Family-Friendly Vacation Ideas in Shenandoah County, VA

The family vacation is a time-honored American tradition, an eagerly anticipated annual escape, and the source of countless wonderful memories. It’s not easy finding the place everyone loves, but Shenandoah County, Virginia, checks a lot of boxes. Beautiful Appalachian scenery, small-town charm, and many attractions await you in this historic region.

Outdoor Attractions & Activities

Bryce Resort 

Family travelers to Shenandoah County will want to become acquainted with Bryce Resort in Basye. The 400-acre, four-season destination offers a wealth of activities such as biking, skiing, snowboarding, hiking, golf, and more. This is a great location for kids to learn winter sports and mountain biking.

Picturesque Lake Laura is perfect for water activities or just relaxing on the grassy banks of this 45-acre jewel. There are plenty of vacation rentals in and around the resort, as well as hotels in neighboring towns. 

Horseback Riding

Horseback riders, both experienced and beginners, have some great choices in Shenandoah County, VA. Fort Valley Ranch specializes in guided horseback rides with various time lengths, and little ones as young as six are accommodated. There are overnight trips available, as well as a mule wagon ride. Secret Passage Ranch, also in Fort Valley, is a riding center with activities for all ages, seasoned, knowledgeable guides, and an equine therapy program.

Hot Air Ballooning

For high-flying fun, Valley Ballooning offers hot air balloon rides featuring breathtaking views. The rides range from two to 10 miles, depending on the conditions, and the entire ballooning experience takes two to four hours. 

Seven Bends State Park 

If you decide to spend time at Seven Bends State Park, you'll have the chance to discover some truly beautiful hiking trails. They'll take you through lush forests and up to some amazing spots where you can see the Shenandoah River winding its way around the landscape perfect for kayaking, canoeing, and tubing.

Shenandoah Caverns

Shenandoah Caverns is a great place to spend a day. The caverns descend to a depth of 200 feet below the surface, and there’s an elevator if you need it. Arrange a guided tour in the 56 degree environment and learn about the geology of the region.

An accompanying attraction, American Celebration on Parade, is a unique museum that features parade floats from some of our celebrated parades and presidential inaugurations. Main Street of Yesteryear recreates the animated store fronts of large department stores from the 1940’s and 50’s that come to life as you pass and sweep you back in time.

Must-See Events

Shenandoah County Fair

The Shenandoah County Fair has been a local celebration of Virginia’s rural heritage for over a century. This week-long event in late August is a wonderful family attraction with a fun-filled midway, petting zoos, magic shows, karaoke, and other activities. There’s a demolition derby, truck races, and concerts on the weekend. 

Shenandoah Downs

Shenandoah Downs, a renowned equestrian venue, comes alive during the spring and fall with a vibrant lineup of events. From thrilling horse races that showcase the region's finest equine talent to lively festivities celebrating local culture, the grounds transform into a hub of excitement and entertainment for visitors of all ages.

Shenandoah Valley Music Festival

The Shenandoah Valley Music Festival, running from mid-August through Labor Day, is the longest running music festival in Virginia and showcases a variety of American music.  The Temptations, The Beach Boys, Ricky Skaggs, and many other musical stars have graced the Pavilion at Shrine Mont stage. This historic retreat and conference center is one of the great concert settings with mountain views providing an epic backdrop. Blankets and lawn chairs are welcome, and you can bring your own cooler. 

Food & Drink


Route 11 Potato Chips

Fans of salty, crunchy treats should make a stop in Mount Jackson at Route 11 Potato Chips. For 25 years, they’ve been frying up regional favorite flavors such as Chesapeake Crab and spicy Mama Zuma’s Revenge. Stop by to load up on snacks and view the process of chip making.

Sugar Creek Snowy & Sweet Ice Cream Shop

Sugar Creek Snowy & Sweet Ice Cream Shop is Woodstock’s premiere ice cream purveyor. They get rave reviews for the ice cream as well as their friendly staff and beautiful location. 

Woodstock Brewhouse

Woodstock Brewhouse is a top brewery in the Shenandoah Valley. Located inside the renovated Casey Jones work clothes factory, there’s good brew pub food as well as a kid’s menu. 

Swover Creek Farm & Brewery

Swover Creek Farm & Brewery in Edinburg isn’t your typical brew pub. The three-barrel craft brewery is situated on a working farm that’s dog and kid-friendly, with a large outdoor area to enjoy. There’s an 18-hole disc golf course, and you can enjoy a wood-fired pizza with your beer after the game. You can even pick your own berries when in season.  

That’s quite a list! Enough to keep you busy for days, and it’s just a start. Explore Shenandoah County’s countless restaurants, attractions, accommodations, and events. You’ll find plenty more to do, enough to keep you coming back year after year.