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Best Things to do in Wytheville VA: A Travel Guide!

Updated: Mar 16


Wytheville Virginia is a cute little city in Southwest Virginia. Most people right drive by this city when they are on interstate 77 or 81 and never give it a second thought. Today, I figured I would show you a little bit about the area to prove why it should be a stop for you on your next travel adventure. Let me be your travel guide as I show you the best things to do in Wytheville VA.


Wytheville is part of Blue Ridge Mountains with a section of the Appalachian Trail located not too far away, so outdoor activities are the main attraction in these parts.


I have several videos of the area if you would like to watch click the links below.


I did a YouTube video of driving through Big Walker Mountain Tunnel, just north of Wytheville that will give you some interesting facts about the area. If you would like to watch, click here.


This area is also not far from Fancy Gap VA, which is just across the state line from North Carolina (about 30 minutes away) I have a blog and YouTube Video on it also.


Quick History Lesson

Swing Bridge at Big Walker Mountain Lookout
Swing Bridge at Big Walker Mountain Lookout

Wytheville was named after George Wythe, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. At one point it changed names to Evansham after Jesse Evans a prominent resident in the late 1700s, but after a fire that destroyed most of the city in 1839 it was changed to Wytheville.


In the early 1900’s the state of Viriginia passed an Anti-Lynching Law due to the lynching of a man in Wytheville VA. You can learn more about this at the African American History Museum located in Wytheville.


Polio was rough on this community in 1950. It became an epidemic here during the summer, with 184 people contracting the disease, and 17 fatalities. People affected had to be driven by ambulance to a hospital 80 miles away in Roanoke VA. Unfortunately, during this time people were not treated equally and your race helped to decide if you received treatment or transfer to Roanoke VA. The town council erected billboards warning visitors to the area of the epidemic, but by the end of summer the billboards were taken down or stolen.


The population of this city isn't large, at just over 8000 people, with the city filled with southern charm.


Pictures below are the Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theater and Wytheville Water Tank


Info and Events

Geese in the road near Wytheville Community College
Geese in the road near Wytheville Community College

Big Walker Mountain Tunnel opened in 1972, which helped make for a quick trip up the interstate instead of driving over the mountain. It took 5 years to construct. If you drive through the tunnel, you are less than 30 minutes away from the West Virginia State Line and the city of Bluefield.


If you are driving west on Interstate 81 within the hour you will be in Abingdon VA which is a great city near Bristol VA and the state line of Tennessee. The interstate around Wytheville tends to be busier when the NASCAR races are in Bristol twice a year, so be aware of the extra traffic at times.


Wytheville is also a city near some serious motorcycle rides. If you don't have a motorcycle that's fine too. Driving a car around these curvy mountain roads, is absolutely beautiful. This is The Claw of the Dragon. The Back of the Dragons is located only 30 minutes away, and The Head of the Dragon is located about an hour away in West Virginia. For more information check out this linkYou may have heard about the Tail of the Dragon bike ride, rated as one of the most dangerous motorcycle rides in the United States in 2023. It is a beautiful ride from NC to TN. It is not super close to the Wytheville but should be mentioned since it is about 1.5 hours away, and many motorcyclists love combining all parts of the Dragon rides together.


Every June there is a neat summer festival that spans a full week, I would definitely plan a trip around then. For more info check out the Chautauqua. They have live music, and great food, so it is a must-see festival.


Speedwell Cave
Speedwell Cave

A hot air balloon festival in August is also a great time for a visit, check out the Flying Circus Hot air balloon festival. This is the reason for the water tank painted like a balloon. It is truly neat to see the city of Wytheville sky full of balloons on a clear day. This is one of the top things to see in Wytheville during the festival, as it is absolutely beautiful.



Just taking a walk down Main Street is a treat, the historic district is a delight. Wytheville has a cute little downtown. Personally, I just love walking downtown, this charming town is so inviting, taking an afternoon stroll on a warm summer's day is one the best things to do in Wytheville.



Attractions

  • Bolling Wilson Birthplace and Museum- Is the home of Edith Bolling Wilson who was the 2nd wife to President Wilson. It is neat to see the apartment upstairs where she lived as a child and the museum has a lot of information.

  • Thomas J Boyd Museum- Feature pictures from a rough time for Wytheville in 1950 during the polio epidemic.

  • Crystal Springs Recreational Area- This is an 1800 acre watershed for the town of Wytheville, check it out. Hiking and camping opportunities. Check out the Salamander Meander trail for an easy walk.

  • Wythe County Courthouse- A beautiful buff colored brick building, built in 1902 by Frank Pierce Millburn an architect from Washington DC. Go check it out.

  • West Wind Farm & Vineyard and Winery- A wonderful place to spend the day. Enjoy the wine or wine slushies, gourmet foods, while shopping for gift baskets and local arts crafts while visiting.

  • Great Lakes to Florida Highway Museum- Old Route 21 was the original route from the Midwest to Florida and the museum shows a Texaco gas station sign from 1926, plus many other old automotive artifacts. Side note...... Charlotte NC peeps this is the same Route 21 that runs right through our city.


  • African American History Museum- provides a history of the black community located here in Wytheville.

  • Big Walker Lookout- Take a drive over the mountain instead of through the tunnel and climb the lookout tower for an amazing view. The mountain is over 3400 feet tall, and the 100-foot observation tower adds to its height. It is a little bit scary, but only $8.00 bucks and that includes a swing bridge. From the top view the Jefferson National Forest, farmlands and rolling hills. There is also a country store/ gift shop on top of the mountain too. If you would like to hike there are some hiking trails nearby. For example, Monster Rock Trail is an out-and-back trail located on the mountain that is considered easy. Plus, a swinging bridge is nearby.

  • Haller Gibboney Rock House- Built in 1822, the house was used as a hospital during the civil war during the Battle of Wytheville. It is now a museum supported by the Wythe County Historical Society.

  • The Octagon Mansion History Museum- Built in 1870 and continued to be a private residence until the 1990's. This is a museum but has been a site for paranormal activity years. Take a tour or do a self-guided tour, you might be a little spooked after your visit.

  • Wythe Raceway- Every Saturday night in Rural Retreat from April till October get a thrill by watching these cars go round and around on this dirt oval track. They have been racing here for more than 50 years on this half mile track.

  • The Prayer Chapel-Wytheville's smallest church, pews hold 8 people, and it is located right off exit 73. It is so tiny and cute.

  • Wohlfahrt Haus- Dinner Theater. Also, the Matterhorn Lounge/Restaurant and Bier Garten is located here. Check their schedule and plan a visit when you can get dinner and a show.

  • Beagle Ridge Herb Farm-Many varieties of plants are blooming here, they even have a lavender farm, and butterfly farm. This is the perfect place to explore a walk-through butterfly house.

  • Fort Chiswell Animal Park- drive thru animal safari costs $20 and you can feed the animals. Located in nearby Fort Chiswell. Take this little drive to see all the exotic animals, I love the zebras.

  • Hungry Mothers State Park- Located in Marion and only about 30 minutes away from Wytheville. Great camping area, with a beachside lake for summer enjoyment. Tons of hiking and beautiful mountain views.

  • New River Trail State Park- Located 20 minutes south of Wytheville in Austinville VA, on the banks of the new River that flows from NC to WV. There is a shot tower there that has been around for over 200 years and as history says was known to be the place to make ammunition back in the day. It is now called the Jackson Ferry Shot Tower. The tower is listed on the National Record of Historic Places. Climb the tower for free, but there is a parking charge. The State Park itself is going through some major renovations currently so be sure to check their website if you are planning a visit. Did you know that the city of Austinville is named for the famous Steven F. Austin. He was born here before moving to Texas and becoming the “Father of Texas”.

  • The Visitors Bureau is a great place to get ideas of what to see when in the area and learn about the history of Wytheville Virginia.



Check out the roadside attractions also.

  • The giant Hot Air Balloon water Tower that can be seen from Interstate 81. Painted this way because of the Hot Air Balloon Festival in August.

  • LOVEworks Sign - has a wonderful meaning and contributes to the art of Wytheville VA. Virginia is for lovers is one of the mottos of the state, and with over 300 LOVEworks signs scattered all around the state, you are bound to find one when visiting Virginia. Actually, which I need to investigate more, there one Love sign also on the West Virginia side in Bluefield.

  • Giant Pencil attached to the side of the Wytheville Office Supply. This is located just across the street from Skeeters Hot Dogs. You cannot miss it.

  • Speedwell Cave- I have traversed this cave, and you will need guides hired separately to do it. This is real caving, not a walk-through path of a cave. I remember having to repel down deeper inside and having to pull myself back up. If planning a visit, please do a group tour.


Places to stay.

Holliday Inn and Suites right off the interstate
Holliday Inn and Suites right off the interstate
  • The Bolling Wilson Hotel in the historic downtown area of Wytheville VA near the Bolling Wilson birthplace and Museum and has a restaurant onsite.

  • Trinkle Mansion Bed and Breakfast in historic downtown Wytheville VA, perfect for a romantic getaway or for anyone who prefers this style of place to lay your head at night.

  • If you are looking for just common hotels like Holiday Inn, Country Inn and Suites, Fairfield Inn and such, Wytheville VA has plenty due to its proximity to 2 different interstates.

  • Wytheville KOA Campground is great if you are a camper type of person. They have a huge pool with waterslides and is the best campsite close to Wytheville VA.



Food

  • Skeeters- best hot dogs ever and are cheap. Also known as the First Lady of Hot Dogs because of Edith Bolling Wilson. This place has been open since 1925 and located near Edith's birthplace. A local favorite for quick eats.

  • Graze on Main- located at the Bolling Wilson Hotel- shrimp and grits are a must. They are known for the burgers but their twists on the southern comfort food keep me coming back for more.

  • Log House 1776- Log House stuffed Pork Tenderloin is my favorite. When visiting check out the area grounds. The actual 2 story log house that still contains oil filled lamps. This place tends to be a bit up scale, so dress up if you like, but I wore blue jeans and a sweater on my visit and was totally fine.

  • Moon Dog Brick Oven- Located in downtown Wytheville but also having a total of 5 locations in Virginia. This place is easy to spot and has some of the best pizza, calzones and wings you will ever have. Locals also love this place.

  • Ghetti’s Cafe is a hot spot for breakfast or lunch, with a variety of bagel sandwiches you are sure to love. Try the pork carnitas bagel for lunch and be sure to get a cup of their coffee for breakfast.

  • If you happen to catch up with this food truck in the Wytheville area, check it out. Taco bout amazing tacos and other items. There are many food trucks that roam the streets of Wytheville VA like, The Knot, & Heart and Seoul.

I hope you have enjoyed my blog about this charming small town, that’s actually a little city with a small-town feel. I have been here millions of times, and most likely will pay Wytheville a visit a million times more. Wytheville Virginia is a wonderful little gem of Southwest Virginia, and hopefully this travel guide will make you stop in and check out this little city.


Hilton Honors


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