The Ultimate Explorer’s Guide to Isle of Wight County’s Must-See Attractions

Published 6:29 pm Monday, October 23, 2023

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Welcome to Isle of Wight County, a hidden gem nestled in Southern Virginia. Get ready to embark on an exciting journey as we unveil the top sights that this enchanting county has to offer. From historic landmarks to natural wonders, Isle of Wight County is brimming with a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered.

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History and culture of Isle of Wight County

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Isle of Wight County has a rich history that dates back to the early 17th century. Named after the Isle of Wight in England, this county played a significant role in the colonization of America. One of the must-visit historic sites in the county is St. Luke’s Church, which is known as the oldest church in Virginia. Built in 1632, this architectural marvel stands as a testament to the county’s enduring past.

Aside from St. Luke’s Church, the county is also home to several other historical landmarks. The Smithfield Station Museum showcases the history of the county’s riverfront town, Smithfield. Step back in time as you explore artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of Isle of Wight County’s early settlers and their way of life.

Top natural attractions in Isle of Wight County

Nature enthusiasts will be delighted by the diverse range of natural attractions in Isle of Wight County. 

  • Chippokes Plantation State Park

One of the most popular destinations is Chippokes Plantation State Park. Spread across 1,962 acres, this park offers a variety of recreational opportunities for visitors. Take a leisurely stroll along its scenic trails, bike through lush forests, or witness breathtaking views of the James River. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some wildlife along the way.

  • Ragged Island Wildlife Management Area

For those seeking a more adventurous experience, head to Ragged Island Wildlife Management Area. This 1,500-acre preserve is a haven for birdwatchers and nature photographers. Explore the marshes, tidal creeks, and woodlands as you discover the diverse flora and fauna that call this area home.

Visiting historic sites in Isle of Wight County

Isle of Wight County is a treasure trove of historic sites waiting to be explored. In addition to St. Luke’s Church, there are several other notable landmarks that offer a glimpse into the county’s past.

  • Boykin’s Tavern Museum

One such site is Boykin’s Tavern Museum, a restored 18th-century tavern that showcases the county’s colonial heritage. Step inside and be transported back in time as you admire the period furnishings and learn about the tavern’s role in the community.

  • Fort Huger

Another must-visit historic site is Fort Huger, a Confederate fort that played a crucial role during the American Civil War. Explore the fortifications and learn about the county’s involvement in this tumultuous period of American history.

Exploring the charming towns of Isle of Wight County

No visit to Isle of Wight County would be complete without exploring its charming towns. Smithfield, in particular, is a must-visit destination for its quaint shops, award-winning restaurants, and the famous Smithfield Ham.

Wander through the town’s historic district, lined with beautifully preserved buildings that date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Visit the Smithfield and Isle of Wight Visitor Center to learn about the town’s history and pick up a map for a self-guided walking tour.

While in Smithfield, be sure to indulge in the town’s culinary delights. Sample the famous Smithfield Ham, a delicacy that has been produced in the area for over 250 years. Visit the Smithfield Ham Shoppe to taste and purchase this mouthwatering treat.

Outdoor activities and recreational opportunities in Isle of Wight County

Isle of Wight County offers a wide range of outdoor activities and recreational opportunities for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, there’s something for everyone.

If you’re a golf enthusiast, be sure to visit Cypress Creek Golfers’ Club. This 18-hole championship course offers a challenging yet enjoyable experience amidst picturesque surroundings. Enjoy a round of golf while soaking in the natural beauty of the county.

For those who prefer water activities, head to Lakeview Park. This serene park features a 43-acre lake where you can go fishing, boating, or simply relax by the water’s edge. Pack a picnic and spend a leisurely afternoon surrounded by nature.

Planning your visit to Isle of Wight County

Before you embark on your journey to Isle of Wight County, it’s important to plan ahead to make the most of your visit. Start by checking the county’s official tourism website for up-to-date information on attractions, events, and accommodations.

Consider visiting during the spring or fall when the weather is mild, and the county is less crowded. Be sure to pack comfortable walking shoes, as many of the attractions and historic sites require some walking.

Lastly, don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the beauty of Isle of Wight County. From historic landmarks to breathtaking natural landscapes, there will be plenty of photo opportunities to cherish.

Conclusion and final thoughts

Isle of Wight County, Southern Virginia, is a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. With its rich history, natural beauty, and charming towns, this county offers a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors.

Whether you’re exploring historic landmarks, hiking through scenic trails, or indulging in delicious cuisine, Isle of Wight County has something to offer everyone. So, pack your bags and get ready to unlock the hidden treasures of this enchanting county. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed!

Discover the hidden gems of Isle of Wight County, Southern Virginia, and create memories that will last a lifetime.