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.
Every fisherman knows that as the weather (and the water) warms up, fish become more active . . . and easier to catch! As spring arrives, the sight of anglers becomes much more common on the many waterways of the Front Royal area.
Today we’re gearing up for the fishing season by shining the spotlight on fly fishing in the Front Royal area. Fly fishing is a specific fishing technique. Instead of using live bait or weighted lures, the fly fisherman uses light weight lures, known as “flies” to attract fish. Some flies are designed to sink below the surface of the water, mimicking small fish or insect larvae, but many float on the surface. The goal? To fool a hungry fish into mistaking them for one of the many flies that enjoy the river’s surface in the warmer months. Because the fly fishing “flies” are so light, the casting technique in fly fishing differs significantly from that used in spin cast fishing.
If this special form of fishing has piqued your interest, Front Royal is a great place to give it a try. Whether you’re a beginning fly-fisher, or an old hand, the Front Royal area has fishing opportunities for all skill levels. Read on for some suggestions of where to go fly fishing in the Front Royal area.
Why Fly Fish?
In certain situations, fly fishing can be more effective than using a spin cast technique. It’s also exciting; if you’re using a surface fly, you’ll often get the thrill of watching the fish come up to tand take it. Many practitioners of fly fishing would also argue that their techniques are more refined and sophisticated than those used in spin casting. But we’ll leave that question for the fishing enthusiasts to debate . . . (preferably in the bar after a day on the river).
Fly Fishing the Shenandoah River in the Front Royal Area
The Shenandoah River is an obvious place to start if you’re looking for a place to fish in the Front Royal area. This scenic river is rightly sought after as a destination for all kinds of water sports, and fishing is no exception. If small mouth bass are your prey of choice, you can’t go wrong planning a day of fly fishing on the Shenandoah.
The Front Royal area has multiple access points to the river. Fishermen can fish from the banks, or plan a river trip from one landing to the next. See here for a map of river access points in Warren County. Looking for a watercraft rental? Peruse our list of local river outfitters here.
Stocked Trout Streams around Front Royal
Smallmouth bass are fun to catch, but the classic target of the fly fisherman is the trout. Finding a stocked trout stream is a great way to “get your feet wet” trout fishing. If you’re lucky enough to time your outing soon after a visit from the stocking truck, you’ll have a high chance of success.
For a family-friendly, easily accessible option, try the Gertrude E. Miller Community Park in Front Royal. A stocked section of Happy Creek runs through the park. There’s also a playground and picnic shelter close by. So the non-fishers, or “short-attention-span-fishers” can have a great time too. This park is a popular location for Front Royal fishing, so expect to see other anglers here.
A more secluded option for stocked trout fishing is Passage Creek in the George Washington National Forest. Here, you’ll find beautiful scenery, peace and quiet, and a classic fly fishing stream experience. To access Passage Creek, head out of Front Royal on VA-55 towards Strasburg, and after 5 miles, take a left onto State Route 678/Fort Valley Road. Passage Creek runs beside this road for a significant distance, and you’ll find several parking spots where you can pull off and access the creek.
(Note that due to construction at the Front Royal fish hatchery, Passage Creek will not be stocked in spring 202.1)
Native Trout Fishing in the Front Royal Area
But while stocked trout fishing is a great way to get started, many experts agree that catching native (not stocked) brook trout in a mountain stream is one of the best ways to experience fly fishing. If you’re in search of a fly fishing adventure along these lines, Front Royal can be your destination too.
The Shenandoah National Park, with its northern entrance located in Front Royal is a great place to fly fish. It’s one of the few coveted spots in the D.C. area where you can find native brook trout. The Rapidan River is one of the most famous native trout habitats in the park. It’s off the beaten track, though, so if you’re planning a fishing trip there, a four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended. For the adventurous, there are also several native trout streams in the park that are accessible from hiking trails.
Enjoy your fly fishing adventure in the Front Royal area! Before you head out, don’t forget to purchase all appropriate fishing licenses. And if you’re hoping to bring your catch home, be sure to read up on all the harvesting regulations wherever you plan to fish.
Skyline Drive/Shenandoah National Park is an incredible leaf-peeping destination. It’s not surprising that the park is something of a national treasure. The only problem is that it does attract significant crowds during the peak of fall foliage.
If you’re looking to enjoy fall foliage in the Front Royal area without dealing with crowds, this post is for you! We’ve rounded up some spots for leaf-peeping that will take you a little off the beaten path, while still ensuring that you can enjoy the unparalleled beauty of the Shenandoah Valley in fall.
1. Shenandoah River State Park
This amazing park is like Skyline Drive’s overshadowed little brother. Located just nine miles down the road from Skyline Drive’s Front Royal Entrance Station, Shenandoah River State Park doesn’t get the attention it deserves. However, there’s plenty to write home about here. The park extends right up the Shenandoah River, and you’ll find plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy.
Visit Shenandoah River State Park to discover 5.2 miles of Shenandoah River shoreline, over 24 miles of hiking trails, scenic overlooks, and opportunities for camping, horseback riding, and fishing.
2. George Washington National Forest
George Washington National Forest is another great option for fall outdoor adventure in the Front Royal area. Though less frequented than Skyline Drive, the National Forest is full of hiking and biking trails, and also boasts great locations for camping and fishing. Passage Creek is a stocked trout stream that flows through the forest. It’s a favorite of local fly-fishermen. And, of course, the forest features plenty of trees, so there’s lots of fall foliage to enjoy.
If you’re looking for scenic views in the George Washington National Forest, Buzzard Rock is a great hike to check out. It’s something of a local favorite. You’ll follow a wooded trail before eventually emerging on the exposed rocks at the top of the mountain. From this vantage point, enjoy stunning views of the surrounding countryside. There’s a good chance you’ll even see some buzzards soaring through the skies.
3. Enjoy Fall Views from the Shenandoah River
If you want to enjoy a relaxing outdoor adventure away from the crowds, don’t forget that Front Royal sits right on the famous Shenandoah River. You might associate river trips more with summer, but the river can be a great fall destination too. As fall colors appear on the tree-lined banks of the river, a boating trip is a great way to enjoy them. To plan your trip, get in touch with one of Front Royal’s River Outfitters. Or, if you have your own boat, you can organize a day on the river independently. This map shows public river access points in the Front Royal area.
4. Take a Scenic Fall Drive
Skyline Drive isn’t the only scenic road in the Shenandoah Valley. There are plenty of other options for those seeking less heavily travelled fall foliage drive. If a fall drive through the Front Royal area sounds appealing, consider this Fall Foliage Driving Tour, developed by the experts at the Virginia Department of Forestry. They’ve carefully planned out the route to ensure lots of opportunities for enjoying the fall leaves. To make the day complete, stop in Front Royal to pick up some fall-themed road trip snacks or a pumpkin spice latte to sip on as you drive.
Don’t let fear of crowds prevent you from enjoying all that the Shenandoah Valley has to offer in the fall. Even if you’d prefer not to join the crowds at Skyline Drive, there’s plenty of beautiful fall foliage in the Front Royal area.
Now that the imposed limitations from COVID-19 are almost behind us and summer is on its way, having fun outdoors can mean being on or in the water. Canoeing and kayaking are not only great for seeing picturesque views, but a wonderful way to relax and destress from the hectic pace of day-to-day life. Finding peace and quiet on the water is all part of the overall experience.
With one of the most beautiful and iconic parts of America’s landscape, the Blue Ridge Mountains, for its backdrop, the Shenandoah River is undoubtedly what so many residents and nature-loving people enjoy most about Front Royal. In 1999, Front Royal received the honor of being named the “Canoe Capital of Virginia”. The river is controllable for beginners but includes expanses of thrills as well. The canoe has been used for trade and transportation along the river since the earliest recorded history in the Valley, so enjoy the history, beauty, and tradition that canoeing entails in the Shenandoah Valley.
Front Royal is fortunate to have two forks of the river running through our land:
The South Fork Shenandoah is a popular destination for canoeists and kayakers. The nearness of the river to the more urban areas of Virginia and the bucolic beauty of the valley attracts thousands each year. Several canoe outfitters operate on the South Fork and traffic can be heavy on certain sections of the river during the summer months. Twenty (20) public access points along the entire length of the river creates the opportunity to plan many different float trips of varying distances.
The North Fork is a relatively small, shallow river and is very accessible to wade angling. This part of the river is ideal to float, canoe or kayak. Clear water, pleasant scenery, abundant wildlife, and mild whitewater make the North Fork a paddler’s dream.
Fishing opportunities on the North Fork:
Consider these other benefits of canoeing and kayaking in the Front Royal’s portion of the Shenandoah River:
Prior to jumping into your canoe, don’t forget these necessary and practical health and safety tips for canoeing and kayaking:
Canoe outfitters along the Shenandoah River normally provide a shuttle service, drop you off and let you float back a chosen distance to the outfitter headquarters. Looking for a local Front Royal shop to help?
Some combination of canoes, kayaks, inner tubes, rafts and paddleboards, may be rented from Front Royal Outdoors, Downriver Canoe Company or Shenandoah River Outfitters.
Launching your own vessel is popular, too, and many access points/boat ramps are found in or near Front Royal.
One of Virginia’s many state parks is nearby as well—the 1600-acre Shenandoah River State Park. It is located eight miles south of town on Route 340, offering miles of riverfront and mountain trails for hiking and mountain biking, as well as cabin rentals, a new zipline and tent camping.
From beautiful mountains, lush pastoral farmland and glistening river waters, Front Royal’s nature will astonish both young and old. Mark your calendar, Friday, June 26th is National Canoe Day! Make it a weekend getaway by renting a cabin, staying in a nearby Bed & Breakfast, and or local hotel. Now is the time to plan your trip to enjoy a river experience in the Canoe Capital of Virginia!
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