Fun for the Whole Family in Charlottesville
While the city may be bustling with bars and restaurants, there’s no shortage of family-friendly activities in Charlottesville. There’s been an influx of young families to the area in recent years, probably because Charlottesville is consistently ranked one of the happiest places to live. (Don’t believe us? Check out the complete list of awards Charlottesville has won here.)
Educational Activities in Charlottesville
Charlottesville and the surrounding area are rich with history, so take advantage of the historical sites to bring school to life for your kids. Whether you’ve lived in the area for decades or are passing through on a road trip, there are some educational spots that you shouldn’t miss. These family-friendly activities in Charlottesville will make your kids more excited for history and science class!
Visit Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Monticello is the only home in the U.S. to be designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations. Take a tour of Jefferson’s house and learn about history in a more lively, hands-on way than you’re used to. And take note, parents: this field trip will make the Declaration of Independence come to life for your kids in a way history class never did.
Another of our favorites spots is the Virginia Discovery Museum, located on the Downtown Mall. This interactive museum brings math, science, and the arts to life through hands-on exhibits. The museum is perfect for newborns through age 8. And don’t miss the awesome annual special events: the museum hosts a science fair in February and a children’s track race in May. The Discovery Museum will also be hosting an educational summer camp. The museum is one of the best spots to find family-friendly activities in Charlottesville year-round.
Outdoor Activities in Charlottesville
Take advantage of Charlottesville’s beautiful surroundings – and inspire and excite your kids without screens! In addition to the many local parks for hiking, fishing, and boating (read more about where to enjoy those in Charlottesville here), Charlottesville also has outdoor activities created with kids in mind.
Don’t miss a visit to Carter Mountain Orchard! You’ll love the incredible view of the surrounding mountains, and your kids will love picking their own apples. The orchard’s website lists when you can pick each variety of apple. Plan to spend the whole day there. After picking your own apples, wander through the country store eating fresh apple cider donuts. And for the adults, Bold Rock Cider has an outpost on the mountain, so you can enjoy a hard cider at a picnic table overlooking the orchard.
Kids love walking along the Downtown Mall and watching the people. Bring the kids on a Saturday from April to December and you can visit the nearby farmer’s market. City Market is the perfect place to grab fresh produce and a snack before walking the mall.
If you’re looking for somewhere peaceful to while away a beautiful afternoon, head over the UVA’s Lawn. Thomas Jefferson designed The Lawn and its 10 gardens, all of which are worth exploring. Pick up food for a picnic lunch from The Corner (check out our recommendations for where to eat here) and soak up the sun. Charlottesville families love trick-or-treating on The Lawn so don’t miss Halloween here!