Many of those who go to Radford University often find the town around it to be boring or lacking things to do for fun, besides socializing with friends. However, this is not the case. If you aren’t someone who lives locally and rather far from Radford, VA, then it isn’t likely that you are unfamiliar with the area and haven’t explored much. Southwest, Virginia is a beautiful area with outdoor adventure everywhere and it needs to be seen and celebrated. I’m going to give you 10 things you need to do or experience when going to Radford University.
1. Catch the Sunrise hiking at Buffalo Mountain.
If you have ever watched the sunrise then I’m sure you know it’s a beautiful sight. Buffalo Mountain is about 2.2 miles out and back, located near Willis, Virginia. The top of the mountain is very open to walk around and explore. RU Outdoors take trips every year to do sunrise yoga at Buffalo mountain because it’s great terrain and has perfect views of the sun.
2. Spend a Saturday or Sunday at the Chateau Morrisette Winery drinking wine and eating charcuterie boards.
It’s a relaxed spot with a river and mountain views located in Floyd, Virginia. They have events every week with live music, festivals, wine tastings and more. The structure of the Chateau is beautiful, they have great mixes of wine, and the customer service is personable.
3. Take a short hike down the road at Stiles Falls; take a dip in the water if you dare.
Stiles Falls is a 30-minute drive from the University, near Shawsville, Virginia. The back roads to get there are gorgeous when the weather is nice. It’s an easy hike to the large waterfall there and back; the best time to go is from March to October. The water looks very refreshing but also freezing, so it’s up to you to take a swim.
4. Go for a walk or bike ride at the Dora Junction to New River Trail…it goes on for miles.
This trail has public parking with signs and maps to guide you in the right direction. The hills are subtle and many bridges that cross over parts of the river. I took a bike ride and did 31 miles total, it was exhausting in the end, but the views from nature made it worth it. This trail can be a good stress reliever or break from the chaos, I highly recommend bringing a friend.
5. Float on a tube down the New River.
This is a fun activity to do in the spring and summer when the weather is warm. The river is slow and steady, perfect for relaxing with friends and getting a tan. I recommend starting at the end of Bissett Park near the pavilions; parking one car in Lot Z in front of the Dedmon Center and then driving another car over to Bisset Park.
6. Go for a hike at Falls Ridge Preserve on the Mill Knob Trail exploring waterfalls and small caves.
This trail took me a while to find but once I did, it was clear. This is near Christiansburg, Virginia and was a rather short 3.6 loop trail that featured different wonders like waterfalls, bridges, and small caves. I went during the spring with some friends and got beautiful pictures of those sightings.
7. Grab a hot cup of cider or draft beer and go pumpkin picking at Sinkland Farms.
Sinkland Farms host a pumpkin festival for 6 weekends during the Fall that has pumpkin picking, ax throwing, live music, wine and beer tasting, and lots of fall foods and drinks. This farm is also known for its wedding venue and fall music festival. Sinkland Farms is a staple activity for the Fall.
8. Spend your Saturday morning buying and tasting fresh food at the Blacksburg Famers Market.
The Blacksburg Farmers Market is larger than the Radford Farmers Market. They have locally grown, fresh foods and drinks with lots of variety. I went during the fall and tried a locally made Kombucha and a hot latte from a coffee station. I also gathered fresh ingredients to make a crockpot pumpkin chili, that turned out amazing.
9. Get a nice tan at Claytor Lake State Park’s beach.
Claytor Lake is a go-to spot for college students to catch some rays when the weather is warm. There is space for throwing a football, playing cornhole, or beach volleyball. Claytor Lake is like any other lake beach with public restrooms, hot sand, and water to swim in. Besides getting a tan, I’ve also gone with a friend to do beach yoga.
10. Pack a picnic or hammock and go hiking at McAfee’s Knob for the day.
McAfee’s Knob is almost 45 minutes from the University and is near Catawba, Virginia. It’s about 8.2 miles trafficked out and back and can be strenuous at times. I would recommend going early, packing a lunch, and a hammock to take some time to relax once you reach the top. The knob makes for some fun pictures and has lots of cliffs to explore. It’s a popular hike for students and although it’s a bit long, it’s worth it.