Things to Do Near the 4 Shenandoah National Park Entrances

by Patricia Keppel | Posted: Apr 7, 2016 | Updated: Apr 14, 2017

Comments: 20 Comments


Timer Hollow Overlook in Shenandoah National Park


Every National Park across America has 15 fee free days in 2017, making this year a great time to seek adventure and get back to nature. We may be biased, but we think Virginia’s parks are some of the most awe-inspiring in the entire country. One of our favorites? Shenandoah National Park. It is only a little over 100 miles long, but in that narrow strip of Virginia wilderness, you’ll discover abundant examples of Virginia wildlife, nature, and magnificent mountain views.

Shenandoah National Park has plenty of outdoor activities for visitors in the way of hiking trails, biking parts of Skyline Drive, and traversing the waterways that wind through the park, but there are many destinations right outside the park’s four entrances that add to the beauty and excitement of the area.

We asked Virginia Visitor Centers in the surrounding areas what they suggested for additional entertainment dining, and lodging options. Here are just a few of the hundreds of activities and destinations to keep your Shenandoah National Park trip packed with fun activities, whether you come for a day or a week. To find out which of the four Shenandoah National Park entrances along Skyline Drive is closest to you, use the map at the bottom to plan your trip.



The Skyline Drive Rockfish Gap entrance is located near the intersection of I-64 and U.S. 250. There are many towns and cities within a short drive of the entrance, including Crozet, Charlottesville, Waynesboro, Afton, and Staunton.


Eat At:


Wineries & Breweries:


Things to Do:

King Family Vineyards Polo

Polo match at King Family Vineyards




Stay At:

sugar hollow farm
The Inn at Sugar Hollow Farm




Moving North from the Rockfish Gap Entrance, the next entry point for the park is the Swift Run Gap Entrance at U.S. 33. This entrance is closest to places like Stanardsville, Elkton, Shenandoah, and Harrisonburg.


Eat At:


Wineries & Breweries:

Early Mountain Vineyards

Early Mountain Vineyards Patio



Things to Do:

Massanutten Resort
Massanutten Indoor/Outdoor Waterpark



Stay At:



Continuing North, you’ll get to the Thornton Gap at the intersection of Skyline Drive and U.S. 211. The entrance is close to towns like Luray, Washington, Sperryville, and New Market.


Eat At:





Wineries & Breweries:


Things to Do:


Luray Caverns



Stay At:



The furthest North entrance, the Front Royal Entrance intersects with U.S. 340 a few miles south of I-66. Only a little over an hour and a half from Washington, D.C. and the Northern Virginia Metro areas, the entrance is nearest to Front Royal, Linden, Winchester, and Middleburg.


Eat At:

Girasole’s Mussel dish, Cozze Gratinate O Marinara           


Wineries & Breweries:


Things to Do:

blue ridge shadows golf

Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club


Stay At:

inn at vaucluse spring

The Inn at Vaucluse Spring



If you plan to drive from end to end, it takes about 3 hours total to drive the entire length of the park on a clear day. In addition to hiking, you can fill the rest of your time in Shenandoah National Park with a few of these suggestions to ensure you get the most out of your getaway.


Got any more suggestions for things to do around the park entrances? Let us know and share any pictures through our social media channels using #FindYourPark and #LoveVA!






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20 Comments on "Things to Do Near the 4 Shenandoah National Park Entrances"

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wish I knew all this prior to my last weekend trip there . . . 🙁

Lisa Parker

Highlander Horses outside Front Royal is now Double H Stable, same owner. Wonderful rides and is an approved facility by the Girl Scouts Association.


You can go canoeing in Front Royal, you know… it’s the capital of canoe in VA. Front Royal Canoe


Bryce Resort could be added to the list on the Thornton Gap entrance 😀


The Greene Eatery—Stanardsville
Pure Eats—Harrisonburg
Are both permanently closed.

Paula Burn

1) This is a Virginia website – get the names right. NOT McGayesville! It’s McGaheysville, Virginia!
2) The activities don’t lean to autumn weather, pumpkin patches, fall festivals.


FYI – Dinosaur Land at White Post is not a “drive-through” park. You park in the outside parking lot, buy tickets in the gift shop then you walk through. It is a great place for kids. Also just down I81 South past Harrisonburg is the Virginia Safari Park. That is a drive-through animal park plus they have a walk-though zoo. It’s the only place I know of where you can actually hand feed giraffes.

Judy Bailey

What is the price for dinosaur park?

Kat Imhoff

Please add information about James Madison’s Montpelier to the Swift Run entrance attractions options!


It is 4 miles and a 10 minute drive to down town Waynesboro with half a dozen good restaurants. How does that miss the list?


No mention of Rappahannock Cellars? The Element listed at Thornton Gap entrance?

Research #fail