Getting outdoors on a family adventure is not only a great way to bond as a family; it can also be highly educational! It’s a great time to explain to your kids a little bit about what they’re seeing around them. It’ll be a memorable science lesson that will stay with them a lot longer that what they hear in a classroom!
Front Royal is a great place for your family to get out in nature, with Shenandoah National Park right in our back yard. We’ve rounded up some ideas for bringing your family to the National Park, as well as some fun fall information that you can share with your kids as you explore.
Two Little-Known Tips for Getting Kids to the Park
Many families don’t know about the fantastic initiatives in place to make the parks welcoming and fun for kids. Kids in Parks has created fun “TRACK” trails at parks throughout the nation. Families can follow the activity brochure at the trailhead to bring their hike to a new level of fun and informative. And the fun doesn’t even stop when you get home. Kids can log their TRACK trails at the Kids in Parks Website to win fun prizes and more! Find three TRACK trails at Shenandoah National Park: Fox Hollow Trail, Limberlost Trail, and Blackrock Summit Trail. Explored them all and looking for more? Shenandoah National park has a helpful list of kid-friendly hikes here.
Did you know that fourth grade students and their families can even get into the National Park for free? Every Kid Outdoors in a government initiative to get kids out and exploring our wonderful outdoor world. Go here to print out your pass, and enjoy free entry for the whole family to National Parks throughout the U.S., including our very own Shenandoah National Park!
Three Sights to Explain as Mother Nature Gets Ready for Winter
A fall hike can be a fun time to explain to kids a little bit about the changing of the seasons. Unlike humans, with constant access to food in grocery stores brought from miles away, animals and plants must make do with a smaller supply of food in the winter. A fun way to talk about fall sights to kids is to explain that we are watching Mother Nature get ready for winter. Read on for simple ways to explain some of the famous sights of fall.
1. Colorful Leaves
Trees eat too, just like animals and humans! But a tree’s source of food is sunlight. As hours of daylight shorten in the winter, trees have to make do with less food, just like animals! A leaf’s job is to collect sunlight and process it into a form that gives energy to a tree. But in the winter, there isn’t enough sunlight and the leaves are out of a job! That’s why we see them change color and fall to the ground. Trees will stop growing and rely on stored energy supplies until the spring.
2. Squirrels at Work
Squirrels are a common sight in Shenandoah National Park in the fall. You’ll see these busy little creatures scurrying to and fro in many spots throughout the park. Squirrels are busy in the fall because, just like the trees, they’re getting ready for a time of lower food availability! They’re famous for burying nuts in the fall so that they can come back and find them when they’re hungry. See if you can spot any squirrels digging holes to store a tasty nut.
3. Deer Getting Fat on Purpose!
Like many animals, deer store extra food on their bodies in the fall. It’s a time of heavy feeding, as they gain fat to support themselves through the lean times of winter. Fall is also the time of year when deer mate, and when bucks are sporting magnificent antlers in their efforts to impress the ladies and claim dominance among other bucks. Whitetail deer are a common sight in the Front Royal area in the fall, and if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a majestic antlered buck!
Plan an educational outing to Shenandoah National Park this fall! There’s plenty to see as Mother Nature gets ready for winter, and you and your kids can have a fantastic time learning about it together.
With vibrant fall hues sweeping across the mountainsides, October is a month that typically sees a lot of tourist traffic heading for the Front Royal area. But October brings with it another reason to head to Front Royal, too. It’s Virginia Wine Month! There’s few better places to enjoy Virginia Wines that the Front Royal area! We’re marking the month with five fun facts about Virginia Wine, followed by five suggestions for places to enjoy Virginia Wine in and around Front Royal.
Five Fun Facts About Virginia Wine
2. Wine Production in Virginia Failed Many Times
You’d never guess it from the many flourishing wineries in Virginia these days, but early attempts to produce Virginia wine were fairly unsuccessful. European colonists found native Virginia grapes unpalatable. However European vines did not flourish in the Virginia climate.
3. Thomas Jefferson Failed to Grow Virginia Wine
4. The Virginia Wine Industry Didn’t Really Take off Until Recently
Historical events also made difficulties for the Virginia wine industry. The Civil War, Prohibition, and then the Great Depression each in turn contributed to pushing wine production aside for many years. It wasn’t until the 1960s that Virginia saw a real rebirth in wine production. Italian Gabriele Rausse finally managed to successfully cultivate European grapes in Virginia. His great achievements won him the title: Father of the Modern Virginia Wine Industry
5. Front Royal is Near the Heart of the Booming Virginia Wine Industry
Once Virginia wines finally took off, there wasn’t much looking back! The Virginia Wine industry has grown rapidly since. Just six Virginia wineries in 1980 increased to 107 by 2005. Now there are over 280 wineries in the state of Virginia. With its fast-draining mountain soils, the Front Royal area has become the ideal home for many of them. Plan a trip to Front Royal to explore all that Virginia Wine has to offer.
Five Places to Enjoy Virginia Wine in the Front Royal Area
With wineries out in the country, and wine shops right in town, you can enjoy wine either in a stunning rural setting or on the quaint main street of Front Royal, Virginia. There are many options for the wine drinker in the Front Royal area, but here are five picks to get you started.
October is a fantastic month to enjoy Virginia Wines in the Front Royal area. The welcome coolness in the air, the stunning fall colors, and the delicious wines all combine to make it the perfect wine-drinking haven. Plan your trip today for a wine-tasting adventure you won’t forget!
Getting outdoors and spending some time at a park is a fantastic and inexpensive way to get some exercise and make memories with family and friends. There’s plenty of reasons to go to the park. You might be:
No matter what you’re envisioning for your time at the park, you’re sure to find a perfect fit among the diverse parks of the Warren County park system. Read on for a quick guide to Front Royal’s parks to help plan your next park day in Front Royal.
Eastham Park: Riverside Walks and Dog Play
We’ll start with what’s fast becoming one of Warren County’s most popular parks. Eastham Park boasts a fantastic location on the banks of the Shenandoah River. It’s also conveniently located close to Front Royal’s historic downtown area. If you’re looking for a walk in the park, you’ll love Eastham Park’s riverside walking trail. You’ll also find the Warren County Dog Park here, so if you looking for a place where your pup can play without a leash, you’ve found it! The boat launch area makes this park a top pick for boating enthusiasts and fishing enthusiasts alike.
Other amenities you’ll find here:
Find Everything Park at Front Royal’s Classic Town Parks Complex
Grouped around Bing Crosby Stadium, you’ll find a complex of several connected parks. It’s a great place to plan a gathering, as there are facilities here for everyone to love. Older kids and sports enthusiasts will enjoy the tennis and basketball courts, at the Gertrude E. Miller Park as well as sand volleyball. In the summer, the whole family can enjoy the community swimming pool, or watch at baseball game at Bing Crosby Stadium. At this site, you’ll also find Lions Park, which has extensive playgrounds, including a handicap accessible area. Or stroll over to the Botanical Gardens, where you can enjoy walking among flowers and shrubs, sitting (or fishing!) on the banks of Happy Creek, or letting kids play at the Splash Pad. There’s truly something for everyone in this complex of parks.
Other amenities you’ll find here:
Escape to the Country at Rockland Park
You have to drive a bit further to get to Rockland Park, but if you want to feel like you have plenty of space, you won’t be disappointed. Rockland Park’s most unique attraction is its 18-hole disc golf course. You’ll also find a wooded walking trail to the Shenandoah River and an outdoor fitness center.
Other amenities you’ll find here:
Outdoor Space for the Whole Community at Warren Memorial Hospital
It’s a widely acknowledged fact that spending time exercising in the outdoors is essential for both mental and physical health. The new Warren Memorial Hospital has taken this need for outdoor exercise seriously, with a public walking trailon the hospital campus. Having a loved one in the hospital can be a highly stressful time. Now family and friends of Warren Memorial Hospital’s patients will have a beautiful place to clear their heads and renew their spirits. Patients undergoing rehab can also benefit from the trail, as will hospital staff, and members of the local community at large. With over three miles of wooded trails and two scenic overlooks, the trail is a great addition to the hospital facility, and a boost the health of the whole community!
Skating, Soccer, Strolling, and Great Views at Skyline Soccerplex
Skyline Soccerplex is a town park with expansive athletic fields and stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Warren County Skate Park here spells lots of fun for skating, biking, and scootering enthusiasts.
Other amenities you’ll find here:
Play Sports at Chimney Field Park
Sports enthusiasts will find plenty to enjoy at Chimney Field Park. Explore the basketball and tennis courts, as well as the softball fields. The rentable picnic shelter makes it a great place to plan your own sports league, or just get together with a few friends for a game and a picnic.
Keep it Simple at Burrell Brooks Jr. Community Park
Burrell Brooks Jr Community Park is small but packed with everything you need. Enjoy basketball, sand volleyball or horseshoes, or let kids explore the playground. Outdoor exercise equipment and a walking trail complete the park. The rentable picnic shelter provides tables for a picnic meal, or a space to plan a fun get together.
Playground Pit Stop at Florence Smith Memorial Playground
If you’re looking for a quick and simple playground stop, check out the Florence Smith Memorial Playground. This small but convenient playground with a picnic shelter available is a great stop for an outing with children.
There’s plenty to choose from in Front Royal’s parks. Use our handy guide to find the park that best fits your needs, and then relax and enjoy fresh air and fun in Front Royal.
With school age kids settled back into the school routine across the country, parents and kids alike might be missing the opportunities for family bonding and shared experiences that the summer brought. The good news is that the beginning of school doesn’t have to mean the end of family adventures. If you let your imagination take off, you’d be surprised at what you can find to do in the Front Royal area between the end of one school day and the beginning of the next. Instead of driving straight home from the school pick up line, head off on an “after school adventure.” A weeknight adventure means you’ll enjoy less crowds, lower rates, and the mid-week break you need to keep you going.
Today’s post is all about finding adventures around Front Royal that fit in those precious hours when you’re off work and your kids are home from school. We’re calling these “after school adventures.” The goal is family fun. We’re not trying to set any world records. So we’ve rounded up some ways you can enjoy a break from your everyday routine, while making sure you’ll be back in time for school the next morning! You may lose a bit of sleep, but you’ll give everyone a needed break, and gain some unforgettable memories. If you’d like to enjoy an after school adventure with your family in the Front Royal area, read on for some ideas of family friendly fun in the Front Royal area.
Overnight After School Adventure Ideas in the Front Royal Area
For kids, nothing says adventure like spending a night away from home. Even camping out in their own back yard can be magical. But if you want to take it to the next level, there’s plenty of scope around Front Royal. You don’t have to go far to find a fun night away where you won’t be spending all your time driving or all your money on accommodations.
A great, family friendly camping options is Elizabeth Furnace Family Campground. The campground is right on the banks of Passage Creek, so you can make dinner over a camp stove while the kids splash in the water or explore the banks. Gather the family for s’mores around the campfire before snuggling up together in your tent. A fifteen minute drive in the morning will bring you right back into Front Royal. An important perk of weeknight camping: you’ll enjoy less crowds, less competition for the best sites, and even cheaper rates at some campgrounds.
If you don’t want to bother with pitching a tent, or if you want a little more comfort than tent camping provides, reserve one of the primitive PATC Cabins in Shenandoah National Park. Though primitive, these cabins do provide four walls around you, a roof over your head, and a bunk to sleep on. Don’t expect running water though! To build up the feeling of adventure, you’ll receive your cabin key in the mail, along with instructions on how to get to the cabin. Range View Cabin is a popular choice near the Front Royal end of Skyline Drive. Older kids will enjoy making the short hike through the woods to arrive at their housing for the night.
After School Adventures that Bring You Home for the Night
You don’t have to spend the night away from home to make it an adventure though. If you need the refreshing sleep you can only get in your own bed, you can still fit in an adventure before bedtime. Consider taking off after school for a short hike and picnic supper before heading home. Not sure where to start hiking? Two local favorites are the Compton Peak Hikes in Shenandoah National Park, or the Buzzard Rock Hike in the George Washington National Forest area. Both of these hikes do involve overlooks and steep climbs, so try to plan your evening so you’ll be back at the trailhead before dark.
If you can’t get out early enough to fit a hike in before dusk, you can have an adventure without going far from your car. How about driving into Shenandoah National Park after nightfall, stopping at an overlook, and making hot chocolate on a camp stove while gazing at the stars? Bring some blankets and enjoy family time under the stars before heading home to sleep in your own bed.
Reward Yourself with Breakfast Out in Front Royal
Whether you actually spent the night in the great outdoors, or simple carved out part of your evening for family time, your adventure does mean you don’t have the time you normally do for your daily chores. Why not complete the family fun by grabbing breakfast out the next morning? With a great selection of coffee shops and diners, Front Royal has you covered for a breakfast the whole family will enjoy. Try L’Dees Pancake House for a classic diner breakfast, or if a coffee shop is more up your alley, try Daily Grind, Happy Creek Coffee, or DL Campus Coffee on Main. Celebrate your break from the everyday, before heading back to work and school refreshed and energized.
If you’re looking to add some excitement to your family’s fall routine, it’s a great time to try an after school adventure. The Front Royal area is the perfect backdrop for your and your kids to make memories that will last a lifetime.
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