#LOVEstaunton

Category: Outdoor Recreation

Plan Your Next Vacation in Staunton

Did you know that January 25th is National Plan a Vacation Day? And just like us, we bet you REALLY need one! From romantic weekends to family getaways, to weekends with the girls or guys, let us help with some quick recommendations on what to do on a vacation in Staunton!

Romantic Weekend

Share romantic meals, be pampered in luxurious lodgings, sightsee on one of America’s best main streets, and even discover the great outdoors. Here are some of Staunton’s best bets for couples.

Where to Stay

  • The Hotel 24 South and The Blackburn Inn both feature elegant rooms in tastefully updated historic buildings. Check the specials for romantic add-ons like champagne, chocolate, and spa packages.
  • The Berkeley House Bed and Breakfast offers an elaborate breakfast as well as packages for champagne and a trip to the Blackfriar’s Theatre.
  • The Frederick House is a 20 room inn, comprised of 5 historic houses, located in downtown Staunton, Virginia. They offer the privacy of a hotel, with the personal experience of a Bed and Breakfast.

Where to Eat

What to Do

  • The Staunton Farmer’s Market is open from the first Saturday in April until Thanksgiving, and it features fresh produce, baked goods, and live music. 
  • Take a self-guided or seasonal guided walking tour with the Historic Staunton Foundation.
  • Visit the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace to learn about Wilson’s connection to Staunton and much more.
  • Stop to flirt at Ox-Eye Tasting Room or take a scenic drive to Barren Ridge Vineyards to reconnect with your sweetie over some local wine.
  • Shop downtown Staunton’s independent stores and galleries for a range of wares including gourmet chocolate and olive oil, art-glass ornaments, unique gifts and art, and vintage treasure of all kinds.
  • Take in a show at the American Shakespeare Center. The 2022 season includes Romeo and Juliet, The Comedy of Errors, The Tempest, and more.

Family Fun

Looking for a wonderful family trip where fun, history, and the great outdoors are all in big supply? Here’s how to enjoy Staunton’s best with your family.

Where to Stay

  • The Fairfield Inn and Suites is a family-friendly hotel convenient to both downtown Staunton as well as the interstates. The hotel offers a free hot breakfast, free Wi-fi, and an indoor saltwater swimming pool.
  • The Storefront is a two-level downtown lodging with a full kitchen, two queen-sized beds, and a unique bar/lounge area with a television.

Where to Eat

  • Voted one of the best breakfasts in the Valley, Kathy’s Restaurant heaps on the goodness with traditional breakfast fare served all day.
  • Your kids will love the caboose parked outside of The Depot Grille. They’ll also love the American fare served inside for lunch and dinner. The menu includes a section for kids. 
  • Shenandoah Pizza’s gourmet pies celebrate local ingredients and lore. Parents will be pleased with the extensive tap list.
  • The menu at Baja Bean has loads of Tex Mex options including choices for the younger set and an impressive tap list. 
  • Finish your meal with one (or more) of the 18 fresh-made gelato flavors from The Split Banana.

What to Do

  • Pool your wits to solve one of the active puzzles and escape a themed room at Crack the Code Escape Room
  • Step back in time at the Frontier Culture Museum, which invites visitors to explore the lives of the Shenandoah Valleys pioneers from the 1600s through the mid-1800s.
  • Watch as artisans use extreme heat, to blow and shape molten glass into globes and art pieces at Sunspots Studios
  • Family favorites for shopping include treasure hunting at Staunton Antiques Center and hobby shopping at Staunton Trains and Hobbies. Pufferbellies is the largest independently owned toy store in the Valley, which has a hands-on policy and something to fascinate kids and grownups alike.
  • Hit up one of Staunton’s great city parks like Gypsy Hill Park to feed the ducks, hit the skatepark, and play on the playgrounds. Montgomery Hall Park has more playgrounds as well as miles of hiking and biking trails.
  • There’s always something happening at Augusta Expo. Events include the Augusta County Fair, monster truck rallies, Bigfoot conventions, and more. 

Getaway with the Girls

Share the best of Staunton’s trendy restaurants, local wine, and unique shopping with your besties. You’ll make so many new memories that you’ll want to make Staunton an annual destination.

Where to Stay

  • Not only does 4-suite Gibson’s Warehouse have an interesting history as a working railroad warehouse, but it’s also just steps from downtown Staunton dining and entertainment. Renovated efficiency apartments are appointed with full kitchens and living spaces. There’s also a common space in the lobby with seating so guests can mingle and socialize.
  • Staunton Stays is a four-suite boutique hotel in a beautifully renovated Victorian house. Each suite is decorated according to a different theme. All offer full kitchens, modern bathrooms, living quarters, and access to a laundry room.

Where to Eat

  • Try a range of Spanish tapas and other Mediterranean food at Aioli Restaurant.
  • Enjoy wine by the glass or bottle at Yelping Dog Wine. Share a cheese plate or munch on gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.  
  • Savor wine, beer, and light fare such as apps and sandwiches at The Green Room.
  • Dine at Table 44 for amazing Southern food with a twist.

What to Do

Guys’ Weekend

Staunton has golf, cigars, the great outdoors, and food and beer.  What else do you need for an awesome guys’ weekend? 

Where to Stay

  • Tru by Hilton has modern amenities, access to both the interstate and downtown, and generous public gathering spaces.
  • Avid Hotel focuses on getting the essentials right at a value price.

Where to Eat

What to Do

5 Ways to Enjoy Your Staunton Staycation

Not ready for far-away travel just yet? You might want to skip that mid-winter trip out of the country. Why not take a Staunton staycation instead? We’ve rounded up five ways to have a blast and make new discoveries right here in Staunton. Here are our tips for seeing our beautiful city through fresh, new eyes.

Fill Your Days With Local Fun

How well do you really know Staunton? Why not find out with one of the unique tours you can take when you download the Traipse app on your phone. Combining trivia with touring, Traipse brings Staunton to life in over 12 themed tours. Level up your history game with a tour of the Frontier Culture Museum or the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and Presidential Library, and the Camera Heritage Museum. Little ones will love the Antique Fire Engine Museum at the fire station, starring the oldest motorized fire engine in Virginia.

Try a New Outdoor Adventure

Venture a little way out of Staunton for some of the best outdoor adventures in the country. Glide downhill at one of the area’s four awesome ski resorts: Wintergreen Resort, Bryce Mountain Resort, Omni Homestead Resort, and Massanutten Resort all offer skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing. Bridgewater’s Generations Park has a stellar skating rink. Shenandoah National Park and George Washington and Jefferson National Forest are packed with interesting trails in a range of difficulties, though you should check online before visiting for an area’s opening status. Head underground at Grand Caverns, the country’s oldest show cave. Another way to get underground is by exploring the Blue Ridge Tunnel Trail that follows an old railroad bed under Afton Mountain!

Skip the Souvenir and Invest in Something Unique and Meaningful

Do you sometimes waste money buying silly trinkets when you’re on vacation? Why not take all that money you’ll be saving and put it toward something you’ll really love, something that will bring your room together? Consider heirloom-quality furniture from Concepts Created, which uses reclaimed wood to create custom dining tables, hutches, benches, mantles, and more. Buy some exquisite art glass from Sunspots Studio, or make your walls pop with work from a local artist from the CoArt Gallery. If you like to personalize your space with words, check out the gorgeous custom signs from Blair Made. And if your kids are pining because they didn’t get Mickey Mouse ears, take them to Pufferbellies Toys & Books and let them pick out something they’ll love even more!

Are you one of those people who hangs out behind the camera and only goes on vacation for the photos? Score lots of likes by setting up shots at Staunton’s Best Insta-Worthy Spots, including near the large metal sculptures of flowerpots, books, and eyeglasses created by Ferguson Metal Fabrication. 

Make Take-Out a Fine Dining Experience

If you’re still hoping to wait a bit before hanging out in a crowded restaurant, why not take carry-out to the next level? Iron the fancy tablecloth and use those fancy forks you got for your wedding. Shake things up by ordering something new from your favorite restaurant. Most Staunton restaurants offer takeout, so you could even order different courses from different spots. Start with a bottle of wine from Yelping Dog Wine and a loaf of fresh bread from Newtown Baking. Enjoy entrees from Table 44, Chicano Boy Taco, or the Depot Grille. Still hungry? A decadent pie from Firkin Pie or a sundae from Wright’s will taste just right at the end of your night. 

Did you get some fancy new cookware for Christmas? The Staunton Grocery will help you break it in by supplying all the local and specialty food items you can’t find in the supermarket. Peruse the catalog online for meats, condiments, spices, specialty oils, and more, and whip up a gourmet feast.

Another good way to fill up and stay warm is to gather around the firepits and sip craft beer at Skipping Rock Beer Co. or Stable Craft Brewing.

Your Home Away From Home

Clutter and day-to-day tasks overwhelming you? Leave your baggage (physical and emotional) behind and check into a Staunton lodging property. Not only will you enjoy some focused time with just the essentials, but you’ll also see your city with new eyes. Best of all, someone else will make the bed! Book a room in a luxury historic hotel, a convenient brand hotel, a well-appointed bed and breakfast, or a unique vacation rental. Stop by the front desk or the Visitor Center for some brochures and ideas about where to spend your day. 

Staunton has much to offer both visitors and long-time residents. Get out there and have fun like a tourist!

What To Do In Staunton on a Snowy Day

Has winter weather stuck a wrench in your plans? Kids home from school and already bored? Fortunately, Staunton has plenty of ways to keep busy on snowy days and in freezing temperatures. From skiing to creating a comfortable den to snuggling with a new book, here’s how to make the most of a snow day in Staunton.

Ride Your Sled

You may have noticed that there’s not a lot of flat ground in Staunton. This may be exhausting for walking and biking, but it’s terrific after a good snow. Bundle up and try out some of our slopes. Montgomery Hall Park and Gypsy Hill Park offer lots of hills, places to park, and even winter bathrooms. Residents also gather to sled on the sweeping hill on the Mary Baldwin campus.

Walk the Winter Wonderland

Staunton is beautiful all year long, but nothing rivals the long winter views of distant mountains when the leaves are off the trees. For some incredible winter views and a chance to reach your daily step goals, try some in-town hikes. The city plows the 1.3-mile loop road at Gypsy Hill Park, making it a prime spot to walk or jog when the sidewalks might still be snowy. Quiet Bell’s Lane is a local birding hotspot that winds through farmland just north of Staunton. If you’re willing to get your boots snowy, Betsy Bell Wilderness offers winter solitude and views of Staunton from above from two from overlooks. Finally, the miles of hiking/biking trails through Montgomery Hall Park and the climb from the Wharf to Woodrow Park boast chances to see nature’s best winter show.

Ski, Snowboard,Tube, or Skate

Hoping to secure a spot at the Winter Olympics? Staunton is located just a short drive away from four awesome ski resorts where you can master the moguls and enjoy apres-ski amenities in style! Wintergreen Resort, Bryce Mountain Resort, Omni Homestead Resort, and Massanutten Resort all offer snow tubing. Along with 12 tubing lanes and a 120-foot drop, there’s a 5,000 square-foot skating rink at Massanutten. See Downhill Fun for more information. You can also lace up your skates at the outdoor rink in Bridgewater’s Generations Park. The rink is open through the beginning of March. Reserve time slots online.

Outfit Yourself for Winter

Shop for outdoor gear suited for wintry weather at Stan’s Ski and Snowboard. You’ll also find a wide selection of seasonal gear at Wilderness Adventure. Runners can bundle up for the winter at Sole Focus Running Shop, and Black Dog Bikes can help you ready your wheels and gears for your next big adventure.

Sip Something Tasty

You’ll be FREEZING after all that time in the snow, so warm your body with some hot cocoa and lunch from Cranberry’s Eatery & Grocery. You won’t be able to resist the Italian dark chocolate cocoa at Split Banana, which is topped with decadent whipped cream and shaved chocolate. Caffeine lovers will want to taste the fresh-roasted flavor of the coffee at Crucible Coffee Roasters, and if you like to warm up with craft beer, Redbeard Brewing Company has your new favorite brew on tap. If you want something really special, try this tasty number from Zynodoa. It incorporates Callebaut chocolate, peanut miso caramel, house-made marshmallows, Elijah Craig bourbon, and Amontillado sherry!

Cuddle up with a Book

Find your next great read on the shelves at The Book Dragon. You’ll find new books for adults and children as well as a selection of used titles. Pufferbellies also sells popular books for kids and they can help you find what’s right for your young reader. Set the mood for relaxation with a candle in your favorite scent from Essentially Zen Artisan Body & Bath Co.

Roll the Dice

Is the entire family home together on this snowy day? Stave off cabin fever with a new board game. Try Pufferbellies Toys and Books for a curated selection of games and puzzles. You’ll find something for all ages and plenty of enthusiastic advice from staff. If you’re into strategy games, war games, and more, The Dragon’s Hoard has a big selection of games, gaming and hobby supplies, dice, and miniatures. 


Exercise your brain and your Scooby skills at Crack the Code Escape Room. Visitors can tackle both live and take-home escape challenges, some of which are Staunton-themed. Dust off your bowling bag: you’ll score big on indoor family fun with a few rounds of bowling (and trips to the snack bar) at Staunton Lanes.

Culture Yourself

Check to make sure it’s open, but a museum can be the perfect way to spend a snowy or wet afternoon. The Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and Presidential Library is a good destination to learn about history and tour the 19th-century manse. Plus, you can even visit virtually! Explore the rotating art and history exhibits at Staunton Augusta Arts Center in the historic R.R. Smith Center for History and Art. The Beverley Street Studio School Gallery and Co-ART Gallery host multiple exhibits of fine local art each year. 

10 Things We Are Thankful For In Staunton This Year

Thanksgiving is almost here. Take some time between raking leaves, planning side dishes, and agonizing over table settings to reflect on the many things we’re thankful for in Staunton.

Our Great Outdoors

Staunton’s location in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley provides incredible views of mountains on both sides. Were just a few minutes from Shenandoah National Park with its many trails and Skyline Drive. We’re also right in the middle of George Washington and Jefferson National Forest, a wonderful place to hike, bike, paddle, and explore. Even downtown Staunton offers a robust park system featuring trails, views, pools, wilderness areas, playgrounds, ballfields, and a dog park.

Independent Small Businesses

Staunton boasts a diverse mix of indie shops. Our small business owners are following their passions, and creating one of the best independent shopping districts in the state. Hurrah for Staunton Olive Oil Company, Essentially Zen Artisan Bath and Body Shop, Latitudes, Made; By the People, For the People, Medieval Fantasies Company, Refill Renew, Pufferbellies Toys and Books, and more

Foodie Scene

For a small town, Staunton has a lot of good food and this list only scratches the surface. Enjoy fresh coffee and out-of-this-world pastries at Reunion Bakery & Espresso, Crucible Coffee Roasters, or Newtown Baking. Sit down to a tasty lunch emphasizing local ingredients at Serendipity Java Bar and Eatery, Table 44, the Pampered Palate, or Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery. Savor a dinner at Chicano Boy Taco, Zynodoa, the Mill Street Grill, or Aioli. Make sure to leave room for something sweet from The Split Banana, the Clocktower Eats and Sweets, or Wright’s Dairy Rite

Craft Beer, Wine, and Cider

Virginia is making quite a name for itself in the craft beer and wine scene, and our local area is no exception. In fact, Staunton was just named one of the “20 Best Beer Towns in the United States.” Hop on the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail to sip at 19 breweries, all within an hour’s drive. Queen City Brewing, Redbeard Brewing Company, and Shenandoah Valley Brewing Co. are all within city limits. Baja Bean Co. sells a wide selection of craft beers by the bottle or on tap. Wine lovers can taste the local varietals and more at Ox-Eye Vineyards Tasting Room, Yelping Dog Wine, the Green Room, or the new Seed to Tail Kitchen & Market. Barren Ridge Vineyards is just a short drive away. If you prefer cider, grab a seat and a flight at Staunton’s new cidery, Ciders from Mars.

Artists, Artisans, and the Performing Arts

There are many ways to explore Staunton’s flourishing arts community. Walk around and visit Staunton’s collection of murals and public art. Drop in at a gallery. Take a class at Beverley Street Studio School. Visit Sunspots Studios, where you can watch glass art being created in front of your eyes. Catch a virtual performance by The American Shakespeare Center or a live show at ShenanArts where local performers put on high-energy performances. Got dramatic kids? Sign them up for a theater class with Silver Line Theatre Exchange.

Live Music 

From the world-renowned performers who perform at the Heifetz International Music Institute, to the wonderful local musicians enlivening the scene at our favorite breweries and restaurants, Staunton is home to the very best in music–making. We’ve got live, free music almost every night of the week at Gypsy Hill Park during the summer. We have music festivals that entertain all year long. These include Red Wing Roots Music Festival, the classical Staunton Music Festival, as well as rock, blues, jazz, and folk festivals.

Local Farmers and Producers

We are fortunate to be able to enjoy some of the freshest, most delicious locally grown food available anywhere in the USA.  We have a seasonal farmer’s market (and new winter market,) farm-fresh roadside stands, and pick-your-own farms.  We’re the envy of many communities in the “buy fresh, buy local” movement. Plus, many of our restaurants prioritize using this seasonal and healthy food in their recipes.

Museums and Historic Sites

Staunton’s in touch with its history. Take a walking tour and admire downtown’s amazing Victorian architecture. See the past come to life at the Frontier Culture Museum and Woodrow Wilson’s Birthplace Museum. Check out the Camera Heritage Museum, explore Thornrose Cemetery, or even book a private ghost tour

Our Fun Community

Though Covid has put a damper on a some of the live community events, we hope to soon be able to take advantage of all our favorites. We’re thankful for the Staunton Christmas Parade, Caroling in the Park, Happy Birthday America Celebration, Celebration of Holiday Lights in the Park, Queen City Mischief and Magic, Art in the Park, Concerts at Trinity Church and many more.

The People

We are thankful for YOU!  You, as a visitor or local, all come together to make Staunton exactly what it is!  It wouldn’t be the same without you. We’re also thankful for our teachers, our police officers, and our Public Works department. We’re thankful for the servers and bartenders in the cafes who know our faces and orders by heart, the doctors who keep us healthy, and many more. We are grateful for all of the incredible people who live and work in Staunton that contribute every day to help make our small city so amazing. 

We hope you’ll enjoy and share this list.  But most of all – we hope you’ll add to this list with all the things you are grateful for in Staunton. Happy Thanksgiving!

Staunton’s Fall Foliage Report 2021: Weekend of October 29-31

The autumn colors are peaking in Staunton, and boy are they spectacular. This week, leaf peepers should see yellows and reds from maples. Look also for red displays from sumac and, surprisingly, poison ivy vines, which add festive garlands to tree trunks. Midweek wind brought down a lot of leaves, so rake them into piles and photograph the kiddos jumping and undoing all your hard work. Plan also to visit the Staunton Farmers’ Market on one of its final weeks this Saturday. Check for some color in the historic Wharf area and nearby on the grounds of Trinity Church. Other ways to see seasonal shades are to visit nearby pumpkin patches and corn mazes, and of course, look forward to the little ones in their Halloween finery on Sunday.

The Virginia Department of Forestry predicts peak fall foliage this week. The weather should be in the 50s this weekend, so get out there and enjoy the mountains and the Shenandoah Valley in all their glory. Check out the views along the Skyline Drive, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and from the top of Shenandoah Mountain to the west.

Staunton’s Fall Foliage Report 2021: Weekend of October 22-24

You won’t need to look hard to see Staunton’s autumnal colors as you enjoy being outside in the seasonal weather this weekend. Cooler days and chilly nights (have you turned the heat on yet?) are making it feel like fall. And we’re getting some peak colors both in the mountains and in town. Look for bright red and orange maples to serve as backdrops for your family photos. According to the Virginia Department of Forestry, “individual trees planted in urban and suburban landscapes often color earlier than those in the forest.” So, while elevation impacts temperature, which can affect color, you’re likely to see pops of color in town before widespread changes in the mountains.

Walks through Staunton’s historic neighborhood, long drives through rural Augusta County, and hikes in Shenandoah National Park all make great ways to check out the colors. Hikers wanting color closer to home should explore the trails at Montgomery Hall Park or Betsy Bell Wilderness Area. Gypsy Hill Park also has a walking loop and beautiful views.

Check here every week for our updated fall foliage report.

Staunton’s Fall Foliage Report 2021: Weekend of October 15-17

It’s still pretty warm in Staunton during the day, but with some nights dipping into the 40s, we should really start seeing some of fall’s fiery color this weekend! The following week looks like it will be much cooler, so the height of the season will be here soon. In fact, the Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage Prediction Map predicts that leaves will peak between October 11-25, so get out there and leaf peep. You’ll find some nice backgrounds around the train station for fall-themed photos, and a climb up to Woodrow Park on Sears Hill rewards with stellar views of Staunton from above. You’ll also see lots of trees in Gypsy Hill Park with the added bonus of the swimming pool enclosure that’s populated with friendly and spooky Halloween scarecrows.

If the rain holds off this weekend, it should be good weather for hiking, so make sure you get out with your camera. If you haven’t done it yet this year, Humpback Rocks offers wide open views of the Shenandoah and Rockfish Valleys as well as chances to see migrating hawks. If you’d rather head to the west, drive up Shenandoah Mountain and hike the trails around the Confederate Breastwork Interpretive Site. You’ll notice that the trees at higher elevations are starting to show off those autumnal colors. The Virginia Department of Forestry suggests that the green will continue to change to yellow as limited daylight shuts down chlorophyll production. Though all deciduous trees change color and drop their leaves, the intensity of the show varies each year.

Check here every week for our updated fall foliage report.

Staunton’s Fall Foliage Report: Weekend October 8-10, 2021

Things are moving right along on the leaf front this week. There’s still lots of faded green in town, but the foliage is definitely punctuated with the yellows, oranges, and reds of fall. There are enough leaves on the ground to give your walks a pleasing background crackle. The Virginia Department of Forestry suggests looking to sourwood, sumac, Virginia creeper, black gum, dogwood, and some maples for the most color this week. More changes are coming as the weather turns cooler and the daylight hours shorten. Potential rain this weekend will put a damper on major hikes, but if you find a clear window, take a stroll around the loop at  Gypsy Hill Park or along Bell’s Lane.

Another good way to see the fall foliage and stay dry is to take a drive and watch the fall colors pop against the cloudy, grey background. Map a leisurely loop along Augusta County’s backroads or travel north or south on the Skyline Drive or the Blue Ridge Parkway for some great views. Virginia’s autumn colors begin at higher elevations before moving down the slopes, and the Virginia Department of Forestry reports that significant changes have already occurred high along the Blue Ridge and Allegheny ridges. The Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage Prediction Map predicts that leaves will peak during the week of October 11-25, which means things will continue to happen very quickly!

Check here every week for our updated fall foliage report.

Staunton’s Fall Foliage 2021: Weekend of October 1-3

Fall started last week, but it’s still pretty warm. In fact, it’s pretty much perfect weather. The warm days and cooler nights are ideal for hiking, camping, and hitting the playground with your kids. The trees are still mostly green, but here and there you can see yellowing and flashes of orange. You’ll have to wait for a while until you can roll around in piles of raked leaves or get your fall portraits, but the cooler weather is sending the trees its signal.

 

Beyond Staunton

Colors come to the trees first in the mountains and in the western part of the state. After that, the colors spread east and down the mountain slopes. The Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage Prediction Map predicts that leaves will peak during the week of October 11-25, which means things will need to happen very quickly! Make sure you don’t miss it: get outside over the next few weeks for hikes both in the mountains and in the Valley.

The Virginia Department of Forestry suggests looking to black gum (red), dogwood (scarlet to purple), sumacs (red orange), and even poison ivy (red) for hints of color this week. A lot of wildflowers are still in bloom now, so make sure you’re looking along the sides of roads and trails while you’re out exploring this weekend.

If you’re looking for a nice drive, explore the Blue Ridge Parkway for wonderful views of leaves and migrating hawks.

Check back here for our updated fall foliage report each week if you’re planning to leaf peep this autumn.

Scenic September in Staunton

Clear blue skies, temps in the seventies, and low humidity are reasons why September shines as a month to get outside. Short on time? These destinations are all in town, so plan a stroll or bike ride to find your favorite spots. Bring the kids along to visit the parks, feed the ducks and stretch their legs. Here’s how to enjoy scenic September in Staunton.

Gypsy Hill Park

Gypsy Hill Park is the most popular of Staunton’s Parks, and there’s definitely a festive atmosphere when little league games and live music are happening. Walk, jog, or pedal the 1.3-mile loop and you’ll definitely meet a friend or neighbor. Little ones will enjoy the two updated playgrounds, and your dog will love making paw pals at the dedicated bark park. There’s aquatic life, too, in the form of ducks, geese, swans, and fish to feed at the duck pond and fish to hook at Lake Tams. Brave souls with good balance can shred it at the skatepark. Fuel up for the rest of your day at Chicano Boy Taco.

Gypsy Hill Golf Club

September is perfect golfing weather, and there’s no better place to do it than on the par 71 Gypsy Hill Golf Club, part of Staunton’s history since 1919. The terrain is steep, but stunning, with lots of old trees and long-range views of the mountains. Fees, cart rentals, and private lessons are reasonable. Head over to Queen City Brewing after your round.

Montgomery Hall Park

Montgomery Hall Park has a bit of everything, from playgrounds to hiking trails to sports fields to picnic pavilions. You can’t miss the spiderweb and tall slide tower as you drive into the park, but did you know there’s a less visible natural playground in the park, too? This quiet and shady spot is the perfect environment for kids to develop imaginations, balance, and appreciation for nature’s toybox. Hikers and mountain bikers share several miles of well marked and maintained trails winding through the trees and hills. This area is also used for a popular 18-hole disc golf course. And if the cooling weather means racquet sports to you, get your game on at the tennis, pickleball, and basketball courts. Grab a bite or a loaf of bread at Newtown Baking & Kitchen.

Betsy Bell and Mary Gray Wilderness Area

Betsy Bell Wilderness is Staunton’s best-kept secret when it comes to natural areas within the city limits. You’ll enjoy a peaceful hike or bike away from the bustle. The climb is steep, so catch your breath and survey the city from above at one of the two overlooks. Betsy Bell is a hotspot for birdwatching and good for walking your dog. Treat yourself after your hike with a cone from Kline’s Dairy Bar!

Woodrow and Landes Parks

Woodrow and Landes Parks are so small that you might not even know they exist. And while you might not be able to play a baseball game there, they’re part of a perfect loop for stretching your legs and snapping some beautiful photographs. Climb the steep steps to the Sears Hill Bridge from the Wharf.  Cross the bridge, stopping to gaze up and down the railroad tracks and out over Staunton’s rooftops. Rest a while in Woodrow Park before strolling through the Sears Hill neighborhood. Take Middlebrook Avenue back to downtown and you’ll pass through Landes Park as it passes under the tracks and skirts the edge of Lewis Creek. Your pics in this space will be cool and moody. Make sure you visit nearby Crucible Coffee or Ciders from Mars for a quick sip before heading home.

Other Places to Have a Stroll

While not part of the city park system, historic Thornrose Cemetery and the Frontier Culture Museum make good places to take an urban hike. Thornrose Cemetery was built on the park cemetery model popular in the 1800s. Since city park spaces were rare, cemeteries made up for it with interesting architecture like towers, bridges, and scenic paths. See Explore Staunton on Foot: Thornrose Cemetery for more information. The Frontier Culture Museum brings the past to life on eight working farms representing the Valley’s early settlers. Costumed interpreters do chores and educate visitors who explore the sprawling complex at their own pace. Later, get dinner at nearby Thai Staunton.

Finally, consider taking one of our self-guided walking tours to learn the history of one of Staunton’s historic districts.