Three broadband simulation methods are used to generate synthetic ground motions for the 2011 Mineral, Virginia, earthquake and compare with observed motions. The methods include a physics‐based model by Hartzell et al. (1999, 2005), a stochastic source‐based model by Boore (2009), and a stochastic site‐based model by Rezaeian and Der Kiureghian (2010, 2012). The ground‐motion dataset consists of 40 stations within 600 km of the epicenter. Several metrics are used to validate the simulations: (1) overall bias of response spectra and Fourier spectra (from 0.1 to 10 Hz); (2) spatial distribution of residuals for GMRotI50 peak ground acceleration (PGA), peak ground velocity, and pseudospectral acceleration (PSA) at various periods; (3) comparison with ground‐motion prediction equations (GMPEs) for the eastern United States. Our results show that (1) the physics‐based model provides satisfactory overall bias from 0.1 to 10 Hz and produces more realistic synthetic waveforms; (2) the stochastic site‐based model also yields more realistic synthetic waveforms and performs superiorly for frequencies greater than about 1 Hz; (3) the stochastic source‐based model has larger bias at lower frequencies (<0.5 Hz) and cannot reproduce the varying frequency content in the time domain. The spatial distribution of GMRotI50 residuals shows that there is no obvious pattern with distance in the simulation bias, but there is some azimuthal variability. The comparison between synthetics and GMPEs shows similar fall‐off with distance for all three models, comparable PGA and PSA amplitudes for the physics‐based and stochastic site‐based models, and systematic lower amplitudes for the stochastic source‐based model at lower frequencies (<0.5 Hz).