Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do Frederick County, VA

  • Published 2023/02/27

In the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, Frederick County prides itself on its rich history, buzzing historic districts, and laid-back lifestyle.

It’s also in the Commonwealth of Virginia, with the city of Winchester as its county seat.

Several indigenous people inhabited the area as far back as the early 1600s, and the Europeans didn’t settle it until 1624.

In 1743, the county was officially established after its separation from Orange County in 1938.

The county offers a lot of fun and engaging activities and tourist destinations for families, couples, friends, and solo travelers.

Whichever city or town you go to, you can trust that the county has impressive attractions.

Here’s a list of the best things to do in Frederick County, Virginia.

Discover the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park

Distant view of Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park

Famartin, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Battle of Cedar Creek took place in Middletown in 1864, which put the town and the Shenandoah Valley on the map.

The Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park encompass more than 3,700 acres.

However, more than half is privately owned, although guided tours to the battlefield through public roads are offered.

Learn more about the battle led by General Philip Sheridan, which ended the Confederate resistance in the Valley.

Facade of Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park

AgnosticPreachersKid, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can also tour the Belle Grove Plantation, the home of Major Isaac Hite, where he raised livestock, grew wheat, and operated a distillery and mills.

Witness the battle reenactments, drop by the visitor center, and buy some souvenirs at the gift shop!

The Cedar Creek Battlefield and Belle Grove spans 900 acres and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969.

Visit the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park on Main Street.

Explore Old Town Winchester

Step into the bustling life of the Old Town Winchester, which remains unrivaled with its still-standing historic structures dating back 250 years.

Whether you’re shopping, dining, sipping a hot coffee, or just checking out the precious life here, you’ll be mesmerized by its warm hospitality.

Look out for regular downtown events, including Art Walks, Book Readings, Live Performances, and many more.

You can explore the museums, historical landmarks, and small businesses sprawling at the Old Town Winchester.

See it at South Loudoun Street.

Watch Live Shows at the Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre

You can enjoy fantastic live performances at the Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre if you love stage performances.

Enjoy the Broadway musicals every season, which brings Shenandoah Conservatory theatre students to the stage.

Supported by a live orchestra, the stage gleams with excellent acting, dancing, and singing performances by professional stage actors.

It’s a great spot to visit Frederick County during your summer visit!

The Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre is located at Shenandoah University.

See a Movie at the Family Drive-in Theatre

Exterior view of Family Drive-in Theatre

AgnosticPreachersKid, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re a movie fan and love the outdoors, the Family Drive-in Theatre offers a unique outdoor theater in Stephens City.

From March to November, the theater operates the outdoor cinema with two massive displays, classic speakers, and a radio station to transmit the sound.

It’s a laidback atmosphere for families, especially when you have kids, as they can play at the playground before the show starts.

People enjoying the movie at Family Drive-in Theatre

APK, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There’s also a concession stand to get your popcorn, pizza, and many other delicious snacks for the whole family.

Its double feature tickets are popular among families, which allows you to watch two movies at one admission.

The Family Drive-in Theatre opened in 1956 at Valley Pike.

Celebrate the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival

Filled with apple blossoms and springtime beauty, Winchester celebrates the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in the last week of April to the first week of May.

The ten-day festival features a grand parade, the Miss Apple Blossom, rides, sports tournaments, Apple Pie Baking Contest, a wine fest, live music, and many activities for the kids.

Food vendors, local artisans, arts and crafts, and celebrities will be gracing the stages.

The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival first started in 1924 to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of the Valley.

The festival happens at North Cameron Street in Winchester and attracts thousands of visitors from around the country.

Hike up to Eagle Rock on Tuscarora Trail

About 2.5 miles of out-and-back trail hike to Eagle Rock on Tuscarora Trail offers a steep climb and a beautiful overlook.

Beautiful landscapes and ridges of the Valley surround you along the way, so take Instagram-worthy photos of the scenery.

You’ll walk through dirt, mid-sized rocks, and multiple outcroppings at the top with panoramic views.

The hike to Eagle Rock on Tuscarora Trail is short and sweet; it is excellent for everyone who wants to get closer to the Valley and nature.

Start your hike on Capon Springs Grade in Star Tannery.

Visit Stonewall Jackson’s Headquarters

Outside view of the Stonewall Jackson’s Headquarters

Sarah Stierch, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The historic Stonewall Jackson’s Headquarters on North Braddock Street gives visitors a glimpse of the American Civil War.

The house was built in 1854 in the Gothic Revival style by William McP. Fuller, a local dentist.

It was then sold to Lieutenant Colonel Lewis Tilghman Moore, who offered it to Major General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson as his headquarters.

You’ll see Jackson’s memorabilia and personal belongings here, including his prayer table, prayer book, family artifacts, and many more.

Stonewall Jackson’s Headquarters offers seasonal tours from April to October.

Grab a Meal by the Lake at Region’s 117

Offering comfort food in a mellow country mood with panoramic views of Lake Frederick, Region’s 117 has received numerous accolades as the best in the Valley.

The restaurant, with a lovely deck seating overlooking the lake, is famous for its fresh and locally-sourced ingredients.

Try their popular “Do Not Miss This” cheese bread, house-cured Atlantic salmon, wood-fired pizza, ribeye, and many more.

Of course, your meal isn’t complete without their cold craft beers, mimosas, and Bloody Marys.

The award-winning restaurant offers both hospitality and mouthwatering dishes in a warm and laid-back atmosphere.

Have a try at Region 117 at Bald Eagle Drive, Lake Frederick.

Get Cozy with Nature at Shawnee Springs Preserve

Protecting and preserving 14 acres of wetlands, forests, and springs, Shawnee Springs Preserve is a charming little nature spot.

Hosting Sheridan’s Field Hospital during the Civil War, the preserve features several streams, karst formations, lush vegetation, and walking trails.

A healing and yoga station teaches you how to hug a tree and find solitude in nature’s gift.

Old relics are still visible at the preserve, with signs about the area’s history.

Shawnee Springs Preserve is an excellent destination for those who want fresh air with nature at its best.

It’s located off Hollingsworth Drive.

Read a Book at the Historic Handley Regional Library

Exterior view of Handley Regional Library

AgnosticPreachersKid, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Traveling bookworms can find solitude in the comfortable reading nooks of the historic Handley Regional Library.

Established in 1913, the library was constructed in Beaux-Arts architectural style through a donation of Judge John Handley, a wealthy businessman and lawyer.

The library holds vast resources of several prints for kids, teens, and adults, as well as local genealogy and history.

Reading room at Handley Regional Library

Sarah Stierch, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It also hosts special events and programs for all ages and the community to maintain the library’s rich cultural heritage.

Its old-world architecture makes it unique in the Valley and a must-visit historical structure.

The Handley Regional Library was also listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969.

Visit the library at West Piccadilly Street.

Interior view of the dome at Handley Regional Library

Sarah Stierch, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy Coffee at Hopscotch Coffee & Records

Offering fresh and locally roasted coffee with a vinyl section, Hopscotch Coffee & Records is the best spot in the county to get your coffee fix.

The coffeehouse is famous for its delicious mocha, latte, cappuccino, chai tea, and espresso.

It roasts its beans on-site in small batches to ensure freshness in every coffee served.

The coffeehouse offers plant milk like almond and oat milk if you’re a vegan.

You can also enjoy their baked goods, including cookies, pretzels, pop tart, and more.

Moreover, it has a record store where you can buy some of your favorite music.

Sip your favorite cup of coffee and enjoy the coffeehouse’s lovely music and relaxing ambiance.

Hopscotch Coffee & Records is located off Millwood Avenue.

Bring a Picnic to Clearbrook Park

Picnics are always a great way to spend time with your family and friends while enjoying the outdoors.

Share a delicious meal at Clearbrook Park, where you can use the picnic tables and pavilions for big parties.

The grassy, shady areas are also great for laying your blanket and sharing a picnic with your loved one while taking advantage of the park’s relaxing vibe.

The little ones can enjoy playing and interacting with each other at the playgrounds.

There’s also a pond that offers fishing and paddle boats.

You can also take scenic walks around to see squirrels, ducks, and birds.

Clearbrook Park is also a popular holiday spot for its Christmas lights show.

You can find it at Community Drive in Clear Brook.

Take the Kids to Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum

Entrance to Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum

AgnosticPreachersKid, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

With lots of interactive programs and hands-on activities for kids, the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum is one of the best destinations in the Valley for the little ones.

Kids can enjoy learning and play at the same time at the museum’s education and interactive play areas, where they can get their hands on each activity.

There’s a rooftop garden, water play, an ambulance, a long house, a farmer’s market, and many other engaging activities for the children.

Each floor at the museum offers different themes for young minds that spark curiosity, inspire, and engage them to explore and discover.

The museum also features a seasonal Rooftop Sock Skating for the kids, as well as summer camps and workshops.

You can visit the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum on West Cork Street.

Bring Your Kids to Appleland Sports Center

Perfect for traveling families with little ones, Appleland Sports Center offers family-friendly and fun activities.

The amusement center offers go-karts, laser tag, batting cages, a driving range, a mini-golf, and a 12-hole executive golf course.

There’s also a private party room for special occasions like birthdays and a pro shop where you can buy golfing stuff, accessories, and more.

If you’re into sports, take your family to Appleland Sports Center for a day of ultimate fun and excitement!

You can find it at Valley Pike in Stephens City.

Ride a Horse at Rocking S Ranch

If you love horses, you should spend some time at Rocking S Ranch in Winchester.

Located on the foothills of the Shenandoah Valley, the ranch offers horseback riding for all skill levels as well as riding lessons for beginners.

The trail rides feature gorgeous ridges and terrains of the Valley, where the Confederate Army once stayed during the Civil War.

A tour guide will join you throughout the ride, sharing great conversations and telling some stories about the Valley.

You’ll ride through the woods, streams, hills, and lush vegetation, which give an overall relaxing atmosphere.

You can find Rocking S Ranch off Glaize Orchard Road.

Final Thoughts

The county is a perfect gem for those who love history, culture, entertainment, and nature in one.

Take advantage of the best things to do in Frederick County, Virginia, and make memories with your loved ones.

Start planning your trip today!

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