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The Shenandoah Valley is located in the western part of Virginia and the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains. The region is best known for its natural beauty, many wineries, and Civil War history.

Cities and towns

Map of Shenandoah Valley



Central and South


Other destinations

  • 19 Shenandoah National Park - runs along the Blue Ridge Mountains from the town of Front Royal to the Waynesboro area. Skyline Drive, the main route through the park, is busiest in autumn due to the colorful foliage.



The Shenandoah Valley is formed by two mountain ranges, the Blue Ridge on the east and the Appalachian on the west. Another mountain ridge, the Massanutten, runs down the middle, as does the Shenandoah River. The Shenandoah Valley is believed to have been named by a lost Native American tribe. The meaning of the name is disputed, but the most popular interpretation is “daughter of the stars”.

Intrepid Englishmen began to explore and settle the valley in the early 18th century. Germans and Scots-Irish first entered the valley from the north in the 1730s. A young George Washington worked in the area as a surveyor for Lord Fairfax. Locals such as Daniel Morgan, Peter Muhlenberg, and George Rogers Clark distinguished themselves during the War of Independence.

During the American Civil War, the Shenandoah Valley was the site of many battles, primarily because the region’s moniker, “the breadbasket of the Confederacy”. If Union troops could control the valley, they would cut off a large portion of the Confederate troops’ rations. Most notably, during the Peninsula campaign, the first large scale Northern offensive to capture Richmond, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson and his men managed to draw away vastly superior Union numbers, that ended up unable to aid McClellan's ultimately failed attempt to capture Richmond. The city of Winchester, at the northern end of the valley, traded hands over 80 times during the war. The most important battle fought in the region was the Battle of New Market.



Most residents of the Shenandoah Valley speak only English. There is a local dialect to the valley. It ranges from an Appalachian (apple-ATCH-in) twang to a southern drawl.

Get in


By car

  • Interstate 66 West from Washington, D.C.
  • Interstate 64 West from Richmond, Virginia
  • Interstate 64 East from West Virginia

By bus

  • Greyhound operates bus stations in Charlottesville, and Lynchburg. Buses connect with Washington, D.C., and Richmond, with transfers available for further destinations.

By train


By plane

  • Washington Dulles International Airport, with scheduled commercial flights from many cities around the world. It is about a one-hour drive (65 mi, 106 km) from the northern area of the Shenandoah Valley.
  • Charlottesville–Albemarle Airport in Charlottesville is a small airport with scheduled commercial service from several cities in the U.S. It is about a 30-minute drive (35 miles, 55 km) from the central area of the Shenandoah Valley.
  • Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport (SHD IATA) in Weyers Cave.
  • Luray Caverns Airport (W45) near Luray is a small general aviation airport with no commercial flights.

Get around

Caution Note: In most of the Shenandoah Valley, don't rely on your cell phone to provide navigation. Cellular coverage is nonexistent for dozens of miles in this area due to the National Radio Quiet Zone (see § Connect). Your cell phone will lose signal completely, likely rendering it unable to navigate, leaving you likely to get lost.

Come prepared with another way of navigating to and around that region:

  • Printed maps and directions
  • Standalone GPS devices — ones which are built into your car or sit on the dashboard — will continue to work.
  • You can prepare your phone ahead of time for offline navigation by saving maps directly on your phone.

A car is essential for touring the region.

  • Interstate 81 runs the length of the valley
  • Skyline Drive, one of the most scenic routes in the country, is in Shenandoah National Park.


  • 1 Luray Caverns, 101 Cave Hill Rd, Luray, +15407436551. Luray Caverns in Luray is the most famous of the Shenandoah Valley's many caverns. $34 Adult, $32 Senior. $17 Child.
  • There are many lovely waterfalls in the area, including Dark Hollow Falls in Shenandoah National Park, 2 White Rock Falls, 3 Wigwam Falls, 4 Crabtree Falls and 5 Apple Orchard Falls. Most require a hike of up to 3 miles (5 km), which may be moderate or difficult. Proper footwear and water are highly advisable.
  • 6 New Market Battlefield and Virginia Museum of the Civil War, 8895 George Collins Pkwy, New Market, +18665151864. New Market Battlefield and Virginia Museum of the Civil War in New Market is the site of a famous Civil War battle, in which the young cadets of the Virginia Military Institute marched for four days to challenge and defeat Union troops moving down the valley. A state park, two museums, and a yearly reenactment bring their story to life.
  • 7 Natural Bridge, 6477 S Lee Hwy, Natural Bridge (Natural Bridge State Park, near Route 11), +1 540 291 1326. Daily 8AM-8PM. Worshipped by the Monacan Indians, owned by Thomas Jefferson, and defaced by a young George Washington, this limestone arch is a natural wonder and historic site rolled into one. A beautiful area to walk around.
  • Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum in Winchester is an interactive, hands-on museum for families, which focuses on the science, mathematics, humanities and the arts.


  • The Shenandoah National Park provides many opportunities for hiking, including a portion of the Appalachian Trail, fishing, and horseback riding.
  • Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester is held each spring, usually in late April or early May. This festival includes carnivals, pageants, parades, and a circus as part of the celebrations.
  • Jefferson Pools in Warm Springs is named after early visitor Thomas Jefferson. These 98 °F (37 °C) hot springs offer year-round soaking in two historic bath houses.
  • 8 Shenandoah River Outfitters, 6502 S Page Valley Rd, Luray, +15407434159. Offers a wide range of water activities on the Shenandoah River.


  • 1 Griffin Tavern, 659 Zachary Taylor Hwy, Flint Hill (Route 522), +1 540-675 3227. Restaurant in the style of an English pub. The menu includes burgers, shepherds pie, and fish and chips.
  • Shenandoah Valley Apples Though many of the valley's orchards have shut down, you can still find excellent apple cider, apple sauce, and fresh, crunchy apples in autumn. White House Foods, based in Winchester, processes many of these products.
  • 2 Orleans Market & Pub, 6855 Leeds Manor Rd, Marshall (Route 688), +1 540 364 2774. F Sa 8AM-10PM, Su 9AM-7PM, M Tu 8AM-7PM, W Th 8AM-9PM. Simple, inexpensive sandwiches with live outdoor music on many Friday evenings and Saturday evenings.
  • 3 Hunter's Head Tavern, 9048 John S Mosby Hwy, Upperville (Route 50), +1 540 592 9020. Daily 11:30AM-9:30PM. English-style restaurant and pub with a lush backyard patio.



Much of the area is included in the The Shenandoah Valley American Viticultural Area and is home to 40 wineries The Blue Ridge Whiskey & Wine loop connects local wineries & distilleries.





Much of the Shenandoah Valley is inside the National Radio Quiet Zone, approximately 13,000 square miles (34,000 km²) of land where radio transmissions are strongly restricted in order to protect the Green Bank Observatory. The result is that cell phone service is mostly nonexistent. Where signals are not prohibited by law, there may be mountains that block signals. As a result, it is advisable not to depend on cell phone service. It is advisable to have directions in advance. It is best to download a local map onto a cell phone ahead of time or to buy a paper map of the area. Radio stations are limited, too, with just the Allegheny Mountain Radio network operating a handful of low-power FM rebroadcasting stations.

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