January is a great time to visit Virginia’s winter resorts, as the conditions are suitable for making fluffy snow that allows for ideal ski, snowboard, and tubing conditions. And with the temperatures often at their lowest of the year, January is also your best chance for catching some parts of the Commonwealth blanketed in a winter wonderland of snow.
A few of Virginia’s mountain resorts stand out for their incredible accommodations and amenities as well as the surrounding offerings of restaurants, wineries, breweries, and charming towns to spend extra time visiting.
Wintergreen Resort is an 11,000-acre four-season resort just off the Blue Ridge Parkway and about an hour southwest of Charlottesville. Wintergreen offers slopes for snowboarding, skiing, and tubing, but the family-friendly mountain resort also has hiking trails, indoor pools and hot tubs, a relaxing spa, and multiple dining options.
About 30 minutes from Harrisonburg and just west of Shenandoah National Park, Massanutten Resort is a 6,000-acre mountaintop property that is perfect for a family getaway, with skiing, snowboarding, and tubing, plus an awe-inspiring indoor waterpark that includes a fun-filled arcade and games area for the kids.
Photo Courtesy of The Omni Homestead Resort
Travelers looking to add a little luxury to their vacation should book a stay at the historic Omni Homestead Resort, a 2,000-acre retreat tucked into the Allegheny Mountains.
The Newest Attractions Near Virginia’s Mountain Resorts
If you’re visiting Massanutten, Harrisonburg recently debuted an African American Heritage Tour called Roots Run Deep that highlights important sites associated with historical Black figures in the Harrisonburg area.
Harrisonburg has also added the Harrisonburg/Rockingham County Trail Guide, which includes 15 popular hiking, running, mountain biking, and gravel cycling trails with distinctive features like waterfalls and scenic overlooks.
For delicious dining offerings near Massanutten, 1835 Smokehouse is a unique BBQ restaurant housed in an early 1800’s log cabin that opened in the fall of 2021.
Another new restaurant, the Aristrocat Café, in the area will be opening soon in Harrisonburg. The British-inspired tearoom and coffee shop will serve community-sourced and homemade snacks, and patrons can spend time in the spacious cat room, where adoptable cats in partnership with the Humane Society of Shenandoah County will be lounging about and waiting for their forever homes.
Photo Credit: Rachel DeBusk, @racheldebuskphoto
If you’re traveling to Wintergreen Resort, the surrounding county of Nelson recently launched its Dark Skies campaign, encouraging residents and visitors to admire the breathtakingly clear views of the area with special Dark Skies packages and events offered through nearby wineries, breweries, and other local businesses.
The Omni Homestead Resort reopened the famous Warm Springs Pools (formerly the Jefferson Pools) after years of renovations in December 2022.
Where to Stay
Photo Credit: Sam Dean, @sdeanphotos
In addition to skiing, snowboarding, and tubing, Wintergreen Resort has 45 holes of championship golf, a full-service spa with indoor swimming pools, and lodging available for groups of every size, from two-person rooms just steps from the slopes to exclusive mountain properties with up to nine bedrooms. Additionally, there are a wide array of wineries, breweries, distilleries, and cideries along nearby Route 151, giving you the chance to try some of Virginia’s award-winning adult beverages while you’re here.
Photo Credit: Sam Dean, @sdeanphotos
Further north along the border of Shenandoah National Park, Massanutten Resort is another option for a family-friendly January getaway. Like Wintergreen, Massanutten has snowboarding, skiing, and tubing, but the kids will love the arcade and indoor water park, complete with a lazy river float, towering water slides, an aquatic fortress that lets kids climb and explore, and even a chance to ride an endless wave on their indoor surf generator. Parents will find plenty of activities suited to their interests, including golf, hiking trails, and a relaxing spa.
In the evenings, try out Cosmic Tubing, a high-speed tubing experience under the dazzling glow of neon-colored “Northern Lights” accompanied by pumping, energetic music. Massanutten’s lodging options range from hotel rooms that sleep up to four occupants to condos and townhomes suited for larger family vacations.
Photo Courtesy of The Omni Homestead Resort
If luxury is what you’re looking for, book a stay at the Omni Homestead Resort, a winter resort in the Allegheny Mountains. This historic property is a National Historic Landmark and the accommodations are first-rate, including a world-class spa, several on-site fine dining options, and seemingly endless activities, from falconry and skeet shooting to mountain biking and carriage rides. Winter resort activities include skiing, snowboarding, tubing, ice skating, and mini snowmobile rentals for the kids.
Where to Eat
In the Wintergreen area:
One of Virginia’s biggest and most well-known breweries, Devils Backbone Basecamp Brewpub has a full-service dining area where you can sample all their classic brews as well as seasonal favorites with your meal. Plus, the outdoor area is outfitted with fire pits, allowing you to cozy up with brews while you sip on a delicious Virginia brew.
Basic Necessities is a casual yet upscale French restaurant where the impressive food is perfectly paired with a charming atmosphere. After dining, browse their retail shop, which carries a curated selection of local goods and gourmet bites.
In the Massanutten area:
Photo Credit: Chad Williams, @echadwilliams
Experience a classic ‘50’s-style diner at Thunderbird Cafe, which serves generous portions without sacrificing quality. In addition to an ample lunch menu with sandwiches, burgers, hotdogs, and classic southern dishes, breakfast is available all day.
Bella Luna Wood Fired Pizza is a farm-to-table wood-fired pizza place in nearby Harrisonburg, home of James Madison University.
In the Omni Homestead Resort area:
Les Cochons D’Or is a local favorite upscale dining destination, serving French cuisine made from ingredients sourced from nearby farms.
A fine dining restaurant beside Bath County’s iconic gristmill, Waterwheel Restaurant supports local farmers that utilize sustainable and organic practices to craft their products, resulting in fresh, seasonal dishes.
What to Do
While winter sports are definitely the best way to spend your time at these locations, you can also enjoy some pampering at the spas, or unwind in the Great Outdoors by hiking nearby mountain trails.
Photo Credit: Cameron Davidson
If you plan your January visit to Virginia during the weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, you can get free admission to all of Virginia’s National Parks, including the famed Shenandoah National Park, only a short drive from both Massanutten Resort and Wintergreen Resort. Take scenic Skyline Drive through the park, stopping to check out a few of the most acclaimed hiking trails along the way.
And if a relaxing getaway is what you’re searching for, consider sampling some of Virginia’s craft beverages close to these mountain resorts. With Charlottesville nearby and the Nelson 151 Trail just down the mountain, Wintergreen Resort has more than two dozen wineries, breweries, cideries, and distilleries all within a short drive. Massanutten Resort’s proximity to Harrisonburg means it’s a great destination for craft beer lovers, with the Shenandoah Beerwerk’s Trail containing over 15 excellent breweries.
More Virginia Vacation Ideas for January
Photo Credit: Mahmoud Hassan
Marking the beginning of the New Year, January travelers tend to prioritize both physical and mental health, so a visit to a spa, hot springs, or wellness retreat such as the critically-acclaimed Eupepsia Wellness Center in Southwest Virginia offers a healing, stress-free environment for a January getaway.
Photo Courtesy of Luray Caverns
While the outdoors are typically pretty chilly in January, Virginia’s caverns remain at consistently mild temperatures, usually around 55 degrees Fahrenheit, which feels more like 65 degrees due to the humidity. The most popular caverns in the Commonwealth, Luray Caverns are situated in the quaint town of Luray, Virginia. In addition to cathedral-sized rooms and stunning reflective pools, the caverns hold a one-of-a-kind “Stalagpipe Organ” that can be played to create hauntingly beautiful music in the echoing chambers.
After touring the caverns, visit the Car & Carriage Caravan Museum, Toy Town Junction, and the Shenandoah Heritage Village, all included with the cavern tour’s price of admission.
Photo Credit: John Clarke Russ
Witness spectacular winter wildlife along Virginia’s coastline during the Winter Wildlife Festival, a month-long celebration in the Virginia Beach area. Events include birding tours, nature walks through First Landing and False Cape State Parks, and whale-watching boat tours.
The International Wine Festival occurs in Roanoke the last weekend in January. Held at the Taubman Museum of Art, the festival lets you try over 40 wines from around the world paired with hors d’oeuvres and desserts while you enjoy live music. From sparkling wines and crisp whites to bold, inventive reds, you’ll sample a wide array of vintages as experienced wine experts talk you through the tastings.
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