Shenandoah National Park
3655 U.S. Highway 211 East Luray, VA 22835
The best way to get out of the city for the day.
An Absolutely Beautiful Hiking and Camping Park
Shenandoah National Park is one of our favorite national parks in the country and we love how close it is to DC. Just an hour and a half from the city, you can truly experience beautiful nature in Shenandoah. The park has biking, fishing, hiking, beautiful nature, and wildlife. Bears, bobcats, bats, deer, and coyotes are just some of the animals you might find in this park.
If you’re visiting the park in bad weather or else just want to see as much as you can as fast as possible, we recommend driving Skyline Drive. The whole road is long, but it provides fantastic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The road is open year-round, closing only if there is a really bad snow, but it especially beautiful in Autumn when the leaves have turned orange. You’re also allowed to bike along this road, but we recommend only doing it with kids who are experienced bikers as there are lots of blind turns.
The park has A LOT of hikes and it’s hard to know which one is best to do with your kids. If you’re looking to do an easy hike to a waterfall, we recommend Lands Run Falls. It’s only a little more than a mile round-trip on a gravel road and has a beautiful ending. We recommend this hike with babies or very small children.
Another hike that we recommend is Tanners Ridge Road hike. It’s just over two miles round trip and is basically flat the whole way. You begin at the Milam Gap parking area. It’s a section of the Appalachian Trail and it takes you to an old homestead and then on to a road. When you reach the road turn around and come back,
Chimney Rocks Trail is our final recommendation. It’s just over three miles and is relatively steep. In the right season, there are beautiful views throughout the hiking, with fantastic wildflowers blooming along the way. There is even a little waterfall and fantastic boulders at the end.
Planning to spend the night? There are many lodging options in the park, including four locations that offer private stand-alone cabins, two of which also offer hotel-style lodging. Despite this, we recommend camping. The park is absolutely stunning and you’ll want to take as much of it in as you can. There are six campgrounds in the park, with one being reserved for large groups. The five remaining are all good options, but our favorite is Big Meadows Campground. It’s near most of the trails and is within walking distance of multiple waterfalls. There are even showers and potable water. There are lots of RV spots, but we recommend that if you’re tenting you try for one of the tents only spots, which are further from the large RVs and more spread out. You can reserve spots here starting in early May.