Budget-Friendly Day Trips in Virginia

Here are a few day trip suggestions that are interesting, fun and easy on the wallet.

Mosby Heritage Area Scavenger Hunt
Mosby Heritage Area Scavenger Hunt

Written by Karen Graham 

Uncovering hidden local treasures doesn’t have to cost a king’s ransom. These wallet-friendly locales will give you a feeling of discovery on the cheap. The best part? These destinations are only a tank of gas (or less) away.

Kettler Capitals Iceplex

627 N. Glebe Rd. #800


(571) 224-0555

Why Go? Kettler is the practice arena for the Washington Capitals Hockey Team. Watch the Capitals practice and afterward practice your skating skills during the public open skate time. This is a great opportunity to see the Capitals in action—for free. “Tickets for the games can be expensive,” said Meghan Finley, spokesperson for Kettler Capitals IcePlex.

Insider Tip: Don your colors. “Fans come wearing red shirts,” Finley pointed out, “and get to see the players up close.”

Must Do: Check out Kettler's cafe for snacks, sandwiches, soups and hot chocolate. There is also a Caps team store for memorabilia.

The Fine Print: Generally the practices are held at 10:30 a.m., but check the website for exact times. Over the holidays, there are extra public skating times.


Tomb of the Unknowns

Arlington National Cemetery


(877) 907-8585

Why Go? Experience the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, honoring the U.S. servicemen and women who have died fighting in the nation’s wars.

Insider Tip: Visit on a Sunday morning, the “least busy time of the week,” said Melissa Bohan, Arlington National Cemetery spokesperson.

Must Do: Check out Arlington National Cemetery's new app called ANC Explorer to help visitors search for burial locations by name, generate photos and get walking directions to the sites.

The Fine Print: The Changing of the Guard occurs every hour on the hour. Admission is free. Parking is available for $1.75 an hour for the first three hours. Visitors can walk from the Welcome Center or take the tram.


Mosby Heritage Area Scavenger Hunts

The Mosby Heritage Area Association


(540) 687-6681  

Why Go? Each hunt provides a look at the historic sites that make up the Mosby Heritage Area, including homes, historic towns, Mosby sites, Civil War battlefields, old churches, cemeteries and more. Currently, they are available for Clarke, Fauquier, Loudoun and Western Prince William counties. “Mosby tries to get people out to explore,” said Richard Gillespie, director of education, Mosby Heritage.

Insider Tip: Interactive map tours take participants to different locations where they have to answer questions. Answer a certain amount of questions correctly and Mosby will send you a free T-shirt.

Must Do: Try the Hunting the Gray Ghost map, which has five tours exploring the Gray Ghost story.

The Fine Print: Local Visitor Centers in Berryville, Front Royal, Leesburg, Manassas and Warrenton can provide information on the history, historic sites, dining, lodging and more in their respective areas.


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