With local farms in full swing, grapes starting to weigh down the vines, and pick your own farms all over the map, summer in Virginia is a time of plenty. It’s a great time to enjoy some fresh, local produce, and heading to a rural area like Front Royal definitely brings you closer to where your food is coming from. Discover Front Royal is will be featuring our local foods throughout the season, with tips on where to find them and how to enjoy them.
Today we’re giving you the run down on two fantastic local products, as well as a recipe to combine them for a delicious summer drink to enjoy on a balmy summer evening. Read on to discover Front Royal’s strawberries, wine, and Strawberry Sangria!
Finding Local Strawberries around Front Royal
In the category of popular, early summer produce, strawberries are high on the list. Fun to pick, delicious to eat, and at the center of countless summer dishes and desserts, strawberries are a summer staple. They also boast numerous health benefits including vitamin C and antioxidants. Strawberries are available in grocery stores all year round, but did you know that food grown in your local area and freshly picked in season has been shown to boast greater nutritional value than food shipped from far away? It tastes better too! Taking advantage of some locally grown strawberries this summer is fun and healthy at the same time!
Wondering where to find farm fresh strawberries? Head to Front Royal! Picking your own is lots of fun for all the family and you can do it here. In the Front Royal area, strawberry picking season can start as early as mid-May, and typically continues through June. Hartland Orchard/Green Truck Farms and Hollin Farms are popular locations for pick your own strawberries. Farming and weather can be unpredictable, so be sure to check ahead and make sure picking is available before heading to the farm. Don’t have time to pick? At Hartland, you can purchase strawberries pre-picked for your convenience.
Sip on Virginia Wines
Strawberries taste great with another outstanding product of the Front Royal area: wine! Many wines pair well with strawberries. If you head to one of Front Royal’s wineries for a strawberry picnic, the staff can help you pick out the perfect bottle.
Why not make a day of it, with strawberry picking in the morning followed by a relaxing afternoon at a local winery? If you’re planning on picking at Hartland Orchard or Hollin Farms, Arterra Wines is an amazing winery option close by. Here you’ll find unique wines created with no additives. Even the yeasts used to ferment the wine are those naturally occurring on the grape skins. If you’re sensitive to some of the additives typically found in wines, or if you’re simply looking to clean up your diet (while still enjoying wine!), this winery is a must-visit!
Valley View Farm (though not a winery) is another convenient option for berry pickers where you can enjoy locally produced wines in a beautiful setting. Or check out Aspen Dale Winery for another amazing winery close by. With beautiful, extensive grounds to explore, it’s a great place for the whole family to relax and enjoy a picnic.
See a more extensive list of the Front Royal area’s wineries here.
Bring it Home and Enjoy Strawberry Sangria
Enjoying Front Royal’s fantastic local fare doesn’t have to stop when you get home. Bring a bottle of wine (or a few!) and some strawberries home and combine them to make a classic summer drink: Strawberry Sangria! Recipes for this summer favorite can be as simple or as complicated as you like, but this one’s a good place to start. Featuring just wine, strawberries, and a few other simple ingredients, it’s a sangria recipe that’s easy to make with primarily Front Royal-sourced ingredients! Plan ahead and chill overnight for best results. Enjoying this refreshing summer beverage is a great way to experience a taste of the Shenandoah Valley!
A wine and strawberries day in Front Royal Virginia is a perfect way to experience local produce and summer in the Shenandoah Valley all at once. Enjoy the fruits of the season and the stunning countryside, and leave with a tasty treat to enjoy at home.
Summer can be a fun time for the whole family, with kids home from school and enjoying lots of extra free time. But too much freedom can quickly turn into boredom and frayed nerves. To keep summer fun and exciting, it can be helpful to plan some structured family activities. That’s where we come in. Read on and follow our blog to find fun posts full of ideas for keeping summer fun for kids in Front Royal! Today we’re kicking it off with a summer classic: planning a picnic in the park for your kids. Affordable, fun, and easy to plan, a picnic in the park with all the family together can become a treasured memory. Read on to discover four Front Royal ingredients you won’t want to leave out to create a memorable picnic. Maybe you can aim for a weekly or monthly picnic through the summer so everyone has something to look forward to.
Secret Ingredient Number 1: Picking the Perfect Park
Front Royal’s park system is full of great facilities with something to interest big kids, little kids, nature lovers, young athletes in training, and everything in between. If you have a group with lots of different interests, Gertrude E. Miller Community Park is our top pick for keeping everybody happy. The large complex includes a stretch of Happy Creek for fishing, basketball and tennis courts, extensive playgrounds, and more. The adjoining Lion’s Park even includes specially designed accessible play area for children with special needs. Our other favorites include Eastham Park and Rockland Park. For a bigger adventure where you’ll have to pay a park entrance fee, try Shenandoah River State Park or Shenandoah National Park.
Secret Ingredient Number 2: Packing Fantastic Food without Stress
The food you bring is a key ingredient to your picnic, and it’s fun to pack something special so everyone can enjoy the treat. If you’re making your own at home, check here to find some fun ideas kids will enjoy. Choosing a simple recipe that kids can help assemble can add to the fun for everyone. To give your meal a special touch, why not stop for some fun, local food, at Manor Line Market, or grab a treat from Down Home Comfort Bakery to enjoy after your food. For a special treat and a totally stress free picnic, head to Blue Wing Frog, where they’ll take care of providing delicious, picnic-appropriate food and packing it all up for you.
Secret Ingredient Number 3: The Activities
While free play time at the playground is a hit with most younger age groups, planning some organized activities for your picnic can be a fun way to make sure everyone has a good time and burns some energy.
Older kids will enjoy competing in disc golf at Sherando Park or Rockland Park. Tennis is another great option for a smaller group of older kids. Find courts available at Chimney Field Park and Gertrude E. Miller Community Park). If you get a group together and end up with more kids than court space, why not get everyone involved with a fun tournament? An organized softball or baseball game can be another great way for a larger group of friends to make some memories together.
For a less competitive atmosphere, a nature scavenger hunt can be fun and educational! Or try out geocaching for an adventure where everyone can be on the same team.
Secret Ingredient Number 4: The Ice Cream on the Way Home
With a hot, tired, and happy crew ready to go home, stopping for an ice cream on the way can be the perfect ending to a fun outing. Front Royal has loads of friendly ice cream joints, and the ice cream is delicious all over town! For a downtown treat on Main Street, stop by C & C Frozen Treats. Try out Spelunkers for their legendary frozen custard, or stop at The Apple House for delicious soft serve and more, right before getting on I-66.
Use Front Royal’s secret ingredients to plan fun summer picnics that will stave off boredom and keep kids outdoors and having a great time. Make it a day with friends, or a chance for just your family to spend time together. Either way, you’re in for a treat and a family tradition that will make this summer one to remember!
The hot days of summer have many of us looking for opportunities to swim. There’s nothing more refreshing in the middle of the summer’s heat than having the chance to splash around and cool off in the water. Swimming also has great health and fitness benefits. It’s a low impact way to exercise that’s still toning for the whole body. If you’re looking for a place to swim around Front Royal this summer, read on! With multiple local pools open to the public, great access options for the Shenandoah River, and several beautiful natural swimming holes in the area, Front Royal is a great place to swim. Check out our guide to Front Royal swimming and pack your swimsuits and towels for a memorable and refreshing swimming adventure.
Hitting the Pool in Front Royal
Memorial Day Weekend often signals the beginning of outdoor pool season. In the Front Royal area it’s time to get ready for some serious swimming with two beautiful outdoor pools open to the public that the whole family is sure to enjoy.
Front Royal’s most centrally located pool is the Claude A. Stokes Community Pool in town. See here for details of opening hours, as well as information on lap swimming, open swim, and swimming lessons. With a 25 meter lanes, a diving board, water slide, and wading pools for kids, Claude A. Stokes Community Pool is a great feature of every Front Royal summer. Its convenient location in the Gertrude E. Miller Park complex makes it easy to combine swimming with playground time or your choice of an extensive range of park activities.
It’s about a fifteen minute drive from central Front Royal to the Northern Virginia 4-H Center. Here you’ll find another stunning outdoor pool in a scenic location. Open to the public Thursdays-Sundays, you can enjoy a relaxing swim while taking in views of the Shenandoah Valley’s hills and trees. Check the website for updates on swimming lessons offered here too.
Swim the Shenandoah River
A pool day is always fun, but there’s something especially thrilling about swimming or wading in a natural body of water. With the Shenandoah River flowing right through town, Front Royal has great access options for those who want to cool off with some river swimming/wading. Bonus: no pool fees!
Eastham Park is one of Front Royal’s most popular river access points. With a riverside walking trail, picnic area, athletic fields, and playground, it’s a great place to make a day of your trip to the park. Access the river from the public boat launch for wading and river swimming fun.
Another local favorite is Morgan’s Ford Boat Landing. It’s a great spot to launch or end a river trip, as well as to wade, swim, or relax in the calming waters of the Shenandoah River.
River access is also available at Shenandoah River State Park. Enjoy a picnic or grill-out at the extensive riverside picnic area. Kids and adults will enjoy cooling off in the river before or after!
Front Royal’s Swimming Holes
For a more adventurous take on swimming, escape even deeper into the countryside by exploring the Front Royal area’s more removed natural swimming holes. There are treasures here you’ll want to check out! Several are so spectacular they made this list of best swimming holes in the D.C. metro area. Combine a hike with some swimming hole fun for the ultimate summertime outdoor adventure!
For a family favorite that can be accessed without a lot of hiking, try the Elizabeth Furnace Recreation Area in the George Washington National Forest. With several great hikes in the area, this is a swimming hole that can be combined with hiking or simply enjoyed without venturing too far from your car. Buzzard Rock swimming hole is another great option nearby that can be accessed after a fun hike. Find it below Buzzard Rock cliffs.
Shenandoah National Park is a top attraction for outdoors enthusiasts headed to Front Royal, and it has its share of swimming holes too. Overall Falls is among the most popular trails for water lovers. Access the park from the Thompson Hollow Trailhead to arrive at swimming holes after just a short hike, or for a longer and more challenging hike, drive along Skyline Drive to Mathew’s Arm Area and head down the mountain from there.
Five miles south of Front Royal, find another fantastic swimming hole at Gooney Creek Campground. Book a tent or RV campsite to enjoy a stay right on the banks of Gooney Creek, or pay the $5 day visitor fee and enjoy a relaxing day on the banks of the creek with picnicking and swimming for the whole family.
There’s nothing that can ruin a fun summer adventure like getting injured. While swimming is a great way to relax and have fun, it does carry risks. Swimming in a swimming hole or river requires extra care. If you head out into Front Royal’s outdoors to swim this summer keep in mind especially the following precautions:
Front Royal in the summer is a great place to swim. Whether you’re looking for a day at the pool or a refreshing outdoor adventure, or a riverside picnic, you can find it in the Front Royal area. You won’t need to worry about summer’s heat when a fun way to cool off is always right around the corner.
Fishing can be relaxing, rewarding, thrilling, or extremely frustrating! But the addictive lure of this sport keeps anglers coming back time and time again. It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors and immerse yourself in nature, while even (perhaps!) putting some food on the table. With spring temperatures slowly rising and fish becoming more active, now’s a great time to start dreaming about that trophy catch . . . and planning out some fishing spots to hit this season. With the Shenandoah River running right through town, Front Royal boasts loads of exciting fishing opportunities. Read on for our handy guide to fishing around Front Royal. You’ll find some local favorite fishing spots, as well as ideas for making the most out of fishing in Front Royal.
Front Royal’s Favorite Fishing Spots
It’s not too hard to catch sight of the Shenandoah River in Front Royal, but finding an access point where fishing is allowed can be more of a challenge. A great place to start is Eastham Park, where the Boat Launch area provides public access to the river. Morgans Ford Boat Landing is another popular public access point. As the river flows by here, it’s shallow enough for wading, and the boat landing is a popular spot for local fishermen of all ages.
It won’t put you on the banks of the Shenandoah River, but the Gertrude E. Miller Community Park in town is a fun pick for a family fishing trip. With a stocked stretch of Happy Creek running through the park, it’s often possible to get some bites, especially if you arrive not too long after the stocking truck! With playgrounds, the town swimming pool, picnic shelters, and more all close by, you can plan a fishing day at the park that everyone will love.
If you drive a little bit out of town, you’ll find two more easy-to-access fishing spots on the Shenandoah River. Shenandoah River State Park is a wonderful place to fish. With 5.2 miles of river frontage at the park, you’ll find access from secluded trails, as well as from a large riverside picnic area. Or head to Front Royal’s neighboring town of Strasburg and access the river from the Town Park there. You’ll find yet another boat landing and public riverside area where you can throw in your line.
For lake fishing, explore nearby Lake Frederick, where you’ll find a stocked lake that’ll give you a good chance of reeling in some bass.
If you’re looking for more of a fishing challenge, head to Shenandoah National Park or George Washington National Forest. Both of these famed outdoor destination have opportunities to enjoy the adventure of fishing for trout small mountain streams. They are especially sought after destinations for lovers of fly fishing.
Shenandoah River Fishing Trips
The Shenandoah River is a beloved smallmouth bass fishing destination, and you may want to do more than fish from the bank. If so, why not book a fishing trip with Front Royal Outdoors? You can spend a relaxing day enjoying the river, and have access to many more fish than you would from a shore fishing spot.
Already own a boat? Use this map of Front Royal’s boat landings to plan your own fishing trip. Or if you have a boat but need a buddy to pick you up downriver, why not take advantage of Downriver Canoe Company’s shuttle service?
Spending a Fishing Weekend in Front Royal
For enthusiastic fishermen looking to spend a full weekend on their favorite hobby, finding a place to stay near the river can be a dream come true. We have you covered there too. Check out Low Water Bridge Campgrounds for a fun campsite that’s right on the Shenandoah River. If you’re looking for a river trip, you can rent kayaks, canoes, and tubes here too. For RV campers, Twin Rivers RV Campground is another great option. Or head to Elizabeth Furnace Campground in George Washington National Forest, and enjoy family friendly fishing and camping on the banks of scenic Passage Creek.
Looking for something a little more comfortable than a campsite? Rolling River Holidays may have the lodging you’ve been dreaming about. This family-owned-and-operated vacation home company has several gorgeous homes in Virginia’s farmland available to choose from, and many of them include access to the riverfront. Book with Rolling River Holidays and enjoy a vacation on the Shenandoah River with your family or friends (and lots of time to fish included!).
Front Royal’s Licensing and Harvest Regulations
There’s nothing that can spoil a fishing trip like getting a ticket (except maybe not getting any bites!). Don’t forget that if you plan on exploring one of Front Royal’s public fishing spots, you’ll need to make sure you’re carrying the appropriate fishing license for the State of Virginia. If you plan on bringing your catch home, also make sure you’re aware of the specific harvest regulations for the location where you’re fishing.
Front Royal awaits as the destination for your Shenandoah River fishing trip. With a wide choice of river access points, riverside lodging, and fun river trips awaiting, it’s a great starting point to plan an adventure in the famed smallmouth bass waters of the Shenandoah River.
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