Bedford Travel Guide

Discover the best things to do in Bedford, Virginia with our comprehensive travel guide. Learn about the top attractions, outdoor adventures, best hotels, local food scene, and more.

Bedford is a charming town located in Central Virginia, in the South region of the United States. This picturesque destination is perfect for travelers who love history, outdoor adventures, and a laid-back lifestyle. In this comprehensive guide, you’ll discover the best things to do in Bedford, including top attractions, outdoor activities, where to stay, local food scene, and more.

Introduction to Bedford

Bedford is a historic town that was established in 1782. It’s known for its beautiful architecture, friendly locals, and rich history. The town is home to several museums, art galleries, and historical sites that will take you on a journey back in time. Bedford is also famous for its outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, and cycling. If you’re looking for a relaxing vacation in a peaceful and beautiful setting, Bedford is the perfect destination for you.

List of Places to Visit in Bedford

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • National D-Day Memorial: This remarkable memorial is one of the main attractions in Bedford. It honors the soldiers who fought and died during the D-Day invasion of Normandy in World War II. The museum features exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays that bring the history to life.
  • Bedford Museum & Genealogical Library: This museum is home to a vast collection of artifacts and historical objects that tell the story of Bedford and its people. It features exhibits on Native American culture, the Civil War, and the town’s development over the years.
  • Old City Cemetery: This cemetery is a historic landmark in Bedford and features the graves of many of the town’s founding families.

Natural Attractions of Bedford: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Blue Ridge Parkway: This scenic drive is one of the most popular attractions in Bedford. The parkway offers stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is home to several hiking trails and scenic overlooks.
  • Peaks of Otter: These majestic peaks offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. The area is popular for hiking, fishing, and wildlife watching.
  • Smith Mountain Lake: This beautiful lake is a popular destination for boating, fishing, and swimming. The lake is surrounded by picturesque mountains and forests, making it an ideal spot for outdoor enthusiasts.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Bedford

  • Bedford Loop: This 22.5-mile route takes you through the scenic countryside and historic landmarks of Bedford.
  • Apple Orchard Falls: This 7.5-mile trail is one of the most popular hikes in the area. It leads you to a stunning waterfall and offers breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • Liberty Mountain Trail: This 8-mile trail takes you through the forest and offers stunning views of the surrounding area.

Best Things to Do in Bedford: Activities and Tours

  • Wine Tasting Tour: Take a tour of the area’s vineyards and wineries and sample some of the best wines in Virginia.
  • Horseback Riding: Explore the beauty of the area on horseback with a guided trail ride.
  • Bedford Artisan Trail: This trail takes you on a journey through the region’s arts and crafts scene, including pottery, glassblowing, and woodworking.

Week-Long Itinerary for Bedford

Day Activity
Day 1 Visit the National D-Day Memorial
Day 2 Explore the Blue Ridge Parkway and Peaks of Otter
Day 3 Take a Wine Tasting Tour
Day 4 Go Horseback Riding
Day 5 Visit the Smith Mountain Lake
Day 6 Hike the Apple Orchard Falls Trail
Day 7 Explore the Bedford Museum and Genealogical Library

Food and Drink Scene of Bedford

Must-Try Dishes

  • Fried Chicken: This classic American dish is a staple in Virginia cuisine.
  • BBQ: Virginia is known for its delicious BBQ, and you can find some of the best in Bedford.
  • Crab Cakes: These tasty treats are made with fresh crab and are a must-try when visiting Bedford.

Local Beverages

  • Virginia Wine: The area is famous for its wineries, so be sure to try some of the local wines during your visit.
  • Craft Beer: Several local breweries offer a variety of craft beers, including IPAs, stouts, and lagers.

Where to Stay in Bedford: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

  • The Bedford Columns: This historic hotel offers luxurious accommodations and is located in the heart of the town.
  • Peaks of Otter Lodge: This lodge is located in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains and offers comfortable rooms and stunning views.
  • The Carriage House Inn: This cozy bed and breakfast is located in a beautiful Victorian-era home and offers a peaceful and relaxing stay.

What to Buy in Bedford: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Handmade Pottery: Several local artists create beautiful pottery that makes a unique and memorable souvenir.
  • Local Wine: Bring home a bottle of the area’s best wines to enjoy at home.
  • Handmade Crafts: Visit a local craft fair or market to find handmade souvenirs, including jewelry, paintings, and woodworking.

Local Culture and Customs of Bedford

Bedford is a friendly and welcoming town that values its history and traditions. Locals are proud of their town’s heritage and are always happy to share it with visitors. When visiting Bedford, it’s important to be respectful of the town’s customs and traditions and to treat the people and the environment with respect.

Best Time to Visit Bedford

The best time to visit Bedford is during the spring and fall when the weather is mild and comfortable. The summer months can be hot and humid, and the winter months can be cold and snowy.

Do’s and Don’ts of Bedford


  • Be respectful of the town’s history and traditions.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather and the activities you’ll be doing.
  • Take your time and enjoy the slower pace of life in Bedford.


  • Litter or damage natural or historical sites.
  • Disrespect locals or their way of life.
  • Ignore safety guidelines for outdoor activities.

Safety and Health

Safety in Bedford

Overall, Bedford is a safe town, but visitors should still take precautions to protect themselves and their belongings. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings and to keep valuable items secure.

Health in Bedford

The town has several medical facilities, including hospitals and clinics, that offer quality care and services. It’s important to have travel insurance when visiting Bedford, as medical costs can be expensive in the United States.

Getting to Bedford: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Bedford

  • Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport: This airport is located about an hour’s drive from Bedford and offers flights to several major cities in the United States.

Bus Stations Near Bedford

  • Greyhound Bus Station: This station is located in Lynchburg, about 25 miles from Bedford, and offers bus services to several major cities in the United States.

Other Options

  • Driving: Bedford is easily accessible by car, and several major highways run through the town.
  • Train: The closest Amtrak station is located in Lynchburg, about 25 miles from Bedford.

How to Get Around in Bedford

The best way to get around Bedford is by car. There are several rental car companies located in the area, and the roads are well-maintained and easy to navigate. Taxis and ride-sharing services are also available.

Where to Go Next from Bedford: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

  • Lynchburg: This charming city is located just a short drive from Bedford and is known for its history, arts scene, and outdoor activities.
  • Charlottesville: This city is located about an hour and a half from Bedford and is home to several historical sites, museums, and outdoor attractions.
  • Shenandoah National Park: This beautiful park is located about two hours from Bedford and offers stunning views, hiking trails, and wildlife watching opportunities.


Bedford is a charming town that’s rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. It offers something for every type of traveler, from outdoor adventures to cultural experiences to relaxing spa treatments. Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or a longer vacation, Bedford is the perfect destination for you.