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Williamsburg and Hampton Roads Sights

Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

  • Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

Fodor's Review

If you're not a nature lover, hiker, or biker, don't take the time to visit the Great Dismal Swamp. If you are, do take mosquito repellant. The forbidding name was possibly assigned to the area by William Byrd on one of his early-18th-century surveying expeditions. George Washington once hoped to drain it. Today the swamp is a 106,000-acre refuge that harbors bobcats, black bears, and more than 220 varieties of birds. A remarkably shallow lake—3,000 acres, 6 feet deep—is

surrounded by skinny cypress trees that lend the scene a primeval quality. One hundred miles of hiking and biking trails, including a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk, stand in stark contrast to nearby downtown Portsmouth and Norfolk.

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Sight Information


Follow signs from Rte. 32, Suffolk, Virginia, 23434, United States


757-986–3705; 757-986–2353


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