It shouldn’t be a surprise that Front Royal has a rich local history. The natural attractions of this location, from the Shenandoah River to the surrounding mountain beauty have brought a steady stream of settlers and visitors to the town throughout its varied history. Read on for nine fun facts about Front Royal’s local history, starting with the Native Americans and ending with Bing Crosby!
1. The Iroquois Once Hunted in Front Royal
The entire Shenandoah Valley, including the land that would become Front Royal, was rich in natural resources for Native Americans, and saw many tribes both pass through and build settlements. The Iroquois were the last Native American group really to take possession of the valley. Unlike some other tribes, their culture was based primarily on hunting, and they did not attempt to develop farms, but used the valley as hunting grounds. The Iroquois Confederation sold the land that included the future Front Royal to Colony of Virginia in 1744.
2. Front Royal was the Home of the Shenandoah Valley’s First Ferry
Front Royal sits at the confluence of the North and South Forks of the Shenandoah River. It was here that the Shenandoah Valley’s first ferry was established in the 1730s. The ferry helped the Valley’s many travelers cross the Shenandoah River.
3. Front Royal’s Original Name was LeHewtown
The town that would become Front Royal first came into existence as LeHewtown in 1754. The name came from Peter LeHew, an early settler who bought a tract of property in what would become the center of the town.
4. Front Royal was a Popular Stop for Travelers
Front Royal (or LeHewtown) saw many travelers coming through. The Shenandoah River, brought many boatmen into town. The Shenandoah Valley was also a natural route for livestock drivers. At the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley, and the tip of Massanutten Mountain range, Front Royal was a natural meeting point for travelers. Due to the large numbers of taverns that popped up to serve the passers-through, Front Royal also gained the nickname “Helltown.”
5. We’re not sure where Front Royal Got its Name
In 1788, Front Royal officially received the name it has today. No one is exactly sure where this name came from, but there are several interesting theories. Our favorite dates back to the days of the Revolutionary war. A camp of British soldiers was located near Front Royal. Comers to the camp must respond with the password “Royal” to the sentry’s challenge of “Front.” Thus the name “Front Royal” came into common usage.
6. Front Royal was the Home of Virginia’s Second Subscription Library
Front Royal was on the forefront of literacy in Virginia. In 1799, Front Royal became the home of the second subscription library in the State. This library has grown and changed location several times over its more than two hundred years. Now it exists as Front Royal’s Samuels Public Library.
7. Over 200 Confederate Soldiers are Buried in Front Royal
Front Royal has a rich Civil War history, and was the location of the Battle of Front Royal during Stonewall Jackson’s Shenandoah Valley campaign. After the war, the remains of the Confederate soldiers who had died in Warren County were gathered and buried together at Soldier’s Circle in Front Royal’s Prospect Hill Cemetery.
8. Skyline Drive Put Front Royal Even More on the Map
The 1920s were a time of exciting developments for Front Royal, as the Blue Ridge Mountains were selected as the location of a National Park for the Eastern United States. This park came into existence as Shenandoah National Park, and its northern entrance station is located right in Front Royal. The National Park draws outdoors lovers to the Front Royal all year round, especially in the fall. They find a warm, small-town welcome, great facilities, and gourmet dining, in addition to the natural wonders of the park that have delighted generations of visitors.
9. Bing Crosby was a Fan of Front Royal
Singing and acting star Bing Crosby visited Front Royal several times. In 1949 and 1950, he helped raise funds for a baseball stadium by appearing at several fundraising events, and donating personally to the stadium. Today, Front Royal’s Bing Crosby Stadium is the setting of baseball fun all summer long.
From Iroquois Hunters to Civil War soldiers, and from Early Traders to Stars of the Screen, Front Royal has seen it all. Plan a visit to Front Royal to explore even more of our history and find out what our exciting small town has in store for you!
Finding a way to get into (or close to!) the water is a great way for everyone to relax in the summer. For kids, a day of swimming or playing by the water can be an adventure like no other. If you’re looking for an opportunity to let your kids cool off and have fun this summer, read on! You’ll find our top five ways to get kids in enjoying the water in Front Royal. Discover swimming lessons, kayaking, fishing, and more, and plan some fun outings to make this summer memorable.
1. Head to the Pool
Swimming pools are a classic summer favorite for kids and their parents alike! With lifeguards on hand and controlled water conditions, swimming pools are among the safest places for kids of all ages to swim. Parents can enjoy relaxing in the sun or jump in and cool off themselves!
There are two fantastic outdoor pools to explore in the Front Royal area. Claude A. Stokes Community Pool is located right in town, and open every afternoon through the summer months. With a water slide, diving board, and zip line, as well as wading and fountain pools, there’s something here for kids of all ages to enjoy. Let the games of Marco Polo begin!
Another great option for a summery outdoor pool in a rural setting is the Northern Virginia 4-H Center. The pool opens to the public Thursdays-Sundays in June and July.
Both pools offer swimming lessons, so if your little swimmers need some coaching they can find it in Front Royal, too!
2. Relax at the Splash Pad
If you have small kids or limited time, you may not feel the need to go all in with a pool day to satisfy your family’s need for refreshing water fun. For these situations, Front Royal’s Splash Pad is a great fit. Head to the Dr. Seide Memorial Botanical Gardens to explore this fun, kid-friendly water attraction. You'll leave with a wet, happy, and refreshed crew.
3. Take a River Trip
Bigger kids will love the adventure of taking on the Shenandoah River in a kayak or canoe. Bring some fun snacks, load up with water, and plan your outdoor adventure with one of Front Royal’s fun and helpful river outfitters. It’s a great way to get everyone outside and enjoying the fantastic natural beauty around Front Royal without undertaking a more strenuous activity like a hike. Bonus: with the outfitter doing all the planning, parents can relax too, without having to sweat the logistics!
4. Wade in the Shenandoah River
Getting outdoors together is a great way to enjoy family time in the summer, and kids will love it if you can plan your next outdoor time somewhere they can enjoy the water. In Front Royal, an evening on the banks of the Shenandoah River is easy to plan and fun for everyone. Head to one of Front Royal’s many river access points. Adults can enjoy the scenic beauty, while kids explore the banks of the river, and maybe even get their feet wet. Our top picks: Eastham Park and Shenandoah River State Park.
Don’t forget that a flowing river can be much more dangerous for children than a pool. Children should explore parts of the river where they can easily walk on the bottom, and should be closely supervised at all times. Sharp items can end up of a river bottom, so shoes are a must too!
5. Explore Happy Creek
Much smaller than the Shenandoah River, but overflowing with fun for kids, Happy Creek flows right through Front Royal. Head to the Lions Park/Gertrude E. Miller Park complex for access to the creek that is perfect for a family adventure. Kids can enjoy exploring the water, and even try their hand at fishing. If the stocking truck’s been by lately, they may just get lucky. Happy Creek is also a great place to observe other water wildlife. Maybe you’ll come home with some tadpoles to raise. When they’re ready for a break from the river, there are playgrounds aplenty to choose from right there in the park!
From the pool to the river, with a lot in between, Front Royal has it all when it comes to finding a place for kids to enjoy getting wet in the summer! Get outdoors in Front Royal with your kids this summer, and enjoy cooling off, making memories, and experiencing water adventure in lots of different ways!
The hot days of summer have many of us looking for opportunities to swim. There’s nothing more refreshing in the middle of the summer’s heat than having the chance to splash around and cool off in the water. Swimming also has great health and fitness benefits. It’s a low impact way to exercise that’s still toning for the whole body. If you’re looking for a place to swim around Front Royal this summer, read on! With multiple local pools open to the public, great access options for the Shenandoah River, and several beautiful natural swimming holes in the area, Front Royal is a great place to swim. Check out our guide to Front Royal swimming and pack your swimsuits and towels for a memorable and refreshing swimming adventure.
Hitting the Pool in Front Royal
Memorial Day Weekend often signals the beginning of outdoor pool season. In the Front Royal area it’s time to get ready for some serious swimming with two beautiful outdoor pools open to the public that the whole family is sure to enjoy.
Front Royal’s most centrally located pool is the Claude A. Stokes Community Pool in town. See here for details of opening hours, as well as information on lap swimming, open swim, and swimming lessons. With a 25 meter lanes, a diving board, water slide, and wading pools for kids, Claude A. Stokes Community Pool is a great feature of every Front Royal summer. Its convenient location in the Gertrude E. Miller Park complex makes it easy to combine swimming with playground time or your choice of an extensive range of park activities.
It’s about a fifteen minute drive from central Front Royal to the Northern Virginia 4-H Center. Here you’ll find another stunning outdoor pool in a scenic location. Open to the public Thursdays-Sundays, you can enjoy a relaxing swim while taking in views of the Shenandoah Valley’s hills and trees. Check the website for updates on swimming lessons offered here too.
Swim the Shenandoah River
A pool day is always fun, but there’s something especially thrilling about swimming or wading in a natural body of water. With the Shenandoah River flowing right through town, Front Royal has great access options for those who want to cool off with some river swimming/wading. Bonus: no pool fees!
Eastham Park is one of Front Royal’s most popular river access points. With a riverside walking trail, picnic area, athletic fields, and playground, it’s a great place to make a day of your trip to the park. Access the river from the public boat launch for wading and river swimming fun.
Another local favorite is Morgan’s Ford Boat Landing. It’s a great spot to launch or end a river trip, as well as to wade, swim, or relax in the calming waters of the Shenandoah River.
River access is also available at Shenandoah River State Park. Enjoy a picnic or grill-out at the extensive riverside picnic area. Kids and adults will enjoy cooling off in the river before or after!
Front Royal’s Swimming Holes
For a more adventurous take on swimming, escape even deeper into the countryside by exploring the Front Royal area’s more removed natural swimming holes. There are treasures here you’ll want to check out! Several are so spectacular they made this list of best swimming holes in the D.C. metro area. Combine a hike with some swimming hole fun for the ultimate summertime outdoor adventure!
For a family favorite that can be accessed without a lot of hiking, try the Elizabeth Furnace Recreation Area in the George Washington National Forest. With several great hikes in the area, this is a swimming hole that can be combined with hiking or simply enjoyed without venturing too far from your car. Buzzard Rock swimming hole is another great option nearby that can be accessed after a fun hike. Find it below Buzzard Rock cliffs.
Shenandoah National Park is a top attraction for outdoors enthusiasts headed to Front Royal, and it has its share of swimming holes too. Overall Falls is among the most popular trails for water lovers. Access the park from the Thompson Hollow Trailhead to arrive at swimming holes after just a short hike, or for a longer and more challenging hike, drive along Skyline Drive to Mathew’s Arm Area and head down the mountain from there.
Five miles south of Front Royal, find another fantastic swimming hole at Gooney Creek Campground. Book a tent or RV campsite to enjoy a stay right on the banks of Gooney Creek, or pay the $5 day visitor fee and enjoy a relaxing day on the banks of the creek with picnicking and swimming for the whole family.
There’s nothing that can ruin a fun summer adventure like getting injured. While swimming is a great way to relax and have fun, it does carry risks. Swimming in a swimming hole or river requires extra care. If you head out into Front Royal’s outdoors to swim this summer keep in mind especially the following precautions:
Front Royal in the summer is a great place to swim. Whether you’re looking for a day at the pool or a refreshing outdoor adventure, or a riverside picnic, you can find it in the Front Royal area. You won’t need to worry about summer’s heat when a fun way to cool off is always right around the corner.
Fishing can be relaxing, rewarding, thrilling, or extremely frustrating! But the addictive lure of this sport keeps anglers coming back time and time again. It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors and immerse yourself in nature, while even (perhaps!) putting some food on the table. With spring temperatures slowly rising and fish becoming more active, now’s a great time to start dreaming about that trophy catch . . . and planning out some fishing spots to hit this season. With the Shenandoah River running right through town, Front Royal boasts loads of exciting fishing opportunities. Read on for our handy guide to fishing around Front Royal. You’ll find some local favorite fishing spots, as well as ideas for making the most out of fishing in Front Royal.
Front Royal’s Favorite Fishing Spots
It’s not too hard to catch sight of the Shenandoah River in Front Royal, but finding an access point where fishing is allowed can be more of a challenge. A great place to start is Eastham Park, where the Boat Launch area provides public access to the river. Morgans Ford Boat Landing is another popular public access point. As the river flows by here, it’s shallow enough for wading, and the boat landing is a popular spot for local fishermen of all ages.
It won’t put you on the banks of the Shenandoah River, but the Gertrude E. Miller Community Park in town is a fun pick for a family fishing trip. With a stocked stretch of Happy Creek running through the park, it’s often possible to get some bites, especially if you arrive not too long after the stocking truck! With playgrounds, the town swimming pool, picnic shelters, and more all close by, you can plan a fishing day at the park that everyone will love.
If you drive a little bit out of town, you’ll find two more easy-to-access fishing spots on the Shenandoah River. Shenandoah River State Park is a wonderful place to fish. With 5.2 miles of river frontage at the park, you’ll find access from secluded trails, as well as from a large riverside picnic area. Or head to Front Royal’s neighboring town of Strasburg and access the river from the Town Park there. You’ll find yet another boat landing and public riverside area where you can throw in your line.
For lake fishing, explore nearby Lake Frederick, where you’ll find a stocked lake that’ll give you a good chance of reeling in some bass.
If you’re looking for more of a fishing challenge, head to Shenandoah National Park or George Washington National Forest. Both of these famed outdoor destination have opportunities to enjoy the adventure of fishing for trout small mountain streams. They are especially sought after destinations for lovers of fly fishing.
Shenandoah River Fishing Trips
The Shenandoah River is a beloved smallmouth bass fishing destination, and you may want to do more than fish from the bank. If so, why not book a fishing trip with Front Royal Outdoors? You can spend a relaxing day enjoying the river, and have access to many more fish than you would from a shore fishing spot.
Already own a boat? Use this map of Front Royal’s boat landings to plan your own fishing trip. Or if you have a boat but need a buddy to pick you up downriver, why not take advantage of Downriver Canoe Company’s shuttle service?
Spending a Fishing Weekend in Front Royal
For enthusiastic fishermen looking to spend a full weekend on their favorite hobby, finding a place to stay near the river can be a dream come true. We have you covered there too. Check out Low Water Bridge Campgrounds for a fun campsite that’s right on the Shenandoah River. If you’re looking for a river trip, you can rent kayaks, canoes, and tubes here too. For RV campers, Twin Rivers RV Campground is another great option. Or head to Elizabeth Furnace Campground in George Washington National Forest, and enjoy family friendly fishing and camping on the banks of scenic Passage Creek.
Looking for something a little more comfortable than a campsite? Rolling River Holidays may have the lodging you’ve been dreaming about. This family-owned-and-operated vacation home company has several gorgeous homes in Virginia’s farmland available to choose from, and many of them include access to the riverfront. Book with Rolling River Holidays and enjoy a vacation on the Shenandoah River with your family or friends (and lots of time to fish included!).
Front Royal’s Licensing and Harvest Regulations
There’s nothing that can spoil a fishing trip like getting a ticket (except maybe not getting any bites!). Don’t forget that if you plan on exploring one of Front Royal’s public fishing spots, you’ll need to make sure you’re carrying the appropriate fishing license for the State of Virginia. If you plan on bringing your catch home, also make sure you’re aware of the specific harvest regulations for the location where you’re fishing.
Front Royal awaits as the destination for your Shenandoah River fishing trip. With a wide choice of river access points, riverside lodging, and fun river trips awaiting, it’s a great starting point to plan an adventure in the famed smallmouth bass waters of the Shenandoah River.
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