Are you planning for a trip to the stunning Shenandoah Valley and looking for some insights? Want to experience the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains first hand?
Then we have just the right thing for you: a comprehensive guide to Staunton, home to all the aforementioned landmarks! Not only does the city offers some of the most breathtaking views of both the valley and the mountain, but also an eventful history to boast of.
So without much ado, let us take a look at the top 15 things to do in Staunton!
Catch the breathtaking views at Betsy Bell and Mary Grey Wilderness Park
Staunton provides some gorgeous views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Spread across the Shenandoah Valley, the destination offers some definite must-visits; chief amongst those are the Betsy Bell and Mary Grey Wilderness Park.
Plan a road trip to the beautiful destination. There will be a lot of trails, which are accessible by bikes too, making the park a perfect place to test out your riding skills. We suggest packing your own lunches. For your evenings, find an idea viewing spot, sit back, and enjoy watching the sun set over the horizon.
Enjoy the Staunton Music Festival
Staunton is a lively place all year round! No matter when you visit, you can find a bustling crowds around varied range of food and live music events. But, Staunton Music Festival holds a special place in everyone’s hearts.
If you plan to visit in the middle of August, we’d highly recommend not to miss out on the event. It is one of the most major events in the city and goes on for almost around ten days. A week-long event of music and food - doesn’t that sound alluring? More than 30 concerts are held. The best thing is some of them are even free and open to everyone.
Start your day at BY&BY
Missing your freshly brewed coffee from the local barista? Worry not; Staunton has a suitable replacement (if not better)
Mary Baldwin University, the major campus in the region, is surrounded by some top-notch coffee shops. And from among the several options, BY&BY, has managed make a niche for itself. Serving some of the best hot black coffee that you will come across on your trip, this is the one place where you'd want to start your mornings at.
So are you up for some caffeine before you start sightseeing? We also recommend grabbing the iced coffee and the lattes before you set out on the journey!
Photographers! Check out Camera Heritage Museum
Staunton is a unique location for any kind of artist as the destination offers some of the best places where one can find inspiration for their next project.
If you are someone who is into photography or are even intrigued by camerawork, we have an excellent recommendation that will pique your interest for sure. The Camera Heritage Museum feels like a bit of a paradise for all sorts of camera lovers.
However, the department of vintage photography is quite strong here. You can get to see some of the oldest camera models along with vintage photographs going all the way back to the early days of cameras.
Check out the Historic Wharf District
It is now time to steep deep into the history of Staunton. There are, in total, six historic districts in this city. Each of them has a story to tell. If you go on a walking tour of the city, they will give to have an insight into every single of one of them.
You can also get to know in detail about the various stories of the old days. The historic Wharf District has played a significant role since the 19th century. It became famous shortly after railways were introduced here.
Before you go on a self-walking tour, getting a map from any local convenience store is a good idea. You get a better idea of what to expect and the best architecture and attractions in the area.
Take a walk around Downtown
Downtown Staunton speaks of a completely different story. While you are in the city, downtown is a mandatory place to check out.
This part hosts not only some of the best events in the town, but it is also home to some of the best restaurants and diners in the area.
Many tours are available that involve walking around the downtown area. You can even get a guide who will accompany your group and tell you all the historical stories of the downtown area. Many buildings in the area date back to the 19th century and have now been restored. There is a lot of history related to this area of the town.
Hit the spooky spots in town
A town as old as Staunton is supposed to have ghost stories! Yes, our vacation destination has some of the spookiest stories revolving around it too. You do not have to sit around listening to just the stories- there are several trips around the mysterious spots too.
Most of these stories have made their way from the downtown region. In fact, the downtown part is the extra spooky part of town that you must absolutely check out if you, too, are a fan of the paranormal.
Explore the Fields of Gold Farm Trail
Shenandoah Valley is one of the most picturesque locations in the U.S. Travelers come from afar to explore the valley in great detail and take in its views.
Fields of Gold Farm Trail is the best way to see everything. On this trail, you will see the Valley’s beauty and realize how much of an important role the valley plays in the agricultural department of the States. Later, you can also see some of this fresh produce in the local farmer’s market!
Taste the best of Shenandoah Valley at Ox-Eye Vineyards
Ox-Eye Vineyards are known for their endless beauty. Being located amid the ever-gorgeous Shenandoah Valley, the vineyards are incredibly charming. A lot of the charm comes from the daisy flower that adorn the area all around them.
Some people say that the grapes growing at Ox Eye Vineyards are just perfect owing to the ideal conditions they are grown in. The produce is well-renowned for being some of the most flavorful.
Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs- all the different blends are available at your service. We recommend going to the tasting room and having a sip out of everything. If you are a wine connoisseur- you’d not want to miss on this opportunity!
Shop like a local at Staunton Farmer’s Market
The Staunton Farmer’s Market is a big deal for every local in the city. People usually arrive in large numbers for the summer market, which offers some of the best, freshest, and local produce- Staunton Farmer’s Market is open to all.
If you want to live like a local for a day, we suggest starting your day a little early; arrive at busy market in the morning for some of the freshest home-baked goodies. The moment you set foot inside, you will smell the lovely aroma of the breads, cakes, and cookies as well!
Take a look at the marvelous Swannanoa Palace
If you end up exhausting the sightseeing options within Staunton, we have a few places that are just a drive away. First up is the stunning Swannanoa Palace! Located just 20 kilometers away from the city, the palace an absolute visual treat.
James H. Dooley bought about 1000 acres of land in 1912. He had a dream mansion in mind, and the grand building reminiscent of ancient Roman architectural styles that you see today are a manifestation of the same.
There are numerous stories about this house. Some say this was all for his wife, who has a showcase photograph in massive glass from Tiffany & Co. in the hall!
Learn a bit about the Crozet Tunnel
After the palace, we have another attractive spot right in the area. This one has a story to tell about the old times of Shenandoah Valley.
The Virginia Central Railway came up with a place intended to join all of the Valley via rail lines, one that would make transportation and connectivity a lot easier. Crozet was the one who took up the entire project. He had a vision that connected all of the Blue Ridge Mountain to the outside world. The Crozet Tunnel, commonly known as the Blue Ridge Tunnel, is an actual work of art. Built in the 1800s, it was the largest tunnel in the States at that time.
See the Mole Hill
As mentioned up, there are a lot of stunning locations around Staunton. How do you feel about a trip to a volcano, shall we? Yes, Mole Hill happens to one of the younger volcano in this region. If you are interested in geography or volcanic mountains, for that matter, we recommend driving to the area and getting some acquainted with the vast outdoor landscapes that region has to offer, Even otherwise, the drive makes for a great getaway outing. and the views here are simply splendid.
Take up some new things at Frontier Culture Museum
One of the best places in Staunton to spend some quality time with your entire family has to be Frontier Culture Museum. There are some fine exhibits detailing some of the region's earliest settlements in the museum. You can get your hands on as many as 11 full exhibits.
There are shuttles inside the museum that takes the tourists to the different exhibition halls whilst offering guided tours for each individual exhibit. But, if you want - you can even choose to walk with your own separate group and take your own time exploring.
Finish your trip with some ice cream from Kline’s Dairy Bar
We always like to end a wonderful vacation on a sweet note. In this case, it’d help a lot if you also had a sweet tooth. A visit to the city of Staunton is incomplete without having this ice cream. The Kline’s Dairy Bar is nothing but nostalgia to the local people.
The original shop was in Harrisburg. But, the parlor reached immense popularity. The ice creams became well-renowned, and suddenly everyone wanted to have a taste! This made the owners think, and before you knew it, they were running three separate branches - all serving the best organic handcrafted ice cream!
Unfortunately, this is the end of our list. We hope that we were able to hold your attention and offer some additions to your to-do lists. We shall be back with another destination soon, traveler! Stay tuned.