Ever since the first Thanksgiving at Virginia’s Berkeley Hundred plantation in 1619, Virginians have gathered to give thanks and enjoy family, friends and fun during the holiday.
This special time together can continue past the last slice of pie with a visit to any of Virginia’s 38 state parks this weekend.
From Thursday, Nov. 28, through Sunday, Dec. 1, Virginia State Parks will sponsor Opt Outside and join the national effort to promote healthy lifestyles and to encourage people to get outdoors.
A photo contest with a $500 gift certificate top prize is an added bonus for the holiday weekend. To qualify, photos must be taken at a Virginia state park between Nov. 28 and Dec. 1. Individuals may submit up to five photos. Visit www.VirginiaStateParks.gov for contest details and rules.
The 38 award-winning Virginia State Parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.
“The weather is often mild over the holiday weekend, and it’s great to get outdoors,” said Interim State Parks Director David Collett. “There will be more than 100 programs in state parks throughout Virginia, so bring the whole family and create some Thanksgiving memories.”
Opt Outside activities include ranger-led hikes, campfires, nature crafts, special Christmas programs and even a wine festival.
For a complete list of Virginia State Parks’ Opt Outside activities, visit the programs and events section of the state parks website.
To make gift-giving easier for fans of state parks, beginning Dec. 2 and running until Dec. 13, Virginia State Parks will offer a 25 percent discount on gift certificates. Call 800-933-7275, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., to order.