Situated amidst the glorious splendor of the Blue Ridge Mountains, yet within comfortable driving distance from Washington D.C., Front Royal may be best known as the most convenient place for city-dwellers to enjoy a countryside getaway. To outdoors enthusiasts its greatest claim to fame might be its location at the northern entrance of the renowned Shenandoah National Park. But with a rich and accessible history, awesome natural wonders, and the Shenandoah River in the backyard, there’s even more to Front Royal than first meets the eye. Below you’ll find five fun facts about our small town that can make your visit to Front Royal educational and inspiring, as well as relaxing.
Whether you’re a resident, a frequent visitor, or a city-dweller looking to take a break and explore a new town of rural America, read on to discover some lesser known facts about Front Royal that could make your next outing fun for all the family.
1. Front Royal is a Great Place to take a Walk through History
With a history beginning as early as 1788, Front Royal is a town that’s seen a lot of history. As residents and businesses through the ages have left their mark, you’ll find plenty of historic sites to enjoy with just a quick walk around town. Follow the directions on the Front Royal Walking Tour to enjoy an informed look at the many fascinating residences and businesses that surround Front Royal’s charming Main Street. Don’t forget to pick up a coffee to sip on as you stroll around.
2. Front Royal is a Great Place to Explore Inside Historic Buildings
Your adventure through Front Royal’s history doesn’t have to stop on the streets! Two of Front Royal’s most fascinating historic buildings are open to the public. Plan a visit to the Belle Boyd Cottage, the scene of the fascinating story of confederate spy Belle Boyd. Or check out the Balthis House, the oldest surviving structure on Front Royal’s oldest street. For a historic home that doubles as a museum, don’t miss the Ivy Lodge.
3. Front Royal was the Site of a Civil War Battle
With its long history and strategic location on the river and among the mountains, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to find that Front Royal saw some action during the Civil War. The Battle of Front Royal took place in 1862, and was a significant victory for Stonewall Jackson. Today, history enthusiasts can relive the most exciting moments of this battle, and explore the actual locations where the fighting took place. Follow the Battle of Front Royal Driving Tour to discover the key sites of this moment in history.
4. Front Royal is a Great Place to See Rare Geological Formations
It’s not just about the history. Front Royal’s Skyline Caverns boasts the distinction of being the closest national wonder to the nation’s capital. Plan your tour today and explore the underground marvels of this awesome cavern complex. With a mirror maze and miniature train on site too, it can be a day of fun and inspiration for the whole family.
5. Front Royal is the Canoe Capital of Virginia
This one’s to keep in your back pocket for the warmer months. While Front Royal is most famous for its proximity to Shenandoah National Park, it’s also the home of another natural wonder that’s less talked about, but can be just as fun: the historic Shenandoah River. With a range of easily accessible public boat landings, and several friendly outfitters to help you plan your trip, Front Royal definitely deserves the title: Canoe Capital of Virginia. Come back in the summer for an unforgettable day on the stunning Shenandoah River.
If the winter months ahead are bringing you down, why not plan a family visit to Front Royal? There’s history waiting to be uncovered, caverns ready to be explored, and our fantastic hotels and eateries are eager to keep you well fed and comfortable. There’s never been a better time to discover Front Royal!
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