The idea of “adventure” awakens something deep within the human spirit. After all, adventure is the topic of many of our favorite stories, books, and movies. We literally spend hours thinking and talking about adventures.
So if you’re feeling bogged down with the business of everyday living, consider embarking on your own new adventure: an outdoor adventure! There’s nothing that can freshen your perspective and breathe new life into your everyday quite like spending a day (or a few!) adventuring in the great outdoors.
If you’re seeking to satisfy the adventure-lover within you, put the Front Royal area at the top of your list of destinations. With a fantastic location at the Gateway to Shenandoah National Park, you’ll find plenty of scope for adventure here. Oh, and did we mention that this vibrant small town is also known as the Canoe Capital of Virginia? Call it nature’s playground if you like. With river, forests, and mountains all nearby, every adventure-lover will find something to enjoy in the Front Royal area. Don’t put your next adventure on hold. Make plans today to discover the adventure of Front Royal.
The Adventure of Front Royal
The first ingredient in planning your adventure is, of course, the adventure itself! You’ll find plenty to keep you busy in the Front Royal area. Let us give you some ideas.
The Shenandoah National Park is a great place to start. It’s Front Royal’s most famous landmark, and it’s a sought-after destination for adventure-lovers from all over the U.S. Mountain bikers and rock climbers will find plenty to enjoy in Shenandoah National Park, and in the greater Front Royal area too. If you’re looking for a memorable hike, see here for some local recommendations. Spoiler alert: two of the hikes on this list feature swimming holes!
Prefer to plan your next adventure on the water? There’s no better place than the Canoe Capital of Virginia! From kayaking to tubing to fishing (with lots more in between), the Shenandoah River is an endless source of adventure and fun. Check out one of our local outfitters, such as Front Royal Outdoors for everything you need to make your dream river adventure a reality.
The Supplies (Find What You Need in Front Royal)
Don’t forget to plan a stop in the town of Front Royal to stock up on food and any gear that you’ll need. Blue Wing Frog is a classic favorite food stop for our outdoors loving visitors. They offer wholesome, homemade food to eat in, and they’ll even pack it as a picnic for you to bring with you.
Meanwhile, if you’re missing an essential piece of gear, Mountain Trails should be able to help you. You’ll find a range of high quality outdoor equipment here, from water bottles to tents and everything in between!
Sweet Refreshment (Front Royal’s Happy Ending)
Outdoor adventures help you work up an appetite, and there’s no better way to reward yourself than with a drink and a bite to eat at one of Front Royal’s favorite breweries. Check out Front Royal Brewing Company or PaveMint Taphouse to give your adventure a perfect ending. Nothing pairs with a beer and a burger quite like the feeling of slightly aching muscles! Cheers to the adventure!
And if you think you won’t be able to tear yourself away after dinner, check out our lodging options. There’s camping, hotels, quaint bed and breakfasts, something for everyone to love. Make your visit to Front Royal all the more relaxing by settling in for the night.
Maybe your idea of adventure is canoeing the river, scaling a rock face, challenging yourself with a new hike, or taking on some mountain trails with a bike. Whatever the case, you’ll find that your perfect adventure awaits you in Front Royal, Virginia. Don’t wait any longer to discover all our small town has to offer!
The Front Royal area has long been a sought-after destination for lovers of the outdoors. The area boasts great outdoor adventure options for groups and loners, ranging from rugged backwoods experiences to family friendly fun. But what if your favorite hiking buddy happens to be your dog? Come right along! There’s lots to love about the Front Royal scene for dog-owners too.
If you’re looking for a daytrip that your dog can enjoy with you, put Front Royal at the top of your list. Pets can be part of the adventure in many of the fantastic outdoor spaces that surround our town. When you’ve finished hiking, you and your four-legged buddy can relax at one of several local breweries.
So use our guide to plan a day for yourself and your dog in this welcoming mountain town. You and your favorite hiking buddy will have a great time experiencing Front Royal together. We’d even go so far as to call it a “pawfect” adventure.
Plan the “Pawfect” Outdoor Adventure
For your dog-and-human hiking needs, look no further than Front Royal’s most popular tourist attraction: Shenandoah National Park. With its pet-friendly protocols that allow leashed dogs on most trails, Shenandoah National Park has been rated one of the most dog-friendly national parks in the entire United States! This incredible national park boasts mountain vistas, forests, streams, waterfalls . . . and around 500 miles of trails that your dog can hike with you! It’ll keep the two of you going for a long time!
If you want a change of scene from the National Park, see here for Discover Front Royal’s full list of hiking locations in the Front Royal area. Most welcome pets, so you can enjoy mountains, forests, or the Shenandoah River along with your pup. Double check the pet policy of each individual location to make sure you fully understand any rules or guidelines that might apply to you and your pet.
Breweries that Welcome You and Your Dog
There’s nothing quite like relaxing with a beer and a burger after an outdoor adventure. Several of Front Royal’s breweries have outdoor dining where your dog is welcome to enjoy this part of the day with you too. The Front Royal Brewing Company is located right in Front Royal’s historic downtown, so you and your pet can enjoy a stroll on Main Street before or after your meal. For a more rural setting head out to the Backroom Brewery in Middletown, where you can enjoy your beer against the scenic backdrop of a working herb farm.
But beer isn’t the only brew you can find in the Front Royal area. To mix things up, check out one of Front Royal’s meaderies. Mead is an ancient beverage that’s been making a comeback, and Front Royal is a great place to try it out. Saga Meadery and Honey and Hops Brew Works both have seating to welcome you and your dog. The Vikings drank mead after their adventures. Maybe you should try it too!
Owning a dog is a big responsibility. Most dog-owners know the stress of trying to plan an excursion and making arrangements for a pet that you’re leaving behind. The good news is that if you’re heading to Front Royal, your four-legged friend can come right along with you. This is one destination where your favorite four-legged hiking buddy will fit right in. Start planning your pawfect adventure today!
All of fall is beautiful, but the season’s “peak” is that much-anticipated time when the greatest abundance of fall colors fill the landscape. It’s a short window, arriving when the vast majority of leaves have assumed their fall hues, and ending as they turn brown and fall from the trees. In the Shenandoah Valley, peak usually arrives in October (predictions for 2020 point to late October). The season typically lasts around two weeks.
If you’re coming to the Front Royal area to enjoy peak foliage, we’ve put together some helpful information. Read on some fun facts about the beautiful trees you can expect to see. We’re also featuring Front Royal’s top fall attraction: Skyline Drive.
Who’s Who in the Peak Foliage
Yellows, oranges, and reds are the signature colors of fall, and together they make up a peak fall landscape. However, it takes a variety of trees to make all of these vibrant shades appear. Different species contribute different hues to the display. If you’re seeing yellows and oranges, you may well be enjoying a view of beeches, sycamores, or sugar maples. Red maples take their name for the bright scarlet that they contribute to the riotous colors of fall. Meanwhile, oaks are a well-known species that contribute a spectrum of reds, russets, and browns (in addition to covering the ground with acorns – another signature sight of fall).
Of course these tips can only get you so far in determining which tree you’re looking at. If you’re wanting to go a little deeper in your enjoyment of the peak foliage, a little tree identification may fit the bill. Equip yourself with a tree identification field guide before heading out on your hike or fall picnic. You’ll find that identifying trees is a fun activity for all the family. And it’ll definitely help you increase your appreciation of nature’s handiwork.
Skyline Drive from the Front Royal End
Speaking of fall hikes and picnics, the premier spot for such pursuits is Virginia’s Skyline Drive. The central road of Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive is one of the nation’s favorite places to enjoy peak fall foliage. Cresting the peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountain range, Skyline Drive provides access to many unparalleled vantage points from which to enjoy the vistas of fall in the Shenandoah Valley. The northern entrance of the park is conveniently located right in the town of Front Royal.
Simply enjoying a drive through the park is a great way to enjoy the foliage display. In fact, Skyline Drive was actually designed with driving in mind. However, October is Skyline Drive’s most visited month, and the traffic can get frustrating. If you’re looking to enjoy Skyline Drive from the Front Royal end, we’ve rounded up some ideas for leaf-peeping in the park without having to drive too far. That way you can spend more time enjoying nature, and less time waiting in leaf-peeper traffic.
Compton Peak is a fantastic hike near the Front Royal end of the park. It’s a family friendly trail that includes a mildly strenuous climb, but is manageable for most. Park at the Compton Gap parking area (mile-marker 10.4). Cross the road, and head south/west on the Appalachian Trail into the woods. After a mile or so, the Compton Peak trail intersects the Appalachian Trail. Look out for a concrete marker to tell you’ve arrived at this point. A right turn takes you up hill to a stunning viewpoint, where you can enjoy the fall foliage and a sense of accomplishment. Heading left will bring you to a more obstructed viewpoint, but fascinating rock formations. Can’t decide? The two overlooks are close enough that you can check out both.
If you’re not up for a hike, there are some great picnicking spots also within easy distance of the Front Royal entrance to the park. Range View Overlook (mile-marker 17.0) consistently makes it on lists of the park’s top overlooks. From this viewpoint, take in the beauty of the piedmont on the Eastern side of the Blue Ridge Mountains. For views of the Shenandoah Valley to the West, good options are Gooney Run Overlook (mile 6.8), and the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center. Dickey Ridge is also a great place to get advice from a park ranger on other good spots to check out in the park.
Don’t miss out on one of America’s favorite leaf-peeping spots. Plan your peak foliage visit to Skyline Drive today!
There's Peace and Quiet in Those Hills ...
While options may be different than those found in larger cities, there are plenty of unique activities and entertainment to be found in smaller communities such as Front Royal, VA. This small town comes with a rich history and direct access to the Shenandoah Valley and Skyline Drive.
There is so much to do and enjoy that we wanted to provide a day guide for your next visit here!
Stroll Around Town
Small towns in the more rural regions of America are known for their downtown areas with “heritage” buildings, quaint streets, and charming local shops. Front Royal is no exception. Don’t be afraid to venture beyond Main St.! Our town offers many shops, antique stores, outdoors parks and award winning restaurants.
Check out other businesses our town has available to you!
Explore a Museum
Front Royal and Warren County have a unique history. Though the museums may not have a well-known reputation, they are nonetheless a treasure trove of our culture, background, and insights.
Check out our other historic places of interest around town!
Go Out for Coffee
It is common to find groups of friends sitting at local coffee shops for hours on weekday and Saturday mornings. Coffee shops are also popular hangouts for the older, retired crowd. You can experience several hours of relaxation for the cost of one cup of coffee.
Skyline Drive Sightseeing
Skyline Drive is a National Scenic Byway. Though autumn is the most popular time to travel along Skyline Drive, with its breathtaking foliage, spring offers the pale green of trees waking up from a long winter, colorful wildflowers, as well as blooming azaleas and mountain laurel.
How long does it take to get through the park? With over 75 scenic overlooks along the way, most people allow three to four hours to drive the 105-mile length of Skyline Drive.
You’ll find some of the most scenic golf courses within the Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains. The views here are amazing!
For Disc Golf lovers we have Rockland Park Disc Golf Course
Here you’ll find a complete list of area golf courses.
Go Fishing or Hunting
The Shenandoah River has been regarded as one of the best smallmouth rivers in the world. Pair that with the Blue Ridge Mountains to explore the best fishing and hunting in Virginia!
To learn more about the best places to dock, check out our recent blog!
One of the benefits of a small town is that there can be a lot of open space not too far away. Sometimes, it can be a ton of fun to pack a bag and head outside of town. If you have kids, hiking can be a chance to spend some time together, while you teach them how much fun it can be to explore!
Check out some of our best trails!
Everyone has a different reason to go camping. Many want to disconnect from high tech and reconnect with the outdoors. Families go camping to get away from distractions at home and to rejuvenate relationships. Camping means different things to different people.
Not sure where to stay? Here are some great choices!
Go Canoeing or Kayaking
The Shenandoah Valley offers numerous rivers ideal for canoeing and kayaking for all experience levels. The most famous is the Shenandoah River, which runs parallel to Front Royal.
Don’t feel like toting your own vessel, or maybe you don’t own one? Don’t worry, we have you covered!
Check out the following business to rent your own:
Support the Community by staying at a local B&B
Staying at a bed and breakfast is the perfect choice of lodging when you need a relaxing escape. You can find B&Bs almost anywhere you go, and they provide much better value than hotels. From personalized attention to delicious food, there are many reasons to choose a bed and breakfast over a hotel - especially in Front Royal.
When you are on the road, away from home, travelers seek to experience a deeper connection with the places they visit. The bed and breakfast industry, is known for its hospitality, which is why you see many B&B’s and Inns receive great ratings for this very quality.
Each bed and breakfast has its own history and its own style of accommodation. A B&B gives you the sense of being home because the rooms are both comfortable and elegant.
B&B’s are small businesses. Innkeepers take tremendous pride in their work. Not only that, they feel a responsibility to make sure their guests are comfortable and cared for.
And then there is the food! Home-cooked meals, with locally sourced ingredients, make the start of the day an enjoyable one. A freshly-prepared, delicious breakfast means the world to travelers who are far from home.
Front Royal and Warren County have a bevy of choices:
When was the last time you truly saw the stars in a night’s sky? A distinct advantage of a small-town visit is having the chance to see the stars! Stick around for an evening so you can see for yourself.
Public Parks & Gardens
From botanical gardens and arboretums to fun playgrounds and community parks, there’s something to please everyone!
Here are additional parks and places of interest to visit!
A Final Thought!
There are many ways to enjoy small towns and their surrounding areas. These economical and creative solutions can be a great way for visitors to enjoy just as much as you would in the big city. They may not seem as grand, but they can be just as educational, entertaining, and fun!
Fun, relaxation, and the outdoors await in Front Royal. It’s in our nature!
Discover Front Royal