Travel Nurse Assignments: Live Like a Local – Roanoke, VA

Live Like a Local - Roanoke

Nestled in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, this mountain town is more than just a stop on the Appalachian Trail. Roanoke is the economic hub for the Southwest Virginia. Two national parks and a bustling downtown scene drive tourists to Roanoke and make it a hard place to leave. If you’re in the mood for good food, good wine, and stunning natural beauty, Roanoke is the place for you!

A Playground for Nature Lovers

A paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, Roanoke is surrounded by incredible nature on all sides. Shenandoah Valley National Park is one of Virginia’s crown jewels, and home to 196,000 acres of unspoiled wilderness. When you plan your visit, start with a scenic drive along the famous Skyline Drive, which is the only major public road through the park. This 105-mile drive features over 70 overlooks that offer spectacular views of the surrounding Piedmont Hills and Shenandoah Valley.

A hiker in Shenandoah National Park

Hiking is also very popular with over 500 miles of hiking trails to choose from. These trails feature all kinds of unique landscapes from waterfalls, to unique geologic formations. In addition to hiking, Shenandoah boasts an array of outdoor activities including camping, fishing, and cycling.

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Less than four hours from Roanoke, Great Smokey Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the U.S. Many of the same outdoor activities that can be found in Shenandoah, are also abundant in the Great Smokey Mountains. Both parks are considered to be among the most scenic in the U.S. If you’re feeling adventurous, head out onto the Blue Ridge Parkway, a scenic stretch of highway that connects the two national parks together.

History and Other Attractions

Roanoke is bursting with cultural and historical sites that act as a conduit between the city’s past and present. The Harrison Museum of African American Culture is dedicated to showcasing and preserving African-American history in the Roanoke Valley, and is one of the region’s most popular museums. There are dozens of artifacts and memorabilia, as well as art and other traveling exhibits.

Roanoke Town Center, with the iconic Roanoke Star in the background.

You can’t go to Roanoke without heading up Mill Mountain at least once. Visible from the town center, Mill Mountain also has miles of multi-use trails, playgrounds, and a zoo, for visitors of all ages to enjoy. While you’re there, be sure to check out the Roanoke Star. This colossal star-shaped sculpture was constructed in 1949, with over 2,000 feet of neon tubing. It is illuminated every night, as a beacon that welcomes people to the city.

Food and Drink

Nothing sets you up for a productive day ahead like a hearty breakfast. Fuel up at the Roanoker Restaurant which specializes in traditional southern-style breakfast, including made-from-scratch biscuits and gravy! After a long day of hiking and sightseeing, unwind at Blue 5 Restaurant for dinner and drinks. This modern gastropub has an eclectic southern-infused menu, an award-winning beer selection, and live music! Ready to treat that sweet tooth? Indulge in some hand-rolled (you read that right) ice cream from Champloo Desserts.

Check out more Live Like a Local Guides on our blog!

Did you know Virginia is ranked 5th in the nation for wineries? The Roanoke Valley has been growing grapes for wine since the 18th century. Vallhalla Vineyards is perched on top of a 2,000 foot mountain overlook, with views for days! If beer is more your fancy, make sure to check out the Blue Ridge Cheers Trail, featuring over a dozen craft breweries! You can keep track of your visits and earn special discounts using the Cheers Trail Passport app.

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