The Perfect Winter Getaway: Retreat to the Valley in January
With a new year comes new adventures, and in Luray and Page County, adventures abound for all — no matter the season.
Our backyard each January is transformed into a winter wonderland for those in search of fresh-air fun to kick off the new year, as well as those longing to relax and unwind from the year past.
Whether you’re an outdoor adventurer longing for wide open spaces, a family looking to connect — or reconnect — without the hustle and bustle, or a couple in search of cozy date night ideas, Luray and Page County in the Shenandoah Valley is the perfect place to escape to for a winter retreat.
BOOK A ROOM (OR A CABIN) WITH A VIEW
Book a cozy cabin for two, a rustic family hideaway or a larger lodge in Virginia’s Cabin Capital. With more than 400 cabins to choose from, there’s plenty of room to relax, no need to rush and time to unwind.
Awake with the sun and not to an alarm as day breaks over the Blue Ridge and Massanutten mountains. Spend your days exploring the Great Outdoors, simply by opening the back door of your mountain retreat. Marvel at the night sky after the sun tucks below the horizon.
Connect with family in miles of solitude and “unplug” in the Valley, where the scenes around you are more enticing than the screen in front of you. Kick back around a backyard fire pit with the kids, campfire stories and s’mores. Gather together for a family meal around the kitchen table and seasonal flavors with takeout from a Page County eatery. Curl up in a rustic living room during a family movie or pajama party with board games.
Cheers to the new year with local spirits and your sweetheart around a roaring fireplace in your room, or unwind from the day and the end of 2020 in a bubbling hot tub. Make your first memories in 2021 with sweeping front-porch views and a game of front-yard horse shoes with the ones you love the most.
READY, SET, SNOW!
Take on the slopes and take in the scenes during a fresh-air “snow-venture” in the Valley. A winter retreat in Luray and Page County isn’t complete without taking on some of the best slopes in the state at Massanutten Resort.
Take on the terrain of wide groomed trails, a dedicated learner’s area and night skiing along 70 skiable acres, including 14 runs serviced by seven lifts. With the most vertical drop in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, thrill-seeking skiers, snowboarders and skiboarders can tackle 1,100 feet of terrain, while freestylers can conquer a dozen rails and jumps. Or learn the ropes and conquer the slopes with instructors and terrain-based learning at Massanutten’s Snow Circuit at Easy Street.
Make winter mountain memories with your little ones — or awaken your inner child — as you slide down one of the resort’s most popular attractions. Snow-lovers of almost any age can enjoy the sights of the season at Massanutten’s snow tubing park, heralded as “best snow tubing” by Washingtonian magazine. Slide down one of 16, 900-foot lanes that drop 120 vertical feet. Then savor the scenes of snowy peaks as you ride a conveyor lift back to the top to slide again.
Skate the day away and soak up the timeless fun of old-fashioned ice skating at Massanutten’s outdoor rink. Or take on warmer winter fun for the family at an indoor waterpark. Always heated to 84 degrees Fahrenheit, children of all ages will delight in the park’s water fortress, inflatable adventures, slides, pools and lazy river.
WALKIN' (OR HIKING) IN A WINTER WONDERLAND
Take in scenic views of the Valley below in winter and breathe in the season’s crisp air in Shenandoah National Park. With more than 500 miles of trails, including 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail, the park offers dozens of options for hikers at various levels on trails that range from easy to strenuous.
After a hike, or in lieu of one from the warmth of your vehicle, “ride the sky” along Skyline Drive, a 105-mile National Scenic Byway that traverses through Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Take a winter stroll in the heart of Downtown Luray along the Luray-Hawksbill Greenway. The 3.3-mile walking trail, situated along the Hawksbill Creek, includes dozens of benches and picnic tables to stop and take in the sites of the water and the ducks that call it home. The trail is within viewing distance of 30 murals and public art that are part of the Appalachian Mural Trail — perfect for one-of-a-kind photo backdrops or a game of “I Spy” with little ones.
With three small towns, Page County includes not only three charming Main Streets but more than a half-dozen public parks, perfect for a fresh-air afternoon adventure.
The Town of Luray’s Lake Arrowhead showcases the splendor of any season with a 1-mile walking trail that circles a lake, picnic shelters available to rent and playground equipment for kids. For a unique playground experience for kids of all ages — or the kid at heart — head to Luray’s Ralph H. Dean Recreation Park to check out a large wooden playground known as “Imagination Station.” The park also includes a skate park, a 20-station fitness trail and a frisbee golf course.
For more mountain views, head to the Town of Stanley’s Ed Good Memorial Park, where visitors can enjoy a walking trail, playground and picnic shelter against a backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains. From Stanley, continue to the Town of Shenandoah, where parks offer more southern views of the Valley at the town’s River Park and Landing and 68-acre Big Gem Park. Shenandoah is also home to the Wig Wam Village, a wooden playground located next to the town’s tennis courts.
While you’re out and about, don’t forget the shops. Along with an array of eateries located in one of our three towns, dozens of unique shops are just a short walk away down Main Street. From jewelry, gifts and crafts, to second-hand finds and antiques, to outdoor equipment to help you enjoy any season in Luray and Page County, our merchants offer a variety of one-of-a-kind and unique options — and souvenirs to take back home as a keepsake from your winter retreat in the Shenandoah Valley.