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    Do you recognize one of the oldest tourist destinations in the US? This beauty has been included on several "Seven Natural Wonders of the World" lists, was surveyed by George Washington in 1750 and was once owned by Thomas Jefferson as a personal retreat. While you're visiting don't forget to swing by the legendary Foamhenge, explore the Natural Bridge Caverns and get your photo taken with a baby tiger at the Natural Bridge Zoo. Photo credit: @takeiteasybee #loveva #virginia #vaoutdoors #naturalwonder #naturalbridge #howisummer #vatravel #virginiaisforlovers #photooftheday #fatherson
    #HappyBirthday to #NASA, launched 51 years ago in 1958. This is an awesome shot of the Minotaur V launch from #WallopsIsland, #Virginia last September by @_miancab. If you're interested in watching their next #launch, the Antares is scheduled for October of this year (date TBD). You can view from bleachers or the rooftop observation deck at the Wallops Island Flight Facility Visitor Center OR you can watch from Chincoteague or the Assateague Island beach. #rocket #loveva #space #stars #photooftheday #blastoff @nasa
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    Spend a day at Buckroe #Beach in Hampton, #Virginia. You'll find a popular cobia fishing #pier and kayak, paddleboat, chair and umbrella rentals. If you time your visit right, you'll even get to hear some live music in the beachside pavilion. Photo props to @jennaevelyndill. Post your #VA photos with #LoveVA for a chance to be featured here! #repost #ocean #howisummer #sand #photooftheday
  • Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

    Stand Up Paddleboarding Spots

    by Stefanie | Posted on July 10th, 2014

    You’ve heard the buzz and read the magazine articles.  Maybe you’ve even seen some stand up paddlers down at the beach or know someone who has hopped on a board.  Whatever your exposure to Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP), the odds are pretty good that it has piqued your interest.  So what are you waiting for?

    Stand Up Paddleboarding, also known as SUP, is the incredible combination of canoeing, kayaking and surfing. Using a canoe-like paddle and standing atop a stable and balanced long board, paddlers propel themselves through the water with smooth alternating strokes. SUP offers an alternative core workout similar to swimming and cycling. In a short time you will become one with water, finding yourself living in the moment. Stand up paddleboarding offers a new perspective of Virginia’s natural surroundings and an escape from your daily stress.

    Coastal SUP Tours, Virginia Beach
    Coastal SUP Tours offers a personalized SUP experience for every group.  Take a relaxing tour of First Landing State Park for the beginners, or tour the Bay/Ocean and watch dolphins as they migrate on their daily feeding routines around Cape Henry Point. The Coastal SUP Tours staff strives to provide their customers with a safe, comfortable and relaxing experience. They also offer one-on-one lessons for a more private and focused training.

    Black Dog Paddle SUPer Sisters

    Black Dog Paddle SUPer Sisters

    Black Dog Paddle, Midlothian
    Black Dog Paddle brings the fun and excitement of stand up paddleboarding to the James River and many other surrounding waterways in Richmond. Black Dog Paddle offers SUP lessons, fitness classes, ECO-tours, ECO-trips, SUP fishing, SUP yoga and stand up paddle rentals. Black Dog tours the inland waterways, the James River, Dutch Gap, the Chickahominy River, Lake Anna, Lake Chesdin, Fredericksburg, Charlottesville, Mathews County, and Deltaville on their new, well-balanced (and very fun!) stand up paddleboards.

    Tula Adventure Sports, Virginia Beach
    Home of the Drifter SUP Tour, Tula Adventure Sports is the only downstream paddle in the Virginia Beach area. Paddle along the shoreline of First Landing State Park on Broad Bay and Long Creek—a side of Virginia Beach that not everyone gets to explore. You will be surrounded by beauty while paddling along friendly waters, and getting a little push from the tide. While you’re on the Drifter Tour, you’ll never see the same shoreline twice and never paddle against the current. This paddle is great for first timers and wildlife enthusiasts. Tula also offers lessons (private or group) and rentals.

    Riverside Outfitters, Richmond
    Ready to see the James River from a whole new perspective? Join Riverside Outfitters’ expert guides on a thrilling instructional trip from Pony Pasture to Reedy Creek (Class I-II whitewater). In this relatively easy whitewater section of the river you will experience a fun, challenging workout among some of the prettiest urban wilderness in the U.S. Come see why Outside Magazine awarded Richmond the “2012 Best River Town in the U.S.A.” The guides provide plenty of instruction (dry land and on-the-water) so that paddleboarders not only have a great trip, but learn skills that can be applied to future paddleboard outings.

    Outdoor Adventure Experiences, Dayton
    Outdoor Adventure Experiences offers introductory expeditions, usually spanning two hours, on flat water. Half-day lessons on small, gentle rapids are also available.

    SouthEast Expeditions at Onancock Wharf

    SouthEast Expeditions at Onancock Wharf

    SouthEast Expeditions, Cape Charles
    SouthEast Expeditions offers small, introductory lessons to ensure individual attention. Each introductory lesson lasts one hour. A second class is included in the fee, where paddleboarders are able to explore the open waters on their own—perfect for families and group gatherings.

    Paddleboarding at Pohick Bay, Lorton
    Pohick Bay Regional Park has recently added SUP to their long line of rentals. As part of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, the Park is now able to give SUP discounts to residents in the surrounding areas—Fairfax, Arlington and Loudoun Counties, City of Alexandria, and Falls Church.

    Great White Water Sports, Norfolk
    Rent a paddleboard and relax and unwind. Great White Water Sports offers tranquil paddle yoga, also known as aqua yoga.

    Fredericksburg SUP

    Fredericksburg SUP

    Fredericksburg SUP, Fredericksburg
    While you’re discovering Northern Virginia, spend at day at Fredericksburg SUP, where their paddleboarding lessons cater to people of all ages and skill levels. Various lessons are available, as well as tours and sales.



    Beaches, Destinations, Family, Outdoors, Outdoors, Travel Ideas, Uncategorized, Virginia Destinations | 2 Comments

    Experience primitive tent camping

    by Stefanie | Posted on July 1st, 2014

    There is no other way to get back to nature than to pitch a tent and take on wilderness the primitive way. You’ll find hundreds of camping facilities around the state, but how about taking a trip to some tent-only campgrounds? They’re worth the experience.

    Virginia Camping

    Virginia Camping

    CAMP OUTBACK – LURAY
    Take in the breathtaking views of the mountains encompassing Luray. A strictly tent-only campground, Camp OutBack has 25 wooded camp sites, each accommodating up to 10 campers, offering a picnic table, charcoal grill and fire pit. Take a hike to the Shenandoah River or a 10-mile trip into Luray. A fishing lake is available nearby, as well as Shenandoah River Outfitters, offering canoeing, kayaking, rafting and tubing. Essential amenities are available, such as restrooms, shower, and available firewood for purchase.

    BLUECAT ON THE NEW – DRAPER
    Bluecat on the New offers Tipi rentals and primitive camping sites. The tipis have river rock floors and can have up to 4 single or 2 double cots (which are provided). Six campsites are equipped with grills and picnic tables. All sites are located on the scenic New River and have river access, as well as canoe, kayak and tube rentals. For those who are looking for a day of fishing, guided services are available. Also close by is the New River Trail State Park, perfect for those who would like to do some hiking, biking or horseback riding during their stay. A bath house with men and women’s showers is located on the grounds.

    CAMP KARMA CAMPGROUND – BEDFORD
    Check out the upscale camping experience at Camp Karma Campground in Bedford. The campground, located on 42 acres in the southwestern region of the state, offers 36 campsites, which are primarily for tent campers. The property offers hiking trails, a recreation field and visitors can swim and fish is Goose Creek. Standard amenities are available on the grounds.

    OUTLANDERS RIVER CAMP – LURAY
    Enjoy primitive camping along the Shenandoah River at Outlanders River Camp. The camp offers activities ranging from kayaking to hiking, and everything in between. Primitive sites, as well as electric tent sites are available on property. Looking to spend a day outside the grounds? Shenandoah National Park and the George Washington National Forest are just 15 minutes away.

    Greenwood Point Campground

    Greenwood Point Campground

    GREENWOOD POINT CAMPGROUND – WARM SPRINGS
    Those who enjoy the solitude of an isolated and remote location will be drawn to Greenwood Point Campground. With no road access, the adventure is just getting there! Strap on that pack and take the 3.3 mile hike, or paddle a canoe directly to the shores of the campground. Wooded campsites encircle an open and grassy common area, and lakeside views make this a popular private and quiet camping destination.

    ED ALLEN’S CAMPGROUND & COTTAGES – LANEXA
    Ed Allen’s offers a tranquil, 85-acre shaded retreat, featuring some of Virginia’s finest camping, fishing, recreation and wildlife. Try your luck on our two fully stocked ponds located in the campground, or one of Virginia’s greatest fishing retreats, the Chickahominy Lake. Peaceful evenings around the fire, fishing, boating, canoeing, or kayaking will make for enduring memories.

    NEW RIVER TRAIL STATE PARK – FOSTER FALLS
    New River Trail State Park has four primitive campgrounds: Cliffview, Millrace, Baker Island and Double Shoals. If you’re looking for a most unique tent-camping trip, this is the place to visit. Enjoy the amenities and adventures of the state park and retreat to a peaceful campsite to take in the serenity of nature. There is no vehicular access to the campsites and any showers or bathhouses. Access to the campground is hike-in or boat-in.

    Shenandoah National Park Camping

    Shenandoah National Park Camping

    BLOWING SPRINGS CAMPGROUND – WARM SPRINGS
    Offering both sunny and shaded camping sites, visitors to Blowing Springs Campground will be amazed by the phenomenon for which this site is named. A unique geological feature creates a duct that blows air out of the rocks at a constant 58 degrees, which may feel warm or cool depending on the season. Direct access to trails leading to swimming holes, and a stream stocked with trout are a few of the many reasons to visit this campground.

    BURKE LAKE PARK CAMPING – FAIRFAX STATION
    Take a camping trip to remember at Burke Lake Park. The campground, which offers nearly 100 campsites, is surrounded by acres of forest and one of Virginia’s most popular fishing holes. Fairfax Station offers convenient access to the Metrorail, which can put you in our nation’s capital within minutes. Enjoy the primitive tent-camping experience, and the excitement and history D.C. has to offer.

    NORTH CREEK CAMPGROUND – ARCADIA
    Located along the edge of North Creek, this campground offers shady campsites and a relaxed atmosphere. Prop your feet up and listen to the stream as it gurgles past, or take advantage of the fishing just outside your tent. The nearby trails include Whitetail, Cornelius Creek and Apple Orchard Falls. Enjoy a large expanse of National Forest land for hunting and hiking.

    LEWIS MOUNTAIN CAMPGROUND – LURAY
    Lewis Mountain, located within the Shenandoah National Park, is the smallest campground in the park. This site especially appeals to those who want a little more privacy without venturing deep into the back-country, yet it is within seven miles of the popular Big Meadows area of the park.



    Destinations, Family, Outdoors, Travel Ideas | 1 Comment

    12 Beautiful Virginia Resorts

    by Casey | Posted on June 24th, 2014

    Looking for luxury? Family fun? Maybe a little of both? Choose from these 12 Virginia resorts that boast plenty of activities to keep families busy or deliver top-notch amenities for couples.

    For Kids to LOVE

    Massanutten Resort

    Massanutten Resort

    Massanutten Resort is a four season mountaintop haven. This time of year is perfect for the waterpark! Line the kids up on Rockingham Racer to see who can make it to the bottom first, ride the waves at White Caps or get your aquatic play skills on at Splash-a-Nutten. After you’ve gotten a good soak, head to the Family Adventure Park for zip lining, summer tubing, and wall climbing. Accommodations

     

    Wintergreen Resort

    Wintergreen Resort

    Wintergreen Resort is situated on 11,000 acres of the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Spaces dedicated to family fun include Discovery Ridge and Ridgely’s Fun Park. The activities included are zip lining, summer tubing, bungee trampoline, a climbing wall, miniature golf, and great indoor arcade and gaming outlets. Archery has been recently been added as a family activity, too!

    Something for Everyone

    Mariners Landing

    Mariners Landing

    Some of the family loves the beach and some love the mountains. Mash those two worlds together when you stay waterside at Mariners Landing on Smith Mountain Lake in Huddleston! The 1,000-acre resort community includes beaches, three pool complexes, gaming center, and of course, water sports for those who wish to rent or bring their own equipment.

    The Tides Inn

    The Tides Inn

     

    Situated along Carter Creek near the Chesapeake Bay in Irvington is The Tides Inn. Families love the swimming pools, beach, and the “learn-to” water sports that the marina affords, while couples can partake of golf, the spa, a Cove Cruise, and the serenity of a peaceful waterside reprieve.

     

    Kingsmill Resort

    Kingsmill Resort

     

    Spanning 2,900 acres along the James River is Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg. A full-service spa, 54 holes of golf, tennis, various eateries, and a full-service marina are all at your fingertips. Families will enjoy the lazy river at the River Pool and access to paddle boards, sea bikes, kayaks, and fishing poles.

     

    Lansdowne Resort

    Lansdowne Resort

    Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg is a AAA Four-Diamond Award winner, and it’s a great choice for families or couples. Amenities include elegant rooms, a luxurious 12,000 square foot destination spa, and 45 holes of golf, courtesy of designers Robert Trent Jones II and Greg Norman. Families can spread out and splash about in the five-pool aquatic complex or sign the kids up for a day camp.

     

    Cozy for Couples

    Boar's Head

    Boar’s Head

     

    Southern hospitality reigns supreme at Boar’s Head in Charlottesville. Recently renovated, the AAA Four Diamond resort is known for its Old Mill Room dining and spa.

     

     

    Primland Resort

    Primland Resort

     

    High up on the mountain in Meadows of Dan is Primland Resort, boasting truly spectacular views. Outdoor enthusiasts will be especially pleased with the Orvis endorsed wingshooting opportunities, hunting expeditions, ATV tours, and more. Primland also has 18 holes of golf and an American Indian inspired spa. Stargazing is quite romantic, and if you’d like to get a better look, head to the Primland Observatory.

    Keswick Hall

    Keswick Hall

     

    Keswick Hall is a Charlottesville area mainstay that will soon boast a brand new Pete Dye-designed golf course. Fossett’s is the signature restaurant that will certainly be your destination after a relaxing spa treatment. Keswick is a two-time Conde Nast “#1 Small Resort in Mainland U.S.” honoree.

     

    Salamander Resort

    Salamander Resort

     

    Salamander Resort in Middleburg is pure extravagance with lavish suites, an opulent spa with a couples spa suite and poolside cabanas, a full-service 22-stall equestrian center, delectable dining with a nearby cooking studio, and more.

     

    The Omni Homestead Resort

    The Omni Homestead Resort

     

     

    The quintessential Virginia destination for couples is The Omni Homestead in Hot Springs, called “the birthplace of Southern hospitality.” Nestled into the Allegheny Mountains, this National Historic Landmark is enhanced with two championship golf courses, shooting, horseback riding, falconry, Jefferson Pools, spa with exclusive adults-only spa garden, Allegheny Springs water recreation area, and carriage rides.

    The Berry Hill Resort

    The Berry Hill Resort

     

    The 1728 National Historic Landmark known as The Berry Hill Resort is found in South Boston. History, tradition and charm are abundant at this luxury resort. Book one of the mini mansions for ultimate privacy! Blackberry Spa will be a delicious treat for a weary body.

    Which resort destination tops your list? Stay at each one for a different flavor of Virginia hospitality and fun!

     

    Virginia is for Lovers.
    Request your free Travel Guide.



    Couples, Family, Virginia Destinations | 4 Comments

    Canoeing and Tubing Adventures to Try Out

    by Stefanie | Posted on June 10th, 2014

    NEW RIVER JUNCTION – CANOEING | Blacksburg
    Experience New River Junction, as the New River will draw you, gently and peacefully, as you float over small riffles in your tube. About a mile downstream, the rapids are splashing. Ride the rapids a few times then visit Big Falls Park, where the park grills will be hot and ready for cooking. The free shuttle bus will be available when you decide to go back for another trip down the river. A lazy, inner tube drift down a mile of pristine river cupped in a tree-lined mountain valley provides the perfect escape from a hot summer day.

    Canoeing down the New River with Tangent Outfitters

    Canoeing down the New River with Tangent Outfitters

    TANGENT OUTFITTERS – GUIDED CANOEING | Radford
    Experience the second oldest river in the WORLD, the New River, as you paddle alongside the natural scenery. Varying from flat, slow-moving water to Class III rapids, the historical river provides an enjoyable adventure for canoers of all skill levels. Trips with Tangent Outfitters range from 5-10 miles, so pack a lunch to take a break along any of the river’s beaches!

    NEW RIVER’S EDGE – TUBING | Giles
    Bring your family and relax while tubing the gentle waters and Class I rapids of the New River. The 20-minute adventure is something you’ll love to take again and again. Tubing from the Pembroke Boat Landing through the shoals and back to New River’s Edge is fun for all ages! New River’s Edge provides a great, refreshing way to cool off this summer.

    CLINCH RIVER ADVENTURES – TUBING/CANOEING | St. Paul
    Visit Mother Nature’s waterpark at Clinch River Adventures and spend the day floating down the most bio-diverse river in the country! Rent or bring your own canoe and experience one of the many trips available for the whole family; the facility offers trips from 45 minutes to 7 hours. Looking for a more relaxing day on the water? Spend some time tubing for a peaceful float down the river.

    JAMES RIVER REELING & RAFTING – CANOEING | Scottsville
    James River Reeling & Rafting offers great flexibility for those seeking excitement or relaxation. Choose from Class I, II or III rapids, spanning more than 50 miles! Each canoeing trip offers Smallmouth Bass fishing, so be sure to pack the fishing pole and cooler as you spend the day on the James!

    TWIN RIVER OUTFITTERS – CANOEING | Buchanan
    Twin River Outfitters runs trips on the Upper James, Cowpasture, Jackson and Maury Rivers. The outfitter offers its customers fun and safe river trips that range from lazy river to whitewater paddling experiences with true mountain views. Known as the oldest and most experienced outfitter operating on the Upper James, Twin River has been safely running paddle trips since 1978. Why spend just a day on the water when you can spend a week? A variety of single day and multi-day river-based camping trips are available, where visitors can experience the historic Natural Bridge and more.

    Riverside Outfitters

    Riverside Outfitters

    RIVERSIDE OUTFITTERS – GUIDED RAFTING/CANOEING | Richmond
    Riverside Outfitters offers three distinct rafting experiences: the falls of the James, the Upper River white water and the Lower River white water trips. Take an adventure trip down the Falls of the James in Richmond’s James River Park System—the only Class II-IV white water rapids running through a major U.S. city. For a more relaxing trip, the outfitter offers guided rafting and canoeing trips, where guests can spot bald eagles, great blue herons, egrets, osprey and other wildlife.

    DOWNRIVER CANOE CO. – CANOEING | Bentonville
    Downriver Canoe Co. offers great canoe and tube floats on the legendary Shenandoah River. The South Fork of the Shenandoah River has long been recognized as one of the premier canoeing rivers in the East. A steady current of normally crystal clear water flows over a solid rock bottom creating many interesting riffles and pools, and even some beginning white water making it an ideal river for novice and experienced paddlers alike. The river is legendary for spectacular mountain scenery and abundant wildlife.

    HARPERS FERRY ADVENTURE CENTER – TUBING/CANOEING | Purcellville
    Remember the lazy river ride at the water park? The one where you could float away the afternoon in the summer sun? Harpers Ferry Adventure Center is the original Harpers Ferry tubing company and the adventure company who has water tubing down to a science. The Adventure Center has white water or flat water options for both tubing and canoeing. You can bring a cooler or rent one and spend the whole day on the river tubing Harpers Ferry. Tubing is the Center’s most popular river activity and is the perfect way to soak up the sun, laugh with family and friends, and cool off on a hot summer day.

    HOWARDSVILLE CANOE LIVERY – CANOEING | Scottsville
    Canoe the James River in Virginia or water levels permitting, the Rockfish River. Bring your fishing pole and explore the small mouth bass waters in a canoe from the Howardsville Canoe Livery. The Livery is ready with canoes for you and your family!

    OUTDOOR ADVENTURE EXPERIENCES – TUBING | Dayton
    Pack your lunch, drinks and sunscreen, and enjoy a day with Outdoor Adventure Experiences tubing down the Shenandoah River. Guests will begin the journey on their own tube, while guides bring a giant tube for all to play on as they float down the deeper, slower sections of the river.

    THEODORE ROOSEVELT ISLAND – CANOEING | Arlington
    Canoe the Potomac around Theodore Roosevelt Island and take in the natural beauty of this 88-acre bird sanctuary. This easy, flat paddle round the island is the best way to see how the Potomac River shapes its physical form and influences its wildlife. The island is dedicated to our nation’s 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt.

    POHICK BAY REGIONAL PARK – GUIDED CANOEING | Lorton
    Imagine skimming along the smooth waters of an uncommonly beautiful wetland. A kingfisher chatters as it whizzes by you, a Bald Eagle turns a broad circle overhead and a deer gazes at you from the shore. A breeze covers the water with silky ripples. Where are you? On a guided canoe trip on the marshes of Pohick Bay Regional Park. Head out on your adventure and check out the wildlife, also including osprey and great blue herons.

    FRONT ROYAL OUTDOORS/SHENANDOAH RIVER TRIPS – CANOEING/TUBING | Front Royal
    Come experience the “Legend”.  Front Royal Outdoors offers self-guided canoe, kayak, raft, and tube trips on the South Fork of the legendary Shenandoah River. The trips are perfect for the individual, family, or group. River trips flow north between the Shenandoah National Park and the George Washington National Forest and are designed for your enjoyment on novice to intermediate class waters. Whether you want to lazily float down the river in a tube or just paddle away for an hour or a couple of days, Front Royal Outdoors can provide the expertise and knowledge to help you plan your Shenandoah getaway.

    MATTAPONI CANOE & KAYAK – GUIDED CANOEING | Aylett
    Mattaponi Canoe & Kayak provides guided paddling excursions on both tidal and non-tidal reaches of the Mattaponi, Pamunkey and Chickahominy Rivers, and Dragon Swamp. The trips are geared to take advantage of the rich natural history of the region, giving the participant much more than just another float down the river. Guides will lead guests on an adventurous journey through very remote, wilderness-like passages of the upper Mattaponi River. Or if you’re looking for something a little more leisurely, try a sunset paddle at the Pamunkey Indian Reservation, where wild rice marshes, waterfowl and Native American and Colonial history flourish.

     



    Destinations, Family, Outdoors, Travel Ideas, Uncategorized, Virginia Destinations | 1 Comment

    Circuit hikes to check out this summer

    by Stefanie | Posted on June 5th, 2014

    There certainly isn’t a shortage of hiking trails throughout the state; and for those who are looking for a trail that offers ever-changing scenery and terrain, there’s plenty of circuit hikes available for all hikers. Circuit hikes vary in many degrees of difficulty, making for unique experiences around the loops. Here’s some of the trails around the state, with many more to discover along the way.

    Tell us about your favorite circuit trail!

    OLD RAG MOUNTAIN
    Old Rag Mountain is one of the most popular hikes in the Shenandoah National Park—it is also the most challenging and dangerous. Recommended for experienced hikers only, a day on the Old Rag is one of Shenandoah’s premier experiences. The circuit is approximately nine miles, with significant elevation changes and rock scrambles. Hikers should allot about 7-8 hours to complete the loop.

    MASON NECK WILDLIFE REFUGE LOOP & BEACH WALK
    This family and pet-friendly refuge offers an easy 2.3-mile trail, covering the length and flatness of the shore along Belmont Bay. Spotting bald eagles and other bird species, as well as other wildlife make for a great hike! Pack a lunch and take a break at one of the trail’s shelters or snack on the beach! Plan for 1-3 hours for the hike along the Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge and experience the serene undisturbed land of the refuge.

    STRATFORD HALL
    Stratford Hall’s nature trails are as varied as they are scenic, providing leisurely strolls for the amateur hiker and challenging treks for veterans. Hikers have six trails to choose from, including the Spring House Trail loop. The short and easy hike, approximately a quarter-mile, passes through a natural spring and is home to many species of wildlife—in particular the American Bald Eagle. A bald eagle can be spotted regularly and in rare instances, hikers may see a pileated woodpecker. The pileated woodpecker is the only woodpecker that can carve out a nest cavity in a living tree.

    SKY MEADOWS STATE PARK
    Sky Meadows State Park offers more than 17 miles of hiking trails that are accessible for the novice to expert hiker. The park’s long circuit trail is a moderate hike, about 8.5 miles long. Much of the loop meanders across or skirts the edges of rolling meadows and offers up to four vistas along the way. This circuit is a great hike for the entire family.

    Hiking the Passamaquaddy Trail on Little Stony Man Mountain

    Hiking the Passamaquaddy Trail on Little Stony Man Mountain

    STONY MAN TRAIL
    The Stony Man Mountain Trail is one of the most scenic circuits in Shenandoah National Park. Although Stony Man is the second highest peak in the park, the grades are not difficult. The trail offers outstanding panoramas of neighboring mountains and totals 3.4 miles in length.

    FIRST LANDING STATE PARK
    Take a step back in time at First Landing State Park. More than 19 miles of trails wind through the park, where English settlers established the first elective government in 1607. The South Loop trail allows hikers to explore the rich history of the area, including lagoons, large cypress trees and rare plants.

    LAURAL RUN TRAIL
    In the heart of Goshen Pass, the Laurel Run Trail makes for a good hike along a beautiful small native trout stream. The trail boasts waterfalls, seasonal rhododendron and mountain laurel displays. The beautiful scenery makes this 3-mile round trip hike most enjoyable. The moderate skill-level trail is great for the beginner hiker who is looking to get a more challenging experience out of their journey.

    LEWIS FALLS
    Located within the Shenandoah National Park, Lewis Falls Trail is a 3.3-mile circuit hike from the Big Meadows amphitheater to the observation point, or 2 miles round trip from Skyline Drive. It boasts an 81′ waterfall, streams and more. The hike is moderate, with steep rocky areas and different variations of terrain throughout.

    LOCHER TRACT
    Locher Tract is an easy, 1-mile loop along the James River, which used to be the site of an old family farm. The U.S. Forest Service now maintains the area for wildlife watching. While you’re trekking the loop, look for beaver, deer, herons, quail, turkey and more. The trail loops past an active beaver swamp, piney woods and grassy openings.

    Family hikes along South River Falls trail

    Family hikes along South River Falls trail

    SOUTH RIVER FALLS
    Hiking South River Falls and Pocosin Mission is a long, historic trek, measuring about 8.5 miles. Venture to the third-highest waterfall in Shenandoah National Park, with a drop of 83 feet. The total climb is about 1,830 feet and hikers should allow 7.5 hours to complete the loop. The hike also includes views such as settler ruins, a cemetery and more.

    HUMPBACK ROCKS
    Humpback Rocks, located within the Blue Ridge Parkway, features three trails (along with the Appalachian Trail) that make great circuit hikes. The complete circuit includes both blue-blazed spur trails and the rerouted Appalachian Trail, which totals just under 6 miles. Enjoy some truly amazing panoramic views of the valley on top of the slanted rock.

    LIMBERLOST TRAIL
    Limberlost Trail, also located within Shenandoah National Park, is often enjoyed by people with mobility challenges. The trail was originally constructed to meet ADA accessibility standards; however, the requirements have recently been revised. Shenandoah National Park has plans to upgrade Limberlost to meet the new standards. This circuit hike of 1.3 miles is for people of all ages and has a 5-foot-wide crushed greenstone walkway on a gentle grade with frequent benches, a boardwalk, and a bridge. The trail passes through forest and a stand of mountain laurel – stunningly beautiful when it blooms in June.

    ROCK CASTLE GORGE NATIONAL RECREATION TRAIL
    This trail starts easy at the entrance to the Rocky Knob campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Then descends over three miles into the backcountry camping area in the bottom of the gorge. The strenuous and rugged nature of the trail reveal part of the reason this pathway was given National Recreational Trail status. In the springtime to early summer, nearly 200 varieties of wildflowers are visible along the trail area. The rest of the trail is a 7.3-mile ascent back out of the gorge on the return trail. You’ll see tunnels of rhododendron and other thick mountain foliage, a splashing stream, and high open meadows. The entire loop is 10.8 miles and the elevations range from 1,700 to 3,572 ft. A few small historic structures are visible along the trail, including a Civilian Conservation Corps camp.

    GRAYSON HIGHLANDS STATE PARK
    Grayson Highlands offers five loop trails throughout the park, ranging from 0.3-1.8 miles in distance. These trails lead to panoramic vistas, scenic waterfalls and a 200-year-old pioneer cabin. The park also offers access to the Appalachian Trail and the surrounding Jefferson National Forest.

    STRICKLER KNOB
    This 5.5-mile moderate loop into George Washington National Forest is not maintained and not suitable for dogs or young children. Strickler Knob does, however, reward with challenging rock scrambling and stunning 360-degree views of New Market Gap and the Luray Valley.

    LAKE KEOKEE LOOP
    The Lake Keokee Loop Trail circles Lake Keokee, which is a popular fishing lake near Big Stone Gap. The 3.7-mile, moderate loop features both land and water wildlife.

    ROARING RUN LOOP TRAIL
    Two trails lead to the falls creating a 1.5 mile loop trail. Most visitors use the Streamside Trail on their way up to the falls and return on the Woodland Trail. On the Streamside Trail, hikers are treated to rustic stone bridges, sheer rock faces and the sound of tumbling water as they walk alongside Roaring Run Creek up to the falls. The trail junctures with the Woodland Trail just shy of Roaring Run Falls. A short, 0.10-mile spur trail leads to the falls. The woodland Trail travels through the forest, passing a scenic overlook and the iron furnace before returning to the picnic area. Both trails are easy with relatively little elevation gain.



    Destinations, Family, Outdoors, Travel Ideas, Uncategorized, Virginia Destinations | 5 Comments