15 Best Things to Do in Waynesboro, VA

Waynesboro, VA
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For good reasons, most folks get excited about planning a trip to Waynesboro, an independent city in Virginia.

This city nestles on the foothills of the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains in the historic Shenandoah Valley.

Waynesboro, incorporated in 1801, started carving its history as early as 1798, when the current downtown was settled.

The city was named after Revolutionary War hero Mad Anthony Wayne and was also the scene of a major Civil War battle in 1865.

Tourism, along with the industrial and retail sectors, is the main driver of Waynesboro’s economy.

Besides the many shopping and dining alternatives in the city’s historic downtown, there are plenty of other things to do in Waynesboro.

Explore some of them on the following list.

Enjoy the Sights of the Shenandoah National Park

Road sign for Shenandoah National Park's entrance from Waynesboro
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Waynesboro is a convenient base for day hikes in Shenandoah National Park, as the park's southernmost access point is just three miles from the city.

Skyline Drive, just south of Waynesboro, is the best route to explore the park.

This scenic roadway traverses the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains, offering marvelous alpine and valley panoramas.

Stops along the length of Skyline Drive open access to the 500 miles of hiking trails meandering through Shenandoah National Park.

Scenic view from Shenandoah National Park's hiking trail
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Some 100 miles of these trails are segments of the famous Appalachian Trail, some of which you can easily explore.

These hiker-friendly trails include Blackrock Summit and Stony Man.

Both are just over a mile long and earn you a bragging right of having hiked on the Appalachian Trail.

While on a hike, there are some cool waterfalls to enjoy in the Shenandoah National Park.

Gorgeous waterfall at Shenandoah National Park
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Watch a Show at Wayne Theatre

This venue for local entertainment in Waynesboro’s West Main Street opened as a vaudeville house in 1926.

It was fully restored in 2016 after a fire heavily damaged it in the 1980s, and the building was nearly demolished.

Since its 2016 reopening, Wayne Theatre has been hosting more than 300 performances, including movie screenings and special events each year.

Check the events calendar of this theatre, too, for its signature speaker series and scheduled exhibits at its art gallery.

Besides regular shows, the theatre offers to the community and surrounding areas an Arts Education Program.

Browse Artworks at Shenandoah Valley Art Center

A non-profit gallery, this art center is located at Wayne Avenue corner Federal Street.

The Shenandoah Valley Art Center is Waynesboro’s lone full-time dedicated exhibition gallery.

Each year, it holds about 10 main exhibits, nine members’ exhibits, and four to six community exhibits.

The art center, founded in the 1980s, boasts seven studios with nine resident artists, as well as a pottery studio and printmaking equipment.

It hosts an annual autumn art festival featuring not only the center’s resident artists but also musicians and food trucks.

This gallery, located on West Main Street, exhibits and sells the creations of Waynesboro artist Patricia Buckley.

Pat’s uplifting artworks are inspired by the Shenandoah Valley, its scenery, and people, along with their lifestyles, cultures, and traditions.

Ornaments and other collectibles are also available at this gallery, conveniently near other downtown shops and restaurants.

The art gallery, open Tuesday through Sunday, often holds events where you can purchase prints or originals and meet the artist.

Ask the gallery about similar events also held at the artist’s Barn Show.

Explore the Blue Ridge Tunnel

Light at the end of Blue Ridge Tunnel
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This long-abandoned tunnel lives on through its namesake Blue Ridge Tunnel Trail, easily accessible from Waynesboro.

The trail has its West Trailhead on the Three Notched Mountain Highway near Colony House Motel in Waynesboro.

A 7.2-kilometer out-and-back easy route, this trail helps celebrate the nearly-forgotten feat of engineering of the Blue Ridge Tunnel that opened in 1858.

Brickwork details in Blue Ridge Tunnel
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A trek to its trail hits its climax in the 4,264-foot long railway tunnel of the Blue Ridge Railroad.

It was considered the longest US railroad tunnel when it was built, passing 500 feet beneath the Rockfish Gap ridge.

The tunnel was built to provide the Virginia Central Railroad with a crossing of the Blue Ridge Mountains into the Shenandoah Valley.

You can appreciate the full history of this subterranean railway passage in “The Timeless Tunnel” gallery of the Waynesboro Heritage Museum on Main Street.

Drink Craft Beer on a Horse Farm

Create a unique experience in beer drinking at the award-winning Stable Craft Brewing on Madrid Road.

The facilities of this craft beer maker, including its taproom, are located on the sprawling grounds of the horse farm Hermitage Hill Farm & Stables.

Because of the scenic countryside location of this farm, it also serves as a wedding venue that Stable Craft Brewing also runs.

Tying the knot aside, this craft brewer not only offers hand-crafted beer in its onsite taproom a vast range of rotating beers.

Its drinks list also includes CBD seltzers, cider, and soda that you can enjoy Biergarten-style.

A chef-inspired menu focused on local cuisine is another visitors’ delight at Stable Craft Brewing.

You can also check out tours of the brewery and the farm, a rare mix of visiting hop fields and horses before a look at the beer-making process.

Bond with Nature at Coyner Springs Park

This rustic park spreads over 145 acres accessible via Lyndhurst Road, and is open from sunrise to sunset.

It features several nature trails where you can enjoy the company of charming wildlife, such as squirrels, woodpeckers, and even deer.

The park also hosts the 9-hole Fox at Coyner Springs Disc Golf Course, which plays at par 31 over a moderately hilly and wooded layout.

Kite-flying is enjoyable in the vast expanse of the park, which also provides a leash-free area for pet dogs.

In this park, you can reserve a 30-by-40-foot picnic shelter with tables, restrooms, electricity, a grill, and water.

Ring the Bell at Serenity Garden

This charming garden blooms on a one-acre knoll off Northgate Avenue at the south entry to Ridgeview Park.

Serenity Garden is home to the Peoples Bell, which visitors can ring thrice to remember a loved one, to wish hope for a cure for an ailment, or to celebrate the conclusion of treatments.

The garden features a walkway flanked by an array of brightly colored flowers and low-growing shrubs.

For visitors’ convenience, special benches are provided along the walkway throughout this garden in Ridgeview Park.

The park also features nature trails, including a grass path that leads down to the South River.

Also accessible via South Magnolia Avenue, Ridgeview Park also features the city’s War Memorial Pool, picnic areas, a footbridge across the South River, and riverside benches.

Paddle on the Waynesboro Water Trail

Experience a new perspective of Waynesboro with a canoeing or kayaking trip on the South River, which snakes through the city.

To take this scenic Waynesboro Water Trail, which runs for four miles, you can launch your canoe or kayak at the boat ramp on Ridgeview Park on South Magnolia Avenue.

Taking out your boat can be convenient in the north at Basic Park on Genicom Drive.

In between Ridgeview Park and Basic Park, boat ramps have also been built for paddlers launching or pulling out at Rife Park and North Park.

Paddling the Waynesboro Water Trail, you can expect runs on class I and class II rapids along the way.

The Waynesboro Water Trail is part of the 6.5-mile stretch Virginia Scenic River from North Oak Lane to Hopeman Parkway.

Visit the Plumb House Museum

Exterior of Plumb House Museum
Ben Schumin, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hosted in a preserved 1800s house, this museum features historical displays on the Battle of Waynesboro and the American Civil War.

The museum is also located on West Main Street, only about 400 meters west of the Waynesboro Heritage Museum.

Other exhibits in the Plumb House museum include Native American artifacts as well as bird and butterfly collections.

It likewise features mementos from the Plumb family, who lived in this residence from the 1800s till the 1990s.

Besides the National Register of Historic Places, the Plumb House is listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and Virginia Civil War Trails.

Another historic building, the 1806 Coiner-Quesenbury House believed to be Waynesboro’s first brick house, is also on West Main Street about half a mile southeast of the Plumb House Museum.

Watch Fast Cars on Eastside Speedway

Enjoy a weekend at Waynesboro watching souped-up cars and motorcycles testing their speed limits at the Eastside Speedway.

This drag strip is located on Al Gore Lane off US 340 at the northern outskirts of Waynesboro.

It is within a 340-acre site with a 4/10-mile dirt oval and a 1/8-mile asphalt track as its arenas.

The races on Eastside Speedway are typically held on Saturday nights, with inexpensive food items also the main draw during races.

Putt at Waynesboro Golf and Games

This facility, located on Jefferson Highway, offers a nine-hole, par-three play at yardages ranging from 57 to 125 yards.

The entire 9-hole layout has a total yardage of 803 yards, designed to provide beginners a course to learn golf’s fundamentals.

Many advanced golfers also play on this public course to beef up their short game.

Most of the greens in this layout are small, so precision shots are important for golfers aiming to shoot par.

In addition to this 9-hole course, Waynesboro Golf and Games also offers an 18-hole mini-golf course with lights for night play.

This facility is embellished to include fountains, water gardens, unique obstacles, and vibrant landscaping.

Tour Waynesboro Heritage Museum

This museum celebrates Waynesboro’s history in its permanent and rotating exhibits, as well as in its audio-visual facility.

Aptly, the Waynesboro Heritage Museum is housed in the historic 1908 First National Bank Building, with its Classical Revival style of architecture standing out on West Main Street.

The museum’s nine permanent galleries present the city’s historical highlights, including the 1797 Beverley Grant under King George II of England and the Banks of Waynesboro.

Also among the museum exhibits are panels about the history of its host bank building and Waynesboro City’s namesake, Brigadier General Anthony Wayne.

Other museum features include an exhibit on local business pioneer Fishburne Drug Store and a Heritage Gift Shop.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Ski at Wintergreen Resort

This Virginia winter attraction is located on Mountain Inn Loop, Nellysford, 19 miles south of Waynesboro.

Wintergreen Resort boasts 26 slopes and trails served by several lifts to return skiers to the top.

In winter, the resort’s slopes always have decent natural snow coverage or are supplemented with artificial snow on top.

Some slopes are suited for all abilities, and a snow park is available for those looking to get a bit more excitement on their rides.

Other facilities in Wintergreen Resort include a tubing slope and a fun park for young kids.

During the summer months, hiking is enjoyable on the resort’s slopes and trails, where panoramic vistas and gorgeous waterfalls are the sights to behold.

Humpback Rocks in Wintergreen Resort is one of the destinations to look forward to in summer.

Pay a Visit to Barren Ridge Vineyard

This vineyard is located on Barrenridge Road in Fishersville, just 7 miles northwest of Waynesboro’s downtown district.

A former apple farm, Barren Ridge Vineyard started operations in 2008 and has won a slew of awards in wine competitions since then.

This winery uses European-style winemaking methods and offers visitors many experiences in its tasting room.

Barren Ridge Vineyard’s offerings include its 2017 Merlot, described as having excellent fruity, spicy, and complex taste.

Another bestseller of this winery is its ruby-style 2017 Port infused with Virginia-distilled brandy and full of dark cherry, thereby delivering a spicy, long finish.

Try also the apple wine of Barren Ridge Vineyard, which yields a sweet, bright aroma and a dry finish.

Special events, like weekend music concerts and open mic of local talents, can further spice up a visit to Barren Ridge Vineyards.

Final Thoughts

An abundance of exciting activities awaits you in Waynesboro, which has thrived from the blessings of its fantastic location in Shenandoah Valley.

The natural beauty and wealth of things to do that this city offers make it one of the must-visit places in Virginia.