On the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains lies a historic, high-elevation attraction with a small-town charm: Wytheville, Virginia.
Named after George Wythe, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, this small town has a history as eventful as its namesake.
It stands at the confluence of two major US roads, making it a strategic location that has seen significant raids during the Civil War.
All these are left in the past, and Wytheville now stands as a peaceful and vibrant destination for the whole family.
Since it’s located in a mountainous region, the town has plenty of outdoor attractions for adventurers and nature lovers.
You’ll also find lots of historical buildings and markers that offer a glimpse of life back in the day.
So if you’re looking for a tranquil slice of paradise in southern Virginia, this is it!
Here are the 15 best things to do in Wytheville, VA:
Watch the Hot Air Balloons at Chautauqua Festival
The enthralling Chautauqua Festival is the most anticipated and iconic event in Wytheville.
It’s an eight-day arts and music festival held every third weekend of June, bringing crowds of people from all over the state.
Join the festivities and enjoy the live music concerts, art pieces by talented local artists, stage magic, children’s activities, and carnival-themed attractions.
But the most sought-after event is the hot air balloon glow—a magical experience that the family will enjoy.
This particular activity is so iconic that the town’s water tower has been decorated to the likeness of these balloons.
These are just the daytime activities, as the night brings another level of fun and excitement.
Join the bombastic concerts with different nightly themes, such as Celtic, jazz, rock n’ roll, or beach music.
Get to Know the First Lady at Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Museum
Edith Bolling Wilson is the second wife of past President Woodrow Wilson and former First Lady.
She is an important political figure who assumed stewardship of the presidency after her husband suffered a debilitating stroke.
Because of her contributions to the country, she became a celebrated figure in Wytheville, her birthplace.
Her legacy is preserved at the Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Museum, an educational facility standing in her old family home.
Here, you’ll find artifacts, photographs, exhibits, and reading materials that detail her journey to the White House.
You can also join the various events held at the facility, including a lecture series where professors discuss Edith’s contribution to the First World War.
Marvel at the Views of Big Walker Lookout
A quick drive to Wytheville’s mountains will bring you to the majestic Big Walker Lookout.
The “lookout” is a gigantic steel tower standing 100-foot tall, offering stunning panoramas of the surrounding mountain range.
Since it stands on the peak of Big Walker Mountain, the lookout provides uninterrupted views so long as the skies are clear.
You’ll be able to see mountain peaks from five different states on this vantage point.
Once you’ve had your fill of beautiful vistas, head to the old country-style store at the tower’s base.
Here, organizers hold art demonstrations and lectures about the role of Virginia during the Civil War.
You can also grab a cone of tasty ice cream or fresh fudge at the store to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Visit the War Memorial at Withers Park
In the heart of Wytheville lies a small but beloved green space frequently visited by residents and visitors.
Withers Park is only as large as a city block, but it contains many attractions that make it a worthwhile destination.
There’s a looping trail that runs along the park’s perimeter, bringing you to its different sections.
One of these is a solemn memorial dedicated to war heroes and brave veterans who fought for our freedom.
On one end, there’s a small kid’s park complete with well-maintained play structures.
It’s a great place for those bringing children to their Wytheville trip.
The rest of the property is an open space with verdant grass and trees on the border, creating a tranquil setting.
You can simply stay on a picnic bench or under the shade and enjoy the serene ambiance of the park.
Catch a Show at Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre
As you might’ve guessed from the name, the Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre is a German-themed entertainment venue at the edge of town.
It also doubles as a restaurant, so you’re in for a unique treat during your visit.
Over a four-course dinner consisting of delicious staples, you’ll be watching Broadway-caliber musical productions by talented companies.
Dinner and a show—there’s no better combination!
Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre is the only all-musical theater in Virginia, and they’ve been honing their skills to create memorable shows every season.
Aside from the dinner theater, there’s a German-themed restaurant offering beer, sausages, and other German staples.
Tour the Halls of the Octagon Mansion History Museum
The imposing facade of The Octagon Mansion History Museum will make every visitor curious about this structure in the middle of town.
Thankfully, the attraction is open to anyone who’d like to learn more about the history of Wytheville.
This facility has been around since 1870 and was used to house the extensive collection of John Cushman.
In 2021, he opened it to the public so everyone else could enjoy the historical memorabilia sitting in the halls and rooms.
You’ll find authentic Civil War guns, a snippet of fabric from Lincoln’s burial covering, musical instruments, and large maps.
These artifacts were collected from various eras, including the Spanish-American War, World War I, and the Battle of Gettysburg.
So if you’re a history buff, you’ll have a grand time exploring all the place has in store.
Go Swimming at Reed Creek
Creating the southern boundary of Wytheville’s town proper is the meandering Reed Creek.
It’s the main water feature in the general vicinity, so the community has used it as the premier spot for aquatic activities.
In addition, the creek serves as a historic landmark, especially the section near the storied Reed Creek Mill.
Since it’s a mountain creek, this body of water has pristine waters that are ideal for swimming and cooling dips.
So during summer, residents and visitors alike head to the shallows and enjoy the crips and clear waters.
Some sections also have turbulent rapids great for thrilling kayaking adventures.
But if you just want a relaxing afternoon, you can bring a hook and line and go shore fishing for bass and trout.
Play a Few Rounds at Wytheville Golf Club
Golf courses set in high-elevation areas are often beautiful but challenging, and Wytheville Golf Club is no exception.
This sporting facility takes advantage of the area’s rolling terrain to create a stunning landscape that every player will love.
You’ll find lush fairways, manicured greens, and the distant mountains in the background.
Then there’s the layout, with a tight design said to favor straight shooters.
So during your visit, make sure that your iron play is up to scratch if you want to ace a hole-in-one.
If you find yourself without the necessary equipment, the club has a pro shop offering clubs, balls, and other items for your game.
Immerse in History at African American Heritage Museum
There’s a tumultuous history in Wytheville regarding the African American community.
In fact, the last lynching recorded in Virginia happened here in 1926.
Today, all the good and grim events involving this sector are preserved at the African American Heritage Museum.
It’s set on a schoolhouse for African American children that ceased operations in 1952.
But the building is preserved to house various artifacts and documentation from all over Wythe County.
While touring the halls, check out the photos and exhibits showcasing the achievements of various Black individuals.
There is also a section specifically detailing the education system created for African-American children.
It’s free admission, so you can come in for a quick stopover during your Wytheville adventures.
Stay at Stony Fork Creek Campground
On a valley deep in the mountains near Wytheville lies the scenic Stony Fork Campground.
This popular spot is a favorite basecamp for those planning to explore the farther reaches of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Within the 90-acre area flanked by slopes, there’s plenty of space where you can park an RV or set up a traditional tent.
These sites are equipped with modern amenities like electric and water hookups for your convenience.
Cabins are also available if you want cozier accommodations during your stay.
For those staying here, you’re free to roam the rest of the campground and see the attractions, such as the murmuring Stony Fork Creek.
A large pond in the middle is stocked with freshwater game, so bring a hook and line if you want to test your angling skills.
Dare to Enter the Helheim Haunted Attraction
On the farthest reaches of the town lies a spine-chilling attraction that’s definitely not for the faint of heart.
The place puts the EVIL in Wytheville, with frightening sets, indoor and outdoor exhibits, original characters, and high-tech props that will have you running for your life.
Since it’s a seasonal attraction, it’s only open during the height of the Halloween season and a few other holidays.
But this hasn’t stopped friends and families from entering the attraction and having a blast.
In fact, this place has been ranked as the third-best haunted destination in the whole state.
So if you want to experience a hair-raising attraction while in mountainous south Virginia, this is it!
Bring the Family to Crystal Springs Recreation Area
Separated from the Wytheville town by Sand Mountain, Crystal Springs Recreation Area is a hidden wonder promising lots of fun and memories.
It’s nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountain, deep in a valley surrounded by tall land features.
In the middle of the attraction lies Venrick Run, a remnant of a reservoir that was supposed to be the main water supply of Wytheville.
Today, Crystal Springs Recreation Area serves as a premier outdoor destination for families, with trail systems and exhibits for kids.
The latter includes discovery stations where children can learn about local fish and bird species.
For those feeling more adventurous, head towards the slopes via the well-paved trails starting from the recreation area.
You’d be treated to magnificent views of forests and farmlands surrounding the mountains.
Smell the Lavenders at Beagle Ridge Herb Farm
The isolated Beagle Ridge Herb Farm is the southernmost attraction of Wytheville, located a mountain over from Crystal Springs Recreation Area.
Within an area of 160 acres, the expansive property houses an array of attractions for nature lovers and budding horticulturists.
There’s a beautiful butterfly garden, lavender farms, and herbal tea gardens growing various pantry staples.
In one section, there’s a Japanese meditation garden where you can unwind and find inner peace.
During your visit, you can join one of the engaging classes offered by the owners.
They’ll teach you about the basics of lavender farming so you can do it on your own!
But if you’re not planning on having a farm soon, you can simply explore the trails on the farm and smell the flowers.
Find Unique Items at Old Fort Antique Mall
If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind souvenir to remember your Wytheville trip, make a stopover at Old Fort Antique Mall.
This retail establishment is the town’s premier destination for all things old and exquisite, even though it’s located in the easternmost boundary.
Here, you’ll find more than 40 stalls offering an array of trinkets and treasures from the past.
These include wooden furniture, fine jewelry, home decor, intriguing paintings, old books, and other collectibles.
So take your time while perusing the tables and shelves, because who knows?
You might find something that will blow your mind away.
Play with Furry Creatures at Cobb Hill Alpacas, LLC
Even though it’s in an isolated valley on the northeast edges of Wytheville, Cobb Hill Alpacas, LLC still receives many visitors regularly.
Because who can resist the fluffy and docile alpacas living on the farm?
Come over and watch them graze on the pastoral slopes or interact with curious and excited visitors.
Their friendly demeanor will make you want to cuddle with them all day!
The farm’s owners care for these animals to harvest their fur and turn it into various products.
So if you want memorabilia of your visit, check out their store for socks, spun yarn, and apparel—all made from alpaca fur!
Wytheville lies in the mountainous sections of Virginia, making it a hotspot for outdoor adventures and nature trips.
But it also has a vibrant history that’s worth exploring and appreciating, especially for history buffs and young learners.
So if you have an upcoming holiday trip with the family, make this place your top choice!