We’re continually on the hunt for experiences that add richness to our lives. In the spirit of the revival of road trips, we are proud to feature a monthly section featuring destinations within driving distance of Charleston. We feel that our smart and savvy readers will find these trips interesting and entertaining.
Driving four hours and fifteen minutes East of Charleston, West Virginia brings you to Luray, Virginia, a beautiful town in the Shenandoah Valley. With the Blue Ridge Mountains as the base of its scenery, Luray is a delightful place to visit for its outdoor attractions, caverns, and unique attractions.
WHAT TO SEE & DO IN LURAY, VA
The most popular attraction in Luray (pronounced Loo-ray) is the award-winning caverns, the most visited in the Southeast. At Luray Caverns, you’ll be transported to a world at a constant, brisk 60 degrees with 10-foot rooms of photogenic stalagmites and stalactites in breathtaking formations and draperies. With a new entrance offering easy access to the caverns, visitors now walk directly the underground cave system. Admission to the Car & Carriage Caravan, Toy Town Junction, and Luray Valley Museums is included with your Luray Caverns ticket.
Luray’s Shenandoah River makes it possible for a host of outdoor offerings, including fishing, boating, canoeing, tubing, and swimming.
Hop on scenic Skyline Drive (the only public road in the park) in the Shenandoah National Park that runs through the town of Luray. Enjoy the park’s natural waterfalls, wooded hollows, and stunning vistas in more than 200,000 acres. It is one of the most beautiful National Parks in the Eastern United States.
Do you feel like taking a short hike? Massanutten’s Storybrook Trail is famous for the fantastic views and photo-ops along a 3 feet wide stroller and wheelchair accessible path. (see main picture above)
Another great nature escape is the Luray Hawksbill Greenway, a natural habitat for fish, wildlife, butterflies, fish, with a two-mile handicap accessible paved walking/biking trail. Bring a picnic and enjoy the picturesque setting as your backdrop amidst the picnic tables or park benches.
Go shopping on the darling Main Street in downtown Luray, offering a handful of boutiques and antique stores.
Cooter’s in Luray is a fun stop for Dukes of Hazard fans. See the General Lee, Cooter’s Tow Truck, Boss Hogg’s Caddy, and movie/tv memorabilia in this unique attraction. There is also a cafe, ice cream bar, and large gift shop to browse through. Meet Cooter himself (Ben Jones) on Saturdays and enjoy live music several nights of the week.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK IN LURAY, VA
Luray has some tasty places to dine. Visit Triple Crown BBQ for your favorite smoked chicken, pulled pork, ribs, and smoked sausage. Gathering Ground Patisserie serves breakfast and lunch in a trendy espresso bar setting. The coffee is top-notch, as are the delicious breakfast options such as quiche, avocado toast, omelets, and breakfast wraps. Lunch includes salads, gourmet sandwiches, and fried baskets, but save room for Gathering Ground’s luscious homemade cakes and pies. They’re some of the best I’ve ever eaten!
Enjoy dining at Hawksbill Diner, serving Southern eats in a comfortable setting. Drop by The Valley Cork Wine Bar in downtown Luray Thursday through Sunday for a smooth glass of wine from an international selection, gourmet flatbread, tapas, or charcuterie board.
At The Speakeasy (inside the Mimslyn Inn), treat yourself to a fine-dining quality meal in a comfortable lounge-like setting with live music. I recommend the Cheese Fondue (with pretzels, apples, and bread) for an appetizer and Pork Chops for dinner. Dan’s Steakhouse is a local favorite for upscale dining with a menu offering a wide variety of entrées.
Stop in Flotzie’s for ice cream, floats, sundaes, or cones. Quench your thirst at Hawksbill Brewing Co. with an aromatic stout, porter, IPA, or ale.
WHERE TO STAY IN LURAY, VA
Luray is the “Cabin Capital of Virginia.” While there are dozens of cabins to choose from, I loved staying at Somerset in Shenandoah Woods. The cabin slept 16 and featured a 12-foot dining table, lower-level home theater, pool table, four king bedrooms (with private baths), covered front porch with rockers, deck, and screened hot tub deck. The property is divine!
The premier accommodation in Luray is the Mimslyn Inn, a Historic Hotel of America property with suites, historic rooms, and cottages. The Jewell Hollow Cottage, one of the choices at Mimslyn Inn, has two queen beds, fireplace, jetted bathtub, living space, front porch with seating, and a full kitchen. Mimslyn Inn has two on-site restaurants (Circa ‘31 and The Speakeasy), an outdoor pool, spa, and much more.
A Holiday Inn Express, Days Inn, and Quality Inn are also in Luray.
A DARLING TOWN IN THE SCENIC MOUNTAINS
The charming town of Luray, Virginia, welcomes visitors to explore its unique attractions, stunning scenery, and abundant natural settings at any time of the year. It is one unique small town that has a magical air about it. See for yourself! Hooray for Luray!
Article by Melody Pittman of