The Shenandoah Valley is one of the best vacation spots in Virginia for its access to outdoor excellence in all seasons. While some of our routes may be more challenging to hike in winter, there is plenty to do here when it gets cold. Read on for our picks for the activities and accommodations that will help you have a wonderful winter vacation.
Winter fun at Bryce Resort
One of the best places to take advantage of all that winter has to offer is the 400-acre Bryce Resort, which is located just west of Mount Jackson. Bryce has plenty to do in all seasons of the year, but it really shines in winter and was recently named by the family as one of North America's best family-friendly ski resorts. Travel and leisure. Zip to the top of the slopes on one of the high-speed lifts and choose from eight runs, offering routes for different technical skill levels. Do not worry if there is a newcomer in your party. This resort has a first-class ski and snowboard school for children from 4 ½ years. You can also choose from three on-site restaurants for when you want to warm up with a snack. If you decide you want a change from skiing, Bryce Resort also offers snow tubing and an ice rink. Bring your own equipment or rent it at the resort. Another great option for an intense adventure is to sign up for an endurance event such as a snowshoe hike with Rev3Endurance. The 1.5-mile excursions are open to participants eight years of age and older. Gear (and post-adventure drinks) are provided, so all you need to do is put on your snowshoes and get your stamina to the slopes.
Bryce Resort has no accommodations on site, but the nearby Cedar Ridge Lodge will accommodate even the largest of families or groups of friends. The & # 39; luxury rustic / western style & # 39; from the lodge and the great rooms you will love, once you finally drag yourself away from the incredible view of the wraparound deck. Warm up by a crackling fire or watch the stars from the hot tub. There is also a well-equipped kitchen, a pool table, and a great room on a lower level if everyone wants to spread out.
Hike and stay in Page County and Luray, Virginia's Cabin Capital
A winter getaway in Page County and Luray should include hiking in cold weather and a return to a cozy home base. Plan to kickstart your winter vacation by renting one of the hundreds of cabins available in Luray and Page County, also known as the Cabin Capital of Virginia. Cabins vary in size, number of guests they sleep in and amenities. Some are newly built luxury spaces in the city, while others are much more rustic and secluded, embracing the peace and quiet of nature. Check out cabins here or call Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center for a personal match!
After enjoying your evening away from home and enjoying your coffee and the view, go outside. You can't beat the hiking in Shenandoah National Park or the view from the viewpoints along Skyline Drive. Urban walkers will have fun looking for birds and other small wildlife while hiking the Luray Hawksbill Greenway, a two-mile paved nature trail that is just a stone's throw from Luray's lively center. Shenandoah & # 39; s Big Gem Park has a largely undeveloped area that is ideal for bird watchers and wildlife enthusiasts. Hike or bike the trails that wind through the 68 acres, and if you have kids, let them play in the playground. Another fun activity is working together to track down the geocache hidden in the park. Other good outdoor spaces include walking the trails at 39-acre Arrowhead Lake, Shenandoah & # 39; s River Park and Landing, and Stanley & # 39; s Ed Good Park. Those with children will appreciate letting them burn off steam at Ralph H. Dean Recreation Park, which has a large playground and fantastic mountain views.
Winter sports in Rockingham County
Get ready to run and jump on the ice in Bridgewater & # 39; s Generations Park. Due to Covid, the track's capacity is limited to 27 skaters. You can schedule your one hour session in advance by registering online. If you don't have your own skates, the park offers limited rentals and has "walkers" for those just starting out.
After your personal Ice Capades, you'll have earned some lunch at The Cracked Pillar Pub and then head to the Dayton Market for a wide selection of local goods. Your overnight stay should be at Silver Lake Bed and Breakfast, a beautiful home, parts of which date back to the 1750s. The home has been modernized for comfort and convenience, but still retains its historic charm with cabin details and bluestone chimneys. You will be pampered by spacious, romantic rooms, high-quality bed linen and a large veranda to relax in. You will also enjoy the gourmet breakfast with locally sourced ingredients.
Massanutten Resort excels at many things, but winter sports are a highlight. There is something that excites the whole family and hills and thrills for all skill levels. Winter sports include skiing, snowboarding, and tubing on a variety of slopes. You can also stay at the bottom of the mountain and skate on the huge ice rink.
If you're in the Massanutten area for a second day, you'll want to spend it in the indoor water park. The water stays sultry 84 degrees and comes in the form of slides, lazy rivers and a FlowRider® Endless Wave to perfect your surfing skills. Even your youngest children will love the Frog Pond, which is only 12 inches deep and shines with bright colors and kid-sized attractions such as slides, swings and sprinklers. Due to Covid regulations, tickets must be purchased in advance.
After an action-packed day, stop at the nearby Cave Hill Farms Brewery to warm up with a delicious craft brew.
If you want to stay close to the slopes, Massanutten offers accommodations ranging from apartments to hotel rooms. A second option is to drive 20 minutes to Harrisonburg to eat, shop and relax. You will find a variety of accommodation types, including luxury hotels such as the elegant and amenities-rich Hotel Madison, where it is difficult to choose between mountain or downtown views. Vacation accommodations such as By the Side of the Road will please you with their privacy and charm. Harrisonburg also has all the popular brand hotels known for their consistency, convenience, and comfortable familiarity.
Unwind in one of Augusta County's historic properties and stroll through the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest
When the weather gets a little cooler, it's time to explore the hundreds of miles of trails that run through the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. Whether you're interested in shorter hikes for families, day trips, or backpack trekking, you'll find places to hike in both the eastern and western parts of the province. Here's a link to some of our favorite routes. For families with young children, Augusta Springs Park is flat and only about miles long, but interpretive signage provides information on opportunities to explore the outdoors.
When it's time to retire, head to Meadowlark Ridge Bed and Breakfast, where you can snuggle up in cozy accommodations in the middle of the countryside. Relax by the fire with a glass of wine or explore the grounds – 16 acres of woodland and meadows. Enjoy your morning coffee while taking in the view and then enjoy a fresh breakfast made with locally sourced ingredients. The rooms are lined with pine and stocked with local, organic toiletries.
Staunton's historic center and parks
Head to historic Staunton for your winter vacation. There is a lot to see in the walkable downtown area and there are many galleries, boutiques and restaurants to choose from. A proud member of Historic Hotels of America, Hotel 24 South is an excellent home base for your adventure. Opened in 1924, this stately building was given a sleek, modern update in 2018. You feel like a king walking through the grand lobby or having a drink by the fireplace in the lounge. The rooms and suites offer amenities such as pillow top mattresses, access to a fitness center, heated pool, and business center. You can even bring your dog!
Must-see places in Staunton include the American Shakespeare Center, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, and the Frontier Culture Museum. You also want to get out and exercise in one of our parks. You can walk from Hotel 24 to the small Woodrow Park. You will go through the Wharf Historic District and climb the steps to the iron Sears Hill Bridge, which crosses the railroad and the historic train station. The Woodrow Park lookout offers some of the best views of the city and is a great place to practice your photography skills.
Those looking for a longer walk should visit Montgomery Hall Park. The 148-acre park has playgrounds, tennis courts and sports fields, but what really shines is the wide swath of peaceful woodlands and the miles of hiking and mountain bike trails they contain. On the trails you will find peace and solitude and a view of rolling hills.
Cozy up at a B&B and then go through Waynesboro & # 39; s newly opened historic railroad tunnel
When you book your stay at Waynesboro & # 39; s Heritage Hill B&B, you need to decide whether you prefer your mountain views flooded with dawn or colored by the setting sun. This beautiful historic home has been updated and offers all the comforts you could wish for, including a breakfast that guests rave about, fluffy towels and bathrobes, a fire pit and a few friendly cats and dogs on site. The pampering you receive will make you return again and again. It has a peaceful country feel and you can see all your favorite stars at night, yet it is only minutes away from all of Waynesboro's dining and shopping options. It is also only 6 miles from the Rockfish Gap entrance to Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Heritage Hill will pack you a picnic basket, complete with a bottle of local wine, to start your adventure.
Do you want to stay reasonably warm during your winter outing? We recommend walking or cycling in the 2.25-mile Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel, which maintains a constant temperature of 50 degrees all year round. The tunnel was completed for the railway in 1858 and used for about 75 years until it was replaced by a tunnel for larger trains. The trail has recently been restored and stretches from the western trailhead in Waynesboro all the way through the mountain to the eastern trailhead in Nelson County. Once the longest of its kind in North America, the tunnel stretches for nearly a mile and is unlit, so you'll need to bring your flashlights or headlights to explore.
Dream in historic Lexington and explore Natural Bridge State Park
Begin your visit to Rockbridge County by checking in at The Georges. At the Travel + Leisure World & # 39; s Best Awards 2020, this Lexington inn was named the second city hotel in America. It is also in # 53 of the 100 Best Hotels in the World! Although the hotel is historic, it has been carefully modernized into 18 design accommodations. The rooms have special touches such as unique artwork, beautiful views and luxurious bedding. The hotel's location is central and you will enjoy exploring walkable Lexington for shopping and dining. If you wish to stay on site, enjoy fine dining in Haywood & # 39; s Piano Bar and Grill or libations and upscale pub fare in the TAPS lounge.
After breakfast at the inn, take time to drive south and admire the scenery. Natural Bridge State Park is ideal for people of all ages. The highlight is the easily accessible Cedar Creek Trail that continues under the 215-foot limestone arch. Look up to see Thomas Jefferson's initials! There are actually seven miles of hiking in the park, and families will love the Children's Discovery Area, where children can play, climb, dig and explore in a natural setting. Use self-driving materials to learn about animals, birds, and insects found in and around the park. If you feel sleuty look for the engraved J.R.R. Tolkien quote.
There is plenty of winter fun to be had in the Shenandoah Valley. Start making your travel plans today!