Updated: Nov 6
Located on the edge of Shenandoah National Park, in the Blue Ridge Mountains area of Northern Virginia. Luray, VA is home to a great cave system, Luray Caverns. The largest in the mid-Atlantic area. This cave is privately owned and has been drawing visitors since 1878. The first visitors to the cave proved it was used by the Native Americans in the region some 500 years earlier, finding Native American artifacts inside the entrance of the cave. In 1974 The National Park Service and the Department of Interior designated Luray Caverns as a registered Natural Landmark.
Luray Caverns is a 1.25 mile walk on a paved path and can take a little over an hour. The path is lighted the whole way and is wheelchair accessible. While I was there, a kid somewhere on the path pushed a button and accidently turned off the lights. It was ok though, they flipped the switch back on quickly. The temperature in the cave year-round is 59 degrees, so dress warm. The cave is open 9 am to 6 pm.
The caverns have typical sights, (stalagmites, and stalactites), but in my opinion more than other caves I have been to. This cave also has The Great Stalacpipe, Giants Hall with a 47 ft column (a column is where a Stalagmite and Stalactite meet.), frozen limestone or calcite (looks like it is dripping from the ceiling), an optical illusion with a lake in the middle of the cave (Wishing Well), a Vietnam War Memorial for the veterans of Page County, and lastly don't forget the Fried Egg, a cute must see.
More than the cave on the Property
On the same grounds as the cave, you have several other places to check out. For $32 you get access to the caverns, Car Carriage and Caravan museum, Shenandoah Heritage Village, and Toy Town Junction. Also, the Garden Maze it $10, and Rope Adventure Park is $11
Garden Maze, largest evergreen hedge maze in the mid-Atlantic area. There is a 1-acre ornamental garden on the cave property. open 11-5 weekdays, and 11-6 on weekends. You search your way through the maze to find the exit, by completing tasks along the way. Can be challenging, but great for a group.
Toy Town Junction, inspired by a toy train given as a gift in 1941, David's (the owner of the toys) love of toys and trains developed into this museum. Stop by and check out the number of toys that will take you back to your childhood.
Shenandoah Heritage Village, is a recreation of a farming community from the 1800's. There is a quilt museum, gem mining sluice, beautiful gardens, restored historic buildings, cottages, cafe and gift shop. Take some time to explore the 7 acres and it will take you back in time to the 1800's
The Car Carriage Caravan Museum has over 75 historic vehicles including an 1897 Mercedes Benz. There are many other older vehicles you will most likely not see anywhere else.
Rope Adventure Park. With a harness strapped to you, step out of your comfort zone. Each course has several poles with acrobatic elements attached to them. There are 2 different levels to choose from. a low and high rope course. I am a chicken and would not choose the high course. lol
More to see in the Luray VA area
In the area are:
-Historic battlefields from the Civil War are located nearby.
-Shenandoah River, canoe rental is available and tube renting excursions also.
-Skyline Drive (105-mile drive that is along the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park).
-Shenandoah National Park has hiking, biking, camping and horseback riding. Look into Mary's Rock and Hazel's Mountain Overlook
-Luray VA, the town is charming with restored buildings from the 1700's, quaint shops, cafes, restaurants, bed and breakfasts.
-New Market VA, has the Virginia Museum of the Civil War.
-Skydive Shenandoah, located about 23 miles away, if you have the urge to take the jump.
Restaurants in Luray
-Ollie Cat Cafe (my favorite) try the Fried Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwich, and Cheese Curds.
-Broad Porch Coffee Shop, try the Chai Latte, Breakfast Biscuit Sammy, or Roasted Corn and Sweet Potato Toast.
-The Valley Cork, try the charcuterie boards.
-Watch and Warrant, check out the Pulled Pork Nachos, or Venison Sausage.
-Hawksbill Brewing- not a restaurant but a neat brewery.
Where to stay
You have plenty to choose from. From Budget hotels like Days Inn and Quality Inn (at around $72 a night plus tax) to beautiful cabins in the woods, and also Bed and Breakfasts.
Bryce Resort is close enough, and it is a timeshare. (Speaking of which, if you are into those types of things, if you book an appointment to visit and listen to their sales speech, you could get your budget hotel free for a night or tickets to the cavern for free). I actually did this once for a weekend getaway up there.
I will mention 2 favorites, that happen to be luxury. If you are looking for a budget hotel though, I stayed at the Quality Inn and it did the job.
Mimslyn Inn, very close by, and I would consider it luxury at $271 a night when I was looking but it has everything, 2 pools, 2 bars, 2 restaurants, and a spa. Absolutely beautiful.
Skyland is about 8 miles away, but the view is breathtaking. At $234 a night I would still call this luxury. It is located in the National Park.
There are also several Airbnb, and VRBO places in the area that are cozy and quaint. These may fit exactly what you are looking for, so check them out.
Location, Location, Location.
Harrisonburg VA is a large city located about 24 minutes south with many hotels and restaurants. Front Royal VA is about the same distance, just north. Luray VA is a convenient getaway location from the Washington DC area at less than 2 hours, Roanoke VA is 2.5 hours away and Richmond VA is less than 3 hours away. Imagine taking a day trip to DC then come back to your cozy cabin. I think that sounds great.
Maryland, the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, and even Southern Pennsylvania are very close by. This little area has so much to offer, if you stay for a while to explore.
Take a trip
Personally, I feel that this area is a great getaway location, for a long weekend, or even longer. It's also great for a romantic escape with a cabin in the woods and driving the Skyline. Great family trip too, bring the kids and check out the cavern and rope course. There is so much to see and do beyond the caverns, but you have to explore the caverns when in this area.
I hope you enjoyed this post and found it informative. If you would like any more information about this area, planning or research for here or anywhere in the world, just make an appointment on tourangie.com and I will take care of all of your travel needs.
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