May is finally here, the end of the school year is well in sight, and (if you haven’t already) it’s a great time to start making travel and tourism plans for the summer. In Front Royal, we love the many guests who pass through our small town. May 1-7 is Travel and Tourism Week, and we’re joining the celebration by recognizing the fantastic folks who find something to draw them to Front Royal. There are so many things to love about Front Royal, that tourists come into town for many different reasons. Read on for our handy guide to six kinds of tourists/travelers you’ll find passing through town!
1. Hiking Legends
The most legendary hike in the U.S.A. is unquestionably the Appalachian Trail. Large numbers of dedicated hikers taking on the daunting challenge of hiking the over-two-thousand mile trail every year. As the Appalachian Trail passes close by Front Royal, it’s not surprising that many of them drop by our town. In fact, with an affordable shuttle service from the trail to the town, a free locker, laundry, and shower service, a premium gear shop, and fantastic restaurants to fill hungry hikers, it’s not surprising that Front Royal is a favorite stop for Appalachian Trail hikers. There’s even lodging specifically provided by and for Appalachian Trail enthusiasts. An officially designated Appalachian Trail Community, Front Royal has become a model for many of the towns that host Appalachian Trail hikers every year.
If you enjoy hiking, you don’t have to be undertaking the Appalachian Trail to find some hiking to love around Front Royal. Shenandoah National Park is another favorite hiking location, with stunning scenery and hikes ranging from easy to challenging, including the beloved Old Rag.
2. River Relaxers
For those who enjoy fishing, boating, swimming, tubing, or anything that requires a river, Front Royal is a dream destination. With the North and South Forks of the scenic and lovely Shenandoah River meeting right in town, there are so many opportunities for river recreation that Front Royal is known as the Canoe Capital of Virginia. Bring your own gear, or work with one of our friendly outfitters. You’ll find an enthusiastic welcome, a beautiful river, and a boatload of memories waiting to be made! Check out Front Royal’s riverside campgrounds for even more time to enjoy the river.
“Leaf-Peepers” are the tourists known for pursuing the stunning sights of the changing leaves of fall throughout. Fall is a great time of year to visit Front Royal. With Shenandoah National Park one of the top leaf-peeping destinations in the country, October is a popular month for visitors. Head to Front Royal to access the park and enjoy the stunning vistas of vibrant fall colors spread across the Blue Ridge Mountains.
From to farm-to-table operations, pick-your-own farms, craft breweries and internationally acclaimed restaurants, the Front Royal area has plenty to keep a foodie happy for a long, long time. Plan a weekend or longer to explore the gourmet food options of the Front Royal area, and enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner Front Royal style!
5. Wine Lovers
With sensational sipping spaces, rolling vineyards, and stunning mountain views, Front Royals wineries are a special destination for all lovers of wine . . . from the casual to the connoisseur. Pack a picnic, enjoy a tasting, or buy a bottle. There are so many ways to enjoy the amazing Virginia wines and wineries of the Front Royal area. Don’t forget to stop by Front Royal Wines before you leave town and pick up some souvenirs to bring home.
6. Big City Escapees
Living and working in the big city takes its toll, and sometimes you just need a little WanderLOVE. For residents and commuters in the D.C. Metro area, Front Royal is the ideal destination to find that love and enjoy a country weekend. Less than a 90 minute drive from central Washington D.C., it’s convenient enough for a day or weekend trip, but still rural enough that you’ll feel like you’ve truly entered a different world. Break free of the city and head to Front Royal for fun, adventure, relaxation, and restoration.
Front Royal draws visitors for many reasons, and it’s a dream destination for a variety of tourists and travelers. Do you find yourself drawn to join one (or more!) of our groups of happy visitors? If so, make plans for your trip to Front Royal today! You’ll find yourself wanting to come back again and again!
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.
Hiking is truly a sport that has something for everyone. It can be as simple as a walk in the woods, or as complex as an expedition that’s several days long (or more!). One thing’s for sure; those who’ve discovered the joys of hiking keep on coming back for more! It’s the feeling of accomplishment as you put the miles behind you, one step at a time. It’s the companionship you find along the way. It’s nature’s beauty and the reward of a enjoying a stunning view after a tough climb.
If the hiking bug has bitten you, and you’re looking for more ways to get out and explore the hiking trails of the Front Royal area, this post is for you! Read on for five tips on getting the most out of your Front Royal hiking adventures!
1. Get the Right Gear (It’s Worth It!)
If you’ve fallen in love with hiking, you may have become an enthusiastic hiker while making do with gear you already had in your closet. We’re here to tell you that it’s worth investing a little money on some high quality gear. For your adventures on the trails, you want to make sure you have long-lasting equipment that won’t let you down. The proper gear can also make a huge difference in making your time on the trails more enjoyable. It’s time to make the switch from from random-backpack-lying-at-the-bottom-of-the-closet to properly-designed-hiking-backpack. You’ll find the difference is magical! Stop by Mountain Trails in Front Royal to have all your equipment needs met.
2. Make a Hiking Bucket List
With fantastic hikes all around, deciding where to start can be overwhelming. That’s why we recommend keeping a bucket list of hikes in the area that you’d like to check out. Take your hiking to the next level by committing to a weekly or monthly hike. When the hiking day rolls around you can pull out your bucket list and you’ll have a list of great hikes calling your name! No more wasting time trying to figure out where to go. Having trouble figuring out what to put on the list? See here for some ideas to get you started. Shenandoah National Park and Shenandoah River State Park are two prime locations for hiking in the Front Royal area. Have a chat with a park ranger at either of these parks. They’ll be able to put you onto some more great hikes to add to your list.
3. Get off the Beaten Path
We don’t mean this literally! We know one of hiking’s prime safety and conservation rules is to stay on marked trails. What we’re talking about is choosing a less popular hike; one that sparks your interest, but perhaps isn’t on everyone’s “top ten hikes” list. Don’t be afraid to strike out on your own and check out a hike that’s calling your name, even if no one’s recommended it. You may discover a hidden treasure! And you’ll probably enjoy a more secluded adventure in the process.
4. Learn About Nature as You Hike
Hikers love being out in nature, but it’s possible to spend many hours outdoors with only a vague idea of all that’s going on around you. Diving in to learn a little more about the natural world can be a great way to make the landscape around you come to life even more! Try bringing along a field guide to trees, birds, flowers, or wildlife, and identifying some of the species you come across as you’re walking. Tip: if you aren’t interested in spending long periods standing still while you wait for animals to appear, it’s probably better to start with trees or flowers!
5. Enjoy a Fantastic Post-Hike Meal
There are few things more satisfying than enjoying a delicious meal after a long day out on the trails. It’s the moment you can relax with a burger and a beer (and muscles that are just sore enough to remind you that you’ve thoroughly earned it!). When you’re back from your hike and looking to satisfy your hunger, fueling station Front Royal is here for you! For that classic post-hike burger and beer combo, check out Vibrissa Beer or PaveMint Taphouse. Or if you’re looking for something more unique, Front Royal has you covered, too. From fine dining, to oriental cuisine, to delicious Mexican eateries, there’s definitely something for everyone. So whether you’re a local or a visitor, don’t forget to stop in town after your hike and fill up with a delicious meal from one of Front Royals’ many delightful restaurants.
With exciting hiking trails to keep you supplied with adventure, fantastic restaurants, and a handy supply store, Front Royal is a hiker’s dream come true. Get your hiking boots on and explore all the hiking fun that awaits you in the Front Royal area.
There’s nothing that says “I love you” to a mom quite like the chance to spend some special time with family. And on Mother’s Day, the beautiful spring weather makes spending time outdoors together a perfect fit. This Mother’s Day, head to Front Royal and give the gift of a fun outing in the Shenandoah Valley. You and Mom can connect over something you both love to do.
Read on for ideas on a range of delightful outings in the Front Royal area for you and Mom. You can enjoy the beautiful spring of the Shenandoah Valley together. We’ve given suggestions for moms of all kinds, so you’re sure to find something your mom will love!
For the Mom who Loves Outdoor Adventures
We think of mothers as a safe-haven, and rightly so. But moms are also some of the most adventurous people there are! Taking on responsibility for one or several tiny humans is not for the fainthearted!
Does your mom love to adventure in the great outdoors as much as she loves the great adventure of motherhood? If so, you’ll have no problem finding a Mother’s Day outing she’ll enjoy in the Front Royal area!
With the Shenandoah River winding through Front Royal, a day on the river is a great way to adventure and relax at the same time. Front Royal has a range of friendly outfitters who’ll take care of your needs. Check out Front Royal Outdoors, Down River Canoe Company, or Skyline Canoe Company to find a river trip that works for you.
If you’re more interested in getting out on some hiking trails, you have some great options in the Front Royal area too. With the George Washington National Forest, the Shenandoah National Park, and the Appalachian Trail all within easy distance, you can find an iconic hike without too much trouble. If your mom is a serious hiker or biker, combine this outing with the gift of an All Trails Pro subscription. All Trails Pro is like a GPS app, but for hiking trails! Mom can enjoy the trails with a whole new sense of security.
For the Mom who Loves a Small-Town Vibe
Depending on your tastes, spring weather can be just as enjoyable on the streets of a quaint small town as in a mountain landscape. If your mom is a lover of small town life, she’ll definitely enjoy an afternoon in Front Royal.
To give your outing a bit more structure, consider following the Front Royal Walking Tour. This self-guided tour takes you through Front Royal’s most historic and picturesque streets. You’ll learn some local history along the way. Feel free to take a break along the way and enjoy hunting for treasures in an antique store, sipping on a coffee, or savoring an ice cream cone.
Another great idea for enjoying Front Royal’s small town atmosphere is an afternoon at the Dr. Seide Memorial Botanical Gardens. Within the 3.5 acres of beautifully planned gardens, you’ll find benches, walking paths, and even a stretch of Happy Creek. The same complex is also home to one of Front Royal’s most extensive parks, so the family can enjoy playgrounds, sand volleyball, tennis, basketball, and more.
For the Mom who just Wants to Relax
For some Moms, a slower-paced day in the countryside is the best way to relax and rejuvenate. If you’re looking for an outing along these lines, you might consider heading to Sunflower Cottage in Middletown. Mom can enjoy this picturesque herb farm, and visit the retail garden center to pick out herbs, flowers, or planters for the coming season. Don’t forget to include a stop at the farm’s Backroom Brewery on the farm for some refreshment. Hops for the unique range of craft beers are grown right on the farm. Backroom Brewery is also offering a special Mother’s Day lunch on Sunday March 9, complete with specialty herbal cocktails such as Lavender Martinis and Basil Whiskey Sours.
For another relaxing option, consider planning a picnic at one of the many fantastic wineries surrounding Front Royal. Sipping on a glass of Virginia wine in a gorgeous setting will be a restorative experience for anyone!
Celebrate Mom in the Front Royal area this Mother’s Day weekend. With a range of options to suit all tastes, you can get out in the fresh spring air of the Valley and enjoy a memorable day together.
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