Summer is a great time to take advantage of our national parks and monuments. Many offer free or low-cost admissions and programs perfect for families. So this summer we will be featuring one of our country’s public lands every week and highlighting things you and your family can do there.
Shenandoah National Park
Just 75 miles outside of Washington D.C., Shenandoah National Park offers an oasis of over 200,000 acres of nature trails, beautiful vistas, serene quiet and the stunning Skyline Drive. With 40 percent of the park designated as wilderness by Congress, you’ll find pieces of nature that you never expected. Because of the park’s unique location between the North and South, you may stumble upon a gray birch tree in the South, and a spotted skunk along the northern range.
Hike along some of the Shenandoah’s 500 miles of trails — 101 miles are also part of the Appalachian Trail. With such an abundance of hiking trails, there are options for those of all interests and abilities. Shenandoah also includes the rocky Old Rag Mountain climb, as well as an easier trail, the Limberlost Trail.
Bring your horse, or take a guided horse tour through the Shenandoah wilderness. Over 180 miles of trails are open to horse use, which offers a fun and new perspective of the land.
The park offers four campgrounds, and for the more adventurous, almost all of the Shenandoah National Park is open to “Backcountry Camping.” Once you obtain a free permit, you are allowed to camp almost anywhere in the park.
A special perk of Shenandoah National Park? Skyline Drive. Skyline Drive runs over 100 miles north and south through the Blue Ridge Mountains. Roll your windows down, enjoy the slow speeds, and watch nature pass you by in the most leisurely way to enjoy Shenandoah National Park.
Before you go, make sure to check out the operating hours and seasonal information.