Abingdon is a charming historic town in southwest Virginia. Having been voted one of the coolest small towns in America, so it’s no wonder there are so many things to do in Abingdon, Virginia.
Outdoor adventures, relaxing spas, delicious food, and more await you in Abingdon. I just got back from my trip and I had the best time. I only spent a couple of days exploring Abingdon but it was so fun. I can’t wait to get back and explore it in depth. Here are the tops things to do in Abingdon.
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- 1 Best Things to Do in Abingdon, Virginia
Best Things to Do in Abingdon, Virginia
Where to Stay in Abingdon
Before we get into what to do while in Abingdon, you need to know where to stay for your trip.
Being that you are staying in such a historic area, The Martha Washington Inn is the perfect place to stay. The inn was first built in 1832 as a private residence. It has since changed owners and opened as a hotel in 1935.
63 unique rooms await you at the Martha as well as a therapeutic salt water heated pool and multi-level jacuzzi spa. They also offer pickleball and tennis courts, a gym, a putt-putt golf course, town bikes, and access to a private library of American Literature.
You can also grab a “Goodnight” glass of port wine from the front desk from 8 pm-11 pm. With the southern hospitality and charm, this really is the perfect place to stay.
If you can’t book the Martha Washington Inn, this is the next best place. While it is about a 5 min drive from downtown, Country Inn and Suites is highly affordable and super clean. I was extremely impressed.
The complimentary breakfast buffet was stocked well and the staff was so sweet.
Things to Do in Abingdon for the Adventure Seeker
Virginia Creeper Trail
One of the most popular things to do is bike the Virginia Creeper Trail. This is a 34-mile bike trail spanning from Abingdon to Damascus and to the top of Whitetop station.
There are a ton of ways to explore this trail. My suggestion is to rent your bike from the Virginia Creeper Trail Bike Shop in Abingdon and take their shuttle to the Whitetop station. This way you can ride downhill for an easier ride. From there, you have the option to ride all the way back to Abingdon or ride to the halfway point in Damascus and take the shuttle back to Abingdon.
This trail is beautiful and makes for a great day of adventure. Unfortunately, my adventure was cut short because I wiped out on one of the bridges. You can read all about that and the trail here.
If you decide to do the trail be sure to pack water, snacks, and dress appropriately.
Note: The Virginia Creeper Trail Bike shop will also let you rent a helmet.
The Great Channels
This was one of the best hikes I have done. It’s beautiful. About 30 min away from Abingdon in Saltville, VA. The Channels are named after the maze-like sandstone boulders that are at the summit of the hike.
Be sure to go early if you want to experience this hike. (I went on a Tuesday around 8 am and I was the first car in the lot, but cars started arriving shortly after me.) The parking lot only holds 10 cars and they will tow you if you park outside of the designated spots. There are no bathrooms, trash cans, or access to drinking water, so come prepared and remember to “leave no trace”.
Read our hiking guide here.
South Holston Lake
South Holston Lake is a 7,850-acre lake shared by Virginia and Tennessee. The Cherokee National Forest borders part of the lake making it a picturesque background for those who want to explore the lake. Some of the activities include paddleboarding, kayaking, swimming, boating, fishing, and more.
You can check out more about South Holston Lake here.
Grayson Highlands State Park
Located near Mount Rodgers and Whitetop Mountain, Grayson Highlands State Park offers gorgeous views, camping, hiking, and even wild ponies.
Be sure to stay at least 50 ft from the wild ponies at all times and do not try to feed or pet them.
Mount Rodgers is the highest peak in Virginia. The most scenic route to the Mount Rogers summit is accessed through Grayson Highlands.
The park is also popular with climbers. There are over 700 problems (Climbing routes) throughout the park. Check out their website for more information.
Things to Do in Abingdon for the Arts Lover
If you are in Abingdon, you need to see a show at Barter Theatre. The history of the theatre is quite interesting. It opened as a theatre in 1933 and was previously a fire hall as well as offices. When the theatre doors opened it proclaimed “With vegetables you cannot sell you can buy a good laugh.”
The price of admission was 35 cents or that equivalent in produce.
While visiting, I had the opportunity to see Footloose and it was phenomenal. I had chills and even cried at one point. The amount of talent on the stage was incredible. There are so many amazing shows coming up so be sure to check out their website and get your tickets if you will be in the area.
William King Museum of Art
The William King Museum was once a school, The Abingdon Male Academy, and then William King High School. Named after William King who is buried adjacent in Sinking Spring Cemetery.
The museum offers fine world art, cultural heritage exhibits, and contemporary regional art. The exhibits change frequently giving visitors fun new experiences each time.
The Arts Depot
The Arts Depot was first established in 1990 as a non-profit community art gallery. Their mission is to promote as well as support regional artists. There are 3 galleries and seven resident artists you can interact with in their working studios.
You can find jewelry, clay, textiles, watercolor paintings, and more inside The Arts Depot. Check out their events here.
The LOVE sign is located across from the Barter Theatre and is inspired by Daniel Boone. The sign is 7 feet tall and 15 feet wide. It features a howling wolf in the middle of the O. Right next to the sign is a fountain by artist Charles Vess, inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Things to Do in Abingdon for the Food and Drink Lover
The 8th oldest bar in the nation and Virginia’s oldest bar. The Tavern was built in 1779 as a tavern and overnight inn for stagecoach travelers.
Over the past two centuries, The Tavern has served as a tavern, bank, bakery, general store, cabinet shop, barber shop, private residence, post office, antique shop, and now a restaurant.
The Tavern is a local favorite as well. The food is delicious, although a little pricey, and I definitely recommend trying it out during your visit. It does get busy so if you can, you should make a reservation.
Who doesn’t love a farmer’s market? Well, Abingdon’s Farmers Market has been named The Best Small-Town Market in America.
You can check out their schedule here.
Enjoy a relaxing afternoon at Abingdon Vineyards. Conveniently located ½ mile off the Virginia Creeper Trail, the vineyard is accessible by bike while exploring the trail, boat, car, or horseback. (water access is from South Holston Lake)
Take a tour, taste some wine, or even enjoy a picnic on the riverfront vineyard.
Abingdon Olive Oil Company
The Olive Oil Company was founded by K.C. St.Louis. Visit the tasting gallery and enjoy a free tasting and tour.
There are over 86 varieties of infused olive oils from around the world.
Wolf Hills Coffee
Stop by Wolf Hills Coffee to start your morning off or for that afternoon pick me up. They are located in Downtown Abingdon in The Spring House. This is a shared space between Wolf Hills Coffee, Tumbling Creek Cider Company, and Appalachian Teas and Botanicals.
With over 25 flavor options there is something for everyone here. You can also purchase their beans online.
Tumbling Creek Cider Company
Created by four friends on a mission to create high-quality cider focused on the local region. Visit their tasting room and enjoy some of their many varieties of cider.
They also offer shipping to most states.
Wolf Hills Brewing Company
Wolf Hills Brewing, named after the appellation Daniel Boone gave the wilderness that is now Abingdon, was voted Best Local Craft Beer in southwest Virginia.
They have an extensive list of beers and rotating options for tap beers.
Wolf Hills brews in small batches and only distributes in the Virginia Highlands.
Things to do in Abingdon for the History Buff
Fairview Historic Homestead
Take a tour of Fairview Cabin and take a trip back in time to the late 1700s. This cabin is set up for the 1800s time period to show how life used to be. One of the barns on the property is over 100 years old.
Learn about agricultural practices, watch demonstrations, and discover how housekeeping, medicine, and cooking used to be. Check their website for events and schedule your tour.
Veterans Memorial Park
Veterans Memorial Park is a 13-acre park to recognize and pay tribute to all American Military Veterans, Servicemen, and women. A 1-mile long walking trail encircles the park so you can read the signs, sculptures, and monuments.
There is also a picnic area and restrooms as well as a playground for children.
White’s Mill is a 150-year-old flour and grist mill. Since the late 18th century, the mill provided meal and flour for the farmer and kitchen.
You can visit this still-working water-powered mill and grab a bag of stone-ground grits, crafts, and more.
Abingdon Muster Grounds
The Abingdon Muster Grounds is 9 acres and the center of Colonial Backcountry history. In 1780 when the men of Washington County, VA were called to arms, 400 men made their way to the muster grounds.
The Keller Interpretive Center shows what life was like for the Overmountain Men, backcountry women, African-Americans, and Native Americans.
Things to do in Abingdon for the Shopper
Holston Mountain Artisans
This is one of the oldest craft cooperatives in the country. Over 100 local artists display their work for sale. One of the perks of this non-profit, member-owned cooperative is that they help artists who need a sales outlet for their work.
They also offer classes and host other events. Check out their website here. There are so many unique pieces for sale.
The Antique Barn
Find one-of-a-kind antiques, vintage items, furniture, and more at Abingdon’s newest Antique mall. Walk around the 2-story red barn and enjoy all the unique items the Antique Barn has the offer.
Southwest Virginia Cultural Center and Marketplace
This is a retail space displaying the art and craft of over 180 artisans. Featuring pottery, quilting, modern painting, and glasswork. There are rotating exhibits and over 5,000 pieces of artwork for sale.
As you can see there are so many amazing things to do in Abingdon, Virginia. Have you been here before? What was your favorite thing to do?