Pinnable graphic with text 'The Ultimate Girls Trip to Shenandoah Valley' over an image of a woman sitting under a pergola, with a vineyard in the background and the website address ''.

If you’re looking for an affordable girls trip destination that combines natural beauty, and adventure and is actually affordable, then you will find no better destination than Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.

The stunning Shenandoah Valley in Virginia is the perfect place for a fun and affordable girls trip.

It’s a hidden gem and the perfect alternative to popular destinations like Napa Valley and offers breathtaking landscapes to charming towns.

We enjoyed exploring the small towns, tasting delicious wine at the wineries and roaming through the lavender fields. I can’t believe that more people are not talking about this amazing destination and I’m excited to share everything that Shenandoah Valley has to offer!

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Planning Your Perfect Shenandoah Valley Girls Trip

Nestled in the heart of Virginia, Shenandoah Valley is a picturesque setting with rolling hills, lush forests, and majestic mountains. It’s a nature lover’s paradise, with amazing outdoor activities and beautiful scenery. It’s also an awesome budget-friendly alternative to other girls trip destinations.

Getting to Shenandoah Valley

You know that Shenandoah Valley is the perfect girls trip destination, but what’s the best way to get there? Well, that does depend on where you plan to visit within the Shenandoah Valley. Let’s use Shenandoah National Park as an example.

The closest airport to Shenandoah National Park is Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport (CHO), which is approximately 45 miles southeast of the park. This regional airport offers domestic flights and serves as a gateway to the Shenandoah Valley region.

Another option is the Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), approximately 80 miles northeast of Shenandoah National Park. As a major international airport, IAD will offer a wide range of flight options and is well-connected to various destinations.

If you prefer a larger airport with even more flight options, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) is another option. Located approximately 100 miles northeast of Shenandoah National Park, DCA is a major airport serving the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

If you’re looking for some tips on booking flights check out my post on 5 big mistakes to avoid.

Once you’ve arrived at your chosen airport, there are several transportation options available to reach Shenandoah Valley. But most definitely rent a car as you’ll want to explore the area at your own pace.

Keep in mind that you won’t find an airport in immediate proximity to Shenandoah National Park, the scenic drive to the park from any of these airports is part of the experience!

When we visited Shenandoah Valley we flew into DCA. We rented a car through AutoSlash and drove 2 hours to Harrisonburg, VA. It was one of the most beautiful and scenic drives I’ve ever experienced.

Harrisonburg was perfect for us because of its proximity to Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive. It is also one of the larger cities within the Shenandoah Valley with many hotels, restaurants, wineries, and breweries.

Bold 'Magpie' mural on a white brick wall, showcasing stylized black lettering for a diner, bakery, and coffee shop established in 2020
Brunch spot in Harrisonburg, VA

Where to stay in Shenandoah Valley

When planning your girls trip to Shenandoah Valley, you’ll find plenty of affordable accommodation options in the nearby towns within the valley.

Winchester: Located in the northern part of the valley, Winchester is a historic city with a vibrant downtown area. It offers a blend of history, culture, and outdoor activities, including museums, art galleries, and nearby nature parks.

Harrisonburg: Situated in the central region of Shenandoah Valley, Harrisonburg is home to James Madison University and one of the largest cities in the area. The city offers a thriving arts scene, a variety of dining options, and access to outdoor activities in nearby national forests. This is where we stayed and I highly recommend it!

Staunton: Located in the southern part of the valley, Staunton is a charming town with well-preserved architecture and a lively arts community. Its historic downtown area is filled with unique shops, art galleries, and the world-renowned American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse.

Front Royal: Positioned at the northern gateway to Shenandoah National Park, Front Royal is a popular starting point for exploring the park’s scenic beauty. It offers outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, and canoeing, as well as a variety of shops and restaurants. Many people like to start here and take Skyline Drive down through the entire park (park admission required).

Luray: Known for its proximity to Luray Caverns, one of the largest and most popular cave systems in the eastern United States, Luray is a small town with many natural wonders and outdoor activities. The town also offers quaint shops, local eateries, and access to the Shenandoah River.

Lexington: Situated in the southern part of Shenandoah Valley, Lexington is a historic town with a rich heritage. It is home to two prestigious colleges, Washington and Lee University, and Virginia Military Institute, and features historic architecture, museums, and annual events.

Waynesboro: nestled in the heart of Shenandoah Valley, Waynesboro offers a charming and welcoming atmosphere that makes it an appealing place to stay when exploring the region. It is in close proximity to Shenandoah National Park and Blue Ridge Parkway making it the perfect location for outdoor adventures and scenic drives. It’s also conveniently located near a wide variety of lovely restaurants, cafes, and shops.

Smiling woman sitting on a wooden bench in front of large rocks, wearing a 'Rose Apothecary' t-shirt, with the expansive Shenandoah Valley and cloudy sky in the backdrop.
Shenandoah National Park

Girls Just Wanna Hike

When it comes to a girls trip to Shenandoah Valley, there’s nothing quite like immersing yourself in the stunning natural beauty through hiking. Shenandoah Valley offers so many scenic trails making it an ideal destination for hikers of all skill levels.

Shenandoah National Park is an obvious choice from leisurely strolls to challenging hikes, but there are so many options in the Shenandoah Valley for hiking. The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests offer a network of trails, including the popular Crabtree Falls trail.

Remember before you embark on your hiking adventures in Shenandoah Valley, be prepared. Wear the right footwear and clothing, and pack plenty of water and snacks. Also, be mindful of the park’s guidelines, respect wildlife and vegetation, and leave no trace behind. If you’re driving, make sure you fill up as there may not be a nearby gas station.

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Humpback Rocks

Humpback Rocks is situated within Shenandoah National Park. The hike to the summit is approximately 1.0 mile each way where you’ll have panoramic views of the Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s the perfect backdrop for photos or a nice picnic. Nearby, you can explore the Humpback Rocks Farm, a preserved 19th-century mountain farm that provides insights into the area’s past.

Sherando Lake

Nestled within George Washington National Forest, Sherando Lake is a hidden gem and picturesque lake near Lyndhurst, Virginia. Sherando Lake is a natural oasis with its crystal-clear waters and sandy beaches. The lake is a great spot for boating, kayaking, canoeing, or paddleboarding. Trails that surround the lake include Blue Loop Trail and the White Loop Trail. There are also picnic areas with grills and picnic tables.

Expansive view from a rocky overlook in Shenandoah National Park, showcasing lush greenery and the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains under a sky dotted with white clouds.

Blue Ridge Tunnel

The Blue Ridge Tunnel, also known as the Crozet Tunnel, is a remarkable historic landmark that stands as a testament to engineering ingenuity in Shenandoah Valley. Located near the town of Afton, Virginia, this tunnel was constructed in the 1850s.

Directional signpost in a forested area showing the way to 'Frazier Discovery Tr.', 'Campstore', and 'Campground' with a dirt path in the background.

Explore Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park is the crown jewel of Shenandoah Valley. With over 500 miles of trails and stunning scenic drives along the iconic Skyline Drive, the park offers endless opportunities for exploration.

When visiting Shenandoah National Park, we did the Frazier Discovery Trail and really enjoyed it. Although it was considered an easy trail, it was quite rocky. It’s always a good idea to check trail conditions and pick trails that match your fitness level and preferences.

Check out my Shenandoah National Park itinerary post for more info.

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Shenandoah Valley Girls Trip Activities

While a trip to Shenandoah Valley is an adventure in itself, the region also offers many nearby attractions and hidden gems. Whether you’re seeking historical sites, natural wonders, or charming towns, you and your friends will find the perfect girls trip activities in Shenandoah Valley.

Close-up of a cold beer glass with 'Seven Arrows Brewing Company' logo, on a bar with a blurred background featuring brewery interiors.
Seven Arrows Brewing Company in Waynesboro

Nelson 151

If you’re a fan of craft beverages, the Nelson 151 Trail in Shenandoah Valley is a must-do activity. This trail winds its way through Nelson County, offering a variety of wineries, breweries, cideries, and distilleries.

Most establishments offer tastings and tours and when it comes to transportation it’s important to be responsible. There are options for private transportation and tours so that everyone can just sit back, relax and enjoy the day.

Whether you’re a wine connoisseur, beer aficionado, or simply enjoy exploring local flavors, the Nelson 151 Trail of wineries, breweries, cideries, and distilleries is the perfect way to spend a girls trip in Shenandoah Valley!

Woman standing in front of 'Marceline Vineyards' sign holding a glass of wine, with rows of grapevines under a sunny sky in the Shenandoah Valley
Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail

Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail

A girls trip to Shenandoah Valley would not be complete without exploring the world of Virginia wines. The Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail is the perfect way to enjoy wine from a variety of different vineyards while also exploring the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.

The Shenandoah Wine Trail is home to a variety of wineries, each offering its own unique experience. Rockbridge Vineyard, Bluestone Vineyard, and CrossKeys Vineyards are just a few of the amazing wineries along the trail. These establishments combine traditional winemaking techniques with the unique terroir of Shenandoah Valley, producing a range of varietals for every palate. Many wineries offer guided tours and tastings.

When you’re planning on how to get around, check out local transportation services, private shuttles, and tour companies which often provide specialized packages tailored to the Shenandoah Wine Trail. These options allow you to sit back, relax, and savor the wines while someone else handles the logistics.

Two glasses of pale ale with 'Brothers Craft Brewing' logos, served on an outdoor metal table at a brewery.

Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail

If you and your girlfriends love beer, then you have to experience the thriving craft beer scene, on the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail. This trail showcases a diverse collection of breweries through the picturesque Shenandoah Valley.

From hop-forward IPAs to rich stouts and unique experimental brews, the breweries on the trail provide a wide range of beer styles to cater to every taste. Many breweries offer tasting flights and brewery tours.

To ensure a safe and convenient experience along the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail, you should plan for transportation in advance. You can view transportation options and how to get around on the trail website.

Here are some of our favorite breweries on the trail:

Woman in a red blouse with a vibrant landscape behind her, standing in front of the sign for 'White Oak Lavender Farm' and 'The Purple Wolf Vineyard' on a sunny day with blooming lavender in the foreground.
White Oak Lavender Farm and The Purple Wolf Vineyard

White Oak Lavender Farm

White Oak Lavender Farm in Harrisonburg is a serene and picturesque destination perfect for a girls’ trip to Shenandoah Valley. The farm offers a range of activities like guided tours to learn about lavender cultivation and the distillation process of essential oils.

Discover an array of lavender-themed products, including bath and body items, culinary treats, and home décor, at the cozy gift shop. While you’re there, you can enjoy and sample a variety of handcrafted wines made from grapes grown on the estate by Purple Wolf Vineyard.

Unique underground organ setup within the cavernous, stalactite-rich environment of a limestone cave
Great Stalacpipe Organ at Luray Caverns

Explore Virginia’s Caverns

While on your girls trip to Shenandoah Valley you should consider visiting the underground world of Luray Caverns, one of the most famous caverns in the United States. Located in Luray, Virginia, these caverns showcase breathtaking rock formations, towering stalactites, and crystal-clear pools.

It’s such a cool experience to learn about the history and take in sites like the Great Stalacpipe Organ which creates music using the cave formations’ natural acoustics. Other famous caverns include the Shenandoah Caverns, near Quicksburg, where you’ll step into the “Grotto of the Gods” and be awed by the cathedral-like chamber filled with intricate draperies, sparkling crystals, and towering columns.

Venturing beyond Luray and Shenandoah Caverns, you’ll find other lesser-known caverns like Skyline Caverns near Front Royal and Endless Caverns in New Market.

Regardless of which of Virginia’s caverns you visit, you and your friends will experience extraordinary formations and appreciate the hidden wonders beneath the Shenandoah Valley. It’s honestly one of the coolest things we’ve done!

Interior of a historical museum with exhibits related to Shenandoah, including the text 'Oh, Shenandoah, I long to hear you...' on the wall, artifacts in glass cases, and informational displays.
Shenandoah Heritage Museum

Swannanoa Historical Hotel

Perched atop the Blue Ridge Mountains, Swannanoa is a magnificent historical hotel that will transport you to a bygone era of grandeur and elegance. The structure was built in the early 20th century and boasts stunning marble exteriors and intricate details that showcase that time in history.

They offer guided tours, weddings, and receptions, private events, photo shoots, and parties all with the backdrop of the breathtaking views of the Shenandoah Valley. Swannanoa offers a magical experience perfect for a girls trip!

Girls Trip to Shenandoah Valley FAQs

Is the Shenandoah Valley the same as the Shenandoah National Park?

No, the Shenandoah Valley and Shenandoah National Park are not the same, although they are geographically related.

The Shenandoah Valley is a region located in the western part of the state of Virginia. It’s a picturesque landscape that stretches approximately 200 miles from the town of Winchester in the north to the town of Roanoke in the south. The valley is known for its beautiful scenery, farmland, historic and charming towns.

Shenandoah National Park is a protected area that encompasses a portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. It is situated within the boundaries of the Shenandoah Valley but covers a specific area of approximately 200,000 acres. The park is known for its scenic beauty, including the iconic Skyline Drive, which offers views of the surrounding valleys and mountains.

It’s truly breathtaking!

Person with arms outstretched standing on a rocky overlook, celebrating the panoramic view of the Shenandoah Valley with verdant hills and a clear blue sky.
Shenandoah National Park

How far is Shenandoah Valley from major cities?

Shenandoah Valley is about 75 miles west of Washington, D.C., and about 120 miles northwest of Richmond, Virginia. But the distance will depend on where you’re starting from. We started in D.C. and stayed in Harrisonburg which is one of the largest cities in the valley and was about 2 hours away from D.C.

What is the best time of year to visit Shenandoah Valley?

Fall is probably the best time to visit the Shenandoah Valley for the milder temperatures and fewer crowds. Spring and fall both offer mild temperatures and beautiful scenery, with spring showcasing wildflowers and fall with stunning foliage. Summer is popular for outdoor activities, while winter is quieter and has the potential for snowfall.

We visited in July and the mornings were in the low 80s with the afternoons warming up to the high 80s or low 90s. It was sunny with some occasional afternoon and evening showers. We were there during the weekdays of the July 4th holiday and found that it was not crowded and quite pleasant. It did get more crowded on the weekend.

Remember, if you want to find the best time to travel for your budget and fewer crowds then avoid weekends, holidays, and when kids are out of school. And always check the local weather no matter what time of year.

Are there accommodations available in Shenandoah Valley?

Yes! Shenandoah Valley offers a wide range of accommodations, including hotels, timeshares, bed and breakfasts, cabins, and campgrounds. Whether you prefer a luxurious hotel or a cozy cabin there are plenty of options to suit your budget and preferences.

What are some must-visit attractions in Shenandoah Valley?

There are so many things to do in Shenandoah Valley! Popular and must-visit attractions include Shenandoah National Park, Luray Caverns, Skyline Drive, wineries and breweries along the Shenandoah Wine Trail or Beerwerks Trail, historic sites such as Monticello, and picturesque towns like Staunton and Lexington.

Rustic blue wooden building with a red tin roof adjacent to a lush grapevine trellis, with a backdrop of expansive green fields and scattered clouds in the sky.
Historic Shenandoah Valley site in Luray

Are there hiking trails suitable for beginners in Shenandoah Valley?

Absolutely, Shenandoah Valley offers a range of hiking trails suitable for beginners. There are various trails of varying lengths and difficulty levels, allowing hikers of all experience levels to enjoy the beauty of the area.

How can I plan a budget friendly girls trip to Shenandoah Valley?

Shenandoah Valley offers many budget-friendly options for accommodations, dining, and activities. Consider staying in campgrounds or affordable lodging in the nearby towns. There are plenty of free or low-cost attractions like scenic drives and hiking trails in Shenandoah National Park and surrounding areas, and opting for local restaurants or picnics instead of fine dining.

Here are some more posts for tips on traveling on a budget:

Is Shenandoah Valley a safe destination for a girls trip?

Shenandoah Valley is generally a safe destination for travelers. As with any travel, it’s important to exercise basic safety precautions, such as staying aware of your surroundings, locking your accommodations, and following park guidelines for outdoor activities.

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