"VIRGINIA's northwestern region off the beaten path" Top 5 Page for this destination Virginia by Faiza-Ifrah

Virginia Travel Guide: 7,795 reviews and 18,886 photos

Home of Shenandoah National Park

The summer started for us with a 12 days of travel madness in July 2008.

It all started with arrival of relatives from Qatar and New Jersey and with a seemingly innocent trip to Niagara Falls on July 1. Then we travelled together to New Jersey, taking US routes and future interstates, passing through small towns and hamlets of western New York. A day was spent in Manhattan, New York. Then we drove onwards to our scheduled trip to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. A day in between (July 9) was spent exploring many attractions of nearby Washington DC.

We stretched ourselves to the limit, a total of 3029 kms travelled on road besides 2 days of hiking and trekking in Shenandoah National Park in over 90 degree F heat, coming face to face with a young black bear. We came back totally exhausted, but missed the trip badly.

I am grateful to a number of VT members for their personal advice and tips on Shenandoah National Park that made my family and my trip an easier and memorable one. The advice from the following VTers made my trip possible: cachaseiro, mikelisaanna, jethanand, DonnaFL, gamma28md, Hopkid, Fullmoonfever (my friend Glen), Seagoliliy, Tom_Fields, and PinkFloydActuary. I apologize if I have forgotten any names here.

There are 5 activities that can be done at this one of the easier accessible and travelled national parks of the world. These are (1) Driving on the Skyline Drive, (2) Hiking and trekking on many trails including Appalachian Trails, (3) Camping, (4) Observing flora and fauna, and (5) shopping for souvenirs. Except for camping, we ‘indulged’ in all the activities.

The fee for the National Park is very reasonable at $15 for a pass per non-commercial vehicle allowing 7 days of entrance and exits.

The main picture above shows a waterfall that we reached by trekking down from the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. Within minutes this waterfall was full of excited hikers and trekkers.

Home of Massanutten Mountain

We made our home in Massanutten Mountain by staying in a resort.

Wikipedia states that "Massanutten Mountain is a synclinal ridge in the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians, located in the U.S. state of Virginia. The mountain bisects the Shenandoah Valley just west of Strasburg in Shenandoah County in the north, to its highest peak west of Harrisonburg in Rockingham County in the south. The mountain is divided into northern and southern sections, divided by the New Market Gap. The southern section consists of a series of closely gathered ridges, separated by precipitous creek gorges.

The mountain is full of activities - chairlifts, golf courses, horseback riding, mountain biking, skating, water park, tubing, swimming pools, wildlife observation, canoing, kayaking, rafting, go carting, fishing, skiing and cross country skiing - you name it they have it there.

Besides, Shenandoah National Park, many caverns, historic towns, and civil war battlegrounds are easily accessible from here.

Home of Historic towns and battlegrounds

Virginia's northwest is the home of historic towns of Front Royal, New Market, Harrisonburg, Elkton, etc., each meriting a day of exploration.

Shenandoah Caverns, Luray Caverns and Grand Caverns are also located in this region.

Besides, there are 3 civil war battlefields in this region.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Multi-activity 4 season region, excellent for historic, cultural, and nature tourism.
  • Cons:The region can get hot, hazy and humid. Thunderstorms are common.
  • In a nutshell:Virginia's northwest is certainly a place to visit again and again
  • Last visit to Virginia: Jul 2008
  • Intro Updated Jan 4, 2009
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Reviews (21)

Comments (9)

  • zanzooni's Profile Photo
    Nov 6, 2009 at 8:38 PM

    I was surprised to see restaurant tips for Long John Silver's and Golden Corral. Issshhh.....Glad you got to visit the Shenandoah. It's beautiful, is it not?? ~

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Oct 3, 2009 at 3:44 PM

    Another wonderful area that you have seen, and the wildlife!!! Lucky you seeing all of that! You must have been tired after packing all of that into your holiday. And....your featured member too!

  • madamx's Profile Photo
    Apr 3, 2009 at 4:30 PM

    Hi Faiza, looks like you had a great family vacation. Thanks for the useful tips, we are planning to do the Skyline Drive perhaps this fall.

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Oct 18, 2008 at 12:55 PM

    Wow... what a wonderful vacation in a beautiful national park. Must be exciting whenever seeing another species of animal in the wild. Thanks so much for your postcard of Shenandoah National Park. It was a wonderful surprise. Cheers, SL :)

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Sep 21, 2008 at 2:45 PM

    Extremely interesting pages about Virginia With the park, the hikes, the Skyline Drive, waterfalls, and the chairlifts. What a huge # of activities. Great resort, and since I love golf, I would participate. Great job!

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Aug 19, 2008 at 5:11 AM

    Wonderful page about your vacation to Virginia. Looks like you all had a great time. Nice to see pics of mother deer and her fawn. Deer usually cross the road where paths end.

  • Bokhari76's Profile Photo
    Aug 15, 2008 at 7:53 PM

    Nice page. I liked the hiking for waterfalls tip & a day's journey to Washington.

  • goutammitra's Profile Photo
    Jul 25, 2008 at 7:53 PM

    Revisiting was even better with so many new photographs. Father daughter duo looks much better, very handsome!

  • jethanand's Profile Photo
    Jul 21, 2008 at 6:55 PM

    Deer behind you has such beautiful eyes !

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