The Shenandoah Valley’s limestone geology and ancient river systems have left an amazing playground, both underground and above ground. Its several caverns can be explored any time of year and in any weather, because the underground temperature always averages a nice, cool 54 degrees. Besides these northern Shenandoah Valley caverns open to the public, you might enjoy a trip further south to the amazing Natural Bridge:
- Shenandoah Caverns (http://www.shenandoahcaverns.com) – this is located in the southern part of Shenandoah County at Quicksburg, and has been open to the public since 1922. It features the only Virginia cave with an elevator, and it’s the closest major cavern to I-81. Its deep colors and amazing geologic formations will thrill visitors of all ages. Right nearby, you’ll also find American Celebration on Parade (http://www.shenandoahcaverns.com/v.php?pg=2), a fantastic walk through history featuring floats from some of the nation’s biggest parades, including the Rose Parade, Thanksgiving parades, and inaugural parades dating back more than half a century. Before you leave Shenandoah Caverns, you’ll want to stop by The Yellow Barn (http://www.shenandoahcaverns.com/v.php?pg=1). Besides an event venue, this delightful attraction offers visitors a whimsical look at the valley’s agricultural heritage and rural life.
- Skyline Caverns (http://www.skylinecaverns.com/) outside of Front Royal – besides being one of the few caverns to view rare anthodites, the property features a miniature train, mirror maze, and nature trails. It’s the closest caverns to the nation’s capital. It’s beenn open since 1939.
- Grand Caverns Regional Park (http://www.grandcaverns.com) – Listed as a National Natural Landmark, these caverns, located south of Shenandoah County in Grottoes, VA, features unique calcium and crystal formations. The park offers picnic facilities, hiking and biking trails, and miniature golf.
- Luray Caverns (www.luraycaverns.com) – on the west side of the Massanutten mountain range in Luray, VA, this U.S. Natural Landmark claims to be the largest caverns in Eastern America and home to the world’s only Stalacpipe Organ. It was first discovered in 1878. Also on the premises are the Car and Carriage Caravan, the Luray Valley Museum, and The Garden Maze.
- Natural Bridge (http://www.naturalbridgeva.com)
Natural Bridge, a magnificent 215-ft. high rock formation carved out by Cedar Creek (a small tributary of the James River) in the limestone terrain of Rockbridge County. It was a sacred site of the Native American Monacan tribe, and for centuries has been a tourist destination. Today it is both a state and national historic landmark.