Front Royal may be small, but it certainly isn’t boring! If you’re looking for a “just for fun” outing, there are plenty of to choose from! We’ve rounded up our eleven great ideas for entertainment in Front Royal. If a family fun day is in your future, you don’t want to scroll past this post. Front Royal has classic favorites like bowling and roller skating and new trends like axe throwing and rock climbing, as well as a totally unique Dinosaur Land! You’ll find there’s something for everyone!
1. Get Your Wheels On
For roller skating fun, look no further than Mac’s Roller Rink. It’s a classic indoor roller skating rink, offering open skate times, events, and private parties.
2. Scale a Rock Wall
Battlegrounds Fitness is a great new addition to Front Royal’s entertainment and fitness sector. The CrossFit gym includes a rock wall, which is accessible to members and to guests with day passes. You’ll build your muscles, balance, and coordination while having so much fun you’ll forget that you’re exercising! Battlegrounds Fitness is also a great option for a birthday party that will leave your kids (or you!) fitter and stronger.
3. Go to the Movies
You can watch a movie at Royal Cinemas on Front Royal’s historic main street. The theater shows all the latest releases. Popcorn and candy available!
4. Explore an Arcade
Across the street from Royal Cinemas, you’ll find another classic attraction. Fireball Arcade is a retro arcade with pinball and all your favorite video games. For a two-in-one outing, plan some arcade time before or after your movie showing.
5. Go Beyond the Caverns at Skyline Caverns
Most visitors come to Skyline Caverns to take a tour of the fascinating caves. But don’t forget, there are other attractions here too! Visit the mirror maze for a fun family challenge. Or bring kids for a ride on the miniature train. You can make the caverns a part of your visit, or save them for another day.
6. Challenge Your Kids to Bowling
Fun family competition. . . and hopefully some spares and strikes . . . are in your future at the Royal Family Bowling Center! This classic bowling venue has everything you’d expect. Including the pizza!
7. Throw an Axe
For another kind of target practice, check out Shenandoah Valley Axe Throwing Co. Haven’t you always had a secret urge to hurl an axe against a wooden target? This activity is recommended for ages 12 and up, although younger children are allowed at parents’ discretion.
8. Paint (or crochet!) a Masterpiece
Visit The Studio in downtown Front Royal for art instruction and workshops. Check out their schedule of events here. You’ll find crochet and sewing options as well as painting.
9. Get Into All Things Pottery
If you’re more of a sculptor than a painter, check out Front Royal’s Explore Art and Clay. You’ll find options to paint your own pottery, enjoy a clay workshop, or use a potter’s wheel.
10. Let the River Take You on an Adventure
If your family is itching to get outside, the Shenandoah River will provide fun, exercise, and scenic beauty. Front Royal Outdoors and Skyline Canoe Company are two local outfitters that offer various river trips. For more Front Royal river trip options go here.
11. Travel to the Age of Dinosaurs
Dinosaur Land is a roadside attraction that has been delighting visitors to the Front Royal area for sixty years! The open-air attraction boasts over forty life size dinosaur models in a park-like setting. Bring your imagination, and enjoy a walk into prehistory! You’ll find tons of great photo opportunities, and maybe even learn something new about dinosaurs.
If you’re planning a special occasion celebration, a vacation, or just a day of fun in the Front Royal area, there are plenty of entertainment options that the whole family will love! Use this list to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the fun that the Front Royal area has to offer!
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 2021 point to early-mid 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 the 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.
Peak fall foliage in Shenandoah National Park is truly a national treasure. Don’t miss out on one of America’s favorite leaf-peeping spots. Plan your peak foliage visit to Skyline Drive today!
Rock climbing is a fun and exciting way to get into great shape while enjoying nature. It’s that feeling of elation that comes with completing a difficult move and conquering a new ledge. It’s the mental toughness that grows as you keep on going upwards when your whole body is begging for a break (or you’re scared out of your mind!). It’s the sheer fun of playing in Mother Nature’s playground. This is the stuff that keeps rock climbers coming back again and again to take on the challenge of a bare rock face.
Whether you’re already addicted to rock climbing, or simply want to try it out, the Shenandoah Valley has plenty of opportunities. Climbs of varying difficulty await you in one of the most beautiful places on earth. The town of Front Royal even boasts a convenient gym where you can practice rock climbing indoors. Here are some tips for starting out rock climbing, and our list of the best places for outdoor climbing in the Front Royal area.
If you’re looking for outdoor rock climbing classes near the Front Royal area, Shenandoah Mountain Guides are a great option. They regularly offer day-long rock climbing trips located right in Shenandoah National Park. Wild Guyde Adventures, based in Harrisonburg, also offers guided climbs in the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah Valley.
If you don’t have your own climbing gear yet, don’t worry. Both companies provide gear to get you started. A guided trip is a great way to try out rock climbing in a safe environment, without investing in expensive gear.
Indoor Rock Climbing in Front Royal
Indoor rock climbing is another great way to hone your skills, and has the advantage of being convenient and accessible all year long – no matter the weather! Downtown Front Royal’s indoor rock climbing happens at BattleGrounds Fitness. The gym offers a bouldering wall – that means a rock wall designed for a type of climbing done at low levels with a crash-pad. Bouldering does not require ropes or harnesses. It’s a great way to practice because you can do it on your own time, without needing to find a belay partner. You won’t experience the adrenaline rush of conquering a high rock face, but you’ll develop your skills, get stronger, AND enjoy the fun of rock climbing, all in a convenient and safe environment.
BattleGrounds Fitness offers both memberships and day-passes. If you want to become a regular, you can save money with a membership. But you can still access the wall if you’re visiting Front Royal, or just want to try it out without committing to a membership. If you’re looking for a fun way to introduce kids to rock climbing, consider scheduling a Fit & Fun Birthday Party at BattleGrounds Fitness.
Safety Precautions and Equipment for Outdoor Rock Climbing
We already mentioned that rock climbing, particularly outdoor rock climbing, can be a dangerous sport. If you’re inexperienced, the best safety precaution is to go with a guide and follow their directions and advice. They’ll be able to help you decide when you’re ready to venture out more independently. They can also advise you on purchasing your own equipment.
When you’re ready to purchase rock climbing equipment in the Front Royal area, Mountain Trails is a good place to start. This outdoor store has a great range of rock climbing gear for sale. Mountain Trails has one store in Winchester, and a new branch right on Front Royal’s Main Street. Mountain Trails also offers local rock climbing classes, so if you’re a new climber looking for some expert training, it’s a good idea to give them a call.
Experienced climbers who are heading out without a guide should use appropriate safety gear, including helmets. It’s wise to inspect your climbing equipment before each use. It is much safer to climb with a buddy – in fact, most climbing techniques require a belay partner. Even if you’re bouldering, don’t be tempted to go on an outdoor trip by yourself. You’re much safer with a spotter to guide you onto your crash-pad when you fall. An injury while climbing alone in a remote location could lead to serious consequences.
Once you’re trained and geared up for safety, check out one of these favorite climbing spots in the Shenandoah Valley.
Outdoor Rock Climbing Spots near Front Royal
Elizabeth Furnace climbing region in the George Washington National Forest, is the home of two of the Shenandoah Valley’s most popular climbing spots. Talking Headwall is conveniently located right off Fort Valley Road. It’s an attractive option if you’re not interested in hiking before and after your climb. There are a variety of intermediate level climbs. Alternatively you can drive to the Buzzard Rock trailhead and take a two mile hike for the more secluded Buzzard Rocks climbing experience. Both locations offer mostly traditional and sport climbing routes, as well as a few top roping options.
The Shenandoah National Park is another area near Front Royal with popular opportunities for rock climbing. Old Rag Mountain is the favorite climbing spot in the park. Little Stony Man Cliffs, is another popular (and potentially less crowded) location. Consult a local guide, or check out this climbing website to find other good places to climb in the park. It’s worth noting that while in the park, you’ll need to observe the Shenandoah National Park’s rock climbing guidelines. The park has permanently closed some popular climbing areas due to the environmental impacts of climbing. Other rock climbing areas are closed seasonally due to peregrine nesting. When planning your trip, check ahead with the park for updated closure information.
The Shenandoah Valley is a great place to rock climb. Stay safe and have fun!
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