With schools out and warm temperatures, summer is the time of year when many Americans plan to travel and enjoy vacation. But in 2022 with gas prices hitting record highs, taking a trip to a distant destination will be more expensive than ever before. If gas prices are giving you pause, don’t give up on the idea of a vacation just yet! It’s time to start seeing travel limitations as an opportunity! A local vacation can be just as fun as one that involves long-distance travel, and if you’re near the Front Royal area, you have the perfect destination right on your doorstep. Whether you’re a resident of the D.C. Metro area, or hail from even closer to Front Royal, give our amazing small town a look. You’ll discover that Front Royal is packed with all the ingredients it takes to make for a great vacation. Bonus: with travel time cut down you’ll have even more time to spend relaxing and enjoying yourself.
Read on for six reasons we love the idea of a local vacation in the Front Royal area! Soon you’ll be wondering why you ever took the trouble of travelling far away for a vacation!
1. Front Royal has Fantastic Lodging and Dining
It wouldn’t feel like a vacation without the chance to relax and enjoy comfortable accommodations and delicious food. If a local vacation has you saving money on travel expenses, you may have a little left in the budget to enjoy some extra luxuries in the lodging and dining departments.
In the Front Royal area, you can find truly unique lodging options for a memorable and comfortable stay. Check out the John Pope Cabin at Walnut Hill Farm and Estate, or Mountain Home Bed and Breakfast for fantastic lodging you won’t forget. Explore the rolling farmland that surrounds Rolling River Holidays’ stunning vacation homes. Or plan on some hot tub relaxation by booking a cabin with Hot Tub Heaven. See here for a fuller list of Front Royal’s lodging options including hotels, cozy cabins, and more.
Gourmet meals area also easy to find in Front Royal. The Element is Front Royal’s classic option for fine dining. Check out Vibrissa Beer or Pavemint Taphouse for local craft beer and delicious food. Or head to neighboring Flint Hill to enjoy other upscale options.
2. Outdoor Adventures Aplenty Await in Front Royal
With its location conveniently close to Shenandoah National Park and the Shenandoah River, Front Royal is perhaps best known as a destination for lovers of outdoor adventure. Adventure awaits whichever way you turn in Front Royal. Plan a hike or backpacking trip in the National Park, explore rock climbing, or plan out a whole week of outdoor fun with canoeing in the Shenandoah River, hiking, biking, and more all easily accessible from Front Royal.
3. Front Royal has Lots for History Buffs
It’s a lesser known claim to fame, but the Shenandoah Valley (Front Royal included) was the scene of some key battles of the Civil War. The Front Royal area retains a strong sense of history to this day. Explore at your own pace with the Battle of Front Royal Civil Driving Tour, or check Front Royal’s events page for Civil War talks, tours, and more. If you’re staying in Front Royal, you’ll also be within reach of Civil War Battlefields at New Market, Cedar Creek, and Antietam.
4. Find the Fun at Front Royal’s Events
Keep your local Front Royal vacation exciting by attending some special events. Front Royal has a busy events calendar, and you’ll find there’s a lot going on. Relax at Fox Meadow Winery with their Sunset in the Vineyard events, or head to Shenandoah Valley Golf Club on a Friday Night for Fire Pit Fridays. Take in a Front Royal Cardinals home baseball game for more fun. If you’re here mid-July, don’t miss the Valley Baseball League All-Star Game on July 17. Plan your visit for the first week of August and enjoy some honest country fun at the Warren County Fair.
5. Front Royal is Camping Out Heaven
Some like a little luxury in vacation accommodations, for others it’s more refreshing (and affordable) to take it back to the basics with a camping trip. Some long-lasting family memories can be made around the campfire, and it’s a great way to unplug a little more and help the whole family enjoy being together. With fantastic scenery and lots of parks nearby, Front Royal has great camping options, from riverside to mountain top and more. Check them out here.
6. Front Royal is Fun for all the Family
If you’re bringing kids you’ll want to make sure you plan some fun for them, too. From a fun splash pad for little ones to kayaking, horseback riding, and hiking fun for older ages, there’s plenty kids will love about Front Royal. Skyline Caverns is a great family attraction, and Front Royal’s delicious ice cream shops can provide the perfect sweet ending to any family adventure. See here for more ideas on keeping kids happy and entertained around Front Royal.
Don’t let gas prices ruin your summer plans this year! Plan a local vacation, and discover all the fun you can have without having to log lots of miles. With convenient proximity to the D.C. Metro area, a rustic feel that makes it seem like you’re worlds away, and loads of fun and adventure waiting for you to enjoy, Front Royal is the ideal destination for a local vacation. Bonus: you may even discover a nearby attraction that you’ll be able to return to again and again over the coming year.
Summer can be a fun time for the whole family, with kids home from school and enjoying lots of extra free time. But too much freedom can quickly turn into boredom and frayed nerves. To keep summer fun and exciting, it can be helpful to plan some structured family activities. That’s where we come in. Read on and follow our blog to find fun posts full of ideas for keeping summer fun for kids in Front Royal! Today we’re kicking it off with a summer classic: planning a picnic in the park for your kids. Affordable, fun, and easy to plan, a picnic in the park with all the family together can become a treasured memory. Read on to discover four Front Royal ingredients you won’t want to leave out to create a memorable picnic. Maybe you can aim for a weekly or monthly picnic through the summer so everyone has something to look forward to.
Secret Ingredient Number 1: Picking the Perfect Park
Front Royal’s park system is full of great facilities with something to interest big kids, little kids, nature lovers, young athletes in training, and everything in between. If you have a group with lots of different interests, Gertrude E. Miller Community Park is our top pick for keeping everybody happy. The large complex includes a stretch of Happy Creek for fishing, basketball and tennis courts, extensive playgrounds, and more. The adjoining Lion’s Park even includes specially designed accessible play area for children with special needs. Our other favorites include Eastham Park and Rockland Park. For a bigger adventure where you’ll have to pay a park entrance fee, try Shenandoah River State Park or Shenandoah National Park.
Secret Ingredient Number 2: Packing Fantastic Food without Stress
The food you bring is a key ingredient to your picnic, and it’s fun to pack something special so everyone can enjoy the treat. If you’re making your own at home, check here to find some fun ideas kids will enjoy. Choosing a simple recipe that kids can help assemble can add to the fun for everyone. To give your meal a special touch, why not stop for some fun, local food, at Manor Line Market, or grab a treat from Down Home Comfort Bakery to enjoy after your food. For a special treat and a totally stress free picnic, head to Blue Wing Frog, where they’ll take care of providing delicious, picnic-appropriate food and packing it all up for you.
Secret Ingredient Number 3: The Activities
While free play time at the playground is a hit with most younger age groups, planning some organized activities for your picnic can be a fun way to make sure everyone has a good time and burns some energy.
Older kids will enjoy competing in disc golf at Sherando Park or Rockland Park. Tennis is another great option for a smaller group of older kids. Find courts available at Chimney Field Park and Gertrude E. Miller Community Park). If you get a group together and end up with more kids than court space, why not get everyone involved with a fun tournament? An organized softball or baseball game can be another great way for a larger group of friends to make some memories together.
For a less competitive atmosphere, a nature scavenger hunt can be fun and educational! Or try out geocaching for an adventure where everyone can be on the same team.
Secret Ingredient Number 4: The Ice Cream on the Way Home
With a hot, tired, and happy crew ready to go home, stopping for an ice cream on the way can be the perfect ending to a fun outing. Front Royal has loads of friendly ice cream joints, and the ice cream is delicious all over town! For a downtown treat on Main Street, stop by C & C Frozen Treats. Try out Spelunkers for their legendary frozen custard, or stop at The Apple House for delicious soft serve and more, right before getting on I-66.
Use Front Royal’s secret ingredients to plan fun summer picnics that will stave off boredom and keep kids outdoors and having a great time. Make it a day with friends, or a chance for just your family to spend time together. Either way, you’re in for a treat and a family tradition that will make this summer one to remember!
We live in an era in which high quality videos and pictures of the world’s most fascinating sights are at our fingertips for most of our waking hours. Spending long periods of time outdoors peering through binoculars in the hopes of catching a (perhaps distant) sighting of an elusive bird may seem . . . a bit out of touch. But birdwatching is a pastime that grew in popularity throughout the twentieth century, and still commands a large number of devotees. If you’re in the Front Royal area, it may be time to discover (or continue enjoying) the thrills of birdwatching for yourself. The Shenandoah Valley is a great place to birdwatch. With habitat for some of America’s favorite birds, as well as rarer migratory species, the area draws birdwatchers every year. Read on to explore three reasons why birdwatching is still worthwhile in the smartphone era, and find our tips for great birding spots in and around Front Royal.
1. Birdwatching is Good for Your Health
Birdwatching requires slowing down, peace and quiet, and often a hike into less-frequented areas of nature. Research has shown the negative effects of the constant stimulation and instant gratification we get from our digital devices. It’s affecting our mental health, as well as our attention spans, and even brain function. Taking a break from the screen and focusing your attention on observing a bird at the slower pace of real life can provide a much needed change. Especially when combined with exercise such as walking, birdwatching can boost your mental, physical, and emotional health all at once!
2. You get to Search for an Answer
In the world of google and countless information apps, finding thousands of answers to any question can be as quick as typing it in and hitting go. All that information can be overwhelming, and it also takes away the unique satisfaction of figuring out a problem on your own. When you’re out in the field watching birds, identifying a species you haven’t seen before is the perfect opportunity to exercise your (perhaps neglected!) sleuthing skills! Flipping through a field guide, making comparisons, sometimes getting stumped, and finally arriving at an answer is a uniquely satisfying process, one many of us experience all too infrequently.
3. Birdwatching Brings Its own Thrills
Perhaps it’s partly because birdwatchers aren’t guaranteed success every time: birdwatching is full of thrills. Whether it’s spotting a new species for the first time, finally laying eyes on a bird you’ve been patiently awaiting, or sharing the joy of exploring nature’s wonders with friends and family, birdwatching has excitements all its own in store. It’s another great way to get outdoors and explore all the natural world has to offer.
If you’re considering a birding outing around Front Royal, you’ll find there are loads of great places in the area to explore. See our post here to learn more about birdwatching at Shenandoah National Park or the Virginia State Arboretum. Between these two locations there’s scope for almost unlimited birdwatching. For a lesser-known park with lots of birdwatching potential try Shenandoah River State Park. A thrilling local hike that’s name for the bird sightings it includes is the George Washington National Forest’s Buzzard Rock Hike. A fun climb up through the woods emerges onto an exposed rocky outcrop at the top, with thrilling scenes of buzzards wheeling through the skies and stunning views of the surrounding countryside. It’s a local favorite you’ll want to check out.
Whether you’ve never tried birding or you’re an experienced birdwatcher, let this spring be a time to get out there with your binoculars and field guide! Birdsong is one of spring’s most exciting sounds. It’s a great time of year to get out there and get to know the wonderful creatures that fill the air with song.
Our National Parks are some of America’s greatest treasures, and they’ve been getting steadily more popular in recent years. In fact, crowds are actually becoming a problem in many of America’s favorite places to enjoy peace, quiet, and nature’s beauty.
It’s up to the National Park Service to make sure these treasures stay enjoyable for us today, and are preserved for many generations to come. That’s why several national parks are introducing new ticketing policies to limit impact on the ecosystem, and to improve every visitor’s experience.
The Front Royal area’s own Shenandoah National Park is seeing some significant changes in 2022. But there’s no need to be intimidated. Discover Front Royal has you covered with this guide to all the upcoming changes at Shenandoah National Park. Read on to find the information you need to make sure your visit to the Park goes according to plan.
Tickets to be Required for Old Rag Hike
The biggest change Shenandoah National Park visitors will experience is a ticketing system designed to reduce crowds at Old Rag. One of the park’s most popular hikes, Old Rag has begun to suffer from overcrowding during peak seasons of the year. Starting March 1, 2022 Old Rag hikers will need to pre-purchase a $1 ticket to secure their spot on the mountain’s famous trails.
Don’t worry, the system is designed to give everyone a fair chance. Tickets can only be purchased up to thirty days in advance, so a little advance planning should give you the Old Rag access you want. And you’ll have the added bonus of enjoying a more secluded hiking experience.
Head here to purchase Old Rag tickets and here for more information. Note: Old Rag tickets will not be available at the trailhead and must be purchased in advance.
Camping Fee Changes at Shenandoah National Park
Going forward, campers at Shenandoah National Park can expect to pay a little more for their stay. Campground users will now pay $30 per night, with the fee for group campsites going up to $75. It’s a raise in fees that’s been long in coming; camping fees at Shenandoah National Park haven’t changed since 2007. The Park Service will use the increased revenues to make improvements and updates to the campgrounds, such as adding new fire grates and picnic tables.
And coming in 2023, the park will also introduce new fees for back country campers, so they can fund their efforts to ensure that camping at Shenandoah National Park remains safe and fun for everyone.
Free Lifetime Passes for Veterans and Gold Star Families
But it’s not all about fees going up! In 2022, free lifetime passes to National Parks and more (including Shenandoah National Park) will become available for America’s veterans and Gold Star Families. So those who have sacrificed so much can enjoy some of America’s greatest treasures at no cost. Check here to see who’s eligible and learn how to claim your lifetime pass!
With the warmer weather coming, it’s a great time to start dreaming of outdoor adventure in and around Front Royal. If Shenandoah National Park is in your plans for 2022, look forward to less crowds and improved camping facilities to come.
Discover Front Royal