Shenandoah National Park encompasses part of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. A mere 75 miles from Washington, D.C., this park offers many city goers and locals alike respite from the burdens of life. In fact, it was a favorite weekend getaway for the Hoovers. The park is made up of picturesque cascading waterfalls, spectacular vistas, and serene wooded hollows. Over 200,000 protected acres make up Shenandoah National Park and are called home by deer, wild turkeys, songbirds, and even black bears.
The most popular feature at the park is Skyline Drive, which is the only road that runs through the entire road. RVers, horse trailers, and camping trailers are welcome so long as they are in a low gear. Skyline Drive runs north and south 105 miles along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. With a speed limit of only 35 miles an hour you can cruise along and enjoy the view. 75 overlooks can be found along Skyline Drive and provide plenty of postcard worthy picture opportunities. During the spring, summer, and part of fall you’ll find a fantastic display of wildflowers along the side of the road, which is purposely left unmowed so you get to witness the natural show Mother Nature puts on. You’ll see everything from azaleas to golden rod to black eyed susans.
Shenandoah is an outdoor enthusiasts paradise. Over 500 miles of hiking trails are available to accommodate a range of skill levels. Nearly all of the forest’s 200,000 acres is open to backcountry camping, where you can literally spend your entire vacation outside! When you backcountry camp you truly “rough it” and bring along everything you need for survival on your back. Of course if you plan to do this you need to make sure you’re well prepared and have the skills and knowledge necessary to make camping in such rugged terrain safe and enjoyable. For those who prefer more modern amenities Shenandoah also offers modern campground facilities. These facilities are open during spring, summer, and fall. Camping is strictly forbidden during the winter. The park’s 3 largest campgrounds Mathews Arm, Big Meadows and Loft Mountain campgrounds all have pull-through and deep back-in sites which most of the time can handle an RV with a tow vehicle. They do not have hookups, but do offer potable water and dump stations (except for Lewis Mountain).
The size of Shenandoah means you won’t be disappointed in all that you can do. Outdoor activities like bird watching and nature gazing allow you to truly view the splendor around you in peace and quiet. Two visitors centers, the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center and Harry F. Byrd Sr., Visitor Center are open to educate you about the park and the animals who call it home. Rangers can also help you plan hikes and there are informational videos available for your viewing pleasure. Check out the video below to see snapshots of the park!
To start planning your visit to Shenandoah National Park click here. And, if you’re not quite ready for the backcountry camping mentioned above, contact us to learn how we can help you either buy or rent an RV for your next vacation.
Photo Credit: By Stolz Gary M, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons