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13 Best Things to Do in Shenandoah Valley

13 Best Things to Do in Shenandoah Valley Featured Image

Stretching approximately 200 miles in the panhandle and western part of Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and the iconic Skyline Drive. Whether you’re looking to explore lush forests, visit historic sites, or experience charming towns, there is no shortage of activities and sights to enjoy.

You can start by exploring charming towns like Winchester, Staunton, and Harrisonburg or visit one of the vineyards and wineries in the area. If you’re seeking solace, the Shenandoah Valley is also a great destination for relaxation, and there’s no better place to achieve all of this and more than one of our Blue Maple vacation rentals

With so many things to see and do in Shenandoah Valley, we’ve compiled our list of the absolute best to help our guests plan their itineraries.

1. Visit the Shenandoah Valley National Park

Photo Credit: Jon Bilous

Visiting the Shenandoah National Park in the heart of Shenandoah Valley promises breathtaking natural beauty and outdoor adventures for all types of travelers. 

The national park spans around 200,000 acres along the Blue Ridge Mountains, filled with hiking trails available for all levels. You can visit waterfalls and rocky outcrops or watch the wildlife. Given the cultural heritage of the Appalachian Mountains, this national park should be included on your list of places to visit during your stay.

2. Explore the Anthodite Formations at the Skyline Caverns

Photo Credit: Al Orfali

The Skyline Caverns, located near Front Royal in Shenandoah Valley, is known for its geological formations, specifically the rare anthodites. These are unique crystal formations referred to as “orchids of the mineral kingdom,” and it’s one of the largest caverns in the Shenandoah Valley. You can attend a one-hour guided tour; just make sure you don’t forget to pay attention to the details so you can answer the trivia questions from your guide! 

3. Check out the Waterfalls of Falling Springs Falls

Photo Credit: Wirestock Creators

Falling Springs Falls is an impressive waterfall located near Covington. It plunges nearly 80 feet over the cliff face, making it one of the best things to do in Shenandoah Valley. You have a few options to experience the waterfall. It is easily accessible from Route 220 and makes a very popular stop along the Allegheny Highlands region. 

You can take a short walk from the parking area to an observation point to check out the waterfall from a safe distance. The viewing area also offers panoramic views of the falls as it pours into the natural pool below.

4. Walk the Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail

Photo Credit: Wally Gobetz via Flickr CC2.0

Stretching across the valley region,  Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail is perfect for experiencing the region. The trail takes you through vineyards and wineries where you can stop for a break and sip award-winning wines. 

Many of these wineries along the trail also offer guided tours of their vineyards and production facilities, perfect for those who wish to learn about wine production. Some also host special events during the year that include live music and culinary events.

5. Peruse the Stalls at the Harrisonburg Farmer’s Market

Photo Credit: Stephen Little via Flickr CC2.0

The Harrisonburg Farmers Market stands are open year-round, and it’s the perfect location for those looking to buy fresh produce and artisanal crafts or simply enjoy the lively atmosphere. 

Located in downtown Harrisonburg, you can expect many choices of meats, cheeses, and baked goods sourced directly from local farms and producers. Besides perusing and shopping at this farmers market, you get to socialize and meet some of the locals who certainly provide you with additional insider information on the best things to do in Shenandoah Valley.

6. Taste the Local Brews at the Hawksbill Brewing Company

Photo Credit: Damian Hyde

Tasting the local brews at Hawksbill Brewing Company is a must-do experience for those who prefer beer over wine. You can find it in the town of Luray, and it’s one of the breweries known for its craft beers reflecting the spirit and flavors of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. They offer pilot recipes and seasonal beers you can try, such as the Shenandoah Sunrise Porter and the Farmer’s Brown Ale. 

7. Explore the Garden Maze at Luray Caverns

Photo Credit: Alexandre Tziripouloff

If you’re up for a puzzle, you can find your way out of the Garden Maze at the Luray Caverns. It’s an excellent activity for families to do as you get to take the twists and turns, dead ends, and the occasional hidden surprise. Just make sure you complete your mission card!

8. Enjoy the Water of the Shenandoah River

Photo Credit: Karlsson Photo

The Shenandoah River is known for its shallow waters and going through some of the best nature views available in the valley. It’s divided into two main forks, North Fork and South Fork, which converge near Front Royal. Take your pick of water activities at the river, from canoeing and kayaking to tubing and floating. Enjoy river trips with one of the local outfitters!

9. Go on a Horseback Ride

Photo Credit: Leslie Robinson

One of the best things to do in Shenandoah Valley is go on a horseback ride at the national park. There are guided tours through wooded trails provided by Skyland Stables (located on mile 42.5 of the Skyline Drive). Worry about your little ones? Don’t be, since they offer pony rides, too!

10. Navigate Down the Shenandoah National Park Skyline Drive

Photo Credit: Zack Frank

The Skyline Drive is a scenic roadway that takes you the entire length of the Shenandoah National Park, about 105 miles along the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

There are also over 70 designated overlooks along Skyline Drive, where you can stop for a break and enjoy some activities, like hiking the Old Rag Mountain trail. To make it easier to plan, note that there are four main entrances: 

  • Front Royal in the north
  • Thornton Gap near Luray
  • Swift Run Gap near Elkton
  • Rockfish Gap near Waynesboro in the south

11. Experience Natural Bridge State Park

Photo Credit: WhiteHotRanch

The Natural Bridge State Park is home to a limestone arch standing 215 feet high, spanning 90 feet across Cedar Creek. It’s one of the largest natural bridges in the US, making our list of the best things to do in Shenandoah Valley. You can do various outdoor activities and explore hiking trails with bridge views. For example, the Cedar Creek Trail will take you right underneath the bridge and continue to other areas like the Lost River and the Monacan Indian Village.

12. Visit the White Oak Lavender Farm

Photo Credit: Rick Goodman

Nothing helps you feel calmer and more relaxed than lavender, so why not get supplies at the White Oak Lavender Farm? It’s a family-owned farm filled with aromatic flowers and a gift shop with over 100 lavender products – from soaps, locations, creams, essential oils, and even lavender-infused white wine. If you also like crafts, you can attend one of their wreath-making or wand-weaving classes! 

13. Experience Shenandoah Valley Festivals

Photo Credit: Lawrence OP via Flickr CC2.0

The Shenandoah Valley hosts a series of annual festivals and events. These showcase local art and music to agricultural fairs and historical reenactments, so check your itinerary and see if you can attend one! Here are some of our favorites:

Don’t Miss These Best Things to Do in Shenandoah Valley

We hope this list of the best things to do in Shenandoah Valley helps you prepare for your trip. Remember to book one of our Blue Maple vacation rentals

Our collection offers over 80 cabins and cottages equipped with the essentials for your getaway to this fantastic corner of the East Coast. You’ll have all the comforts of home but with the scenic views of the Shenandoah Valley.

Book your poolside retreat, group getaway, or romantic escape today!