Suffolk is Virginia’s largest city by land area, covering a total of 430 square miles filled with lakes, woodlands, rivers, and rolling terrain.
The city originally had strong ties with England, which explains why it was named after Suffolk County from the European country.
In 1779, however, the city was burned down by the Brits.
It was only in 1910 that Suffolk emerged as a city once again.
Today, you’ll see that Suffolk is a thriving city, sporting a flourishing community in the form of parks, historical sites, and neighborhoods.
If you’re going on a trip to the city soon, check out the best things to do in Suffolk, Virginia!
Get Lost in the Wild at Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
Dozens of well-preserved habitats surround Suffolk, and it would be a shame not to visit at least one.
So when in the city of Suffolk, make sure to swing by Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.
Get lost in the wild and explore over 113,000 acres of natural habitats and swamps you won’t find anywhere else.
Dive into the beauty of nature’s wonders in the form of protected lands and waters, which also serve as a home to hundreds of species from the animal kingdom.
Enjoy activities like hunting and fishing, birdwatching, wildlife photography, kayaking, and canoeing.
Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is located on Desert Road.
Trace the History of the Railways at Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum
Go back to when the railway system was the primary mode of transportation in Suffolk by visiting the Seaboard Station Railroad Museum on North Main Street.
Established in 1885, the Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad serviced the Seaboard Air Line and Virginian Roads in the early 1900s before it became a freight office in 1994.
As you walk around the Seaboard Station Railroad Museum, you’ll be treated to various exhibits, archives, and intricate displays that tell the story of the railway’s humble beginnings.
Check out bells from steam locomotives, classic cast iron and concrete signs, railroad tools, lanterns, and more.
As if those weren’t enough, wait until you get a good look at the entire museum, donning a Queen Anne style reminiscent of the Victorian age.
Most of the interior has been preserved over the years, including the coffered ceiling, doors, windows, fireplace, and porch.
Conquer the Great Outdoors at Lone Star Lake
Nothing beats a fun-filled day conquering the great outdoors and engaging in a series of activities sure to get your blood pumping.
When in Suffolk, there’s no better place to admire the wonders of the outside world than Lone Star Lake on Bob House Parkway.
Lone Star Lake is home to 11 lakes, making it the perfect venue for fishing, walking, and enjoying a quiet picnic with your closest friends.
There’s also a four-mile horse trail to explore, an archery range, and a model airplane flying field.
You’ll also get to explore the Suffolk waterways by participating in various water sports activities, such as canoeing, kayaking, and boating.
Have a Scenic Picnic by Lake Drummond
Enjoy a relaxing day in the beautiful city of Suffolk by having a scenic picnic by Lake Drummond, a freshwater lake at the center of the Great Dismal Swamp.
Drown out the sound of the busy Suffolk streets, and hear nothing but your thoughts and birds chirping when you spend a day at this lake.
Read your favorite book, or take a walk around the bow-shaped lake and marvel at the quiet scenery before you.
Lake Drummond is known to have acid-stained water, which means there are limited fish species in the area.
However, you can still cast your lines at this lake and get treated to crappies, yellow perch, chain pickerel, flier, and bullheaded catfish, among others.
Swing by the Historic Riddick’s Folly House Museum
Suffolk is a book of secrets waiting to be discovered, and you’ll learn more about it when you visit historic sites like Riddick’s Folly House Museum along North Main Street.
This Greek revival home built in 1837 belonged to Mills Riddick, a member of the prominent Riddick family in Suffolk and Nansemond County.
This grand establishment along Suffolk’s main street has four floors, 21 rooms, and 16 fireplaces.
Visitors are welcome to explore the entirety of the place, which means you’re bound to get a good look at magnificent double parlors, bed chambers, dressing rooms, and a fascinating gentlemen’s library, to name a few.
After you tour Riddick’s Folly House Museum, swing by the gift shop to pick out a unique souvenir to commemorate your trip.
Go Driving at Sleepy Hole Golf Course
Take advantage of Suffolk’s clear skies and calm winds by heading towards the Sleepy Hole Golf Course on Sleepy Hole Road.
Situated along the banks of Nansemond River, the golf course features magnificent tree-lined fairways, scenic landscapes, and strategically placed bunkers.
Book tee time and practice your swings while exploring the 18-hole golf course with your friends and family.
Swing by the practice facilities like the full-length driving range, short-game area, and putting green.
Sleepy Hole Golf Course also hosts various tournaments throughout the year, so if you’re looking to stay in the city for quite some time, joining the tourneys can be a great way to spend your days.
Enjoy Art in All Its Forms at Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts
Art fans are sure to have a great time exploring the halls of Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts on Finney Avenue.
This premier visual and performing arts venue in Suffolk is a 62,880-square foot facility with three stories—each floor showcasing a different theme that adds to the place’s grandeur.
It has a year-round schedule for various shows, which means you can visit any time to witness the talents of budding and international artists.
Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts has everything from musical performances and theatrical productions to ballet and art exhibits.
You’re also bound to have a great time picking out souvenirs from the gift shop or grabbing a bite at The Plaid Turnip, the art center’s in-house restaurant.
Satisfy Your Cravings at Decoys Seafood
There is a lot of great food to try while in Suffolk, but if you’re looking for some of the best ones, you can’t go wrong with Decoys Seafood.
Located along Ferry Road, the restaurant overlooks Bennetts Creek, giving you a scenic view and delectable dishes to satisfy your cravings.
Start with a plate of raw oysters or crab and cream cheese wontons before moving on to best-sellers like pan-seared scallops and ribeye steak.
Besides the mainstays on the menu, you can also look forward to their daily specials and promos, which include weekend brunches, taco and tequila Tuesdays, and the seasonal blind duck tiki bar.
You can also enjoy a series of live performances at Decoys Seafood, which is another reason to keep coming back.
Stroll along Downtown Suffolk
Feel the vibrant city vibes when you take a stroll along Downtown Suffolk.
Downtown Suffolk has nearly everything to see in the city, from historical sites and art districts to restaurants and shopping centers.
Walking along the downtown streets also lets you feel like a local, wading through every boutique and simply enjoying the dynamic atmosphere in the area.
Start your day by walking towards the historic Pinner House, followed by a quick trip to The Second Floor, which is home to downtown’s most alluring structures.
Then, go on a shopping spree before heading to Suffolk’s most popular restaurants to end your busy day.
Stop by the Obici-Oderzo Fountain
Suffolk is swarming with Instagram-worthy sites, so much so that every nook and cranny of the city makes a perfect backdrop for your photos.
If you’re looking for a couple of places to help you beef up your Instagram game, swing by the Obici-Oderzo Fountain on Main Street.
Dedicated to the people of Suffolk, the pristine Obici-Oderzo Fountain features classical designs reminiscent of Italy’s Roman origins.
Get a good look at the mosaic tiles surrounding the structure, which came from Oderzo.
On the columns, you’ll also see some inscriptions on the fountain, particularly the words “Oderzo” and “Opitergium.”
Check Out Works from the Suffolk Art Gallery
There are many ways to relax in Suffolk, but perhaps one of the most therapeutic activities you can do is check out art pieces from the Suffolk Art Gallery.
Located on Bosley Avenue, the facility showcases some of the best thought-provoking artworks you’ll see during your trip.
The art gallery is also home to one of the largest photography exhibitions in Hampton Roads.
Enjoy the relaxing view of intricate artworks gracing the walls, further enhanced by ambient lighting and clear spaces.
The Suffolk Art Gallery also features rotating exhibits, which means you’ll be treated to a wide variety of works every time you visit.
Take a Picture with Mr. Peanut
You can’t possibly leave the city of Suffolk without taking a picture with Mr. Peanut in his hometown.
Unveiled to the people of Suffolk in 1991, the Mr. Peanut statue is a full-color metal structure atop a granite pedestal.
Take a few photos with this prized Suffolk possession to commemorate your trip, and swing by the nearby store to buy a few goodies, too.
You’ll find the Mr. Peanut statue along downtown Suffolk, particularly on West Washington Street.
The statue is relatively small, but its placement on the pedestal puts Mr. Peanut at an excellent angle for taking pictures.
Spend a Day at Bennett’s Creek Park
You’ll find many places where you can relax outdoors in Suffolk, and Bennett’s Creek Park is only one of the many spaces you can visit.
Located along Bennett’s Creek Park Road, this recreational facility allows visitors to unwind while enjoying the best views from mother nature.
Walk around, and explore the lush green forests while listening to the chirping birds perched on the branches.
There’s also a 1.5-mile trail that takes you to the woodlands apart from the tidal wetlands you’ll see in the area.
Other Bennett’s Creek Park facilities include tennis courts, skate parks, and fishing sites, among others.
Check Out the Phillips-Dawson House Museum
The Phillips-Dawson House Museum is only one of the many historical sites you’ll see while visiting the city of Suffolk.
It is currently the headquarters of the Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society.
While exploring the halls of this establishment, you’re sure to learn a lot more about Suffolk and the most prominent personalities that helped shape its culture and heritage.
The land on which the Phillips-Dawson House Museum was built belonged initially to DC Harrell and was later purchased by Horace Phillips in 1881.
As you walk around, you’ll find hundreds of archives all about Suffolk, including old photos, original Planters peanuts bags, collections from old banks, and more.
Explore the Walls of the Obici House
Overlooking the Sleepy Hole Golf Course and Nansemond River is the majestic Obici House, a popular venue for hosting wedding receptions and other events.
Built during the 1890s, the historic structure is the former home of Planters Peanut founder Amedeo Obici.
The house was reopened in 2012 as a premier party venue, church and corporate retreats, private events, and team-building activities.
Marvel at the glittering chandeliers decorating the ceilings, stained glass windows adorning the walls, and unique hardwood floors carving a beautiful path for visitors.
Because it overlooks the Nansemond River, the Obici House also makes the perfect spot to watch the sunset while in Suffolk.
The best things to do while in Suffolk, Virginia, are within arm’s reach.
What’s more, you don’t need to spend much exploring them.
So pack your bags, and get ready for your adventure in Suffolk!