Nestled between the Shenandoah River and Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah National Park is a gorgeous area of natural beauty in Virginia.
The park is a worthy destination throughout the year, but is particularly popular in the fall for its gorgeous foliage. Not only are there less crowds here, you’ll also find breathtaking hikes through the summer and adrenaline pumping ski slopes during the winter.
There aren’t many accommodation options in Shenandoah National Park itself, but the surrounding towns and cities provide a great selection. Each place has something different to offer, so it’s really important to do your research before you arrive. This way, you’ll get to maximise your time in the National Park and have the best stay possible.
That’s where we come in! Combining our personal experience with advice from locals and travel experts, we’ve figured out the best places to stay in and around Shenandoah National Park. Whether you’re on a shoestring budget, need somewhere peaceful for a family break or simply want to stay as close to the scenery as possible, we’ve got you covered.
So let’s get started!
Luxurious Vacation Rental near Shenandoah National Park – Snug Harbor
AirBnB Plus properties are hand selected for their stylish interiors, guest service that goes above and beyond, and unbeatable locations. Nestled in the heart of Charlottesville, this property is well connected to the main attractions in the area.
Inside you will find traditional design and classy antique furnishings. The property is also right next to three different walking trails, which are all suitable for anybody new to hiking.
Rustic Villa near Shenandoah National Park – Tree Top Home
Nestled among the trees, this cute little home is the perfect getaway in rural Virginia. You’ll get stunning views during summer, and the log burner in the living room makes this a cosy place to escape during the winter.
Massanutten Ski Lodge is right next door, so you’ll have plenty to do during your stay. Inside, you will find rustic décor and everything you’ll need for a comfortable stay.
Elegant Hotel in Shenandoah National Park – Hotel Laurance
Enjoy a luxury getaway at this 5-star hotel in Luray! The lavish interiors and spacious rooms offer stunning views of the surrounding scenery.
Right in the heart of Luray, you’ll be within easy driving distance of all the main attractions in Shenandoah National Park.
Our Airbnbs in Virginia Guide has even more accommodation options!
Shenandoah National Park Neighborhood Guide
FIRST TIME IN SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK
FIRST TIME IN SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK
Luray is a sleepy town just north of Shenandoah National Park. It’s only a couple of minutes away by car, making it a great choice for those that want to stay right next to the park.
ON A BUDGET
ON A BUDGET
About 30 minutes west of Shenandoah National Park, Harrisonburg is the largest city in the Shenandoah Valley Region. This makes it a great choice for those on a budget. Many of the accommodation and dining options in the city are among the most affordable in the entire region.
Just south of Shenandoah National Park, Charlottesville is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area, particularly with families. The laid-back atmosphere, leafy streets and friendly attractions make this a great spot to visit if you’re bringing the kids along.
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Shenandoah National Park Top 3 Places to Stay
With serene nature at every turn and all the awe-inspiring hikes in Shenandoah National Park, this park is undoubtedly a must-visit destination for nature-lovers.
However, unless you’re looking to camp in Shenandoah, there aren’t many accommodation options in the park itself. We recommend bringing a car to get around, so you can gain deeper insight into everything this region has to offer.
Luray is located just north of Shenandoah National Park, and is a great spot if you want immediate access to beautiful hikes and cycling trails. For first time visitors, Luray gives a good overview of everything on offer in the region and doesn’t get as busy as some of the more popular towns.
Shenandoah National Park is generally an affordable destination, but budget travelers might feel a bit wary from the lack of hostels available. Thankfully, Harrisonburg is a short drive away and offers some of the best priced accommodation picks in the area. It’s also our top choice for those visiting during Winter, because of the great ski slopes nearby.
Alternatively, Charlottesville makes a wonderful summer destination with vineyards and horse riding among the most popular activities. It’s a family-friendly destination, and is also pretty affordable.
Still not sure? No stress – read on for our top accommodation and activity picks in each area…
1. Luray – Best Place to Stay in Shenandoah National Park on your First Visit
Luray is a quiet town. It’s just a few minutes away from Shenandoah National Park by car, making it a great choice for those that want to stay close-by. Luray’s laid-back nature makes it a great way to soak up everything that makes Shenandoah one of the best national parks in the USA. There are also plenty of fantastic excursion providers within the town.
Most hikes, photo spots and cycling trails are only a short drive away from here. Make no mistake: if the National Park is your main reason for visiting the region, this is the place for you.
Scenic Cabin in Luray – Breccia Cabin
Sleeping up to two guests, Breccia Cabin is the perfect accommodation for a romantic getaway. Enjoy stunning views from the hot tub on the deck as you wind down from a long day of exploring.
Inside you will find rustic furnishings and plenty of natural light, and hiking trails are right on the doorstep. You’ll never want to leave!
Breathtaking Views near Luray – Cresta Blava
Right in the heart of Shenandoah National Park, this cabin connects you with the beautiful nature in the region. The large window in the living room lets in heaps of natural light, and is a great spot for watching the sunset over the mountains.
With three bedrooms and two en-suite bathrooms, this is a fantastic choice for large families heading to the area.
Luxurious Hotel in Luray – Hotel Laurance
As one of the only 5-star hotels in the area, Hotel Laurance really is the pinnacle of luxury. The rooms are spacious, modern and stylish with cozy furnishings and decadent extras to make you feel like a true VIP. It’s a great place to come back to after exploring the numerous hiking trails nearby.
Things to See and Do in Luray
- The Skyline Drive is a stunning road that winds around the most scenic spots in Shenandoah National Park. It can get quite busy in the fall, however the drive is beautiful to visit all year-round.
- Hiking is the most popular activity in the area. There are parts of the Appalachian Trail here; Stony Man and Little Stony Man are great for beginners.
- Luray Caverns and Garden Maze is a great activity for the whole family right in the middle of town.
- The Skyland complex has some of the best views in the country. We recommend having dinner at the Skyland restaurant for a particularly jaw-dropping experience.
2. Harrisonburg – Where to Stay Near Shenandoah National Park on a Budget
About 30 minutes west of Shenandoah National Park, Harrisonburg is the largest town in the Shenandoah Valley Region. Many of the accommodation and dining options in the city are among the most affordable in the entire region, making Harrisonburg a great choice for those traveling on a budget.
It’s not just a cheap place to stay, however. For those traveling in the winter, there are some great ski resorts surrounding Harrisonburg. Harrisonburg is a vibrant place, and you’ll find a variety of events and festivals throughout the year.
Affordable Tiny House in Harrisonburg – Stardust Meadows
Tiny houses are perfect options for budget accommodation. This cute little home sits just outside Harrisonburg, and has great reviews from solo travellers and couples alike.
The tiny house is located on a working farm, which will give you a unique insight into rural Virginia during your stay. You’ll also find numerous hiking trails and breweries right on your doorstep.
Charming Villa in Harrisonburg – Tree Top Home
This cute little cabin is nestled next to Harrisonburg. With the Massanutten Ski Lodge on your doorstep, it’s an idyllic retreat for a winter escape. Inside you’ll get to warm up with the log burner, cozy furnishings and homely décor.
Sleeping up to eight people, this is a super affordable option for families or large groups heading to the Shenandoah area.
Modern Hotel in Harrisonburg – Hotel Madison
If you’re looking to stay right in the heart of Harrisonburg, then look no further than Hotel Madison. This 4-star hotel is very reasonably priced, and is perfect for those that prefer the added convenience. Plus, there’s a complimentary breakfast!
Things to See and Do in Harrisonburg
- Downtown Harrisonburg was named Virginia’s first culinary district – a must-visit for any foodies heading to the Shenandoah Valley.
- Massanutten Ski Lodge is just a short drive outside of the city, and is among the most popular winter sports destinations in Virginia.
- Harrisonburg Farmers Market is a great place to pick up some fresh produce and mingle with locals. It’s on every Saturday throughout the year, as well as Tuesdays during the summer.
- Funky’s Skate Center is a fun attraction where you can join in one of their roller disco events, or go watch the Rocktown Rollers.
3. Charlottesville – Best City near Shenandoah National Park for Families
Charlottesville is just south of Shenandoah National Park, and is one of the most popular destinations in the area. The laid-back atmosphere and friendly attractions make this a great spot to visit if you’re bringing the family. There are also some great farms in the area which offer visitors a unique insight into local life.
Charlottesville is also an ideal location for couples heading to Shenandoah National Park. The town is known for its breweries and vineyards, and is a great choice if you’re just staying for the weekend. Many of the restaurants in the city centre are cozy and welcoming, and offer affordable prices thanks to the sizable student population.
Gorgeous Family Home in Charlottesville – Snug Harbor
If you’re ready to splurge, this is the perfect family home for a break in the Shenandoah region. The outdoor space includes a full size soccer goal, small forest trail and even a little stream. You’ll have everything you need to connect with nature.
Perfect Home for Small Families in Charlottesville – Artful House
It’s not often that we include two AirBnB Plus properties in the same area, but this one is surprisingly affordable. It’s a great option for small families visiting the area.
The interior design feels like stepping into a Wes Anderson film, with carefully placed splashes of color and unique patterns.
Hip Hotel in Charlottesville – Graduate Charlottesville
This uber-cool hotel in the heart of Charlottesville is a firm favourite with young couples, and even backpackers that prefer the added privacy of a hotel.
Larger rooms can sleep up to six guests, making it perfect for groups. The outdoor restaurant and bar area comes with panoramic views across Charlottesville and towards the Blue Ridge Mountains, which you can enjoy with your complimentary breakfast.
Things to See and Do in Charlottesville
- Travelling with young kids? This Nature Walk with Llamas is a fantastic way to take in the stunning nature of the area at a laid-back pace
- Speaking about great animal attractions, this super fun experience on a local farm lets you get up close and personal with goats and horses
- Take the trip along Garth Road where you can visit some great vineyards and horse stables offering tourist experiences
- The Downtown Mall is a great spot for retail addicts, with wide open streets and public art
Final Thoughts on Where To Stay in Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park is totally worth considering for a vacation in the USA. Whether you’re visiting for the ski-resorts in Winter hikes during Summer, there’s something for everyone all year-round.
If we had to choose one place as our favorite, we would go with Charlottesville as it has a little bit of everything on offer in the Shenandoah region. The dining options are super affordable, and the area welcomes any travel style.
That being said, all of the places mentioned in this guide come with their own charms. Whether you want to stay amongst nature or closer to town amenities, there are some truly fantastic destinations. We hope we’ve managed to help you narrow down your options for your upcoming trip.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!
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