Discover the hidden gems and exciting activities in Damascus, Virginia—a small mountain town that will feel like your own little secret. Nestled in the southwestern corner of Virginia and crisscrossed by seven trails, Damascus is the ideal off-the-beaten-path destination for those seeking outdoor adventures and a slower pace of life.

Dubbed the “Friendliest Town on the Appalachian Trail,” Damascus offers a charming community with plenty to explore.

Make your vacation unforgettable with these family-friendly activities in Damascus and the surrounding areas. Whether you’re planning a day trip, a weekend getaway, or a longer stay, there’s an adventure waiting for every age and interest!

However, without proper planning, you might miss out on what makes Damascus truly special. That’s why we’ve put together this list of 18 fun things to do in Damascus, Virginia, to ensure you experience the best this town has to offer!

Things to do in Damascus, VA

1. Explore the Virginia Creeper Trail

One of the most popular activities in Damascus is biking or hiking the Virginia Creeper Trail. This 34-mile trail runs from Abingdon, VA, through Damascus, and up to Whitetop Station.

It’s a family-friendly trail that offers stunning views of the surrounding forests and rivers. You can rent bikes from local shops and take a shuttle to Whitetop Station, then enjoy a mostly downhill ride back to Damascus.

The trail passes through beautiful landscapes, including scenic bridges and streams, making it a perfect outdoor adventure for all ages.

2. Hike the Appalachian Trail

Damascus is known as Trail Town, USA, due to the convergence of several major trails, including the Appalachian Trail. This iconic trail stretches over 2,190 miles from Georgia to Maine, and a significant portion runs right through Damascus.

Even if you can’t hike the entire trail, taking a day hike along the Appalachian Trail offers a chance to experience its beauty and serenity. The trail is well-maintained and accessible, making it suitable for both novice and experienced hikers.

3. Visit the Damascus Brewery

For a relaxing and fun experience, stop by the Damascus Brewery. This local favorite offers a variety of craft beers, including the popular Trail Town Nut Brown and Laurel Creek Lager.

The brewery hosts events like Taco Tuesdays and Open Mic Nights, providing a lively atmosphere for visitors. Whether you’re a beer enthusiast or just looking for a place to unwind, the Damascus Brewery is a must-visit spot in town.

4. Kayak at Whitetop Laurel Creek

Whitetop Laurel Creek is a beautiful spot for kayaking, located just a short drive from Damascus. The creek flows through the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, offering a serene and picturesque setting for kayaking.

Paddling down the creek, you’ll enjoy the peaceful sounds of nature and the opportunity to see wildlife up close. It’s a great way to spend a day in the great outdoors and appreciate the natural beauty of the area.

5. Shop for Outdoor Gear at Sun Dog Outfitters

If you’re planning to explore the trails and natural attractions in Damascus, be sure to visit Sun Dog Outfitters. This well-stocked outdoor gear store has everything you need for your adventures, from hiking boots and backpacks to kayaks and camping equipment.

The knowledgeable staff can help you find the right gear and provide tips on the best local trails and activities. It’s a one-stop shop for all your outdoor needs.

6. Stay at the Lazy Fox Inn

For a comfortable and charming place to stay, consider booking a room at the Lazy Fox Inn. This historic bed and breakfast is located on Main Street and offers cozy accommodations with a touch of Southern hospitality.

The inn has been beautifully restored and features a large covered porch, perfect for relaxing after a day of exploring. Staying at the Lazy Fox Inn provides a homey and welcoming atmosphere, making your visit to Damascus even more special.

7. Attend the Annual Trail Days Festival

Each May, Damascus hosts the annual Trail Days Festival, celebrating the Appalachian Trail and the hiking community. This lively event includes a hiker parade, live music, workshops, and gear vendors.

It’s a great opportunity to meet fellow hikers, learn new skills, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere. Whether you’re an avid hiker or just a supporter of the trail community, Trail Days is a fun and memorable event to attend.

8. Explore the Great Channels of Virginia

Just under an hour from Damascus, the Great Channels of Virginia offers a unique and awe-inspiring adventure. This geological formation features a labyrinth of sandstone corridors, reminiscent of the slot canyons in the American West.

Hiking through the Great Channels provides an exciting and otherworldly experience, with stunning views and a sense of exploration. The hike can be moderately challenging, so be prepared with good hiking shoes and plenty of water.

9. Discover the Backbone Rock Recreation Area

Backbone Rock Recreation Area is home to the “Shortest Tunnel in the World,” a fascinating geological feature created for a railroad track. This area offers various outdoor activities, including hiking, picnicking, and wildlife observation.

The Backbone Rock Trail provides a short but rewarding hike with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. It’s a perfect spot for a day trip filled with natural beauty and history.

10. Enjoy a Meal at the Damascus Old Mill Restaurant

After a day of outdoor adventures, dine at the Damascus Old Mill Restaurant. Located in a historic mill building, this restaurant offers a diverse menu with options like pasta, steak, seafood, and vegetarian dishes.

The charming ambiance and scenic views from the patio make it a great place to relax and enjoy a delicious meal. It’s a perfect way to end your day in Damascus, savoring good food in a beautiful setting.

11. Learn at the Virginia Creeper Fly-Fishing School

If you’ve ever wanted to try fly fishing, the Virginia Creeper Fly-Fishing School near Damascus is the place to go. They offer lessons on casting techniques and how to catch fish in a peaceful, flowing stream.

The instructors are knowledgeable and provide a supportive learning environment. Fly fishing in the pristine waters around Damascus is a tranquil and rewarding experience, suitable for beginners and seasoned anglers alike.

Damascus, VA, offers a blend of outdoor activities, charming accommodations, and local hospitality that makes it a unique and inviting destination. Whether you’re hiking, biking, kayaking, or simply relaxing, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Damascus, VA, to create lasting memories.

Also, Read 22 FUN THINGS TO DO IN TOWNSEND, TN (TENNESSEE)

12. Fish in Laurel Creek

Laurel Creek is a hidden gem for anglers visiting Damascus, VA. This picturesque mountain stream is teeming with brook and rainbow trout, making it a popular spot for fishing enthusiasts. The creek’s serene environment, with lush forests and tranquil meadows, provides a peaceful and rewarding fishing experience. Whether you’re an experienced angler or new to the sport, Laurel Creek offers a beautiful setting to cast your line and enjoy the outdoors.

Fishing in Laurel Creek is not just about the catch; it’s about the entire experience. The gentle sound of the water, the rustling leaves, and the occasional glimpse of wildlife create a relaxing atmosphere.

It’s an ideal spot to unwind, connect with nature, and maybe even catch dinner. Bring your fishing gear, pack a picnic, and spend a day immersed in the natural beauty of Damascus, VA.

13. Discover the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area

The Mount Rogers National Recreation Area is a vast expanse of wilderness that beckons outdoor enthusiasts. Covering over 200,000 acres, this area is home to the highest peak in Virginia, Mount Rogers, as well as Whitetop Mountain and Pine Mountain. The recreation area offers over 500 miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking.

The trails wind through high-elevation balds, spruce-fir forests, and pristine trout streams, providing diverse and stunning landscapes to explore.

A visit to the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area can be tailored to any adventure level. Whether you’re embarking on a challenging hike to the summit of Mount Rogers or enjoying a leisurely stroll along one of the many scenic trails, there’s something for everyone. The area is also a haven for wildlife, with opportunities to spot deer, black bears, and various bird species.

For those seeking a true outdoor escape, camping options are available, allowing you to immerse yourself fully in the natural beauty of this remarkable region.

14. Experience Grayson Highlands State Park

Just a short drive from Damascus, Grayson Highlands State Park is a must-visit for nature lovers and adventure seekers. This park is famous for its wild ponies that roam freely across its highland meadows.

Visitors can hike the numerous trails, including sections of the Appalachian Trail, and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The park also offers excellent opportunities for rock climbing and bouldering, with its unique rock formations providing a fun and challenging playground for climbers.

The wild ponies are a highlight of Grayson Highlands, often grazing near the trails and providing an unforgettable wildlife experience. The park’s varied landscape, from open meadows to dense forests, offers a diverse range of habitats and scenic vistas.

Whether you’re hiking, climbing, or simply enjoying a picnic with a view, Grayson Highlands State Park is a destination that showcases the natural beauty of the region and offers endless opportunities for exploration and adventure.

15. Stroll Through Downtown Damascus

Downtown Damascus exudes small-town charm and hospitality. As you stroll through the streets, you’ll find an array of local shops, cafes, and restaurants. The town’s welcoming atmosphere makes it easy to strike up conversations with locals and learn about the area’s history and culture. Unique shops offer everything from handmade crafts to outdoor gear, making it a great place to find souvenirs or essentials for your adventures.

Dining in downtown Damascus is a treat, with several eateries serving delicious Southern cuisine. Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty breakfast, a quick lunch, or a relaxing dinner, you’ll find options to satisfy your cravings. The town’s friendly vibe and charming storefronts make it a delightful place to spend an afternoon exploring, shopping, and dining.

16. Attend an Event at the Damascus Old Mill Conference Center

The Damascus Old Mill Conference Center is a historic venue that hosts various events throughout the year. From weddings and conferences to community gatherings and festivals, the center provides a beautiful and versatile space for all kinds of occasions.

The building itself is a piece of history, having been restored to preserve its original charm while offering modern amenities.

Attending an event at the Damascus Old Mill Conference Center allows you to experience the town’s rich history and vibrant community spirit. The picturesque setting by Laurel Creek adds to the appeal, making any event here memorable.

Whether you’re participating in a local festival or attending a private function, the conference center is a wonderful place to connect with the community and enjoy the scenic surroundings.

17. Learn Local History at the Damascus Heritage Museum

For a deeper understanding of Damascus, visit the Damascus Heritage Museum. This small but informative museum showcases the town’s history, from its early settlement to its development as a trail town.

Exhibits include historical photographs, artifacts, and stories from local residents. The museum provides a fascinating glimpse into the past and highlights the unique cultural heritage of Damascus.

The Damascus Heritage Museum is a great stop for history buffs and anyone interested in learning more about the area’s roots. The exhibits are thoughtfully curated, offering insights into the town’s evolution and the people who have called it home. It’s a place where you can appreciate the rich tapestry of stories that make up the history of Damascus, VA.

18. Unwind at Adventure Damascus Bicycles

Adventure Damascus Bicycles is one of the to add to the list of things to do in Damascus, VA. Adventure Damascus Bicycles is not just a bike shop; it’s a hub for all things biking in Damascus. They offer bike rentals, sales, and repairs, making it easy to hit the trails without any hassle.

The friendly and knowledgeable staff can help you choose the right bike and gear for your adventure, whether you’re tackling the Virginia Creeper Trail or exploring other local paths.

Beyond providing biking equipment, Adventure Damascus Bicycles also organizes guided bike tours and events. These tours offer a great way to experience the best of the area’s trails with the added benefit of local expertise.

Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or new to the sport, Adventure Damascus Bicycles ensures you have everything you need for a fantastic biking experience in Damascus, VA.

Conclusion

Damascus, VA, is a treasure trove of outdoor adventures and small-town charm. From exploring the scenic trails and creeks to enjoying local brews and festivals, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant community. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a history enthusiast, or simply looking for a peaceful getaway, the diverse attractions and friendly atmosphere of Damascus make it an ideal destination for all kinds of travelers.

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