Are you planning to visit some of the stunning family friendly waterfalls in Virginia? Awesome! You can find tons of family friendly hikes in Virginia that lead to beautiful cascades in The Old Dominion State.
Virginia is such a dreamy state and has so much for families to do. Other than amazing waterfalls, it is home to some of the most astonishing family-friendly lighthouses on the East Coast and its idyllic coastline puts you nearby to the best family friendly Outer Banks beach towns as well.
From roadside beauties and short hikes in Virginia to multi-story waterfalls and longer hikes, waterfalls in VA don’t disappoint. One of the best things about visiting Virginia is that it is truly stunning no matter what time of year you visit. However, you may want to consider visiting waterfalls in the state in the summer or fall. These seasons are particularly idyllic!
16 Beautiful Waterfalls In Virginia That Families Love
Falling Spring Falls
The remarkable Falling Spring Falls is one of the most remarkable waterfalls in Virginia for families. As one of the few roadside waterfalls in Virginia, Falling Spring Falls is very popular and is easily one of the best kid-friendly waterfalls in Virginia as well.
Standing at a whopping eighty feet tall, this waterfall is quite a sight to behold. Located along Route 220, you will find Falling Spring Falls just five miles from Covington, Virginia. There is an overlook and picnic area where you can safely enjoy the view of the waterfall.
Since this waterfall is so high and powerful, it is extremely dangerous to venture beyond the overlook and grounds, not to mention illegal. However, the grounds have been extensively renovated, so the viewing areas are a wonderful place to be.
This waterfall is not only a favorite of travelers today, it has been a point of interest for a long time. In fact, Thomas Jefferson was a big fan of the Falling Spring Falls. Although, he did exaggerate the size of the falls quite a bit when he described the falls as being a remarkable cascade that fell two hundred feet to the valley below.
If you plan on visiting the beautiful town of Roanoke while you are in Virginia, you should consider checking out this waterfall as it is one of the best waterfalls near Roanoke VA!
Whiteoak Falls is one of the Virginia waterfalls that you can find in the beautiful Shenandoah National Park. The waterfall is broken up into two sections, Upper Falls and Lower Falls. For non-experienced hikers and children, the Lower Whiteoak Falls is the smarter choice as it takes less time and mileage to reach the falls and is ranked easiest on the hiking difficulty scale.
Meanwhile, the Upper Falls is one of the longer hikes to reach waterfalls in Virginia; it takes longer to reach, is ranked more difficult, and has more elevation gain than the Lower Falls. The hike to Upper Whiteoak Falls is around 4.6 miles round trip and will take you around three and a half hours to four hours to reach. While the pools beneath the falls are far too shallow to swim in, they are perfect for dipping your toes in or letting young kids splash around in after the long hike.
Great Falls Park is a beautiful little corner of The Old Dominion State that happens to be home to one of the most family-friendly waterfalls in Virginia. Like most waterfall enthusiasts you probably love a quality scenic view. At Great Falls Park, you can enjoy hiking trails, view the falls from the overlooks, have a picnic, and more. Entrance to the park is paid per vehicle.
All three cascades in the park can be reached via a ten-minute walk from the visitor’s center, making this one of the best and easiest kid friendly hikes in Virginia. Best of all, the park also provides two overlooks that are wheelchair accessible.
At the park, you can participate in some whitewater boating. The Potomac River flowing through the park provides Class II (moderate) rapids to Class VI (extreme) rapids. Kayaking or canoeing through the rapids is one of the best things to do at Great Falls Park in Virginia.
Overall Run Falls
Perfect for true explorers and experienced hikers, Overall Run Falls is one of the best waterfalls in Virginia (one of the best waterfall hikes in Virginia too!) A five-mile round-trip hike that is ranked as moderately strenuous leads you to an incredible waterfall that is perfect to visit after a heavy rainfall. You will gain nearly 1300 feet on this hike.
You can start the hike to Overall Run Falls at the trailhead located at the Mathews Arm Campground parking area. Follow the Trace Trail to Mathew Arm Road which is marked with yellow blazes. This road will become the Mathews Arm Trail. You will come across a few places where the trail forks so just be careful to stay on Mathew Arm Trail.
This trail leads you to the best views of the highest waterfall in Shenandoah National Park at ninety-three feet. If you want to see the waterfalls at its best, be sure to visit after the area has received a lot of rain, otherwise, the waterfall will be a little underwhelming. Again, this is not for those with super young kids or inexperienced hikes. If you are looking for short hikes in Virginia that lead to waterfalls, keep reading!
Dark Hollow Falls
If you are traveling with your doggos, go ahead and skip Dark Hollow Falls as it is one of the waterfalls in Virginia that does not allow dogs on the trail. However, for those with young children looking for short hikes in Virginia, you’re in luck! The trail to Dark Hollow Falls is only 1.4 miles long. However, it is rocky so keep this in mind when you are considering your children’s ages and abilities.
The trail is fairly easy to find and hike. You will start at the trailhead in the Dark Hollow Falls Parking area at mile 50.7. After that, you will descend around 0.75 miles to the waterfall. Once you soak up the beauty and enjoy the natural beauty of the area, you can head back to your car the same that you came.
South River Falls
Are you looking for hiking trails in Virginia with waterfalls? Check out South River Falls. This is also a great place to check out if you are looking for waterfalls near Charlottesville VA.
The moderately difficult South River Falls Trail and South River Fire Road Loop leads to the silky little waterfall known as South River Falls. A 3.3 mile hike starting at the South River Picnic Grounds takes you to this remarkable eighty-three foot waterfall.
This is a skinny, tall, and stunning waterfall that will have you walking through a beautiful forest with great views on your way to the main attraction. Popular among bird watchers and nature lovers, you will likely see others on your way to the falls.
What makes South River Falls one of the best waterfalls in Virginia for families is that it is space beneath the falls for children to play, its the perfect place for a family picture, and there are rocks spread out in the area under the waterfall that makes for a great place to sit, have a snack, or play in small pools of water.
Rose River Falls
Like many of the most heavily-visited waterfalls in Virginia, Rose River Falls is located in the Shenandoah National Park. This dazzling waterfall reaches sixty-seven foot high and will make you feel like you are living in a fantasy world. Think fairy stomping grounds meets the site of the yearly meeting of the giants.
The hike is a bit long and will like take you around four or five hours to complete. Gainly around 910 feet in elevation and ranked as moderate, this is another hike suitable for older children and experienced hikers. You will start from the Fishers Gap parking area at mile 49.4, cross Skyline Drive, and head down the fire road.
From there, you will turn left onto Skyland-Big Meadows Horse Trail after the chain; this trail has yellow blazes. After around 0.6 mile you will turn onto the Rose River Loop Trail which has blue blazes. Once you reach the bridge, turn right.
Doyles River Falls
Another one of the beautiful waterfalls near Charlottesville VA, a calm 3.3 mile round trip hike through the beautiful federally proclaimed and protected Wilderness will take you to Doyles River Falls, one of the most picturesque waterfalls in Virginia. This idyllic tiered waterfall can be reached in around two hours depending on the ages and abilities of the hikers.
Starting from the Doyles River Parking Area at mile 81.1 you will take the Doyles River Trail which is marked with blue blazes. You will cross the Appalachian Trail and pass by the access for the Doyles Cabin and Browns Gap Road. From there, you will come to the signs that show you the locations of both the Upper and the Lower Doyles River Falls.
This waterfall is forty feet wide and has a twelve foot drop into a whirlpool below. For all those parents with super young kids or little ones still in carriers, you will be pleased to know that this hike is only 0.1 mile! It’s hard to even call it a hike really.
With only a few minutes walk on your hands to reach Dismal Falls, this is one of the top kid friendly waterfalls in Virginia and for those who don’t love hiking as well. The stair step like nature to the falls is super beautiful and it makes a great backdrop for photos. If you visit, please please please remember to leave no trace.
Beautiful Waterfalls In Virginia That Families Love Continued
Devils Bathtub Waterfall
Calling all hiking enthusiasts, here we have a big one. This waterfall and pool are seriously something out of a fantasy novel. The dreamy landscape and sounds at this location plants the Devil’s Bathtub Waterfall firmly on the list of the best waterfalls in Virginia. That being said, this really is only for experienced hiking kiddos.
Ranked as difficult, this trail is around 7.2 miles in total. Due to the popularity, you will want to visit the Devil’s Bathtub and waterfall on a weekday if you are able. Also, you will want to take every precaution in making sure you leave no trace. This means no trash, orange peels, or anything at all left behind. And you will want to make sure that you don’t move plants and rocks from the locations.
There is a designated parking area for the Devil’s Fork Loop Trail that you will need to park in for the hike. At the first creek crossing, you can go right for a 7-mile round trip hike with no creek crossings or you can go to the left which is a shorter hike with 13 creek crossings.
Cabin Creek Falls
This lesser-known waterfall is actually one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Virginia. Have you heard of Cabin Creek Falls? You will start your journey to the falls in Grayson Highlands State Park at the Massie Gap Parking Area. The well-marked trail requires only a little bit of climbing so even younger kiddos should find the trail fairly easy.
If you are visiting in the spring, prepare to see stunning wildflowers in bloom like that bright pink Mountain Laurels. You will see several small waterfalls and cross a few streams on your way to the main attraction. You may want to choose to go clockwise on the trail as it helps to avoid sliding when the terrain is wet.
Apple Orchard Falls
Do fields of flowers, foggy forest vibes, valley views, and stunning wooden boardwalks curving along the mountain side appeal to you? Yeah, we thought so! The Apple Orchard Falls Trail is such a dream and should definitely be on your list of waterfalls in Virginia to visit this year!
Located on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Buchanan, Virginia, the Apple Orchard Falls Trail is a 2.6 mile hike and is, overall, considered a challenging trail. This is a popular area for hiking so you aren’t likely to be alone on your journey to the waterfall. Once you reach the waterfall you will be greeted by water tumbling down a 200 foot rock facing. (If you are traveling with dogs, they are welcome on a leash!)
Are you most interested in the tallest waterfalls in Virginia? Can’t see we blame you, sometimes they are the most exciting to see. Crabtree Falls is the highest vertical drop on a waterfall east of the Mississippi River. To reach the falls you will drive around six miles off of the Blue Ridge Parkway and stop around milepost 27.
There are five major cascades on the waterfall as well as several smaller ones for a total distance of 1,200 feet. You will reach the first overlook only a few hundred feet from the parking lot. If you aren’t interested in hiking very far or are with young children, consider only walking to this first overlook instead of doing the whole trail.
If you choose to take the whole trail, it is a three-mile hike with four more overlooks that all offer views of the Crabtree Creek Falls as well as vista points of the Tye River Valley.
Arguably one of the very best family friendly waterfalls in Virginia, Lace Falls can be reached on a two mile out and back trail that is ranked as easy. Perfect for young hikers and mommas carrying babies in carriers, you can reach Lace Falls via the Cedar Creek Trail.
Since this trail only takes around an hour to complete, you will still have plenty of time to explore other fun things to do in Natural Bridge, Virginia. From Natural Bridge State Park and the Caverns at Natural Bridge to Virginia Safari Park and Dinosaur Kingdom II, there are loads of fun things for kids to do in Natural Bridge, VA. And parents too, of course! The Great Valley Farm Brewery and Winery is a fan-favorite.
Roaring Run Falls
Woah, parents of small kids, get ready! Roaring Run Falls is the best of the best when it comes to kid friendly waterfalls in Virginia. It is super accessible, the area is super photogenic, there are picnic spots, bridges little ones will enjoy crossing, and stunning natural features that your kiddos will love playing around.
You can reach the fall be either the Streamside Trail or the Woodland Trail. Or if you are feeling a little wild, combine the two for a 1.5 mile loop trail that is ranked as easy. If you choose the Streamside Trail, you will be gifted with babbling water sounds the whole way to the waterfall and you can even find a couple of spots where you can swim and slide down a natural waterslide.
Scott’s Run Falls
Scott’s Run Falls is the closest waterfall to the Metro DC area, perfect for those looking for waterfalls near Richmond VA. Located in McClean Virginia in the Scott’s Run Nature Preserve is one of the best waterfalls in Virginia, hands down!
The park itself is home to many challenging and beautiful hiking trails if you are looking for that sort of thing. Popular among outdoor enthusiasts and dog owners, you will love Scotts Run!
On the short hike, you will have to pass through a creek twice, but fear not, you won’t get your tootsies wet as there are artificial stepping stones put at the crossing for hikers to use. The trail is just a total of 1.5 miles total out and back with little elevation change so even your little ones should be able to handle the hike to the falls! There are great rocks around the waterfall for a little picnic or simply soaking up the sunshine next to the falls.
So, which of these beautiful waterfalls in Virginia for families will you be visiting first? We love to hear from you!
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Wonderful and informative guide. Thanks for sharing