Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Shenandoah, VA

  • Published 2022/08/04

Are you tired? Do you need a sweet escape?

The city’s hustle and bustle can wear you out, making you crave the sweet, calming breeze of the mountains, the sounds of rustling leaves, and the song of the chirping birds.

If you need a good vacation spot to enjoy the relaxing nature and the rich wildlife of the rural towns, then take a trip to Shenandoah, Virginia.

Shenandoah is a beautiful rural town in Page County, Virginia.

The town features a beautiful landscape, perfect for people seeking a peaceful refuge.

It sits between Massanutten Ridge and the famous Blue Ridge Mountains.

With the town’s stunning parks and preserves, natural attractions, and delectable cuisine, don’t miss a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Shenandoah.

To find out more about this picturesque town, here are the best things to do in Shenandoah, Virginia.

Hike the Natural Haven of Shenandoah National Park

Scenic view from a mountain peak at Shenandoah National Park

Jon Bilous /

One exciting highlight of your trip to Shenandoah is the astounding National Park.

Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park is a 200,000-acre protected parkland of forests and trails brimming with wildlife.

You can enjoy breathtaking waterfalls, and scenic peaks one can enjoy and meet on their journey.

With the variety of elevations and environments, different types of habitats have developed around the park.

This place is the perfect home for thousands of species of flora and fauna.

Gorgeous flora of Shenandoah National Park

Jon Bilous /

Hiking is just one of the must-try activities visitors can enjoy.

You can also go camping at the relaxing campgrounds where the soothing breeze and the peaceful surroundings caress you.

Enjoy an educational or research trip around the parkland with its rich history and nature.

Shenandoah National Park is one of the country’s natural treasures with all the raw beauty it holds.

A waterfall at Shenandoah National Park

JessK89 /

Check In at the Cabins at Deer Run

Before you start touring the beautiful spots in Shenandoah, find an inn that will help you live the whole Shenandoah experience to the fullest.

Consider yourself lucky because the Cabins at Deer Run at McDaniel Lane have the best cabins to make your vacation memorable.

The rental cabins here have exciting themes such as Hobbit House, Eagle’s Nest, Fox Den, and more that will accommodate different numbers of guests.

The trees surrounding the cabins also adds a natural feel and a comforting ambiance to your vacation.

Cabins at Deer Run embody affordable luxury, so reserve one of the cabins and enjoy your stay on your lovely trip to Shenandoah.

Grab a Bite at Rudy’s Diner

While in Shenandoah, don’t miss the opportunity to try a hearty meal at Rudy’s Diner.

Dining here is a thrill thanks to their menu filled with a wide variety of dishes and food items.

Enjoy breakfast favorites, burgers, and sandwiches, to flavorful entrees and daily specials that will surely fill you.

A firefighter owns the restaurant, so the place has cool fireman-theme designs.

You can even find an old firetruck displayed outside.

Rudy’s Diner is truly a perfect place to enjoy home-cooked meals and comfort food, satisfying your taste buds without breaking the bank.

Visit this family-friendly diner and bring your travel buddies for a heartwarming meal.

Feast Your Eyes on the Dark Hollow Falls

Daytime view of Dark Hollow Falls

Danita Delimont /

At the heart of Shenandoah National Park lies the enchanting Dark Hollow Falls.

You can find these spectacular multi-tiered waterfalls along one of the most famous trails in the park.

People flock to the falls to witness the glorious falls, the best place to refresh and cool down during the rigorous hike.

Close view of Dark Hollow Falls

Danita Delimont /

However, the beauty of the falls is not for the faint of heart.

To reach the falls, you must go through a steep and rocky pathway that can intimidate beginners.

The rocks can be slippery and dangerous without proper hiking boots and gear.

However, all the sweat and trouble will be worth it once you catch a glimpse of the Dark Hollow Falls.

Enjoy Italian Cuisine at Mamma Mia Italian Restaurant

Are you craving an Italian meal on your trip to Shenandoah?

Don’t worry, because Mamma Mia Italian Restaurant has your back.

This homey Italian restaurant serves amazing pizzas, submarine sandwiches, pizzas, and more that will surely make your mouth water.

With a comfortable patio, the restaurant helps you savor a special Italian meal in a laidback ambiance with fast and friendly service.

Don’t forget their beverages, such as Italian wine and draft beer, which go perfectly with just about anything on the menu.

Visit the Mamma Mia Restaurant and dine as if you were on the scenic streets of Rome.

Every bite will undoubtedly make you scream “delizioso!”

Watch a Thrilling Race at Shenandoah Speedway

To all the car racing fans out there, this next activity is for all of you.

The Shenandoah Speedway on Precision Road hosts competitive and recreational car races with drivers around the state.

With a broad and fantastic race track, a decent spectator area, and great concession stands, the speedway should give you the best car race viewing experience.

On free days, you can even drive on the spacious race track by yourself.

You can also rent the whole Shenandoah speedway.

Check the schedule for the next thrilling car race and get a ticket with your friends and family.

Watch an amazing race at the Shenandoah Speedway!

Try Water Activities at Shenandoah River Adventures

The waters of Shenandoah River

Walt Bilous /

The town of Shenandoah is not only mountains and falls; this quaint town also has a broad and charming river fit for water activities.

The Shenandoah River Adventures offers canoeing, kayaking, and water tubing activities along the Shenandoah River.

Taking a trip through the river is much more exciting.

Enjoy the incredible natural surroundings while doing water sports.

People kayaking on Shenandoah River

AHPix /

Visitors can also fish around the area if they prefer a more relaxing and laidback activity on the river.

Bring your peers and family for a memorable adventure along the Shenandoah River.

Have a Feast at Mr. Garcia’s Mexican Grill and Cantina

Who doesn’t love Mexican food?

Mr. Garcia’s Mexican Grill and Cantina offers the freshest, most delicious, and most vibrant Tex-Mex food with just the right spice kick to complete your day.

Feel alive with their house specialties and steak dishes such as their fajitas, burritos, burgers, rellenas, and more.

Pair them with cold Jarritos in different fruit flavors, which are the perfect refreshing drink for a TexMex meal.

You should also try their sweet tamales, xangos, and Mexican ice cream as desserts.

These desserts would be the perfect cherry on your Mexican food adventure.

Every day is a flavorful Mexican food day here at Mr. Garcia’s Mexican Grill and Cantina.

Stroll around the Natural Wonders of Big Gem Park

If you prefer a more laidback destination on your trip, the Big Gem Park awaits you.

This 68-acre parkland features a gazebo, a picnic shelter, a fun playground, and a fishing area.

You can also follow the strolling trails, and grills for a fully rounded outdoor activity to unwind and destress.

The plants and trees comprising the park’s natural environment are also home to various wildlife species.

You can see foxes, coyotes, deer, chipmunks, raccoons, and more that peacefully coexist.

The plant and animal life in the park soothes one’s soul and helps you enjoy the tranquility of the ambiance.

Get ready for a picnic with Shenandoah’s nature at Big Gem Park.

Other Things To Do Nearby

Live the Dukes of Hazzard Fantasy at Cooter’s Place

Exterior of Cooter’s Place

BrianPIrwin /

You must have heard of the classic action-comedy show entitled The Dukes of Hazzard.

If the show sounds familiar, you’ll love this themed complex.

Cooter’s Luray is a themed dining and shopping locale located in Luray, Virginia, a 17-minute ride north of Shenandoah.

It boasts the Dukes of Hazzard museum and the well-known Replica Cooter’s Garage, with a fantastic collection of vintage cars and tow trucks.

The actor Ben Jones played Cooter Davenport in the TV show.

Today, Jones owns Cooter’s Luray, immersing fans in the story of the Dukes of Hazzard.

Check out memorabilia and collectibles from the show itself.

Do not miss the chance to visit Cooter’s Luray and travel back in time.

Enjoy Horseback Riding in the Peaks at Mountaintop Ranch

Try horseback riding with breathtaking mountain views at the Mountaintop Ranch.

You can find the ranch in Elkton, Virginia, 17 minutes from Shenandoah.

The Cunningham family has owned the ranch for almost 50 years, a haven for visitors seeking a relaxing weekend vacation.

Riding the lovely horses and ponies is not the only activity at the ranch surrounded by natural attractions.

Visitors can also go hiking, fishing, hunting, target and skeet shooting, and waterfall viewing.

Stopping by the Mountaintop Ranch is always worthwhile.

Try to Solve the Puzzles of Escape 211

Are you seeking a little thrill on your vacation around the Shenandoah Valley?

Put your problem-solving skills to the test under time pressure as you try to escape the rooms of Escape 211.

Located in Luray, 22 minutes from Shenandoah, this attraction features escape rooms for team-building exercises and camaraderie.

Exciting themes include Specterphobia, the Case of the Missing Ranger, and the Enchanted Library.

With varying difficulty levels, you will have fun looking for hints and clues.

Beat the clock and escape the room with your buddies.

Find out if you have what it takes to beat the games and puzzles at Escape 211.

Take an Tour of the Virginia Museum of the Civil War

Exterior of Virginia Museum of the Civil War

Daniel Reiner /

The historic Virginia Museum of the Civil War was once a battleground in May 1864.

This museum is in New Market, Virginia, 28 minutes from Shenandoah.

Moreover, the Battle of New Market took place on the site on May 15, 1864.

Today, the museum showcases the history of the Virginia Military Institute.

Structure at Virginia Museum of the Civil War

Barbara Barbour /

They have also preserved the 300-acre battlefield in its vicinity to tell the stories of the past.

The museum also has a movie room for its guests.

See a 2014 drama/war film titled “Field of Lost Shoes” that depicts the events of the Civil War.

The Shenandoah Valley has a rich past full of sacrifices that helped build it into what it is today.

Learn some history at the Virginia Museum of the Civil War.

Visit the Cute Animals of Luray Zoo

The Luray Zoo is a rescue zoo that takes pride in providing a safe refuge for animals.

It’s 22 minutes from Shenandoah.

The zoo features interesting outdoor exhibits of the animals, a petting zoo, and a house for reptiles.

After your tour, go to the gift shop for souvenirs.

Mark and Christine Kilby own and operate the privately owned rescue zoo.

They ensure that every animal in the zoo is healthy and receives adequate care.

Visitors can also join a field trip or discovery tour of the zoo to understand the animal world better.

Learn how to take care of your pets and help preserve wildlife.

Visitors of all ages will indeed have the best experience at Luray Zoo.

Travel Back in Time at Shenandoah Heritage Village

Exterior of a house at Shenandoah Heritage Village /

The Shenandoah Valley has a rich culture and history worth preserving and sharing with the community.

You can find this place in Luray, Virginia, 22 minutes from Shenandoah.

Enclosed in the vicinity of the Shenandoah Heritage Village are the stories and artifacts of the valley’s first settlers.

This museum village holds a vast collection of exhibits from Native American times.

The Shenandoah Heritage Village also contains structures used in the 19th century.

Interior of a house at Shenandoah Heritage Village /

Throughout the village, you can also notice rare flora from the beautiful gardens passed from generation to generation.

You can also see a gem mining sluice in the village, where visitors experience how the early miners extracted valuable gems and gold.

Before you leave Shenandoah Heritage Village, stop by Heartpine Cafe.

Enjoy meals and beverages such as refreshing regional wines and hot drinks.

Likewise, visit the museum gift shop for a souvenir.

Log houses at Shenandoah Heritage Village /

Final Thoughts

Shenandoah is genuinely more than meets the eye.

With its spectacular landscapes, flourishing history, and inviting cuisine, it would be impossible not to immerse oneself in Shenandoah’s grandeur.

Book your trip today and try the best things to do in Shenandoah!

© All rights reserved.