(a 5 minute read)

Looking for things to do in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia? Design your own adventure with Backroad Planet’s suggested destinations and activities, plus our exclusive itinerary planning resources.

Things to Do in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia 1

I was a guest of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Things to Do in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

Things to Do in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia 2

Map Credit: Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley

Stretching for 140 miles between the Ridge and Valley Appalachians and the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia is a scenic landscape steeped in rich history and culture.

This distinctive region boasts Shenandoah National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Appalachian Trail, rivers, mountains, caverns, forests, farms, museums, universities, and unlimited outdoor adventures. It is pretty safe to say there is something for everyone, and you will never run out of things to do.

To help readers consider their options and assist with travel planning, we have gathered all of our Shenandoah Valley resources in one place. Whether you are designing an itinerary for a day trip, weekend getaway, or extended road trip, this guide is a great place to start.

Explore Lexington and Rockbridge County

Things to Do in Lexington Virginia Feature Image

Historical Lexington is my kind of town!

The side-by-side campuses of Virginia Military Institute and Washington & Lee University together could keep me entertained for a month. Visitors to Lexington are invited to do self-guided walking tours of the grounds, monuments, museums, historic buildings, and countless sites associated with Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee & Stonewall Jackson.

Rockbridge County day trip destinations include Natural Bridge State Park, Virginia Safari Park, Wade’s Mill, and McCormick Farm.

Experience Eclectic Staunton and Augusta County

Things to Do in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia 3

Shenandoah Valley locals have a unique way of pronouncing certain place names. So if you don’t want to be pegged as an outsider, here’s a heads-up on the “correct” pronunciations of Staunton (STAN-ton), Buena Vista (Byoona-VIS-ta), and Buchanon (Buh-CAN-nun).

Now that we’ve cleared that up, what does Staunton have to offer?

A bit of everything, actually.

I suggest that you experience Staunton’s history and architecture first on a walking tour, then head out to rural Augusta County and discover Natural Chimneys Park, Grand Caverns, and Polyface Farm.

Staunton is also home to country music legends The Statler Brothers, the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum, the American Shakespeare Center, the Frontier Culture Museum, and much more.

Make Waynesboro Your Home Base

Things to Do in Waynesboro VA featured image

If a centralized location for outdoor adventure in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia is what you seek, you can’t beat Waynesboro.

In fact, due to its ideal location at the crossroads of Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Appalachian Trail, and I-64, I like to think of Waynesboro as the “Gateway to the Shenandoah Valley.”

Waynesboro is the perfect home base for hub-and-spoke itineraries, with day excursions to:

Breweries & Restaurants in Waynesboro, Virginia

Restaurants in Waynesboro Virginia featured image

Waynesboro is also a stop on the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail and the home of ten popular craft breweries and restaurants:

Civil War Historical Sites in the Shenandoah Valley

Things to Do in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia 4

If you are a history buff like me, you may be interested in touring the Shenandoah Valley’s Civil War sites. You can download free brochures and map books from Virginia’s Civil War Trails and the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District’s Shenandoah at War Visitors Guide.

More Things to Do in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

A Guide for Things to Do in Harrisonburg, Virginia

Experience North Mountain on Horseback in Augusta, County Virginia

Road Trip Planning Resources

If this is your first time planning a road trip, or if you are curious to learn my personal road trip planning workflow, you may be interested in our 3-part series. Each post includes handy downloadable PDF forms to facilitate the planning process.

Ultimate Road Trip Planner PrePlanning

The Ultimate Road Trip Planner: Part 1 Pre-planning helps road trip designers answer six key questions that will guide them through the task.

Ultimate Road Trip Planner Research

The Ultimate Road Trip Planner: Part 2 Research suggests six general resources for finding destinations and routes.

Ultimate Road Trip Planner Itinerary

The Ultimate Road Trip Planner: Part 3 Itinerary details my method for designing an itinerary with activities, dining, and lodging, and also includes a hack for organizing travel documents.

Things to Do in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia 5

A newer post tells How to Find Unique Sites for Your USA Road Trip Itinerary, such as hidden scenic views, secret swimming holes, abandoned historical sites, and the best off-the-beaten-path locations.


We Would Love to Hear From You

We enjoy dialogue with our readers, especially when they share off-the-beaten-path destinations and useful travel tips. Do you have suggestions for things to do in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia? If so, we would love to hear about your experience. We invite you to leave your comments and questions below, and we always respond!

Pin this Post!

Things to Do in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia 6

Things to Do in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia 7
Howard Blount is founder and editor of the travel web site Backroad Planet. He has traveled internationally since boyhood and lived abroad in Mexico, Chile, and Paraguay. Now his passion is navigating the roads-less-traveled of this amazing planet in search of anything rare and remote. On the stuffy side, “Mr. Blount” has been a writer, consultant, and published author with the likes of Simon & Schuster and McGraw-Hill. Recently retired from a 35-year career as a middle school teacher, Howard enjoys spending his time on anything that includes mountains, waterfalls, dachshunds, gospel choirs, books, restored classic movies on Blu-ray, HDTV, autumn, sandhill cranes, hot springs, Florida springs, rain and other gloomy weather, log cabins, cracker shacks, abandoned sites, unearthed history, genealogy, museums, documentaries, To Kill a Mockingbird, scenic and historical sites, castles, cathedrals, the Civil War, cold sheets, National and State Park Passports, quotes, the Rambos, Dionne Warwick, Steely Dan, Doobies, Diet Pepsi, Fish City Grill, anything Apple, all things British, Jesus, and lists. And on a random note, Howard is a fourth cousin once removed to Truman Capote.