How to Get There:
Roadtrip! The Shenandoah Valley of the Appalachian Mountains is located about 75 miles west of D.C. So about a 2 hour drive depending on where you’re staying in the area. If you’re coming from the Midwest or up from the South then you’re looking at a 10-12 hour drive – again depending on your final destination.
It’s a great weekend trip for those closer to the area and a nice extended getaway for those further away.
Where to Stay:
There are plenty of options for your stay ranging from rugged & outdoorsy to more pampering & luxurious. It all depends on what you’re looking for!
Resort Living – Skyland Resort
Located at the crest of the Shenandoah Valley, they offer a variety of accommodations from small, rustic cabins to suites with fireplaces. This is where you’ll find you’re typical hotel amenities and be conveniently located right on the Skyline Drive.
Cabin Stays – VRBO.com
My personal suggestion is renting a cabin for your stay. Again there are a variety of options from luxury to budget, and I found I really liked not having anyone nearby as you would when staying at a resort. I think it’s also a better option for big groups as you can pitch in for one huge cabin and not worry about being considerate of other guests if you end up having a late night or two 😉
Back Woods Camping – Shenandoah Campgrounds
If you’re looking for a true mountain experience, sleeping under the stars and becoming one with nature, camping may be the way to go! There are plenty of campgrounds in the area, you can even find some right on the Shenandoah River.
Where to Eat:
Derrick and I decided to just cook our own meals during our stay. My suggestion is to stock up on groceries before heading into the mountains as there are very limited options (read: the local Walmart) once you get up there. Focus on things that are easy and pre-made – pastas, salads in a bag, heat-n-serve bbq, etc.
While Derrick and I didn’t get to try any of the town’s restaurants ourselves (mostly due to the fact we wanted to get back to our cabin before it got dark because of our treacherous mountain drive), there were a few places we think we would’ve really enjoyed.
A full service delicatessen and sandwich shop located in the Historic District of downtown Luray. They over sandwiches, soups, salads, speciality meats, cheeses, and homemade side dishes. They also have a nice beer and wine selection with wine from local vineyards.
You can never go wrong with good BBQ. At Triple Crown they prepare food daily on their wood fire smoker. They offer every mouthwatering bbq treat you can think of from pulled pork and sliced sirloin to baby back ribs and smoked chicken. I’m seriously drooling just thinking about it.
A very small and busy eatery joined by a little wine shop located just outside old town of Front Royal. A casual and pleasant atmosphere awaits along with soups, sandwiches, and a small bar offering beer and wine.
What to Do
Oh the things you can do!
This area is known for it’s hiking trails ranging from easy-going strolls to epic climbs up sides of mountains. Check out this post to read about my and DCT’s hiking experience.
White water rafting, kayaking, canoeing, tubing, you name it, there’s a water sports program that offers it.
To my pleasant surprise, it turns out Shenandoah Valley is a known and highly regarded place to make wine. There are loads of vineyards in the area, you could easily spend a whole day vineyard hopping. And you’ll get to see idylicc places like this:
Cheers to that!
If you want your mind blown by the amazingness that is mother nature take a visit to the Luray Caverns. They’re the largest caverns in the Eastern U.S. and it is a sight to behold. Pictures do not do this place justice, so it’s definitely worth a stop to see it with your own eyes.
Scenic Mountain Drives
I think simply driving around in our car was one of my favorite parts of the trip. There were winding roads, gorgeous views and quintessential farmhouses that looked right out of a storybook. I will say by the time we left we were ready for the flat plains of the Midwest.
You’re on vacay! And a mountain getaway can be just as peaceful and relaxing as a beach getaway. So take the opportunity to slooooooow doooooown.
I’d love to hear your thoughts? Do you think you’d head out to the mountains of the Shenandoah Valley anytime soon?
Thanks for reading!
| Photos by yours truly |