A Trip to Charlottesville with Kids


Charlottesville is often thought of as a getaway for adults. The wineries! The breweries! The restaurants! The cute boutiques! But it’s also surprisingly family-friendly and can be a great destination for a family vacation. Find tips on how to make a trip to visit Charlottesville with kids a great one below.

The beautiful back patio of Early Mountain Winery.

Where to Stay:

There are plenty of hotels in Charlottesville. Graduate Charlottesville, Quirk Hotel and the Draftsman are all newer hotels close to University of Virginia’s campus with lots of amenities, like game rooms, several different in-hotel bars/restaurants/coffee shops (a must when traveling with kids) and fitness centers. There are bigger chains, too: Courtyard Marriott is close to campus, and the Omni Charlottesville is located right on the downtown mall, where several of Charlottesville’s shops, restaurants and bars are located.

Where to Play:

Sprawling countryside and a little “stage” mean enough room for little ones to play and run around at Early Mountain Winery.

The good news? There are lots of wineries in Charlottesville – it is where wine started, actually – but you have to make sure it’s kid-friendly, or your child might be bored. Early Mountain Winery is located about 30 minutes north of Charlottesville, but it’s worth stopping by on your way into town – kids can run on the spacious lawn, while you can sit by a fire pit on lawn chairs and sip wine.

Here are other activity options when visiting Charlottesville with kids:

Monticello: Plan to spend most of your day at this kid-friendly historic monument. Make sure to get your tickets online and in advance because passes sell out!

Carter Mountain Apple Orchard: This place is pretty much around the corner from Monticello, so if you’re looking for an alternative outdoor activity, try this apple orchard for seasonal fun! It sells fruit in season (peaches and berries during the summer, apples and pumpkins during the fall) and its market and bakery has jams and baked goods accordingly (apple cider donuts, anyone?).

Virginia Discovery Museum: Most of the attractions in Charlottesville involve the outdoors, so if it rains at all during your trip, check out this museum with your kids. They also have a date night drop-off available!!

Eat + Drink:

The Nook is a great diner located downtown with options for indoor or outdoor seating. Your kids can order pancakes (breakfast is served until close at 3 pm) while you enjoy a coffee – or an Irish coffee if you choose. You can enjoy the fall weather at some nicer restaurants with patios: Oakhart Social has some upscale options if you want to try for a nicer dinner outside with your kids, and Maya is a great Mexican restaurant with a covered patio. And of course, being a college town, there are some great pizza options! Mellow Mushroom, Domino’s and Marco’s pizza are national pizza chains in town, but also try Lampo’s Neopolitan Pizzeria and Vita Nova New York Style Pizza & Restaurant.

Chap’s ice cream selections – regular cup size in front, kid’s in the back.

Don’t forget dessert! There are two ice cream shops in the downtown mall area of Charlottesville: Chap’s (looks like a ’50s diner) and Kilwin’s (national chain that also has fudge and chocolates!).

When to Visit

Honestly, you can visit Charlottesville with kids anytime! It is a short, drivable getaway with kids and there is plenty to do and explore. Our top recommendation is to visit kid-friendly wineries and Monticello! C-ville is also a popular fall tourist destination, but remember that University of Virginia is there – definitely check their calendar for home football games, parents weekend or homecoming weekends, because hotels will be more booked up and this quaint town will be more crowded.


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