Thanksgiving marks a time for food, gratitude and family. And if you live in or are visiting southern Virginia or Piedmont North Carolina, it also makes a great opportunity to check out what Dan River region has to offer.
The North Carolina and Virginia communities along the Dan River offer countless destinations for every kind of visitor. From outdoor adventure to cultural experiences, from roughin’ it to living ‘luxe, we’ve got you covered.
So whether you’re visiting from out of town, hosting family or just rolling solo, here are a couple of dozen ways to explore the Dan River State Crossings.
We’ve got seven of them, each with its own distinctive feel. Make a circuit, or spend some time getting to know one in more depth. Read more about them.
The Dan River offers a broad variety of fishing opportunities, from trout in the Blue Ridge, to bass farther downstream. Read more about the many fishing opportunities.
Stock-car racing grew to prominence here, as bootleggers and rum-runners tore through the hills and eventually got to racing each other. Read more about touring the racing history of the region.
The Dan River Basin is home to a unique heritage and culture, but the rivers shaped its topography and history. Mark Bishopric, co-founder of Three Rivers Outfitters, LLC, recommends floats for paddlers of all experience levels. Read more about floating our local rivers.
From race cars to tanks, we’ve got plenty of options for children, and grown-ups who remain kids at heart, who just love vehicles. Read more about our cool automotive attractions.
You like wine? We’ve got wine, with vineyards and wineries located throughout the State Crossings region. Make a stop for a tasting to punctuate a day of outdoor activity, or stack up multiple wineries for a more in-depth exploration of the regional terroir. Read more about our award-winning wineries.
From the 1800s on, the counties along the Dan River in North Carolina and Virginia were historically known for their whiskey-making abilities. That reputation only grew through the moonshining era during Prohibition. Today, fortunately, you don’t have to break the law to get a taste of Dan River liquor, as the region has become home to a number of legal distilleries in recent years. Read more about our local distilleries.
Stretching from the Blue Ridge Mountains of eastern Appalachia through the Piedmont, the region is stuffed with foothills and rocky outcrops that make for plenty of bouldering opportunities—as well as world-class rock climbing in Hanging Rock State Park. Read more about our rock climbing adventures.
We started making a list of farm events, tours, and markets, and quickly realized this would be a jam-packed post. By the time we finished, we’d gathered more than 60 ways to dig into farming in the State Crossings region. And it’s not even a comprehensive list! Read as many farm touring options as we could pack in for you.
Music echoes through the mountains and foothills of the Dan River State Crossings. Melodies and rhythm have run through the region for centuries, leaving a rich legacy. Check out our list of event venues and other places to see music.
If you like lakes, you’ll find a lot to love about the Dan River State Crossings region. While Southern Virginia and Piedmont North Carolina are defined largely by the Dan and Smith rivers, they’re also home to awesome lakes, where you can fish, boat and enjoy other activities.
There’s nothing like watching stars in a dark sky on a cool evening in the warm months. And there’s no better place to view the majesty of the night sky than Staunton River State Park, which in 2015 was designated as an International Dark Sky Park. Read more about the park and celestial events this year.
Our communities along the Dan River in North Carolina and Virginia are home to great outdoor recreation, delicious food, and wonderful shopping. But if you’re looking for something a little more unusual, we’ve got that covered too. Read about opportunities to see something completely different.
After hiking, paddling, biking and gazing across scenic vistas, there’s really nothing like enjoying a romantic restaurant. Whether on a blind first date or a wedding anniversary, try one of these destinations for a romantic night out. Read more about our romantic restaurants.
The State Crossings region runs thick with mountain bike trails, with opportunities for beginners and hardcore riders both. Whether it’s technical singletrack in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains or a lazy dirt road ride in the woods along one of the many waterways that flow into the Dan, you’ll find your flow and mountain biking nirvana in the Dan River region. Read more about our mountain biking trails.
Paddlers now can experience Virginia’s eastern Blue Ridge Mountains through the Philpott Lake Blueway Water Trail. The blueway connects seven mapped trails that total more than 25 miles, which can be accessed by canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, and motorized watercraft. Read more about the Philpott Lake Blueway.
Henry County, Virginia’s Smith River Trail System includes a scenic blueway with 10 river access points and more than 20 miles of greenway. Enjoy a calm float or more adventurous paddling on the river, with Class I, II, and III rapids. Kayaking, fishing, hiking, and many other outdoor activities can be found on the blueway. Read more about the Smith River Blueway.
Art aficionados can find wealth of rich visual arts here, from painting to sculpture and more. Read more about them.
The varied geography of the basin makes for a diverse range of bird and wildlife viewing opportunities. Birding trails and sites can be found on both the North Carolina and Virginia sides of the state line. Read more about where to go and what to see.
With a wide variety of courses from the Blue Ridge Mountains through the Piedmont’s rolling hills, find the perfect course, whether for a weekday outing, a weekend on the links, or a full-blown golf tour of the Dan River region. Read more about our golf courses.
A wealth of writers sprang up south of the North Carolina/Virginia line in the Dan River Basin, emerging among tobacco fields and textile mills. Among the writers with a connection to the Dan River Basin are Sherwood Anderson, William Andrews, Daniel W. Barefoot, Jerry Bledsoe, Lisa Cantrell, P.T. Deutermann, R.S. Gwynn, Alex Haley, Larry Leon Hamlin, T.R. Pearson, Reynolds Price, Moses Roper, Dawn Shamp, David Spear, G.C. Waldrep, and Manley Wade Wellman. Read more about them.
The State Crossings region celebrates its agriculture, artistic and cultural heritage with quilt trails in Rockingham County, North Carolina, and Patrick County, Virginia. The Rockingham County Quilt Trail takes you over rolling farmland, through forests, across rivers and into towns and villages. Follow it to see all 30 authentic quilt blocks on barns and farm outbuildings.
The Patrick County Barn Quilt Trail was recently created and will be inaugurated at a ribbon-cutting ceremony this weekend. The trail consists of 40 Patrick County families, businesses and organizations who have put up decorative barn quilts on their property.
The communities of the Dan River Basin took their current shapes in the 18th century, around the time the 13 colonies began to assert their independence from Great Britain. Remnants of that past can still be found throughout the region, including the one-time homestead of Patrick “Give me liberty or give me death!” Henry. Read more about our early history and how to explore it.
Who doesn’t love waterfalls? Even today, amid a fast-paced world driven by smartphones and social media, a waterfall can freeze us in time, causing us to pause and appreciate the simple beauty of water falling onto rocks. Enjoy a variety of waterfalls in our region, and find a moment of peace and tranquility amid the stormy seas of daily life. Read more about our waterfalls.
Sometimes the best laid plans are ruined by rain. And if you’ve got children, finding alternatives can be tough. Fortunately, the Dan River Basin is loaded with options to keep children happy and parents sane during extended periods of rainy weather. Read more about our rainy day options.