Martinsville, Virginia


An Affordable Bucket List Getaway!

An Affordable Bucket List Getaway!

While it may not be the first place that comes to mind when planning a Bucket List Getaway, a trip to Martinsville-Henry County, Virginia is full of memory making opportunities at a fraction on the cost! Imagine camping on a semi-private island, that is only accessible by boat, exploring a Smithsonian-affiliated museum and an award-winning art gallery, spending an afternoon sipping award-winning wine, visiting NASACAR’s oldest race track, and more, all for less than $700. 

Deer Island, off of Philpott Lake, offers primitive camping, on a pristine piece of coastline, for only $20/night. Philpott Lake, ran by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, covers 3,000 acres with 100 miles of shoreland. Since the lake is ran by the Corps of Engineers, there is no development along the banks and surrounding area. This offers a nature lover a relaxing escape. You will need a kayak and shuttle service to reach the island. And if you are interested, Smith River Outfitters offers guided fishing tours along Smith River; adjacent to Philpott Lake!

As the state museum of natural history, the Virginia Museum of Natural History has award-winning exhibits, ground-breaking scientific research and collections, and transformational educational programs for all ages. With its statewide outreach education and distance learning programs, online resources, and traveling exhibits and displays, the Virginia Museum of Natural History is truly a Museum Without Walls.

Piedmont Arts, Martinsville’s American Alliance of Museums accredited art gallery, curates thought-provoking exhibitions by international, national, and regional artists. The museum also offers performing arts, from concerts to plays to children's performances, and art classes for all ages.

Hamlet Vineyards, a 20 minute car ride from Deer Island, is known around the state of Virginia for their wines including: Pinot Gris, Eltham, Viognier, Bottled Blonde, Rose, Old Virginia Red, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Sparkling Viognier. Enjoy Sunday Afternoon Wine Tastings, and chef-inspired lunches, from 1 to 5 pm. Favorite wines include the Gold Medal winning 2017 Eltham, included in the 2019 Governor’s Cup, and their Pinot Gris.

Martinsville Speedway, NASCAR’s oldest and shortest track, is legendary in the motorsports world and is on many racing fans’ to-do list! The race track hosts numerous races throughout the year including two NASCAR Cup Series races – the “major league of motorsports.” Prices range deepening on the seat location, but usually start at $40 each. If you aren’t ready for a race, you can still experience the wonder of the race track, by visiting during a non-race week, and enjoy a self-guided tour of the track…for free!

Camping at Deer Island for a week: $140 + tax
Guided Wade Fishing for two from Smith River Outfitters: $375 + tax
Lunch & Wine Tasting for two at Hamlet Vineyards: $40-$50 + tax
Admission to the Virginia Museum of Natural History for two: $10 - $20  + tax
Admission to Piedmont Arts for two: Free
Self-Guided Walking Tour at Martinsville Speedway: Free (not available during NASCAR race weeks)
Tickets for two to a NASCAR Cup race at Martinsville Speedway: Starting at $100 for two

Total: $685

There are many ways to check off those bucket list items, in an affordable fashion, with a trip to Martinsville-Henry County, VA. To learn more, check out