Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Stanley, VA

  • Published 2022/08/04

Stanley, Virginia, is a lovely town in the heart of Shenandoah Valley.

Known for its scenic beauty, views of mountain vistas, and peaceful atmosphere, this town can give you the relaxing vacation you’ve been looking for.

You can visit a number of establishments, ranging from locally-owned and operated wineries to recreational facilities, cabin lodges, and a variety of parks.

This town also provides guided tours on marked trails or on horseback that allow you to explore the beauty of Shenandoah Valley and its surrounding communities.

Here are the 15 best things to do in Stanley, Virginia:

Visit the Harry F. Byrd Sr. Visitor Center

Start your trip to Stanley by stopping by the Harry F. Byrd Sr. Visitor Center!

First-time visitors can drop by and get everything they may need to start their trip, including a pre-made itinerary, maps, and more.

They also feature a bookstore and a ranger program, in case you’re interested.

Various historical exhibits and displays regarding Stanley’s past can also be found throughout this visitor center.

It’s also conveniently located next to neighboring parks and hiking trails!

If you have any questions or wish to get some more information on your visit to Stanley, the Harry F. Byrd Sr. Visitor Center would be more than happy to assist you.

Go Horseback Riding at Jordan Hollow Stables

Jordan Hollow Stables is a popular horseback riding venue just 2 miles from the heart of town.

This stable is best known for its trails and tours on horseback that take you around the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, providing scenic and beautiful views.

Each tour is about an hour and a half long, with the choice to ride alone, with a group, or with a professional guide.

They also cater to both first-time riders and those with experience by pairing you with one of their trained horses.

Kids age seven and up are also welcome to join!

The trail is fairly easy to hike and explore, making it a relaxing and enjoyable experience.

Take in the beautiful sights of Shenandoah Valley on horseback at Jordan Hollow Stables!

Sip Wine at Wisteria Farm and Vineyard

Wisteria Farm and Vineyard is a winery situated in the eastern end of town, known for its delicious, elegant wine matched with scenic views of Shenandoah Valley.

Family-owned and operated, this small establishment creates its wine using its own grapes, grown by the owners themselves!

This winery is located on a farm where you can spot some farm animals such as chickens and sheep trotting by.

You can purchase a bottle of their handcrafted and set up a picnic under the shade or explore the farm in its entirety by going on a walking tour.

Open-year round, you can enjoy a delicious sangria in the summer season or some mulled wine during the winter.

This establishment also hosts events and activities suitable for all ages, including yoga, bingo, trivia night, and more!

Enjoy the minimalist beauty of Shenandoah Valley while sipping on a glass of wine at Wisteria Farm and Vineyard!

Rent a Cabin at Hawksbill Retreat

Hawksbill Retreat is a resort nestled on the slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where you can rent a cabin to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

Its location near the outskirts of town provides a lovely and peaceful getaway where you’ll be surrounded entirely by nature.

You can rent a variety of cabins, including a single bedroom lodging, The Mare House, and The Lodge for big groups.

This retreat home also offers outdoor recreational activities such as walking and hiking trails, parks, cross-country skiing, and many more.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing stay or wish to indulge in fun and adventure, Hawksbill Retreat has what you need.

Enjoy the Scenic Views at River’s Bend Ranch

River’s Bend Ranch is a family-owned and operated ranch that allows you to take in the scenic, breathtaking views in every direction.

Located on the far eastern end of Stanley, this establishment can provide you with a relaxing and peaceful vacation experience.

This ranch has been a part of the town’s community for over four decades and has since then become a popular venue for weddings, group retreats, tourist getaways, and even parties.

They also offer outdoor activities, including horseback riding and hiking, allowing you to explore the beauty of Shenandoah Valley or simple activities such as fishing, birding, and more.

You can even book an overnight stay or two at this establishment in case you’d like to extend your visit.

Don’t forget to add River’s Bend Ranch to your itinerary.

Admire the Majestic Birds at Raptor Hill Falconry

Raptor Hill Falconry provides a unique experience where you can get up close and personal to majestic predators such as eagles, falcons, and more.

Guests who visit can avail of several falconry experiences where a trained falcon can fly towards you and land directly on your arm!

You also get the chance to meet some of their resident raptors and an owl on your trip to this establishment.

Be mesmerized as these majestic birds of prey fly freely overhead and witness the speed of a falcon firsthand!

This facility also offers falconry courses for those interested in learning about the care, preservation, and management of these majestic birds and how to train them.

Be reminded that Raptor Hill Falconry does not accept walk-ins, so make sure to book an appointment ahead of time.

Grab a Meal at The Hawksbill Diner

The Hawksbill Diner is a local, family-owned, operated restaurant in Stanley, located along East Main Street.

This cozy eatery is known for its homemade meals, served fresh daily, and has become a community favorite and staple.

With both breakfast and lunch options, this diner serves classic Southern American dishes and other country-style meals that are sure to provide an exceptional dining experience.

The Hawksbill Diner has also been deemed a local gem where you can meet friendly community members in a relaxing ambiance.

You can take a pick from their extensive menu, including Salisbury steak and baby back ribs combined with delicious veggies, mashed potatoes, and more.

Whether you’re stopping by for breakfast or lunch, The Hawksbill Diner will make you feel right at home with a freshly cooked meal!

Enjoy the Outdoors at Ed Good Memorial Park

Ed Good Memorial Park is an outdoor facility best known for housing a skate park right at the heart of town.

Guests can bring roller skates, a skateboard, or a scooter and make use of their spacious ramps for the entire afternoon and learn a new trick or two.

They also feature a playground where kids can play and run around, while the adults can enjoy a lovely snack in the picnic shelters.

You can soak up the warm sun on a leisurely walk on their paved hiking trails for some extra steps!

Spend quality time with the whole family at Ed Good Memorial Park!

Indulge in Various Activities at Hawksbill Recreation Park

Hawksbill Recreation Park is found only five minutes away from downtown Stanley and is a popular place to enjoy a variety of recreational activities.

Boasting 28 acres, this park provides a day of fun and excitement for families and large groups.

You can enjoy a friendly game of sand volleyball on their designated court or maximize the use of their open space.

When the sun is out, take a stroll on their hiking trails and explore the surrounding area of Stanley.

They also have a large swimming pool that is open ‘til late hours so you can enjoy night swimming!

Enjoy the outdoors at Hawksbill Recreation Park!

Other Things to Do Nearby

Travel Back in Time at the Shenandoah Heritage Village

Exterior of a house at Shenandoah Heritage Village /

The Shenandoah Heritage Village, situated in Luray, just 10 minutes away from the heart of Stanley, allows you to explore the rich history of Shenandoah Valley and its neighboring communities.

This 7-acre village comprises restored historic buildings, preserved cottage-style gardens, and even a small vineyard to recreate this town’s 18th- and 19th-century life.

Each historic building is open to the public and houses various preserved artifacts, such as farming tools and furniture.

Interior of a log cabin at Shenandoah Heritage Village /

One of their attractions is the Stonyman Mining Company Gem Sluice, which gives you a glimpse into the mining industry of Shenandoah Valley back in this era.

After exploring each facility in this village, head over to the Heartpine Café and grab a refreshing cup of coffee to keep you going for the remainder of your day.

There’s so much to see and learn at the Shenandoah Heritage Village, so try and stop by!

Log cabins at Shenandoah Heritage Village /

Surround Yourself with Nature at Birdsong Pleasure Garden

Escape the busy streets of Stanley and immerse yourself in nature at Birdsong Pleasure Garden!

Found in the neighboring town of Luray, this botanical garden can provide a peaceful atmosphere as you’re surrounded by scenic views, mountain vistas, and lush trees.

You can go on a guided tour and explore every part of this garden and see all the thriving flora and fauna, spot various birds flying by, and even learn a thing or two about gardening.

You may even opt for a simple picnic while enjoying al-fresco dining with family and friends on their picnic grounds.

During the summer and spring seasons, you’ll see the gardens bursting with parades of colors coming from the different flowers that bloom.

Enjoy the peace and serenity that Birdsong Please Garden brings, so make sure to book a reservation ahead of time!

Find Adventure at Bear Mountain Ziplines

Looking for adventure?

Try exploring Shenandoah Valley and its surrounding communities on a zipline at Bear Mountain Ziplines!

This destination in Luray can give you the thrill you’re looking for.

Zipline through 50 acres of forested area and admire the scenic views and beauty of the valley.

They also offer other outdoor recreational activities suitable for all ages regardless of skill levels, such as wall climbing and a rope course.

Their climbing wall is 3-storeys high and can accommodate up to two climbers, allowing you to race a friend to the top!

The Baby Bear High Ropes Course is a hit with kids ages five and up and tests their balance and endurance as they go through a series of obstacle courses.

Have an adventurous, fun-filled day at Bear Mountain Ziplines!

Go Fishing at Lake Arrowhead Recreation Park

Fishing dock at Lake Arrowhead Recreation Park

Jon Bilous /

Lake Arrowhead Recreation Park is a popular fishing site in Luray where you can catch a variety of fish, including crappies, bluegills, catfish, and plenty of other species.

You also have the option to go boating and explore the entirety of Lake Arrowhead with views of the mountain vistas.

Spanning over 134 acres in size, this park provides large spaces for gatherings and picnics, perfect during the summer months.

The waters of Lake Arrowhead Recreation Park

Rob Jump /

You can also go swimming in the designated swimming areas for a small fee in case you’d like to beat the heat.

Guests can also take a scenic hike on their paved hiking and walking trails that stretch for up to 2 miles.

Other amenities at Lake Arrowhead Recreation Park include a playground, grills, softball fields, and a horseshoe pit which you’re free to enjoy!

Play Golf at Caverns Country Club Resort

Caverns Country Club Resort is a great place to play golf, sitting above the banks of the Shenandoah River in the town of Luray!

With over 6,500 yards of greens, this golf course can cater to all golfers, whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned player.

Its rolling fairways, manicured layout, and high-quality rough complement the 18-hole and 72-par course to ensure a great golfing experience.

In addition to an enjoyable round of golf, you get scenic views of the mountain vistas, surrounding farmlands, and forested areas.

You also have the option to spend the night at the Luray Caverns Motel if you’d like to extend your stay.

Schedule a tee time and book a reservation at Caverns Country Club Resort!

Do an Adventure Course with the Whole Family at The Rope Adventure Park

The Rope Adventure Park in Luray provides activities where you can bond as a family!

Situated just 2 miles from downtown Luray, this recreational park offers two levels of adventure!

The Low Ropes Course is better suited for kids and younger audiences, keeping them within their comfort zone and much closer to the ground.

The High Ropes Course is perfect for those who wish to go beyond and climb higher, getting a better view of Luray and the surrounding Shenandoah Valley.

This facility encourages team-building and cooperation for some great quality time with the whole family as you climb the ropes and obstacles together.

Mix acrobatic elements and excitement at The Rope Adventure Park!

Final Thoughts

A vacation to Stanley allows you to escape the busy streets of the city and completely surround yourself with luscious trees and forested areas, all topped with breathtaking views!

You can also get a taste of adventure and excitement with the entertainment facilities they offer that cater to all ages.

Stanley’s location at the heart of Shenandoah Valley makes traveling to nearby towns easy and convenient for further exploration.

Book your next vacation to Stanley, Virginia, today!

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