Not far from Washington, DC, is the lovely Shenandoah Valley. From scenic hikes and cascading waterfalls to historical landmarks and natural wonders, there is truly something to do for everyone. Whether you plan a weekend getaway or a week-long vacation, you'll never tire of all the exciting things to do in Shenandoah Valley. Read on for six of the best things to do in the Shenandoah Valley.
1. Cruise down the Shenandoah National Park Skyline Drive
Easily one of the most popular things to do in Shenandoah Valley, the Skyline Drive offers you 105 miles of breathtaking scenery. Go during the fall so you can appreciate all of the vibrant red, yellow, and orange foliage along one of America's most cherished mountain drives.
Pro Tip: Deer, black bear, wild turkey, and a host of other woodland animals call Shenandoah home and regularly cross Skyline Drive in their daily travels. To be sure, watch carefully for these animals who may dart across your path without warning.
Where To Stay Near The Front Royal Entrance to the Shenandoah National Park Skyline Drive
There are only four entrance points to access the Skyline Drive. The Front Royal Entrance of the Skyline Drive is the northernmost entrance. This entrance is just a short drive for Baltimore, MD or Washington, DC.
Ashby Inn and Restaurant
Nestled in a quiet village, the Ashby Inn and Restaurant is only one hour west of Washington, DC. The village of Paris, Virginia played an important part in the lives of many prominent people in our nation's history like George Washington and Stonewall Jackson. As a matter of fact, each of the inn's 10 elegant rooms are a nod to the village's deep historical roots.
Another lodging option is the L'Auberge Provencale Bed and Breakfast in Boyce, Virginia. Here, you'll experience culinary masterpieces crafted with fresh vegetables and herbs from the B&B's own garden. This Northern Virginia bed and breakfast also has an award-winning wine list you'll need to taste for yourself. You're invited to enjoy an unforgettable stay in one of the 14 rooms at the L'Auberge Provencale Bed and Breakfast.
The Inn at Vaucluse Spring
This peaceful oasis on 44 scenic acres in the Shenandoah Valley includes 3 private romantic cabins and an elegant and historic 1890’s Manor House. Enjoy the silence and the sounds of the waterfall from the limestone spring that generates over 1.5 million gallons of water each day. History, hiking, biking, wineries, and antiquing are all nearby at The Inn at Vaucluse Spring.
2. Taste Shenandoah Valley Wines
Thanks to a relatively dry climate, limestone soil, and a beautiful location between the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains, the Shenandoah Valley is well suited to producing excellent wines. What's more, with well over two dozen vineyards in the Shenandoah Valley region, there's no shortage of wines to try.
When exiting the Skyline Drive at the Swift Run Gap entrance station, be sure to stop at Early Mountain Vineyard, where wines are paired with a menu crafted entirely from foods sourced from local farms. Additionally, the tasting room has a beautiful rustic chic vibe with gorgeous views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
After leaving Early Mountain, head south towards Charlottesville. There you can book a tour with Monticello Appelation Wine Tours, where you'll be driven around to three local vineyards to experience wine tastings and food pairings. The best part? You don't have to drive yourself, so you're free to taste as much wine as you like!
Where To Stay Near The Swift Run Gap Entrance to the Shenandoah National Park Skyline Drive
The Foxfield Inn
Enjoy the beautiful countryside near Charlottesville. Visit wineries and breweries, hike or go horseback riding in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Afterwards, relax and rejuvenate in the warmth and casual elegance of The Foxfield Inn.
Arcady Vineyard B&B
Sitting on 14 wooded acres and a vineyard of 300 grape vines, Arcady Vineyard B&B offers a peaceful getaway surrounded by nature. From outdoor adventure and history to romance and wine, this is the perfect place to get away from it all. Let a local vineyard owner help craft your getaway to the Historic Virginia Wine Country!
Prospect Hill Inn and Restaurant
Nestled on 40 stunning acres in the midst of Virginia's burgeoning wine industry, the grounds at Prospect Hill are magnificently maintained. In fact, many of the original 1840’s tree plantings form a 5-acre arboretum. Situated on a 1732 Southern farm, the historic guest rooms and cottages date from 1699 to 1850, giving guests a true feel for the history of the region.
3. Visit Crabtree Falls Waterfall
Crabtree Falls, the highest vertical drop cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River, is located quite close to the Blue Ridge Parkway. This impressive waterfall features 5 major cascades and falls a total distance of 1200 feet. With various overlooks along paved trails as well as more rugged trail options, this is a great experience no matter your fitness level.
4. Be Inspired by the Natural Bridge
One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the Modern World, the Natural Bridge is an inspiring landmark. When you see the large bridge that resulted after years of the Cedar Creek carving out a gorge in the rocky limestone terrain, you'll understand why local Indians worshiped it, famous artists painted it, and Thomas Jefferson purchased it.
Where To Stay Near Crabtree Falls and the Natural Bridge
Steeles Tavern Manor
Set on 50 beautiful acres, the Steeles Tavern Manor is a wondrous place at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains between Staunton and Lexington, Virginia. Stay in one of the 5 large guest rooms at the historic Manor house or pick one of the 3 cottages for a more private, romantic getaway.
Brierley Hill Bed and Breakfast
Another lodging option not far from the Natural Bridge is the Brierley Hill Bed and Breakfast in Lexington, Virginia. This B&B offers panoramic views of the Shenandoah Valley, and the Blue Ridge and the Appalachian Mountains. Choose from any of its 6 rooms for your stay and make sure to enjoy its award-winning gardens when you're not out exploring the Shenandoah National Park.
5. Spend the day hiking the Shenandoah National Park
With over 500 miles of scenic trails, it might take you more than a few days to hike the entire Shenandoah National Park. From stunning waterfalls to breathtaking vistas, make sure you visit the park's best hiking trails if your time is limited here.
If you're searching for scenic views, try out the Stony Man Mountain Hike. Just over a mile and a half, the hike itself is easy and the views are some of the best in the Shenandoah National Park on a clear day.
6. Visit Luray Caverns
Luray Caverns is the largest caverns in Eastern America. The enormous chambers are 10-stories high and feature towering stone columns, shimmering draperies and crystal clear pools. Be sure not to miss the Great Stalacpipe Organ - it literally makes the stalactites sing throughout three acres of the caverns!
Where To Stay when visiting Stony Man and Luray Caverns
Inn at Willow Grove
Well worth the drive from the Stony Man Mountain Hike is the incredible Inn at Willow Grove in Orange, Virginia. This historic home is the epitome of luxurious elegance. Each of its 14 rooms reflect the inn's historical grandeur with sitting areas, gas fireplaces, private porches, and spa bathrooms complete with heated tile floors, large soaking tubs, and more.
Stay Right Outside Of The Shenandoah Valley
If you're staying right outside of the area, you can still enjoy all of the exciting things to do in the Shenandoah Valley. Here are a few Select Registry properties that are a little over an hour away.
Fort Lewis Lodge
Experience all of the luxuries of a full-service country inn at the Fort Lewis Lodge in Millboro Springs, Virginia. Start your morning with a delicious breakfast before setting out to explore the lodge's 3,200 acres of lush wilderness. After you've enjoyed a full day of mountains, forests, fields, streams, and wildlife, return to the Fort Lewis Lodge for a creative and hearty dinner before you retire to one of its 20 guest rooms.
Inn at Riverbend
A romantic retreat set on 14 acres offering stunning views of the New River and the Appalachian Mountains, The Inn at Riverbend offers luxurious accommodations in an unspoiled and peaceful setting. From wineries, hiking, canoeing, fishing, enjoying the arts and history, there is much to do. Just 9 miles from the inn, gorgeous Cascade Falls waterfall is a perfect 4 mile hike and one of the most renowned in Virginia.