With an abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities, small town experiences, and our own zoo, Scott County, Virginia is a great location for a safe, family vacation or day-trip far from the crowd.
For those looking for an extended adventure, the cabins at Natural Tunnel State Park or Appalachian Mountain Cabins make a great home base for your family fun. As part of the Virginia Park system, the cabins at Natural Tunnel provide the highest standards of health safety. The locally-owned Appalachian Mountain Cabins, located next to the park, adhere to all guidelines established by the county and state health departments.
While programming at Natural Tunnel has been limited during the coronavirus, visitors can still enjoy rides on the chairlift down to the bottom of the tunnel or hike and bike one of the many nature trails. The newest addition to the park, the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail Interpretative Center, is open Friday through Monday. Admission is free, and visitors can experience life as a settler making their way westward on the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail. Located at 1420 Natural Tunnel State Park, Duffield. 276-940-2674 Website: http://www.virginiastateparks.gov
For a day of river activity, visitors can rent tubes or kayaks from SomeThing Squatchy, located on the Clinch River Highway in nearby Clinchport. Guided raft tours, tube and kayak rentals area available. Raft tours are $25 per person, tube rentals are $20 per person, and kayaks are $25 per person. Children six and under are free and there is special pricing for groups of four or more. Open daily at 9 a.m. Information or reservations, call 276-202-6074. Free shuttle service will rentals. If your family just wants to hang out for the day, children will love the Slip ‘n Slide down into the Clinch. Concessions sold on site. Located at 1750 Clinch River Hwy., Duffield. 276-202-6074.
Located on Highway 23, Clinch River Life is open Saturday and Sunday and offers tube rentals at varying prices. Large, anchored party rafts and tubes are available on site and shuttle service is available to various launch sites along the Clinch River. For more information, call 276-690-9199.
One of the area’s top attractions, Creation Kingdom Zoo is a breeding facility for rare and endangered species. Creation Kingdom provides visitors with the opportunity to see rare animals up close and personal. Visitors can feed many of the animals, including zoo favorite, Tucker, the giraffe. Owned and operated by Marc and Elaine Bradley, the zoo is totally self-funded and participates in the Species Survival Programs. Located at 1692 Snowflake Rd., Gate City. Telephone 276-479-1910. Open daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Last tickets sold at 4 p.m.)
Railroad enthusiasts will want to head to the far eastern end of Scott County for a visit to Powers Mill. Dave Powers has created a 13-guage rail line excursion through his property on Sinking Creek. The kids can enjoy a train ride, powered by a small-scale engine, and Mom can shop in wife Peggy’s store, Powers Mill Primitives, which is stocked with clothing, linens and home décor. Located at 4710 Sinking Creek Hwy., Dungannon. Open Mon-Fri, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Information, call 276-467-1084.
During September and October, the Punkin’ Patch Farm, Nickelsville, is a great place to take the kids for a hayride, a romp through the corn maze, or to pet goats, donkeys and sheep. Punkin’ Patch is open daily during the fall and hosts an annual free Family Fun Day and a special Halloween event. Located at 984 Cowan’s Creek Rd. Telephone: 276-479-3228 or 423-361-0834.
Leaning more to a car adventure, then pack the kids into the car and head out on the Daniel Boone Wilderness Road driving tour or search for trackable WanderLove geo coins at Scott County’s WanderLove geo trail. You can follow the adventures of Daniel Boone from the Long Island of the Holston to Cumberland Gap from the comfort of your car. You can do the entire drive, which will take all day or just follow the trail in Scott County. Driving tour is available at https://danielboonetrail.com/trail-map/
Scott County’s WanderLove geo trail will take about four hours to complete and provides a scenic drive through the countryside and stops at our most historic places and iconic eateries. Obtain the coordinates at (website link). Once you complete the trail, mail the form to Scott County Tourism to receive one of the county’s limited number WanderLove geo coins.
The county also has a 100-mile Scenic Selfie Tour that takes visitors along the backroads to visit many of the county’s most historic landmarks. For detailed directions, visit https://www.explorescottcountyva.org/uncategorized/scott-county-scenic-selfie-wanderlove-tour/ .
Scott County is home to several local family-owned restaurants, many of which have been open for 50 plus years. The county has a few must-stop eateries—The Family Bakery, voted “Best Bakery during the Virginia Culinary Challenge and Campus Drive-in, both in Gate City; the Hob Nob in Daniel Boone; Teddy’s in Nickelsville; ChuBeez in Duffield; and the Front Porch Store & Deli, where fried white fish is served daily.
For more information or help planning your trip to Scott County, Virginia, please visit call 423-863-1667.