Summer’s here and it finally feels like you have time to do all those things you’ve been yearning to do. But we know those long days are fleeting, so we’ve built a Staunton bucket list to help you maximize the moments and pack the most of Staunton’s unique experiences into your season.
Discover the Queen City after dark. Led by a lantern, this two-hour walking tour is where history and hauntings meet. Hear the stories of Staunton’s most notable residents like Mary Baldwin, James Vames, Myrtle Knox and Jimmy Atkins who are responsible for shaping the historical and haunted landscape of Staunton. Come prepared with flashlights, audio recorders and cameras to capture any paranormal activity and other oddities you might see or hear. Book your Ghost Tour now.
spend the night locked in a room
Spend an evening finding clues and cracking real-life codes at Crack the Code Escape Room. Groups of up to eight people have an hour to solve the puzzle in this interactive strategy game, so round up your gang, put down your phones, and bond over your shared brain power. Current themed rooms include: Da Vinci’s Office, Back to the Eighties, and Steampunk City.
Hike the Appalachian Trail
Bring your hiking poles and your camera and get ready to clear your head and luxuriate in natural beauty! Staunton is only minutes away from a spectacular section of Appalachian Trail that runs along the Blue Ridge and offers steep climbs and scenic vistas. Hike along the trail or access a short spur like Bear Den Mountain or Humpback Rocks. Planning your first hike with young children? Click here for a good resource.
Stay at Virginia’s Newest Luxury Hotel
Thomas Blackburn, a protege of Thomas Jefferson, originally designed the building that is now the Blackburn Inn in 1828 as part of Western State Hospital. The institution has a busy and controversial history, but the building and grounds were designed to be beautiful and peaceful to aid in the healing process. Now, the recently renovated and reopened 49-room boutique hotel retains historic fixtures of antebellum architecture like enormous windows, original floors, and high ceilings but also embraces state-of-the-art modern convenience. And it’s not haunted, we promise.
Watch a movie under the stars at a classic drive-in
No summer experience is more iconic than a double feature at a good, old-fashioned drive-in movie theater. Hull’s Drive-In, located south of Staunton, has been lighting up the night since 1950. Bring the family and enjoy summer blockbusters and a full menu at the snack bar. A Staunton bucket list won’t feel complete without this ultimate retro family destination!
attend a Music Festival
Whether it’s a major festival like Redwing Roots or Chili. Blues n’ Brews, a free concert in Gypsy Hill Park, or live music at a local brewery or vineyard, music pairs wonderfully with the outdoors. Spread your blanket, watch the little ones chase fireflies, and enjoy the summer sounds with your family and friends.
explore a cave
Finally learn the difference between a stalagmite and stalactite. Open for nearly 200 years, Grand Caverns is now a National Natural Landmark where “history runs deep.” Both Union and Confederate soldiers visited it during the Civil War, and 200 verified signatures mark its walls. The show cave boasts shield formations and “Cathedral Hall,” one of the largest cavern rooms in the eastern U.S. Best of all, the cave stays 54 degrees year round. What a great way to learn some history and geology while keeping the entire family cool!
Root for the Staunton Braves
Put on your jersey and catch Staunton Braves fever as you spend an exciting summer evening lounging in your camp chair, gobbling ballpark food, and rooting for the home team at Moxie Stadium. The Braves are part of the Valley Baseball League, a collegiate NCAA league that has been playing ball in the Valley since 1897 and regularly sends players to the majors.
Visit the Augusta County Fair
Nothing says summer like midway rides, cotton candy, sideshow acts and blue-ribbon vegetables. Venture out to Augusta Expo for the 2018 Augusta County Fair, July 31-August 4. Make sure you catch a magic show, a prize-winning livestock competition or a tractor pull. You might even see blacksmiths compete in feats of strength and dexterity. This is down-home-on-the-farm fun for the entire family.
Attend a small-town Independence Day Celebration
Staunton goes all out for the 4th of July. The loaded schedule of Happy Birthday America events features musical entertainment, a vesper service, fireworks, a parade, a 5K race, a pageant for children under 12, and concessions. It will also include a feature performance by Wilson Fairchild, a country group comprised of Wil and Landon Reid, sons of the Statler Brothers’ Harold and Don Reid
And If there’s a tattoo on your Staunton Bucket List…
If this is the summer you’re finally going to take the plunge (or add to your existing gallery of body art), Staunton offers two tattoo parlors. Both will give consultations and create custom designs (and cover ups). Check out Lion’s Den Tattoo or Acme Tattoo for some really cool art and great customer experiences.