Friendly by Nature
Head to the Harrisonburg area and plan a family trip on the VA Kids Trail. Start with a visit in town then explore nearby attractions. When you measure travel in minutes not miles, you can also include other kid friendly Winchester destinations less than an hour away.
Family Fun in the Harrisonburg Area
With so many farms in this region, Harrisonburg is home for locally sourced food. The Downtown Harrisonburg Farmers Market is the place to be on a summer Saturday morning. Make a picnic and head for Hillandale Park. If your family enjoys mountain biking, try the park’s Rocktown Trails. Or after your picnic, take a 10 minute ride to the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum. Work your way through the labyrinth then discover Monarch Waystation, a pollinator garden.
If rain delays your outdoor plans, spend some time at the local children’s museum. Or get in some duckpin bowling and shuffleboard at Ruby’s Arcade. And be sure to grab some lunch at one of Harrisonburg’s locally sourced restaurants.
Harrisonburg Area Family Recreation
The city of Harrisonburg was originally known as “Rocktown” because of the large limestone outcroppings in the area. The Massanutten Mountain Range and the George Washington National Forest are easily accessible from town.
Families who enjoy the outdoors can plan a custom experience with Lester Zook of WILD GUYde Adventures. Even beginners can experience hiking, rock climbing, canoeing and wild caving. Looking for some great Harrisburg area hikes? Try these George Washington National Forest treks recommended by Lester.
When families think of the Harrisonburg area, Massanutten Resort tops the list. While known for its winter sports, there’s also four-season family fun. And the resort welcomes both day trippers and vacationers. Climb, tube (winter and summer) and zip at the Family Adventure Park. Enjoy mountain biking – but not a fan of the climb? Then take a chair lift to the top of the Mountain Bike Park. There’s even a separate area for beginners. Bike rentals are available. (Find more family biking on the Kids Trail on our blog.)
More Children’s Activities near Harrisonburg
If you have younger children, plan a trip to Back Home on the Farm, just north of Harrisonburg. Be sure to get there in the morning for the release at the “butterfly farm”. Kids can burn off steam with farm activities and meet an assortment of animals. There’s also a country store where you can grab a picnic lunch.
And what’s a visit to the Valley without a trip to some caverns? Less than 30 minutes from Back Home on the Farm, you’ll find Shenandoah Caverns. After your cavern tour, stop by American Celebration on Parade. Get up close to 20 full size colorful parade floats.
Branching Out on the Kids Trail
While in the Harrisonburg area, stop by Mt. Jackson, Orkney Springs, New Market and Luray. Check out the historic Meems Bottom Covered Bridge in Mt. Jackson. It’s the longest covered bridge in Virginia. Music loving families can enjoy a concert under the stars with the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival in Orkney Springs.
And be sure to include some Kids Trail destinations in neighboring Shenandoah County like Elizabeth Furnace with its swinging bridge and the Woodstock Tower built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Climb the tower and take in the 360 degree view.
Harrisonburg is less than an hour from Winchester, so plan a weekend visit and include stops there as well. Or head south on I-81 to historic Lexington. Include a visit to Natural Bridge State Park. Once owned by Thomas Jefferson, you and your kids will be amazed at the 215’ high limestone “bridge” carved by Cedar Creek. Or travel east on I-64 to Staunton and Charlottesville and then south to Lynchburg.