Discover the Charming Towns Around Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park, a beautiful region in the state of Virginia, is renowned for its stunning Blue Ridge Mountains, vibrant colored foliage, and the famous Skyline Drive. But the adventure doesn't stop at the park's boundaries! Surrounding Shenandoah, there are several charming towns that offer visitors a variety of local hotels, restaurants, and cultural experiences. Whether you're looking for a cozy bed and breakfast or a hearty meal after a long day of hiking, these communities have something for everyone.
Front Royal, VA
This quaint town, often referred to as the "Canoe Capital of Virginia," is the northern gateway to Shenandoah National Park. Front Royal boasts a number of hotels, inns, and bed & breakfasts, providing the perfect accommodation to suit any traveler's needs. For dining, visitors should not miss the opportunity to try local Southern-style cooking. Local restaurants like Element and Blue Wing Frog offer an array of dishes that are sure to satisfy.
Luray is famous for more than just its proximity to Shenandoah National Park; it’s also the home of Luray Caverns, the largest caverns in the Eastern United States. The town provides a number of lodging options from chain hotels to charming inns like the Mimslyn Inn that exude southern hospitality. For dining, the Gathering Grounds Patisserie & Cafe is a must-visit for a delicious breakfast or lunch, while the Speakeasy Bar and Restaurant offers dinner in a relaxed ambiance with an extensive menu.
Elkton, located just a few miles from Shenandoah National Park’s Swift Run Gap Entrance, is another great base for exploring the park. Though smaller than Front Royal and Luray, it has several comfortable lodging options. When it comes to food, Ciro's Italian Eatery provides a hearty meal with its wide variety of Italian dishes, while Log Cabin BBQ serves up some authentic smoked flavors that are perfect after a day of outdoor activities.
Waynesboro is at the southern end of the Shenandoah National Park and serves as an entrance to both the park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. The area supports a range of accommodations, from hotels to rustic cabins. Food-wise, visitors can enjoy local craft beers and meals at establishments like Heritage on Main Street or try the mouth-watering dishes at Jake's Bar & Grill. Waynesboro is also part of the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail, so nature enthusiasts will have even more to enjoy.
Heading northeast from Shenandoah National Park, you’ll find Stanardsville, a small town with big charm. In terms of lodging, consider staying at one of the lovely local inns, such as the Lafayette Inn, which also serves delectable meals. Stanardsville may not have a large array of restaurants, but the quality of food at places like Jack's Shop Kitchen highlights the local produce with an ever-changing seasonal menu.
Shenandoah National Park and its surrounding towns are not only a feast for the eyes but also for the palate. When dining in the region, there are some iconic dishes you should seek out. For example, Virginia ham is renowned for its flavor; try it at a local restaurant cooked into classic Southern dishes. Apple dishes are also a must, as the area is known for its apple orchards — be on the lookout for apple pie, cider, and other apple-based foods.
For those wanting to savor a true taste of local cuisine, the Skyland Resort located within Shenandoah National Park offers a blend of local favorites and modern American fare with breathtaking views and an emphasis on local, fresh ingredients. The Blackberry Ice Cream Pie is a legendary treat that visitors swear by.
Helpful Websites for Planning Your Visit
To make the most of your trip to Shenandoah National Park and its neighboring towns, consider checking the following websites for accommodation, dining, and tourist information:
- National Park Service - Shenandoah National Park
- Visit Shenandoah
- Shenandoah Valley Travel Association
- TripAdvisor: Shenandoah National Park
- Yelp: Shenandoah National Park Area
These resources offer a wealth of information, from user reviews to official guides. With their help and the charming allure of the small towns surrounding Shenandoah National Park, you're set for an unforgettable Virginian adventure.