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For the most part, Northern Virginia is a crowded region, given its close proximity to Washington D.C. But just an hour and a half away from the nation’s capital is a land of idyllic meadows, breathtaking mountain vistas, and quiet tranquillity.
Shenandoah National Park offers you over 200,000 acres of beautiful parkland to enjoy in the Blue Ridge Mountains. While you are here, you will truly feel you have escaped from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
In this post, we will introduce you to Shenandoah National Park and all that it offers so you can plan the perfect trip.
Where should you get started in exploring this beautiful park? Here are a few key highlights to add to your bucket list:
Sometimes Skyline Drive is foggy. When that happens, you cannot see the views of the mountains. But actually, those foggy days hold their own special magic; looking out into the mysterious white mist that surrounds you, you will feel like you are on the verge of entering another world.
Here are some of the activities you can do while you are visiting Shenandoah National Park:
One nice thing about visiting Shenandoah National Park is that there are a ton of options for where you can stay.
If you want to camp, there are five different campgrounds:
Additionally, if you are tent camping (not RV camping), you are allowed to do backcountry camping as well.
We recommend you set up a pop-up canopy tent in addition to your regular tent. You are probably going to be doing a lot of hiking in the park, which means you are going to want a nice shady spot where you can kick back and relax afterwards while still enjoying the outdoors.
In addition to camping, you can stay at the historic Massanutten Lodge at Skyland, which has a history going back all the way to the end of the 19th century!
Even if you do not stay in the lodge, we do suggest you drop by Skyland anyway. You can enjoy a delicious meal in the dining room there, hang out in the tap room, or listen to a talk at the ampitheater. This is also where you can go on a horseback ride with a guide.
To wrap up this post, let’s answer a few frequently asked questions about visiting Shenandoah.
Q: What is the best time to visit Shenandoah National Park?
A: We suggest visiting in either fall or spring. In fall, you get to enjoy the autumn leaves. Spring is a good season for avoiding crowds as well as summer heat.
Q: How long does it take to drive through Shenandoah National Park?
A: You can drive from one end of the park to the other in about 3 hours.
Q: How many days do you need in Shenandoah National Park?
A: At a minimum, we suggest you spend at least 2-3 days and nights in Shenandoah. That said, the real answer is, “as much time as you can get!” There is a ton to see and do in Shenandoah. You will always wish you could spend more time in this wonderful park.
Q: How likely is it to see a bear in Shenandoah National Park?
A: It really is impossible to say whether you will see a bear in Shenandoah or not. Some locations bears reportedly frequent include Rose River Falls, Trayfoot Mountain and Bearfence Mountain. Dusk and dawn are the ideal times of day to spot bears and other wildlife.
Shenandoah National Park is the idyllic mountain getaway that you will never forget. Whether you are admiring the views from Skyline Drive, hiking to the top of Old Rag, exploring Big Meadows, or doing any number of other activities in the park, you will be experiencing the best the Blue Ridge Mountains have to offer.