With jaw-dropping scenery, quaint towns, and outdoor attractions in all directions the Front Royal area is a great place to plan a relaxing day on the road. Skyline Drive, with its northern entrance located right in the town of Front Royal, is a quintessential driving experience that’s become an American tradition. But if you’re looking for a little variety in your driving, read on! We’ve put together three new scenic drives you’re sure to love. Below you’ll find three recommended routes, along with suggested stops to suit every taste. So fill your tank with gas, and head out on a Front Royal area drive that’ll take you to a new destination . . . with lots of fun along the way!
Scenic Drive 1: Front Royal to Luray (via 522 and 211)
Head south from Front Royal on 522, and you won’t even notice the minutes glide by as you gaze out at rolling pastures and gorgeous farmlands with mountains in the background. Once you get to Sperryville, head west on 211, and you’ll find yourself driving up into the Blue Ridge Mountains, passing Shenandoah National Park’s Thornton Gap Entrance. On the other side of the mountain, you’ll come down into the town of Luray, a great destination for relaxation and family fun. To return to Front Royal, you can retrace the same route, or head back on 340 north for a shorter, but still beautiful, drive home.
For the Foodie
As you head out of Front Royal, you’ll pass two fantastic wineries, Rappahannock Cellars, and Chester Gap Cellars. If it’s too early in the day for wine, save them for the drive home.
522 takes you through Flint Hill, which is the home of some great foodie favorites for a bite to eat. Try The Blue Door Kitchen or Griffin Tavern here. Or go a little further and stop at The Inn at Little Washington for the ultimate fine dining experience.
For the Outdoor Adventurer
If you’re a love of the great outdoors, this drive will bring you to some great hiking. The Appalachian Trail crosses 522 just south of Front Royal. It’s a great place to pull off and take a hike on this iconic trail. Or use the Thornton Gap Entrance Station to enter Shenandoah National Park: the home of almost unlimited outdoor adventure.
For the Family
Families enjoying a day together will want to visit Luray Caverns and enjoy a tour of the largest caverns in the Eastern United States. From there, head to Lake Arrowhead beach to enjoy swimming, relaxing, or even a boat rental.
Scenic Drive 2: Front Royal to Middleburg (via Sky Meadows State Park)
If you’re looking to explore another small town of Northern Virginia, Middleburg is a great destination. Instead of using I-66 for most of the drive, enjoy some country roads by taking exit 18 and heading north on VA-688. You’ll pass some great stops (more on those below!) before hitting US 50. Head East on US 50, and it’ll bring you right into Middleburg, where you can explore all this historic town has to offer.
For the Foodie
Foodies will love a stop at Valley View Farm off VA-688. Pick your own fruit, taste local honey or wine, and shop the on-site farm store for delicious, farm-fresh goodies.
For dinner, stop at Hunters Head Tavern for a farm-to-table tavern experience.
For the Outdoor Adventurer
Take a hike at Sky Meadows State Park in Delaplane.
For the Family
The Apple House is Front Royal’s favorite “on the way out” stop, and you’ll pass right by it on this trip. Grab a quick breakfast, or stock up on some crowd-pleasing donuts for later on. Not hungry yet? Save it for an ice cream stop on your way home.
Kids will enjoy checking out the pick-your-own options along 688. In addition to Valley View Farm, check out Hollin Farms, and Hartland Orchard. Or explore the Children’s Discovery Area at Sky Meadows State Park.
Scenic Drive 3: Front Royal to Harper’s Ferry
Located at the meeting of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, Harper’s Ferry is a great road trip destination from Front Royal. Whether you’re a lover of hiking, history, the scenic outdoors, or delicious foods, you can find it here. Enjoy the scenic stretch of 522 north of Front Royal, and then connect with US-340 to take you the rest of the way.
For the Foodie:
On your way in or out of Front Royal, visit Region’s 117 in Lake Frederick to enjoy locally sourced, gourmet food.
For the Outdoor Adventurer
There’s a lot for an outdoor lover to enjoy in Harper’s Ferry, but if you’re looking for a stop along the way take a break at the Virginia State Arboretum. Here you’ll find educational programs, walking trails, and gardens.
For the Family
Check out River Rider’s Family Adventure Resort for an exciting family adventure near Harpers Ferry, or stop by Dinosaur Land on your way out of Front Royal to check out this retro attraction featuring massive model dinosaurs. Who doesn’t want to fit in a photo op with a triceratops?
If you’re looking for a beautiful drive with a fun destination and exciting roadside stops, the Front Royal area is a great place to be! Buckle up this weekend and enjoy a memorable highway adventure in a stunningly beautiful area.
Have you ever thought of the food you eat as an adventure? It’s not a connection we make every day, but food has numerous ties to excitement and uncharted territory. Maybe your food adventure is trying something new, savoring a dish from a distant land, or sampling artisanal food that doesn’t taste quite the same anywhere else. Or perhaps the adventure is more simply in the fact that the food you eat is the fuel for your next hike, bike ride, swim, or rock climb. Or maybe it’s a combination of the two!
Whether you’re looking for a uniquely delicious dining experience, or for food that will carry you for miles in the great outdoors, you can find it in Front Royal. Try out some adventurous eats in our welcoming small town, and you’ll discover why Front Royal is the foodie’s choice in the Shenandoah Valley.
Front Royal’s Unique Restaurants
Front Royal’s diverse selection of gourmet eateries make the town a great destination for foodie of all tastes. If you’re after a classic fine dining experience, you can’t go wrong with the Element. It’s fine dining the Front Royal way!
For a unique and delicious micro-brewery experience try Pavemint Taphouse. Pavemint has all the character you’d expect to find in a micro-brewery located in a renovated gas station. The smoker in the parking lot will tempt you inside, to enjoy delicious, locally sourced food alongside your craft brew.
If wine sounds better than beer, another great option in town is ViNoVa tapas and wine bar. Pair your wine with gourmet tapas from a fresh and exciting rotating menu. The small plate format is meant to encourage guests to share and try something of everything!
If you enjoy cuisines from distant lands visit Royal Spice to experience authentic Nepalese and Indian Cuisine. Family owned and operated, Royal Spice specializes in bringing exotic flavors from the foothills of the Himalayas all the way to Front Royal, Virginia. It’s hard to imagine a more adventurous eat!
And the adventure doesn’t end in Front Royal! Get off the beaten by a bit by heading to the neighboring town of Flint Hill, and expand your options even further. At Flint Hill’s Griffin Tavern you’ll find pub food in a renovated 1850s Victorian Manse. Or check out The Blue Door Kitchen and Inn for gourmet offerings in the setting of a delightful four acre estate.
Food (and Caffeine!) to Fuel Your Adventure
If it’s the desire to adventure in the great outdoors that brings you to the Front Royal area, you’ll still want to make food a part of your adventure. You’ll find that Front Royal’s business owners are ready and willing to help fuel your journey. Blue Wing Frog is a favorite hiker stop for healthy, homemade food. Better yet, they’ll even pack a picnic for you, so you can enjoy gourmet food out on the trails.
For some of us, when we think of the fuel that gets us going, we only think of caffeine. If coffee is an adventure necessity for you, Front Royal’s coffee shops will keep you supplied. DL Campus on Main, Happy Creek Coffee and Tea, and the Daily Grind are all located in Front Royal’s historic downtown. For an adventurous order at Happy Creek, try the Valencian. It’s coffee with chocolate and orange zest. An unexpected combination, but a great one!
Planning a Front Royal Foodie Getaway
There are too many great places to eat in the Front Royal area for just one dinner out. If you’re a lover of gourmet food, why not treat yourself to a getaway, and spend several days in Front Royal? If you want to know exactly what to expect, Front Royal has accommodation available at several classic chain hotels including Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn, and Townplace Suites.
If you want to carry your adventure into your accommodations, there are also more unique options. Stumble Inn is specifically geared to the many Appalachian Trail hikers who come through our town. With shuttle service and resupply run provided, it’s a great stay for these great adventurers.
For a historic local Airbnb try John Pope Cabin in Browntown. Built in 1865 at the end of the Civil War, this historic cabin was the home of a soldier along with his wife and eleven children. Now it’s a cozy, welcoming, and totally unique accommodation option for a stay you won’t forget!
With gourmet restaurants, outstanding breweries, delightful coffee shops, and hospitality for hikers, Front Royal is fast becoming THE foodie destination of the Shenandoah Valley. When you’re planning your next adventure, don’t forget to plan for some adventurous eats in Front Royal, Virginia!
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