Best Places in Southwest Virginia – Hikes, Eats, and Sights of Roanoke

Things to Do in Southwest Virginia

Roanoke, Virginia isn’t necessarily known for a vacation, spot as it is a pretty small town. But, having lived here for a year now (yesss, holy cow it’s been a year since I’ve moved here), I’ve found this small town has a lot to offer! So if you are passing by Roanoke, perhaps on your way to Virginia Tech or some other destination, here are some the best places in Southwest Virginia that I highly recommend.

Best Places in Southwest Virginia


One of my favorite things to do in Roanoke is hike. The Roanoke valley is surrounded by mountains from the Appalachian trail in the Jefferson National Forest, there are hundreds of hikes within an hour of the area. Here are some of my favorites!

  • Grayson Highlands – This hike is amazing. The views are spectacular, it’s not too difficult, there are wild ponies!!!, and you can hike to the highest point in Virginia. It’s a little bit further from Roanoke, but it is WELL worth the trip. There are a bunch of different hikes you can do, I definitely recommend finding one that goes to Mt. Rogers!

Grayson Highlands Hike

  • Devil’s Marbleyard – This one is one of my favorites because it is not a traditional hike. It’s only about 3 miles long round trip, but a good mile of it is bouldering up rocks. It’s not too steep, so you can definitely do it, but it’s a tough one that is for sure!

Devil's Marbleyard Hike

  • Hay Rock – This hike has a gorgeous view over Carvin’s Cove and an awesome walk along the ridge line. I would consider this a moderate hike and somewhat long, but it’s definitely worth a go!

Hay Rock Hike

  • McAfee Knob – While this isn’t my favorite hike per se, it is a MUST see if you go through Roanoke. The view at the top is pretty awesome overlooking Catawba valley and is a popular one on the Appalachian Trail. This one is not too difficult, but a little long. My auntie did it with me when she visited!

McAfee Knob Hike

Honorable Mentions

Like I said there are SO many good hikes, it’s hard just to pick a few. Here are some others that if you get the chance you definitely should go see. Dragon’s Tooth, House Mountain, and Flat Top are some other ones to check out if you can.


What is a list of things to do without food! Heck, this is a major reason I love to travel! Here I’ve got some of the best places in Southwest Virginia to get food! Especially good after a long tiring hike!

    • Scratch Biscuit – this place has some kick a$$ biscuits for SUPER duper cheap. I’m talking $2 for a large egg and cheese biscuit. They have other options too, some for a dollar or two more, but you can’t beat it for the quality.
    • Mamma Maria’s – If you are looking for some good italian, look no further. I come here often with my mentor and the wait staff is amazing and the food is delicious! For lunch they have a buffet. For dinner the meals can get a little expensive, but they are large portions and AH mazing.
    • Cafe Asia 2 – While I know this isn’t the best sushi around (I mean Roanoke isn’t exactly on the coast), this place makes great sushi with so many options. They have noodle dishes as well which are so yummy. The wait staff is very friendly, as well as the sushi chefs. I recommend sitting at the sushi bar!
    • Blue Cow Ice Cream – You can’t forget about ice cream, especially with this hot hot hot weather! I love this place as they have such unique flavors that are super yummy!



  • Blue 5 – One of my favorite restaurants in Roanoke. While the food can be a little pricey, it’s a great place for happy hours as they have a huge draft list!
  • Wasena Tap Room – This is one of the first places I went to when I move here. They have a great selection of beer, tap takeover on Wednesdays where you can get a free glass, and trivia on Mondays and Fridays. A great local spot!
  • Fork in the Market – When I’m looking for a fun night out, Fork in the Market never lets me down. They offer karaoke, live music, and cheap drinks! What more can you ask for. Can you guess what song I loooove to sing at karaoke nights???

cassie karaoke


Other Activities

  • Tubing – In a previous post I talked about me and my friends going tubing down the New River. This is a great day activity that I recommend!
  • Mountain Biking – If you are an avid mountain biker or want to give it a try, it’s a popular thing in this area at Carvin’s Cove!
  • The Star – One thing you’ll notice in Roanoke is the huge star that sits on a mountain. You can drive up to see the star with a view over the city, or take a hike up Mill Mountain. This is a must see if you visit the area.

If you like the great outdoors and want to see a cute little town, definitely come it out and maybe you’ll see me at one of these best places in Southwest Virginia! 🙂

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