Whether it’s relaxing by the pool with a cool drink, enjoying a cookout with friends, or spending time with kids on summer break, we all have our favorite summer activities. But there are certain adventures that scream “summer” like no other! We call them essential summer experiences!
We’ve rounded up a list of nine essential summer experiences that you can enjoy in Front Royal, Virginia. So whether you’re looking for a way to entertain your kids or just yourself, read on! You’ll discover the best of the summer experiences that await you. Give them a try, and you’ll find some new traditions that’ll have you coming back year after year (or maybe multiple times in the same year!).
1. Float, Float, Float your Tube!
If you’re in the Front Royal area, you won’t want to let the summer go by without at least one adventure on the Shenandoah River! In our book, a river float trip is the number one most relaxing way to beat the heat and enjoy the river in summer. For tube rental, check out one of Front Royal’s own river outfitters, such as Front Royal Outdoors or Skyline Canoe Company. They have everything you’ll need for a river adventure, including shuttle service! And if you’re in search of a slightly more strenuous outing, you’ll find great canoeing options here too. Front Royal isn’t called the Canoe Capital of Virginia for nothing!
2. Wine, Cheese, and a Sumer Breeze
For an elegant summer outing, a picnic at a winery is hard to beat, and Front Royal is fast becoming a wine lover’s dream destination. With scenic wineries all around, the only problem is deciding which one to visit. Fortunately, there are enough weekends in the summer that you’ll have a chance to try them all out! Bring your own picnic and enjoy the finest in Virginia wines, against the stunning backdrop of the Shenandoah Valley.
3. Summer in a Cup or a Cone
An ice cream outing is one of those summer experiences that delights young and old (and everybody in between!). Whether you’re taking a break in the middle of another adventure, or making a weeknight more fun with a quick outing, you can’t really go wrong with ice cream in the summer! Front Royal is home to several winning ice cream stands and parlors. Two top picks: The Apple House in Linden for a rustic country feel, or C & C’s Frozen Treats on Main Street for a small town ice cream vibe!
4. Cool Down in Town!
Make a hot, sweaty day into a memorable moment by cooling off in Front Royal! Kids will love Front Royal’s own Splash Pad at Dr. Paul Seide Memorial Gardens. And if the splash pad doesn’t satisfy the water-lover within, no worries! Front Royal’s community pool is right next door!
5. Take Me Out to the Ballgame!
Hotdogs, sunflower seeds, and a great ballgame. It’s all you need to enjoy a summer evening in an all-American way. Front Royal’s Bing Crosby Stadium is the home of the Front Royal Cardinals, and a great place to enjoy a summer evening of baseball. Check the league schedule here to find a Cardinals home game that works for you.
6. Grill and Chill
Merge two essential summer experiences into one by planning a cookout on the banks of the Shenandoah River. Shenandoah River State Park is the home of an extensive riverside picnic area, with plenty of charcoal grills available! Swim or fish, and then relax with some food hot off the grill. Don’t forget the watermelon!
7. Splash Around on a Swimming Hole Hike
If outdoor adventures and hiking are your passion, give your hobby a fun summer twist by incorporating a swimming hole on your next hike. Overall Run Falls is a favorite waterfall destination in Shenandoah National Park. If you enter the park at Thompson Hollow Trailhead, you can hike towards Overall Run Falls and enjoy the swimming holes and waterfalls along the way. This area of the park is also accessible from the Mathews Arm Area off Skyline Drive, but expect a longer hike before you can cool off in a natural pool!
8. Pick Your Own Farm Fresh Fruit
It wouldn’t be summer without the juices of freshly picked in-season fruit running down your chin! From strawberries to blueberries to peaches, there’s always something to pick in a Front Royal summer! Stribling Orchard and Hartland Orchard are two of our favorite pick-your-own locations in the Front Royal area. Most pick-your-own farms restrict picking to ensure a continuous supply, so be sure call or check social media before you arrive to avoid disappointment! You can also check ahead to find out which fruit is in season.
9. Appaloosa Music Festival
Mark your calendars for August 13-15! You won’t want to miss Front Royal’s own family friendly folk music festival. Popular D.C.-based Scythian Band has been hosting the annual Appaloosa Music Festival in Front Royal since 2014. Find camping, music workshops, local foods, local vendors, and a free kids zone, plus a great lineup of “roots music” bands from all over the U.S. And find it all right here at Front Royal’s own Skyline Ranch Resort! Buy your Appaloosa tickets today to make sure you don’t miss out on this unforgettable music festival!
There’s something to love about every season, but summer might be the one with the most potential for pure outdoor fun! Our essential summer experiences have an edge on making the most of this warm and sunny time of year. So get out there and have fun in the sun in Front Royal, Virginia.
For animal enthusiasts, spring can herald the welcome return of wild animal sightings after the long, still winter. With its mountains, forests, and rivers, the Front Royal area has plenty of natural habitat for a diverse array of wild animals. Patient nature observers have a great chance for some exciting wildlife encounters.
Read on for an introduction to some of the easiest wild animals to spot around Front Royal. We’ve also included some viewing tips and some special guidance for spring viewing.
Black Bears Emerge From Hibernation
Black bears occupy a broader range of habitats than any other species of bear, and they’re long-time residents of Virginia. Black bear cubs are born in mid-winter, during the hibernation period, and first emerge with their mothers in the spring. As bears begin to forage for food sources in the spring, it’s not uncommon to spot a mother with several cubs in tow. It’s a charming sight, but be careful! The term mama bear comes from a mother bear’s fierce protective instincts. Interfering with cubs could lead to an unpleasant and dangerous encounter with the mother. This is one spring sight that’s best enjoyed from a distance!
White-tailed Deer – It’s Time to Enjoy Them!
To gardeners and farmers they can be a nuisance, but if you’re not fighting to keep them out of your crops, these easy-to-spot animals are a beautiful sight. Whether you’re observing a majestic buck or a group of does (sometimes with fawns in tow!), a deer sighting can be a great chance to enjoy the beauty of the natural world. White-tailed deer are prolific in the Front Royal area, and you should have a good chance of spotting one (or a several!) in the parks around Front Royal. In spring, keep a special lookout for the delightful sight of new young fawns.
Wildlife in the Shenandoah River – Sun-bathing Turtles
Turtle sightings are yet another sign of the return of warmer weather. Turtles particularly like to sunbathe during spring time. And with the Shenandoah River running right through town, Front Royal is a great place to watch them. Take a riverside walk at Eastham Park or the Shenandoah River State Park, and look out for groups of turtles sunbathing on riverside logs. Or take a river trip with one of Front Royal’s own outfitters, and enjoy observing the turtles from the relaxing viewpoint of the river.
Top Tips for Wildlife Viewing in the Front Royal Area
If you’re serious about seeking out wildlife sightings around Front Royal this spring, head out to one of the Front Royal area’s fantastic parks, and get wildlife watching! The Shenandoah National Park has been rated one of the best national parks for wildlife viewing. The George Washington National Forest and the Shenandoah River State Park are two more great local options.
Follow our four top tips to ensure a rewarding and enjoyable experience.
1. Keep your distance! All wild animals can be dangerous, and it’s important for both your sake and the animal’s that you keep a safe distance apart. You should never touch or pick up a wild animal. In the spring, it’s not uncommon to come across a baby fawn bedded down alone. Don’t assume that the baby has been abandoned. Mother deer often leave their babies for extended periods while they forage for food. Touching or moving a fawn could lead to its abandonment and even death.
2. Sit still! Even if you think you’re walking quietly, it’s a guarantee that wildlife can see and hear you. You best chance for some animal viewing is to find a spot where you can sit quietly and blend in with nature.
3. Pick your time! Dawn and dusk are the best times for wildlife watching, as these times coincide with a peak in animal movement and activity. Of course, you’ll want to settle into your viewing spot a little in advance of this time, so if you’re planning a dawn expedition, you’ll need an early wake up call. Plan a camping trip if you want to ensure you’re out in nature first thing in the morning!
4. Bring your camera! You may be about to experience some unique and memorable sights. Don’t forget to bring a camera along so you can capture the beauty of the natural world and enjoy it for years to come.
The animal kingdom is full of wonders for us to enjoy, and many of them are right here in the Shenandoah Valley. As animals become more active in the spring, it’s a great time to get out and observe them in their natural habitats. Here’s to your next animal adventure!
In winter, a cozy fireplace can become the beating heart of your home. It’s a place the family can gather to bask in the warm glow of the fire. If you’re stuck at home this winter, try dedicating some screen-free evenings to spending time by the fire as a family. We’ve rounded up some innovative ideas for fireside activities. Even if you’ve been enjoying your fireplace for years, read on! You may discover a new way to relax by the fire on a winter’s evening.
1. Cook on the fire – it’s not just for summer!
You may have spent many evenings by your fire, but have you ever thought of making dinner on it? Just like a campfire, the fire in your hearth can be used for cooking. Gather around the fireplace on a winter’s night for a fun dinner that will remind you of those summer campfire cookouts. For some ideas to get you started, see here and here. Bonus: cooking as a family in the living room gives mom a break!
If you’re not in the mood for cooking a full dinner, you can still enjoy your fireplace and some delicious fire-roasted snacks or deserts. S’mores can be made indoors, just as they can on an outdoor campfire. Or for a Christmassy option that will remind you of a popular song, try some chestnuts “roasted on an open fire.” Make sure you have butter and cinnamon ready to dip them in! Baked apples are another great option for a fun and easy fireside desert.
2. Enjoy the Mood Lighting!
If you can turn off the lights while you’re gathered around the fire, you’ll notice how quickly the mood changes. Distractions melt away, and stresses seem to disappear, as the warmth and light of the fire comfort body and spirit. Skeptical . . . just give it a try one night: we promise, you’ll love it. Bonus points if you have Christmas lights up at the same time.
3. Have a Fireside Chat
There’s something about sitting by a fire together that can get people to open up and engage in great conversations that would not happen so easily otherwise. Need some help getting a conversation going? Consider keeping a pack of “conversation starter” cards near the fire. You never know, you might learn something you never knew before about a family member or guest.
4. Try a Fireside Game
There’s nothing like a family game night for involving everyone in some fun. Do it around the fire, and you’ll find it’s an unbeatable combination. If you’re going to play a family game around the fire, it’s ideal if it doesn’t involve too much moving around, and doesn’t require bright lighting. You’ll find some ideas here.
5. Read a Story Together
When the whole family is gathered around the fire is a great time to crack open a book and start reading aloud. If you can find a collection of short stories, that’s a great place to start. They’re short enough that you can get through a whole story – or two – in an evening. The short stories of Edgar Allan Poe will give your family a lot to think and talk about. They’re not a great option for younger audiences though. Or dig through a second hand bookstore, such as Front Royal’s own Royal Oak Bookshop and see what treasures you can find for yourself.
When the weather outside is frightful, the fire can be delightful. Take the time to enjoy your fire and your family this winter. Here’s to memories made around the fireside that will last a lifetime.
The pumpkin spice latte has become a favorite treat of the fall season. And it’s not hard to tell why. You’ve got cozy fall spices, sweet milky goodness, and (of course) coffee. It’s definitely a combination that’s hard to resist. But if you’re looking for something delicious to sip on this fall, Front Royal has options that might tempt you to branch out beyond this crowd-pleasing favorite . . . in favor of something a little stronger.
Read on for a list of Front Royal’s best fall beverages. If you’re in search of an alcoholic drink, you’ll find beer and cider options, as well as mead. But for those who prefer to stick with an old favorite, we’ve identified some great spots for a pumpkin spice latte. Also included: other non-alcoholic drinks that whisper “fall” with every sip!
Front Royal’s Fall Craft Beers
If you’re looking for a cozy fall drink, craft beer is a great place to start. Americans have fallen in love with the German Oktoberfest tradition, and if you’ve ever attended an Oktoberfest celebration, you know that hearty German-style beers play a big role in this fall festival!
A visit to Vibrissa Beer (formerly the Front Royal Brewing Company) during the month of October will give you the opportunity to sample the best of locally crafted Oktoberfest beers.
Definitely make your way to the Virginia Beer Museum, where you'll 'experience Virginia and experience beer'. They celebrate Oktoberfest in a grand fashion! Take a museum tour where you'll learn about the heritage of Virginia beer, stretching from 1607 to the current craft beer renaissance. The beer is flowing, the beer is cold, and admission to the museum is free!
For another option in fall beer, check out Pavemint Taphouse. Here, you’ll also find a selection of Oktoberfest style beers.
Pavemint Taphouse features a range of hard ciders in addition to its beer offerings. Apple juice meets beer: what better drink for apple-picking season?
The Backroom Brewery in Middletown is definitely worth a visit since it has more than 25 beer recipes approved by the State of Virginia. You'll enjoy the beers, the surroundings, and a much more.
As for dedicated meaderies, you can find two right in the town of Front Royal, both offering seasonal fall drinks. This fall, Honey and Hops will release two “cysers” (ciders with honey). They also promise two “surprise” fall flavors. And if you’re looking for traditional tastes of fall, search no further than Saga Meadery. Here you’ll find Pumpkin Spice Mead. You can get your fall flavor fix while enjoying an ancient favorite beverage.
In Search of the Pumpkin Spice Latte (and other non-alcoholic options…)
If you’re determined to stick with the pumpkin spice latte, or can’t think of anything more satisfying than a warm fall beverage, don’t worry. Front Royal has you covered here, too. Visit one of our three local coffee shops for something deliciously cozy to sip on. Daily Grind is an old local favorite. Another option is Happy Creek Coffee and Tea. A great coffee shop with a unique atmosphere, Happy Creek has a variety of fall drink options. Check out their hot and cold apple cider, or savor a hot chocolate. Finally, DL Campus on Main is another great addition to Front Royal’s roster of coffee shops.
Whether you’re a beer lover, a mead enthusiast, or a pumpkin spice latte connoisseur, you’ll be able to find something delicious to sip on in Front Royal. Don’t forget to make a fall drink part of your leaf-peeping visit to the Shenandoah Valley.
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