Summer road trips in and around Shenandoah National Park are pure pleasure. Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway are perenially considered among the most iconic mountain drives in America, and all of our itineraries incorporate one of these two driving powerhouses. So — if you are looking for a sign that the time is right to plan your next road trip, this is it!
This is the year to check off your bucket list: travel a national scenic byway, hike to a waterfall, explore an underground cavern, ride horses through a mountain forest, and paddle a legendary waterway. Nearby towns, hidden gems, and local attractions round out these itineraries so that you’ve got ideas and inspiration galore.
GO BIG: Shenandoah’s Epic Road Trips
Wrapped into easy three-day adventures, the suggested itineraries are built around iconic byways and viewpoints. For example, when you “Ride the Sky,” you’ll be taking the scenic route to visit hot spots from Front Royal to Staunton, weaving atop Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park with occasional dips into the Shenandoah Valley below.
Enticing and unexpected lures include the Virginia Beer Museum, the Copper Fox Distillery, zip lining at Massanutten Resort, and of course, hikes for waterfalls.
The remaining trip ideas are broken into chunks that incorporate both sides of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Northern Loop begins in Strasburg and ends Linden, home of The Apple House Restaurant’s famous apple butter cinnamon donuts. You’ll find yourself just a hop, skip, and a jump from Little Washington. Wineries, horses, Skyline Caverns, and camping beneath the stars at Shenandoah National Park are exciting parts of this loop.
Taking a ride on the Southern side of things by way of the Southern Loop will lead you from Staunton and its renowned experiences like Blackfriars Playhouse and Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library to “Virginia’s first culinary district” of Harrisonburg. Excellent sleep, great shopping, breweries, and family fun are along the way, plus you’ll love the culture that awaits in Charlottesville.
The itineraries on this list require just a few days, but most can fill a week (or more!) if you have time to unwind, settle in, and really make it a summer to remember. You’ll find the Epic Road Trip itineraries at VisitSkylineDrive.org. More trips are being added all the time, so bookmark the page as an easy trip-planning resource.
Header image: Zip Line at Massanutten Resort.