April 1, 2021
Planning a college tour road trip can be stressful for both students and their families. Lucky for you, we’ve done the dirty work and plotted out the best route to tour some of the most popular colleges and universities in Virginia. Use this itinerary as a roadmap for your Virginia college tour vacation. Feel free to take it at your own pace. Speed up the timeline by visiting multiple schools in one day, or savor the experience by spending more time in each city. No matter what college your student chooses to attend, this road trip will be a fun family memory for years to come.
At the time of writing, many colleges and universities have put in-person tours on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, we encourage you to check out each school’s virtual tour prior to your campus visit, in addition to following CDC guidelines during your trip.
Fly into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and rent a car. Alternatively, if you’re closeby, drive to Fairfax. Explore the campus of the George Mason University in the late morning. Grab a bite to eat at High Side if you’re in the mood for delicious Asian street food, or pick up a few unique tacos at Taco Bamba if that’s more your style. Once the family is happily fed, climb in the car and drive three hours to Norfolk. Check-in to your accommodation and take time to relax after a long day of travel. Eat a delicious Italian fusion dinner at Luce and head to bed early.
After yesterday’s long travel day, it’s time to have a more relaxing morning. In the morning, grab coffee and pastries to-go from Cure Coffeehouse. Savor your breakfast along the sands of Ocean View Beach Park while you watch the waves. Head back to your hotel, get ready and check out, and head to Old Dominion University. After your tour, sit down for lunch at No Frill Bar and Grill and then hit the road again!
During the one-hour drive to Williamsburg, download our vacation guide to get the inside scoop on your stay. Check in at Cedars of Williamsburg and chat with innkeepers Laura and Alex to get the lay of the land. In the early evening, head to the Merchant Square area of Downtown Williamsburg for some window shopping. Stop in for a tasty dinner at Amber Ox – you won’t regret it!
In the morning, enjoy an in-house, entertaining breakfast at Cedars with your comedic innkeeper Alex. Head just a minute up the road to William & Mary for a tour of campus. After that, eat lunch at Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Que or another one of our favorite spots. When you head out of town, drive two hours to Charlottesville. Relax in front of the hotel TV tonight with some takeout ramen from Mashumen. Use the time to reflect with your student on the campuses you’ve visited so far. This is the halfway point of Virginia college adventure, so make sure you take time to unwind and recharge.
There’s tons of fun to be had in Williamsburg, VA! Consider extending your trip to fully experience the history, the theme park, and the rest of the vibrant community. Read our blog posts for more!
Before heading to campus, stop by Belle bright and early for coffee and incredibly tasty breakfast sandwiches. Leave lots of time to explore UVA’s campus and learn about the rich history of the area. If you have time, take a tour of Monticello to gain a deeper understanding of Thomas Jefferson’s life and the impact of his estate on the community. When the family is done in Charlottesville, pile in the car and head 2 hours east to Blacksburg! Don’t miss out on the chicken kabobs at The Cellar, or embrace your inner college kid and grab a slice at Benny Marzano’s.
You’re almost at the end of your trip now, and you deserve a sweet treat! Start the day with a donut from Carol Lee Donuts on your way to campus. Take note of the special Hokie Stone that defines campus. Hop in the car one last time and drive 3 hours straight to your final stop, Richmond! Tonight, everyone will be happy to eat your last road trip dinner at ZZQ – one of the best BBQ restaurants in the US.
Today, it’s important to fuel up before a long day of travel. Indulge in a yummy brunch at The Fancy Biscuit before heading to campus. After the university tour, pack your bags and head to the airport. On the way, stop at Grit Coffee if you need a pick me up!
If you follow our map, you’ll have spent about 12 hours and 756 miles on the road! Stay at the Cedars of Williamsburg B&B during your Virginia college visit road trip. This gorgeous Georgian brick mansion hosts elegant traditional rooms, indulgent suites, and a private cottage for your stay. Innkeepers Alex and Laura are ready to make your family trip a little easier, with add-ons like their picnic lunch or kids welcome bag for the younger family members! Book a room for your college road trip today!