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One Day at Shenandoah National Park

One thing I never realized before visiting Virginia for the first time was how stunning the nature is! I've been all over the state, and the beauty still stays no matter where you go.

So I took a trip recently to Washington D.C. and noticed that Shenandoah National Park is only 1 1/2 hours away... not bad! I knew then that I was going to add a day trip to this beautiful park.

Shenandoah stretches out through the Blue Ridge Mountains, covering about 119.173 acres of lush forest. It's been an official national park since 1935!


As someone who works a full-time job and only gets so much PTO, sometimes I have to limit my time in certain places. Shenandoah National Park is very large, and definitely cannot be seen 100% in one day (unless you wanna drive 3-6 hours through the park!) BUT, there is still a lot you can take in during a single day visit that'll leave you feeling satisfied enough to cross this park off your bucket list.

How to Enter the Park

The first thing you'll want to figure out is which end you'll be starting at.

- Rockfish Gap Entrance: Near the intersection of I-64 and U.S. 250. It is close to Charlottesville and Waynesboro.

- Swift Run Gap Entrance: Located at U.S. 33. It is closest to Stanardsville and Elkton.

- Thornton Gap Entrance: You'll find this entrance at Skyline Drive and U.S. 211. Nearby towns include Luray and Sperryville.

- Front Royal Entrance: Right by the town of Front Royal, also the closest entrance if you're driving from the Washington D.C. area.


Things to Do at Shenandoah

Obviously with Shenandoah being a national park and being so massive, there are all kinds of different things to do here while visiting! Here are a couple of the most popular options, especially ones you can do in one day:

Skyline Drive: This is probably one of the most popular things to do, mainly because you get some jaw-dropping views while exploring in your car! It is a three hour-long stretch, but even just driving parts of it is an awesome experience. You'll find the visitor centers and trails right off of this road, too.

Hike Old Rag: If you've already done your research on some blogs about Shenandoah, then you more than likely saw the beautiful, photogenic photos of Old Rag! This hike will take you to some massive, cliffside rocks that overlook the Blue Ridge Mountains.

TIP: It is very popular, so make sure to make a reservation online for this hike before your visit! They are required.

- Other great activities you can do here are hiking the other great trails, fishing, horseback riding and rock climbing! Again, with Shenandoah being so spread out, your options depend on which entrance you come into and how far you would be willing to drive to the other side of the park.


Our 24 hour day at Shenandoah ended in success. Of course, we were not able to do everything we wanted in such a short amount of time, but that just gives us a reason to come back and explore the other side of the park one day!

In my opinion, Virginia holds so much natural beauty that a lot tend to overlook, and many who have never visited the state don't seem to know about. I still remember the first time I saw those mountains and was blown away!




Hey there, I'm Shelby! Traveling has been one of my biggest passions in life, and so I'm here to share all of my great finds, tips and advice that I discover along the way. When I'm not on a plane, you can find me in Kentucky with my husband and fur child, Zoe (My adorable kitty!) 

I have always loved to write, and after many attempts at blogging again, I find myself here and inspired to share the world. My husband and I both work a typical 9 to 5, but make it a priority to plan as many trips as possible each year. I want to show others that it is totally possible to live a travel-filled life full time or on the side!

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you enjoy!


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