Family Vacations to Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Dusk at Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia (courtesy, National Park Service)

Shenandoah National Park Family Travel Tips

  • Take a leisurely cruise along a curvy mountain road while you take in the gorgeous scenery of Skyline Drive.
  • Listen to the haunting melody of an organ created from stalactites at Luray Caverns.
  • Learn all about the history of the forests and meadows at Story of the Forest Nature.

The Shenandoah River and Blue Ridge Mountains aren’t the subjects of a John Denver song for nothing. The tranquil beauty and opportunities to connect with nature via its 500-plus miles of hiking trails, ranger programs, campsites, and more, make Shenandoah National Park a national treasure.

The diversity of the park’s geography and ecosystems means you’ll see views of stunning mountain ranges, waterfalls, rivers and valleys, as well as a wide variety of plants and trees, and birds and animals—possibly including black bear, white-tail deer, bobcat, fox, rabbits, wild turkeys, red-tailed hawks, and many types of fish. You may also see the remains of homes of people who were forced to leave when the park was being created in the 1920s and 1930s. Hiking and camping, backpacking, back-country camping, and bird-watching are popular activities in the park. Just outside the park’s entrance, Luray Caverns offers the opportunity to walk inside a yawning cavern where rock formations create spooky and spectacular scenes.

Fall is a particularly popular time of year to visit the park, as the autumn leaves change colors to create a breathtaking display; however, there are natural treasures that astound in any season. Take a cruise down the 105-mile Skyline Drive and stop to enjoy the many scenic overlooks along the way; or pull off for a hike along one of the park’s many nature trails—I suggest Story of the Forest Nature or Dickey Ridge trails. Three visitor centers offer exhibits, ranger-led tours, maps, and other helpful information.

Published: 2 Apr 2009 | Last Updated: 30 Mar 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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