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Visit Luray Caverns, campgrounds & more in Virginia!

Updated: May 6

Nestled in the heart of Virginia's Shenandoah Valley lies a hidden treasure that awaits families and cave enthusiasts alike. Luray Caverns is not just another cave; it's an underground wonderland, where nature's artistry is on full display, beckoning adventurers of all ages to explore its depths. This guide is your key to unlocking the magic of Luray Caverns, campgrounds and more in the surrounding area, ensuring your visit is filled with exploration, excitement, and the kind of memories that last a lifetime. From campgrounds to hotels, restaurants to other activities nearby, this place deserves to be one of your long weekend vacation spots, or better yet take a whole week to explore this area.

The Luray Caverns

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 of the eastern United States. This cave is privately owned and has been drawing visitors since 1878.  The first recorded 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.

Prepare to be awestruck as you descend into Luray Caverns. Your eyes will widen at the sight of towering stone columns, shimmering pools, and the exquisite beauty of the Great Stalagpipe. It's a symphony of nature unlike anything you've heard before. This majestic cavern is a playground for the imagination, with every twist and turn offering new wonders to discover.

The cavern has typical sights, (stalagmites, and stalactites), but in my opinion more than other caves I have been to. Luray Caverns also has the Giants Hall with a 47 ft column (a column is where a Stalagmite and Stalactite meet), frozen limestone or calcite that looks like it is dripping from the ceiling, and an optical illusion with a lake in the middle of the cave (Wishing Well). Also, there is 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.

Luray Caverns is more than its underground spectacle; it's a full day of fun waiting above ground too! After exploring the underground natural wonders, why not venture through the rest? There is still so much to see and do here at the Luray Caverns.

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 is $10, and Rope Adventure Park is $11.

  • Garden Maze, largest evergreen hedge maze in the mid-Atlantic area is a fun thing to do.  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. Will you find your way through all the twists and turns?

  • 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, but a perfect way to burn off some energy with smiles all around for the kids and those not scared of heights.

  • Last but not least, enjoy your time at the Gem Mining Experience, at the Gem Sluice. Sit down and get your hands wet while you are looking for gems as you wash the dirt away from the stones. You could end up with some nice stones. With different sizes of bags for different prices you can decide how much you want to pay to find a beautiful gemstone.

When visiting Luray Caverns and Campgrounds nearby.

Camping in the George Washington Forest
Camping in the George Washington Forest

For those looking to extend their adventure, camping near Luray VA offers the perfect opportunity to connect with nature. These campgrounds are favorites in the area among families for their beautiful sites and array of amenities. Imagine roasting marshmallows under the starlit sky, sharing stories of the day’s adventures, and drifting to sleep with the peaceful sounds of nature as your lullaby.

  • Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park -Located nearby and award winning. Offering many activities for the whole family to enjoy. An 18-hole mini golf course, gem mining, and a water playground with a swimming pool and waterslides. They have cabins, campsites with concrete pads, and a picnic table, and full hook-ups for RV's, at this beautiful campground.

  • Luray RV Resort- This resort is amazing with river and mountain views. They offer cabin rentals, riverfront tent areas, and RV camping too. This is on a 100-acre wildlife retreat area, with almost 1 mile of riverfront access. Find a fire pit and cook up some smores.

Roasting Marshmallows
Roasting marshmallows

  • Harrisonburg/ Shenandoah KOA- The KOA offers typical amenities and sites, with RV sites, tent camping, plus cabins for rent. They have a camp store on site, and pizza. Plus, activities like disc golf playground, fishing, and a pool to swim in. This KOA gives you easy access to Luray Virginia and all of the rest of this area.

  • Shenandoah National Park- If you enjoy camping in a national park, surrounded by all the natural beauty, this is the perfect place for you. With a few camping areas like Mathews Arm, Loft Mountain, Lewis Mountain, and Big Meadows campgrounds. With tent sites and full hookups for RV's the national park is a wonderful place to stay in the great outdoors.

Other places to stay.

After a day filled with exploration and discovery, a comfortable place to rest is paramount. Luray offers accommodations for every style and budget, from the quaint charm of the Mimslyn Inn, with its historic aura and modern comforts, to the family-friendly Hampton Inn in Woodstock VA nearby, ensuring a restful night’s sleep in preparation for another day of adventures. 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. I stayed at the Quality Inn, and it was fine.

  • 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.

  • 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 and a prime location and a friendly staff.

 view from an overlook
View from an overlook

  • 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.

  • Graves Mountain Lodge is located almost an hour away from Luray, but well worth the drive to the other side of Shenandoah National Park. Great food, and neat farm life. Learn to fly fish, or pet goats on your visit. The choice is yours. You can stay in cabins, the lodge or even the campgrounds.

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.

More to see in the Luray VA area

View of Blue Ridge Mountains
View of Blue Ridge Mountains

While the caverns are the crown jewel of Luray, the surrounding area is ripe with activities. The Shenandoah National Park, with its breathtaking views and miles of hiking trails, is just a short drive away, inviting you to immerse yourself in the beauty of the Virginia wilderness. For a gentler pace, the Luray Zoo offers a unique collection of rescued wildlife, ensuring fun and education go hand in hand. Here are some other best experiences in the area worth checking out while visiting.

  • Historic battlefields” Civil war sites are located really close by; this area has several. From Cross Keys Battle Artillery Field to New Market Battlefield State Historical Park.

  • Shenandoah River, canoe rental is available and tube renting excursions also.

  • Skyline Drive (105-mile drive that is along the edge of the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains in scenic Shenandoah National Park). Pic some of the stops along the drive for a great view from a vantage point along the way.

Sunset view of mountains
Sunset view of mountains
  • Shenandoah National Park has miles of trails for hiking, biking, camping and horseback riding. Look into Mary's Rock and Hazel's Mountain Overlook in the Blue Ridge Mountains are something to behold with many outdoor adventures waiting for you.

  • Luray VA, the town is charming with restored buildings from the 1700's, quaint shops, antiques, 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.

  • George Washington National Forest is located just next door and actually part of the Skyline drive. These 1.8 million acres spans Virginia and West Virginia. Technically there are over 25 campsites located within the Forest area with beautiful views.

  • The Appalachian Trail is located very close by, and by then mentioning all the national parks and forest in the area, you probably guessed it was close by. While Luray Virginia is not directly on the Appalachian Trail path, the city and country offer lots of benefits to the hikers on the trail. Like a hostel on the edge of town for the hikers, and free camping spots behind the Warehouse Art Gallery in town. There are also access to a free shuttle in town to help hikers get to their next portion of the trail. This website is very helpful for anyone who wants to hike the Appalachian Trail in this section of Virginia.

Restaurants in Luray

Fancy Coffee
Fancy Coffee

All this adventuring is sure to work up an appetite! Luray boasts a variety of dining options that cater to every palate. From the home-cooked comforts at Gathering Grounds Patisserie & Café to the savory Italian fare at Gennaro's Pizza & Italian Restaurant, your taste buds are in for a treat. Each meal here feels like a warm welcome, inviting you to slow down and savor the flavors of this charming town. The list below is some more of my favorites from the area.

  • Ollie Cat Cafe- named for Oliver the cat. This is my favorite spot to visit when I am in the area. try the Fried Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwich, and Cheese Curds.

  • Broad Porch Coffee Shop- Honestly the best coffee in the area and also try the Chai Latte, it's delicious. Breakfast Biscuit Sammy, or Roasted Corn and Sweet Potato Toast.

  • The Valley Cork- Open for lunch until 2PM, and then reopen at 4PM for dinner. This is a great place to try out some wines and the charcuterie boards. Those in the area planning for an event, reach out to them. I love the looks of their grazing tables on their website.

  • Watch and Warrant- Easily located on Main Street, check out the Pulled Pork Nachos, or Venison Sausage.

  • Hawksbill Brewing- If in the mood for some beer, check out this brewery. It is a great place for tourists or locals. 

Location, Location, Location.

  • Harrisonburg VA is a large city located about 24 minutes south with many hotels and restaurants.  

  • Front Royal VA is about 24 minutes north of Luray with options for accommodations. 

  • The Washington D.C. area is less than 2 hours away from Luray, making it a convenient weekend getaway location or a day trip option. 

  • Roanoke VA is 2.5 hours away  from Luray Virginia

  • Richmond VA is less than 3 hours away.

Also, 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

Luray Caverns and its surrounding area offer a treasure trove of activities that promise to enchant and excite with many fun things to do. Whether you’re an intrepid explorer drawn to the mysteries of the underground, a family seeking a memorable escape, or simply in search of the beauty that nature bestows, Luray, VA, welcomes you. Pack your sense of adventure, gather your loved ones, and set forth on a journey that will unfold in the wonders of the natural world, the warmth of delightful meals, and the joy of creating memories that will beckon you to return. The magical world of Luray Caverns is calling—are you ready to answer?

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Debbie Amos
Debbie Amos
May 02, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I want to go!! Great Job!!


N Whitt
N Whitt
May 01, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

makes me want to go there!

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