DRIVING (THE SCENIC ROUTE)
While it’s true that traffic around Washington, DC, can be congested, Google Maps can help you spot and avoid backups. Our best advice is to stay off the interstates during morning (approx. 6 to 9 a.m.) and afternoon (approx. 4 to 7 p.m.) commute times. Route 1 runs parallel to Interstate 95 and can offer a workaround for traffic jams.
Want to avoid the DC Beltway (I-495) and I-95 traffic altogether? Hop on I-81 South near Hagerstown, MD. This is definitely a road less traveled (although you will see a fair number of 18-wheelers). From there you have several options to get to Fredericksburg – and can enjoy attractions large and small along the way.
Option 1: Interstate 81 South to Winchester, VA. From there, take US-50 to US-17 toward Fredericksburg. NOTE: Near Fredericksburg, you will need to take I-95 South for one exit to Route 3.
- Country music lovers will enjoy a visit to the Patsy Cline Historic Home in Winchester, where Patsy lived during the early days of her singing career. (She is buried nearby.)
- The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, also located in Winchester, interprets the art, history, and culture of the area. Kids will love the Nature Connects exhibit coming this summer – nature sculptures created with Legos!
- Near Stevens City, kids of all ages will enjoy a pit stop at Dinosaur Land, a kitschy attraction that takes you to the prehistoric past.
Option 2: Take I-81 farther south to New Market, VA. From there, take US-211 and US-522 to Route 3 so you can avoid I-95 completely. You can visit all the attractions near Winchester plus:
- Stop off in Middletown to visit Belle Grove Plantation, an authentic 1797 Manor House and antebellum plantation owned by the sister of U.S. President James Madison. Much of the property is still used for agriculture and includes a teaching garden.
- This route takes you directly past Luray Caverns, the most popular caverns in the eastern U.S. Take a guided tour through cathedral-sized rooms with towering stone formations.
Option 3: Take I-81 slightly farther south to Harrisonburg, VA. From there, US-33 to Route 20 will take you to Route 3. This avoids I-95 completely. You can visit all the attractions near Winchester plus:
- Miss the indoor water park at the Kalahari last year? Stop by Massanutten Water Park to enjoy inflatable adventures, slides, lazy river floats, and hot tubs – or learn to surf! Voted the #3 Best Indoor Water Park in America by USA Today 2017 Readers' Choice Awards.
- Take a snack break at the Route 11 Potato Chip factory, where you can taste a variety of flavors and peek into the factory to watch the chip creation process.
- Shenandoah Caverns are the only caverns in Virginia with elevator service to the underground caverns. A guided tour takes you on crushed gravel pathways through seventeen rooms of spectacular underground formations.
- While on US-33, stop by Montpelier, home of U.S. President James Madison. The estate features the historic home, gardens, archaeological sites, and 8+ miles of walking trails.
There's plenty to see and do in Virginia. Visit www.virginia.org
for more tips and attractions.