Get closer to nature and build family bonds with a visit to Shenandoah County. Attractions here are no-frills and not fancy, but are guaranteed to bring smiles and warm hearts. Hike in the woods, skip rocks on the river, feed llamas, pick berries and explore caverns are just a few ideas, but imagine a place that allows for together time, marveling at the views, enjoying farm-fresh foods and creating beautiful memories.
Once called the “Breadbasket of the South”, Shenandoah County has deep roots in agriculture with many family farms still in operation a hundred or more years after their original ancestor first put a shovel in the land. Nowadays, family farms are diversifying, and creating spaces for visitors to pick fruits and pet the animals. One “Century Farm” has even begun brewing craft beer and serving wood-fired pizzas made with ingredients sourced within a stone’s throw.
Here are some of our favorite farm experiences in the area:
This 27-acre farm is home to over 30 llamas visitors can meet, pet, feed and, if you’re lucky, even share a llama kiss! The mission of the farm is to share their love of llamas with all who visit and they deliver on that promise. The owner’s love and enthusiasm for these charming animals is infectious. Open year round by appointment.
This Virginia Century Farm offering pick-your-own berries in several varieties including raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and black raspberries, and gooseberries. Their kitchen also offers wood fired pizzas, farm crafted sausages and home-made pretzels and well as farm crafted beers.
Woodbine Farms is a family owned and operated farm market offering a huge variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs including peaches, plum, cherries, apricots, apples, tomatoes, green beans and much more. Their bakery also serves up some of the best cookies around as well as fresh baked pies, artisan breads, and apple dumplings. Enjoy local cheeses, jams, ciders and more inside the market or venture outside for their children’s play area complete with mining sluice.
RIVERS, CAVERNS AND OTHER OUTDOOR DESTINATIONS
This four season resort offers a variety of summer activities including biking, zip-line, grass tubing, swimming and boat rental, rock climbing wall, and mini-golf. Beginner cyclists can take a lesson on their state of the art mountain bike trail which allows visitors to coast down the mountain and take in the spectacular views. Lake Laura is also part of Bryce Resort’s summer fun where the family can enjoy paddleboarding, canoeing and tubing or just wade in and swim. There is no lifeguard on duty, so no one under 16 is admitted without a parent or guardian.
Beat the heat in an underground landscape- At a constant 56°F, the beauty and wonders of Shenandoah Caverns is a family experience like no other. Check out Shenandoah County’s beautiful scenery below the surface and learn the story of two young boys who discovered it over a hundred years ago and made it their secret hideaway. Shenandoah Caverns has working elevator service and is home to the famous “bacon formations” as featured in National Geographic Magazine. Included with your ticket to the Caverns there are several other attractions that are definitely worth seeing: Main Street of Yesteryear, the Yellow Barn and American Celebration on Parade. American Celebration on Parade is a favorite among families who enjoy seeing floats from the Rose Bowl Parades, Thanksgiving Day Parades and Presidential Inaugurals up close and personal. Many even come to life with the push of a button.
This park offers a one of the most family/kid friendly river access points in the area suitable for canoes, kayaks and shallow aluminum boats. Fish for redbreast sunfish or small-mouth bass along the shores or enjoy a stroll along the gravel path running alongside the river. This park also features a wonderful playground for children.
Take a short 1/3 mile round-trip hike to one of the most spectacular views of the Shenandoah Valley. The Woodstock Tower was originally built as one of the first Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) projects now offers stunning 360 degree views of the Seven Bends of the Shenandoah! River, the Town of Woodstock, and Fort Valley. It’s a perfectly short hike for little ones and the views are breathtaking. Note: The drive to the trail head is filled with switchbacks as it climbs over Massanutten Mountain. RV’s Trailers and buses are not allowed.
For your tough-and-mighty trail warriors this 4 mile round trip hike offers a perfect day on the mountain with places to stop for a picnic. A beautiful rock outcropping at the end makes a perfect spot for a family photo. You can’t beat the views here! At the trail head are several places to set up a tent and campfire for the night. Memories made.
Home to the summer concert series Woodstock R.O.C.S. and Kid’s R.O.C., this park also offers a newly renovated play area complete with traditional favorites such as slides and swings as well as a natural play area with kitchen, water features and willow tunnel.
ICE CREAM STANDS
No matter what part of the county you visit, there’s always a good place to stop and cool down with a sweet treat. After your adventures, on the rivers, trails or underground it’s easy to find a place to stop at one of the many ice cream stands around the County. Offering classic treats such as hand-dipped cones, custard and milkshakes as well as chillers filled with your favorite candy bars. Most places are open seasonally and are enjoyed by locals and travelers alike.
Ice Cream Depot 363 E King St. Strasburg, Virginia
The Sugar Shack 629 South Main Street Woodstock
Katie’s Custard– 870 S Main St Woodstock
Smiley’s Kustard– 1562 Orkney Grade Bayse (near Bryce Resort)
Pack’s Frozen Custard – 211 East Lee Highway, New Market
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Featured image provided by Shenandoah County Tourism
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