together a list of our top things to do in Smyth County. Whether you’re just passing through or planning to spend a lifetime, Smyth County has plenty to offer.
Hungry Mother State Park
Whether a day trip or weekend stay, Hungry Mother State Park is a treasure of Smyth County, VA. Located in Marion, VA the park offers plenty of activities for all ages. The 108-acre lake at the heart of the park provides boating, fishing, and swimming opportunities, including the sandy beach area that is open for guarded swimming from Memorial Day to Labor Day. In addition to water fun, Hungry Mother State Park has more than 17 miles of hiking and biking trails to explore. As one of the original six Virginia State Parks, it has always and continues to be a favorite park for enjoying the natural side of the state.
In addition to the activities for a fun-filled day outdoors, the park offers campgrounds with 80 total sites, cabins, yurts, and a six-bedroom family lodge for a longer stay at the park. The Hemlock Haven Conference Center also makes the ideal location for company or family events, conferences, and retreats.
Hungry Mother Outdoor Adventures
Located only 10 minutes from the entrance to Smyth County’s beloved state park, Hungry Mother Outdoor Adventures offers activities to take your outdoor fun to the next level. They have zip lines and tubing that give everyone something to enjoy. Their zip line offers nearly a mile of lines for zipping through treetops and flying over valleys while taking in the beautiful views. Hungry Mother Outdoor Adventures is noted as having the “longest, highest, and fastest zip line in the state of Virginia.” For younger zippers or nervous first-timers, the mini-zipline is perfect for getting your adventure thrill (and is sure to have you craving more).
The Museum of the Middle Appalachians
Saltville is full of history and culture, making it the perfect location for the Museum of the Middle Appalachians. The museum offers a unique experience for you to explore 30,000 years of history. It provides 17 natural and cultural salt-related exhibits that highlight Appalachian heritage and history, from prehistoric times to the role the area played in helping put a man on the moon. While the museum offers numerous interesting exhibits, the life-sized wooly mammoth skeleton is one of the visitors’ favorites.
Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
With almost 200,000 acres, the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area is an outdoor adventurer’s paradise. Whether you choose to just take a drive on the Mount Rogers Scenic Byway or hike the two highest peaks in Virginia, Mount Rogers and Whitetop Mountain, you are sure to take in breathtaking views of a mixture of rural countryside, mountain balds, and spruce-fir forests. If you’re lucky, you may even have the opportunity to observe the wild ponies that call the area home. The area offers many activities to enjoy, from camping, sightseeing, and hiking to trout fishing, horseback riding, and picnicking.
The Lincoln Theatre
After a day of outdoor fun, relax with an evening in Downtown Marion. While strolling down Main Street, you must get tickets to watch a show at the iconic Lincoln Theatre. The theatre has brought movies, arts, and music to Smyth County for generations. While it first opened in 1929 and provided entertainment for locals and visitors for years, in 1977 they shut their doors and the building was abandoned for three decards before it was renovated and reopened in 2004. Since its reopening, it is best known for the popular Song of the Mountains series, making it a must-visit for enjoying traditional and contemporary performances by talented musicians.
As you can see, Smyth County offers plenty to do for day trips or longer stays in the region. However, if you check all the above off your itinerary, Southwest Virginia offers a wide range of activities that everyone is sure to enjoy, from exploring Downtown Bristol to leaf peeping opportunities in the fall.