The Shenandoah Valley is one of America’s favorite visitor destinations. With the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east and the Alleghany Mountains to the west, this renowned valley is filled with natural beauty, charming small towns, and delicious dining.
The Shenandoah Valley is part of the Great Valley. Drained by the mighty Shenandoah River, it embraces ten counties—Berkeley and Jefferson in West Virginia and Frederick, Clarke, Shenandoah, Warren, Rockingham, Page, Augusta, and Rockbridge in Virginia. The Valley is approximately 150 miles long and about 25 miles wide.
Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway line the eastern edge of the Valley, and offer expansive views along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Valley is known for what’s below ground as well as what’s above ground. Beneath the karst topography of the Shenandoah Valley lies a subterranean world of show caves. Extend your trip with a visit to nearby Grand Caverns, Luray Caverns, or Shenandoah Caverns.
Historic sites and museums are abundant in the Shenandoah Valley. Early on, this region was the American frontier, and in the 1770s its boundaries encompassed all or parts of the current states of West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Step back in time and kick off your exploration of Valley history here in Staunton at the Frontier Culture Museum – it’s an absolute must for those fascinated with the Valley’s pioneer heritage. Visitors can tour living history interpretations of 18th and 19th century American farms, as well as those of early Europeans and Africans.
Early European settlers to the Valley—Germans, Swiss, Scotch-Irish and others–traveled down from the north, taking a route once called the Wilderness Road. Many years later, this region would play a crucial role in the American Civil War.
The Valley’s four-season climate means year-round outdoor activities are at the ready, from skiing at Massanutten Resort to golfing at the world-renowned Omni Homestead Resort. A wide variety of national and state parks offer unlimited opportunities for hiking, biking, fishing, canoeing, and camping.
Quiet back roads meander throughout the valley connecting towns, farms, vineyards, breweries, and more. For all there is to see and do in the Shenandoah Valley, VisitShenandoah.org, an online resource maintained by the Shenandoah Valley Travel Association.
Aboard the Virginia Scenic Railway, you’ll get a front-row seat to some of Virginia’s prettiest views, including the legendary Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Depending on the excursion you choose, you’ll roar through tunnels, speed over bridges, race past scenic fields and forests, and climb over mountains.