5 Reasons to Make Chester, VA, Your Next Getaway

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A couple walking with their arms around each other down a dirt road in the countryside.

Chester, VA, may not be on your list of alluring getaways, but maybe it should be.

Whether you love history or nature, paying a visit to Chester could provide the perfect respite from everyday life.

And we’ve got five reasons why this small community should top your getaway list.

About Chester, VA

Chester, VA, may be considered a bedroom community, but it’s far from a sleeping village. While it does offer a break from the hustle and bustle of Richmond, it has a vibrancy and charm all its own. 

The area originated in the late 1800s due to many railroad intersections and became known as a transportation hub. Today it is home to around 20,000 residents where most commute to nearby Richmond for work.

The town of Chester, VA, marked on an antique map.

How Far Is Chester, VA, from Richmond?

Chester, VA, is a quick getaway, only 15 miles south of Richmond. This short 30-minute drive will take you from the city to the quaint Virginia town, where you’ll find a welcoming community full of quiet charm.

Traveler’s Tip: Just north of Chester and Richmond, the welcoming town of Ashland, VA, is just waiting for you to explore its historic streets and local brews.

5 Reasons to Make Chester, VA, Your Next Getaway

From the many historical sites to the many wildlife areas, Chester has a lot of places to explore. Here, you can visit a living museum highlighting the 1600s or take a boat ride to visit an island wildlife refuge.

You can watch the time go by with local wine in hand. These experiences and more will help make Chester, VA, the perfect getaway.

#1. Experiencing History at Henricus Historical Park

Henricus Historical Park is a colonial living history museum that will take you back in time with reenactments and re-created settings of the 1600s.

Virginia played a major role when the London Company sent Sir Thomas Dale out to explore in the early 1600s. Coming across the current area of Chester, VA, he helped establish the colony’s second settlement, Henricus.

When visiting, you can experience the re-created Powhatan Town of Arrohateck. Here you can be a part of history while pounding corn to make cornmeal or scraping wood to create a canoe. 

Along with that and many other hands-on experiences, this living museum also offers insight into the first hospitals, churches, blacksmith shops, schools, and so much more. With much to experience here, plan your time wisely because this isn’t just any museum. It will take you back into time and help you experience life the way it was then.

Adult ticket prices cost $10, and you can get discounts for children and the military.

A person uses their mobile device to take a photo of a historic reenactment.

#2. Kayaking at Dutch Gap Conservation Area 

Visit a conservation area for your next stop when visiting Chester, VA. The Dutch Gap Conservation Area surrounds Henricus Historical Park, giving you a natural perspective on this historical region.

This is a must-experience with 800 acres of woodlands and waterways when visiting Chester. One of the best ways to experience these wildlands is by kayaking through it.

The Lagoon Water Trail is a 2.5-mile tidal water route offering some of the best vantage points to view the many birds that call this place home. 

You’ll also come across one of the most interesting graveyards you’ll ever see — one full of old barges left behind from their glory days of the past. 

Two kayakers smile as they paddle down a river with forests and hills in the background.

#3. Hiking at Point of Rocks Park

Point of Rocks Park is full of nature and history, providing education and outdoor activity. It consists of just under 200 acres, including hiking trails, picnic areas, playgrounds, volleyball courts, interpretive historical signs, and more. 

But what draws visitors to this beautiful space is the floating boardwalk. The boardwalk makes up a part of the 3.5 miles of hiking trails here.

It traverses through a freshwater tidal marsh, giving you plenty of opportunities to catch the wildlife living in this unique environment. 

Along with the boardwalk, you can explore many more trails throughout the park along a section of the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail.

A young girl walking through the forest and referencing a trail map in Virginia (VA).

#4. Bird Watching at Presquile National Wildlife Refuge

Nature is abundant in Chester, VA, and the Presquile National Wildlife Refuge site is another terrific place to experience it. But this place is not easy to access. 

Located on an island and only accessible via pre-approved permits and water transportation of your own, you may have to work to get here. But when you do, it will be worth it.

Officially established in 1953, the Presquile National Wildlife Refuge is a sanctuary for migratory birds and a protected breeding habitat for many more. The many environments here are wonderful places to catch glimpses of eagles, ospreys, and blue herons. 

You can wander the boardwalks and trails within the refuge. Don’t forget your camera. You’ll have endless and breathtaking photographic opportunities.

The Northern Cardinal is the official state bird of Virginia.

#5. Wine Tasting at Ashton Creek Vineyard

When all is said and done with history and nature, the perfect place to relax and unwind in Chester, VA, is at Ashton Creek Vineyard. This family-owned and operated vineyard offers wine by the glass, bottle, or by tasting flight. 

And while they do sell wine to go by the bottle, they have a unique growler program, encouraging wine from the tap, even from home.

But the best part, besides the wine, of course, is the ambiance. Seated outside, you’ll experience expansive views overlooking the gorgeous Virginian grapes. Inside you’ll sit under the wood-beamed ceiling, cozied up to the large stone fireplace.

Whether you pay a visit here for the wine and small bites or for an exquisite wedding, Ashton Creek Vineyard should definitely be a stop on your tour of Chester, VA.

Get a preview of the fantastic environment at Ashton Creek Vineyard in Chester, VA.

Is Chester, VA, Worth Visiting?

Chester, VA, with its history, its natural beauty, and its vibrant culture, is a place worth visiting. You can spend several days here exploring, learning, or simply relaxing.

You don’t need to be a bird lover, a wine lover, or a kayaker to appreciate Chester. This may help, but the welcoming community itself is worth visiting. 

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