Glorious sunset views in the mountains is one of the best things to do in the Shenandoah Valley this fall

Things to do in the Shenandoah Valley This Fall

Heather Taylor - August 25, 2022

Fall in the Shenandoah Valley

Black couple hiking - one of the top things to do in the Shenandoah Valley this fall

The Shenandoah Valley is arguably one of the most beautiful parts of the country, as it stretches 140 scenic miles between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Allegheny Mountains. There are so many incredible things to do in the Shenandoah Valley. 

At one time, the Shenandoah Valley was considered America’s frontier, and today stands as a culturally rich and diverse area that has preserved much of that history. This rich history is, at least in part, why you’ll find many great things to do in the Shenandoah Valley.

The Stunning Shenandoah Valley has long been a mecca for outdoor lovers. Given the breathtaking beauty, you’ll find around every bend, it’s easy to see why. Among the more popular things to do in the Shenandoah Valley include hiking and biking – though that’s certainly not all you’ll find here!

The area is rich with Civil War History, vibrant and small communities, plenty of agricultural heritage, and some of the best wineries in Virginia. Everywhere you turn, you’ll be treated to an authentic sense of character, both in the architecture and the people that call this amazing place home. 

Among the many things to do in the Shenandoah Valley are visits to the stunning Shenandoah National Park, which opened in 1935, and the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway, which has been nicknamed “American’s favorite drive.” These attractions are as amazing as they sound, but they truly are just the tip of the iceberg of all the great things to do in the Shenandoah Valley. 

Though there are plenty of things to do in the Shenandoah Valley, you’re also welcome to do nothing. Sometimes, that’s one of the best parts about a getaway – you don’t “need” to do anything! Unwind, unplug, and enjoy some quiet time to yourself in a way you can only do at one of the top-rated Shenandoah Valley Bed and Breakfasts. 

Young friends wine tasting, one of the best things to do in the Shenandoah Valley this fall

Things to do in the Shenandoah Valley

The Shenandoah Valley is home to some of the country’s most dazzling natural beauty – especially when an explosion of fall colors rolls through town.  From enjoying scenic drives and invigorating hikes to exploring the quaint, rural towns that dot the countryside, there are plenty of fantastic things to do in the Shenandoah Valley. 

Wherever you go this fall, you will surely encounter warm, friendly people, plenty of history and charm, and unbeatable natural beauty. There’s so much to love about this small stretch of land in Virginia! Here are the top things to do in the Shenandoah Valley this fall. 

  1. Enjoying scenic drives is one of the most popular things to do in the Shenandoah Valley, and two of the country’s top drives are found here.  Don’t miss Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park and the famed Blue Ridge Parkway. We’ll cover Blue Ridge Parkway fall colors in more detail below. There are also plenty of quiet backroads perfect for scenic drives.  
  2. Besides marveling in the beauty along Skyline Drive, make sure to get out and enjoy the top things to do in Shenandoah National Park, including hiking, biking, and viewing wildlife. 
  3. One of the most popular things to do in the Shenandoah Valley, besides visiting the park and enjoying scenic drives, is hike. There’s certainly no shortage of incredible hikes to take in the area, including segments of the Appalachian Trail. Here are a few suggested hikes
  4. Wine tasting has increasingly become one of the most popular things to do in the Shenandoah Valley, thanks to the incredible Virginia wineries growing and producing here. 
  5. There’s also a burgeoning craft beer scene, which isn’t surprising given the agricultural history of this fertile area. You can see many of them on the Shenandoah Beerworks Trail!
  6. There are several rivers flowing through the Shenandoah Valley, which means ample opportunities to canoe and kayak throughout the valley. 
  7. Explore the fantastic towns of the Shenandoah Valley, including Staunton, Lexington, and Harrisonburg
  8. There are many underground caverns in Virginia, many of which rank as top things to do in the Shenandoah Valley!  Popular choices include the Luray Caverns, Shenandoah Caverns, Skyline Caverns, Grand Caverns, Natural Bridge Caverns, and more.
  9. Getting your fill of apples, cider, and apple cider donuts is arguably one of the most delicious things to do in the Shenandoah Valley this fall – and there are plenty of places to do just that! Here’s a guide to some of the best orchards and farms in the valley. 
  10. Head to Natural Bridge State Park, where you’ll find an impressive 215-foot-tall natural bridge, great hiking trails, and more worth exploring. 
  11. Take in an incredible performance at the Blackfriars Playhouse at the American Shakespeare Center.
  12. If you’re a food lover, there are plenty of great things to do in the Shenandoah Valley. One unique experience is the Fields of Gold Agrotourism Program. There are also plenty of fantastic apple orchards in the area, a time-honored fall tradition in the Shenandoah Valley.
Gorgeous fall views of the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the best things to do in the Shenandoah Valley This Fall

Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Colors

It’s hard to choose from these amazing things to do in the Shenandoah Valley, but if we had to choose just one thing to enjoy this fall, it’d be witnessing the dramatic Blue Ridge Parkway fall colors. There’s a reason it’s one of the most popular scenic drives in the country.

The Blue Ridge Parkway stretches from the northern part of Virginia, near Shenandoah National Park, south to Cherokee, North Carolina, near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The drive can be divided into four sections: The Ridge, The Plateau, The Highlands, and The Pisgah. The Shenandoah Valley is found nearest the northern section, The Ridge. 

You’ll enjoy far more than the Blue Ridge Parkway fall colors as you travel along this road. You’ll also see gorgeous rural scenery, including split-rail fences, old farmsteads, historic structures, and unbeatable views of the neighboring mountains and valleys. Below, we’ve highlighted the ten best things to do on the Blue Ridge Parkway near the Shenandoah Valley.  

  1. A fall hike and afternoon picnic at Crabtree Falls is not only one of our favorite things to do in the Shenandoah Valley, but it’s also a great place to soak up the beauty of Blue Ridge Parkway fall colors. 
  2. Crabtree Falls isn’t the only waterfall to enjoy on this part of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Others include White Rock Falls, Wigwam FallsApple Orchard Falls, and Fallingwater Cascades.
  3. One of our favorite ways to enjoy the Blue Ridge Parkway fall colors is hiking at Peaks of Otter. Head to the top of Sharp Top Mountain, and you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking 360-degree view of the Shenandoah Valley below.
  4. Another great thing to do along this portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway is to hike the Johnson Farm Trail. It’s a great place to find quintessential pastoral views of the restored farmhouse, antique farm equipment, and barn.
  5. There are great views and hiking at the Humpback Rocks area. This area once served as a path across the Blue Ridge Mountains in the days before railroads found their way through the mountain gaps. 
  6. Head to Apple Orchard Mountain Overlook at Milepost 76.5, which at 3,950 feet is the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia.
  7. Take a detour off the parkway and visit Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest or his former home at Monticello.

Just a little further to the south along the Blue Ridge Parkway is another wonderful destination worth visiting this fall, the romantic city of Asheville, NC. You can also read more about how to enjoy the Blue Ridge Parkway’s fall colors there.

As you get ready to experience the top things to do in the Shenandoah Valley, make sure to make one of our exquisite Shenandoah Valley Bed and Breakfasts your home away from home. You’ll experience exceptional hospitality that is far from anything you’d find at a traditional hotel. If you’re ready to enjoy the best fall getaway, it’s time to book your room at one of the exceptional Bed and Breakfasts featured below. 

Best Places to Stay in the Shenandoah Valley

L'Auberge Provencale Bed and Breakfast

Our enchanting Shenandoah bed and breakfast is perfect for awakening or rekindling romance, a proposal, anniversary, birthday, small weddings and elopements or an exceptional DC weekend getaway from today’s hectic world. The Premier Guest Rooms and Elegant Suites at our bed and breakfast capture the essence of the French countryside with luxurious amenities. Savor our three, or five-course menu or chefs tasting menu, with freshly picked vegetables and herbs from our garden and an abundance of fruits from the orchard of our charming Northern Virginia Bed and Breakfast. 

Enjoy traveling the back roads of Virginia during your stay at our picturesque bed and breakfast, and discover fabulous wine tasting, antiquing, golfing, horseback riding, and even ballooning near the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway area. 

The Ashby Inn & Restaurant

The Ashby Inn & Restaurant is a Northern Virginia Bed and Breakfast located in the quiet village of Paris, Virginia. Just one hour west of Washington, DC, the inn is at the very center of our country’s dynamic first century. From George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette to Stonewall Jackson and John Mosby, the village has played an integral part in the lives of those who shaped America.

The inn’s guest rooms vary in size and decor. Each is furnished with 19th-century pieces, including four-poster beds, hand-painted wardrobes, quilts, oriental rugs and blanket chests. Four rooms have wood burning fireplaces. Outside the inn, you will find Adirondack chairs, long manicured lawns lined with beautiful perennial flower beds and the Inn’s vegetable and cutting gardens. 

Arcady Vineyard Bed and Breakfast

Arcady Vineyard B&B offers guests several different getaway experiences in one location. From outdoor adventure and history to romance and wine, we provide the perfect place for a romantic getaway in Virginia. Let a local vineyard owner help craft your getaway to the Historic Virginia Wine Country!

Sitting on 14 wooded acres and a vineyard of 300 grape vines, Arcady Vineyard B&B offers a peaceful getaway surrounded by nature. We’re located just 6.5 miles from exciting downtown Charlottesville and the historic pedestrian walking mall with several unique shops and restaurants. There are several wineries, breweries, and more in the area too, not to mention plenty more things to do in the Shenandoah Valley. 

Steeles Tavern Manor

Tucked into the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Steeles Tavern, Virginia on 50 picturesque acres is Steeles Tavern Manor.  Situated midway between the historic towns of Staunton and Lexington, guests can visit many attractions such as Crabtree Falls and the Blue Ridge Parkway, historic Lexington, Staunton’s theater, renowned wineries, and more.

The Manor offers five spacious guest rooms and suites each with gas or electric fireplaces, private baths with either a double Jacuzzi tub or walk-in shower, and modern amenities. 

In addition to the Manor, there are five secluded, romantic cabins on the property.  Each of our Romantic Vacation cabins in the Shenandoah Valley have a private hot tub and a full kitchen with everything you need.

Brierly Hill Bed and Breakfast

Brierley Hill, an ideal location for a Romantic Getaway in Virginia! The Spectacular Panoramic Views of the Shenandoah Valley, Blue Ridge Parkway & Appalachian Mountains are breathtaking.

Our individually decorated rooms and Jacuzzi Suites feature private baths, fireplaces (gas or electric), plush linens, Flat Screen TV and DVD players, WiFi & Luxurious bathrobes.. Additionally, the suites  and Cottages offer refrigerators, and coffee makers. Rooms &  cottages feature central air conditioning / heat for our guests’ comfort. 

Located less than 2 miles from Historic Lexington’s Shops , Restaurants & attractions with Fine Wineries nearby. Other area activities include hiking, biking, kayaking, golfing , fishing, antiquing, and exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The Inn at Willow Grove

Located at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this historic estate boasts a brilliant combination of modern elegance and historic charm. We invite you to Escape, Unwind, and Indulge at the historic Inn at Willow Grove! Located at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this beautiful manor house offers luxurious accommodations perfect for relaxing getaways, memorable weddings, romantic honeymoons, productive staff retreats, and so much more.

From the moment you walk in the door, you will be greeted by unsurpassed service at our Top-rated resort in Virginia. Leave your bags in the car and enjoy a glass of Prosecco at check-in while your personal concierge carries your belongings to your room.

Our rooms feature sitting areas, gas fireplaces, private porches, and spa-style bathrooms with heated tile floors, large soaking tubs, plenty of amenities.

Foxfield Inn

At Foxfield Inn, guests enjoy a unique blend of luxury and warm hospitality at our elegant, cozy bed and breakfast near Charlottesville. It’s the perfect place to get away for a change of pace, from visiting award-winning wineries, breweries, and cideries to outdoor activities like hiking, horseback riding, or hot air ballooning over the Albermarle County countryside and Blue Ridge Mountains.

History and architecture buffs can visit three Presidential homes, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, James Monroe’s Highland, and James Madison’s Montpelier, plus the University of Virginia. Charlottesville, with UVA, its Cavaliers sports teams, rapidly growing Arts and Artisan community, galleries, antiques, and food specialty shops, is only 8 miles away. 

Come join us for a memorable, rejuvenating stay in Foxfield Inn’s gracious, casually elegant surroundings.

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