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Last Family Summer Hurrah in Staunton

School’s already here, but there’s plenty of time to take one last family trip while the weather’s still nice and before the fall sports schedule starts up again. Round up the kids, the snacks, the dog, the camera, and head to Staunton for the day or for the long weekend. From shopping to hiking to family-friendly dining to festivals, learning experiences, and rainy-day fun, here’s how to make the most of this beautiful time of year.

First, Stock up on School Supplies

Don’t go back to school empty-handed. Find some special school supplies at these Staunton businesses.

  • Made; By the People for the People has novelty pencils, notepads, crayons, notecards, Staunton swag, and more.
  • Pufferbellies will fill your library with books to read during free reading time. They also carry colored pencils and art supplies, markers, gel pens, stickers, and plenty to keep you busy during the time you’re not in school.
  • Need to read every night for homework? The Book Dragon has you covered.
  • Handmade cards for thoughtful thank yous? Words to inspire courage? Journals for your own precious ideas? Words Matter has a great selection of them all.
  • If you got your letter from Hogwarts this year, Queen City Games and Gifts has a selection of wands (and much more) to make your school term a success!
  • South Horizon Gifts has pretty journals and a variety of crystals to draw positive energy.
  • Has your child joined the middle school band? Heifetz Music Shop & Instrument Rental can set you up with everything you need to make beautiful music.
  • Still need a backpack, comfortable shoes, or a new water bottle? Wilderness Adventure can help you prepare for school and the great outdoors. 

Come to our Festivals

  • Held over Labor Day weekend, this family-friendly festival highlights the fine art and fine crafts of local and regional artists. Art in the Park welcomes everyone for a weekend of art, food, music, and activities for the whole family.
  • Back after a little hiatus, is the African-American Heritage & Multicultural Festival which will be held on September 16-17, 2023, at Gypsy Hill Park. The revived festival will feature vendors, food trucks, storytellers, musicians, entertainers, and activities that showcase the diverse cultures found in our region.
  • Families will not want to miss the annual Queen City Mischief and Magic Festival on September 23-24, 2023. Inspired by the Harry Potter series, Staunton’s downtown turns into a magical village full of costumes, performances, and themed experiences and activities.

Next, Explore the Great Outdoors

  • Learn about the past at the Frontier Culture Museum. Visitors to this outdoor living history museum can experience life in early America and Europe. You’ll see historic buildings, learn from costumed interpreters, pet animals, and even get your hands dirty doing farm chores.
  • See the Valley from a new perspective on a Virginia Scenic Railway tour. Ride in a modernized 1940s vintage train car while enjoying a meal and watching the countryside roll by.
  • Montgomery Hall Park has two more playgrounds. One is traditional with slides and swings, and the other is made of natural elements to encourage imaginative play. Families can also hike or bike miles of wooded trails, or play pickle ball, basketball courts, or 18-holes of disc golf. 
  • A family can spend all day playing in Gypsy Hill Park. You’ll find two playgrounds, a pond full of hungry ducks and fish, and a fishing lake. There’s even a miniature train to ride on the weekends.

Then have some Indoor Fun

  • You’ll have a blast working together to solve puzzles at Crack the Code Escape Room. Pick from several challenges like Seance: Family Secrets, Crazy Cat Lady, or The Dark Mage’s Rise. Think fast because you’ll only have an hour to decipher the clues and break out of the mysterious room.
  • Travel back to the early 1600s at the American Shakespeare Center. This re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor Blackfriars Playhouse is an authentic reproduction (except with modern safety standards and plumbing.) A world-renowned theater company puts on lively and engaging performances of Shakespeare’s best work.
  • Woodrow Wilson Birthplace showcases Wilson’s connection to Staunton and more with programming for all ages. Enjoy a variety of tours of exhibits int he house and garden. Kids can complete the creative projects detailed on the activities page as a follow-up in their free time. 
  • Sunspots Studios provides a fascinating chance to watch artisans working with molten glass as they create the art sold in the gallery. Feel free to ask lots of questions about the process or even reserve a spot in a  “Blow Your Own Ornament” session, led by a trained artist. 
  • Keep everyone active as you knock down pins at Staunton Lanes. There’s also an arcade, a snack bar, and bumper lanes for beginners.

You’ll be hungry

  • Everyone, even the pickiest of eaters likes breakfast, and Kathy’s Restaurant serves it all day. 
  • Get your burger fix at Remedy Burger. They serve gourmet burgers and chicken sandwiches, fancy fries, and kids’ plates for those who just want something plain.
  • Order kids’ favorites like burgers, hotdogs, fries, and shakes at Wright’s Dairy Rite. This retro diner serves kids meals in boxes shaped like classic cars, and there’s a huge dessert menu full of ice cream delights.
  • You can get plain and gourmet toppings on your pie at Shenandoah Pizza & Taphouse. Grown-ups will like the big beer menu and regular live music.
  • The Depot Grille appeals to families with a big menu full of American favorites. Parents can relax with cocktails before climbing the nearby iron footbridge that crosses the railroad tracks.
  • The Baja Bean has a kids’ menu for small appetites and a regular menu full of your Mexican favorites. The tasty fare is best accompanied by something off the impressive tap list. 
  • Looking for dessert? You can get a giant soft-serve cone from Kline’s Dairy Bar or head to The Split Banana for your choice of 24 fresh-made flavors of gelato. Sweet Addie’s loads Belgian waffles with a variety of delicious toppings.

Rest your heads

With these activities and more, Staunton is a great destination for a fun-filled and memorable escape with your kids. Start planning today!

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