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Springtime Adventures in Harrisonburg, VA and the Shenandoah Valley

sellers Brad Cohen March 6, 2024

As winter fades and the beauty of spring emerges, it's the perfect time to explore the wonders of Harrisonburg, VA, and the picturesque Shenandoah Valley. From outdoor adventures to family-friendly activities, there's something for everyone to enjoy during this season. Even if you’re local to the area, there’s plenty of adventures waiting to be had. If you’re looking to move to the area or just have a soft spot for the Valley, there’s no better time than the Spring to explore what the Shenandoah Valley has to offer.

Discover the Great Outdoors

Spring in the Shenandoah Valley is synonymous with outdoor exploration. Take advantage of the mild weather and embark on a scenic hike along the renowned trails of Shenandoah National Park.  Shenandoah National Park is one of the premier outdoor destinations in the United States, drawing visitors of all ages with its breathtaking vistas, multiple waterfalls, diverse hiking trails, and camping facilities. Adventurers can even hike on a portion of the iconic Appalachian Trail, winding along the ridgeline of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

A highlight for all ages is the Wagon Trail Road hike, more affectionately and easily known as Woodstock Tower hike, offering a short 1.7 mile trek. The trail ends at the (you guessed it) the Woodstock Tower and rewards hikers with panoramic views encompassing the seven bends of the Shenandoah River. 

Waynesboro's South River Greenway presents another accessible option, featuring a level, paved pathway perfect for individuals of all ages, including young children. Take a leisurely stroll or bike ride along the South River, keeping an eye out for birds and wildlife along the route. In addition to offering river access, the trail boasts exercise stations, a designated picnic area, and captivating Virginia LOVEworks installations. 

For those seeking a unique adventure nearby, the Blue Ridge Tunnel Trail offers a thrilling experience as it winds beneath Afton Mountain for almost a full mile. Just opened as a trail in 2020, this will be one you won’t forget. 

Water Adventures Await

With the arrival of spring, the rivers and streams of the Shenandoah Valley come alive. Spend a day kayaking or canoeing along the gentle waters of the Shenandoah River. Or, try your hand at fly fishing in one of the region's pristine trout streams

Lake Shenandoah, conveniently located near Harrisonburg, provides an ideal spot for leisurely paddling and fishing enthusiasts. Anglers can reel in a variety of fish species and the lake serves as a haven for both migrating and year-round waterfowl.

For over two decades, Massanutten Adventures in McGaheysville has been organizing guided excursions for canoeing, kayaking, and tubing along the scenic Shenandoah River. Shenandoah River Adventures also caters to all skill levels and offers transportation, expert guidance, and rentals of canoes, kayaks, or tubes for a day or longer of exploration on the river. 

Feeling confident to navigate the waters independently? Shenandoah River Outfitters in Luray offer rentals of canoes, kayaks, tubes, and rafts for self-guided tours. Additionally, Shenandoah River Outfitters assists with camping and cabin rentals along the route. The canoeing and kayaking season typically spans from April to October, while tubing season runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

The picturesque 34-acre Lake Arrowhead in Luray boasts a charming white sand beach ideal for relaxation and wading. Guests can rent canoes and kayaks or indulge in fishing in the stocked waters. There's also a designated swimming area roped off for hotter days, along with a scenic walking trail encircling the lake. 

For a family-friendly fishing excursion, head to the South River in Waynesboro, renowned as one of only two urban trout fisheries in the state. The 4-mile Waynesboro Water Trail, stretching from Ridgeview Park to Basic Park, offers multiple access points and a fishing deck for anglers. For guidance services and fishing gear, be sure to visit the South River Fly Shop.

Whether you're an experienced angler or a novice paddler, there's no shortage of aquatic fun to be had.

Kayaking the South Fork

Family-Friendly Fun

Looking for family-friendly activities? Head to Harrisonburg, where you'll find an array of attractions to entertain visitors of all ages. Explore the interactive exhibits at the Explore More Discovery Museum. Stop by local farms, including Back Home on the Farm, who offers fairy gardens in the spring, butterfly exhibits, exhilarating 60-foot underground slides, cow trains, a historic carousel, and a charming country store.

You can head south with your animal-loving children with a visit to the nearby 180-acre Virginia Safari Park, offering a unique drive-thru adventure where visitors can interact with animals by feeding and touching them through their car windows.

 For a more intimate encounter, head to the privately-owned Luray Rescue Zoo, where admission fees directly support the care of retired education and zoo animals, as well as unwanted or confiscated pets. Visitors can interact with friendly animals in the petting area or opt for an after-hours guided tour for a closer look.

Immerse yourselves in the rich history of early settlers at Staunton's Frontier Culture Museum, where costumed interpreters and hands-on exhibits transport visitors back in time. Highlights include a functioning 18th-century blacksmith forge, a traditional schoolhouse, and a variety of friendly farm animals, sure to captivate the younger crowd.

Staunton's Frontier Culture Museum

Indulge in Culinary Delights

No visit to Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley would be complete without sampling the region's culinary delights. Named as the state’s First Culinary District in 2014, Harrisonburg continues to impress foodies.  

With a population slightly exceeding 50,000, Harrisonburg boasts over 60 locally owned restaurants. Enhancing the culinary scene are over 15 food-centric establishments, including a year-round farmers market, specialty wine and beer shops, food tours, and cooking classes. Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance, actively revitalizing the historic city center and turning it into a sought-after destination for culinary enthusiasts.

A few must-haves include Local Chop & Grill House, situated in downtown Harrisonburg within the restored City Produce Exchange building, pays homage to the building's rustic past while offering visitors the finest locally sourced cuisine.

Bella Luna Wood-Fired Pizza is your go-to destination for authentic Italian pizza. Specializing in Neapolitan-inspired, thin-crust pizzas, each creation is crafted with the freshest dough and expertly baked to perfection in their traditional 900-degree wood-fired oven.

If you’re looking for something more up-scale, the esteemed Joshua Wilton House, housed in a charming Late Victorian residence constructed in 1890, offers a refined dining experience amidst its elegant surroundings.

Joshua Wilton House

And you can’t forget about the rest of the Shenandoah Valley! Zynodoa in downtown Staunton showcases southern-inspired cuisine crafted from produce and livestock primarily sourced from independent farmers in the Shenandoah Valley and Piedmont regions of the state. Showalters Orchard in Timberville VA has grown apples for over 50 years. Take a stroll through the orchard and stop for local food trucks and their own award-winning hard ciders on-site at Old Hill Cider.

Embrace the Arts and Culture

Immerse yourself in the vibrant arts and culture scene of Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley. Attend a live performance at one The Wayne Theatre Ross Performing Arts Center in Waynesboro or Court Square Theater in Harrisonburg, VA or explore the works of local artists at Oasis Fine Art and Craft in Harrisonburg, VA or CoArt Gallery in Staunton, VA. 

Mark your calendars this Spring because the Valley also has amazing events. Experience the joys of spring at the Dayton Redbud Festival in April. Historic Dayton shuts down its main roads for live music, delectable food and beverages, artisanal crafts, complimentary carriage rides, and activities suitable for the entire family.

Also in April, join Waynesboro's Riverfest, a free event held at Constitution Park promoting environmental conservation and watershed stewardship in the Shenandoah River Basin. Enjoy canoe rides, captivating reptile and wildlife demonstrations, arts and crafts, lively rubber duck races, and an assortment of other engaging activities. And in May, enjoy a century-old tradition celebrating the arrival of spring at the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester, VA. From vibrant parades to exhilarating carnivals, lively parties, and dances, there's something for everyone to enjoy.


As spring blooms in Harrisonburg, VA, and the Shenandoah Valley, the opportunities for adventure are endless. Whether you're seeking outdoor thrills, family-friendly fun, or culinary delights, this scenic region has something for everyone to enjoy. If you’re a local, explore your own backyard- there's so much to do around your very own home!

If you’re not local, hit the road, and come explore an unforgettable springtime journey in the heart of Virginia's countryside. If you happen to fall in love with the Valley, reach out to  Connexa Real Estate to talk about getting rid of that commute and making the Shenandoah Valley your home.


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