We’ll admit it: this heat has us dreaming of winter! Whether you’ve been outside mowing, walking the dog, playing at camp, or training for fall sports, we know you want to cool off. But while sweater weather might only be a fantasy right now, at least Staunton offers other ways to find icy relief. Here’s our guide to area watering holes where you can swim or get cold beer!
Places to Swim
Gypsy Hill Park Pool
Gypsy Hill Park boasts Staunton’s biggest pool. Plunge into this large, L-shaped paradise that has lanes for laps, a slide, and lots of room to spread your blanket or towel on the grass. There’s even a dedicated kiddie pool for the three-and-under crowd with a gradual entry and a splash bucket. The pool is free for kids under 3. Admission is $3 for everyone else, and you can buy a 20-visit pass for $50. The park also has picnic facilities, two playgrounds, a skatepark, and a 1.3-mile paved loop for walking or riding bikes.
Montgomery Hall Park
The pool at Montgomery Hall Park has both a deep end with a twisty slide and a shallow area with a splash bucket for the littles. Because it’s all one pool, adults can hang out in the water and keep an eye on the kids at the same time. The pool is free for kids under 3 and costs $2 a visit for everyone else. A 20-visit pass is a steal at $35. The pool is conveniently located near a picnic pavilion and one of the city’s best playgrounds. There are additional picnic tables located in shady spots nearby, and the spot isn’t far from the park’s Nature Ridge natural playground.
Located southwest of Staunton and 12 miles west of Lexington, Goshen Pass is a bit of a drive, but it’s absolutely worth it for the icy water and dramatic scenery. Swim, tube, kayak, fish, lounge, picnic, and scramble over the rocks along this three-mile mountain gorge carved by the Maury River. You can choose to embrace the bustle and family atmosphere near the gravel beach at the picnic facilities, or escape the crowds and find your own private rocky island.
25-acre Sherando Lake is a true swimming lake with a big, sandy beach and a clearly-marked swimming area. If you’re feeling bold, you can plunge into the icy water and swim out to an island. You’ll love the mountain scenery and the convenience of the bathhouse. There are even shaded places where you can spread your blanket and lounge while the kids dig in the sand. Built in 1933 by the Civil Conservation Corps, the recreation area also has camping, hiking, boating, fishing, and picnic facilities. There’s an $8/car daily access fee.
Places to Score Cold Beer
Redbeard Brewing handcrafts its beer using traditional techniques, high-quality malts, American and imported hops, and local water. Sample from 10-14 taps and enjoy the newly updated taproom. If you’d rather sit in the fresh air, there’s a beer garden outside. While the brewery doesn’t serve food, you can order from local restaurants or bring snacks. Redbeard also hosts regular events like live music, trivia, karaoke, book club, and a variety of seasonal workshops.
- Try their Saison: Belgian-style golden ale, lightly spiced with ginger, grains of paradise, and citrus peels.
Shenandoah Valley Brewing Co.
You’ll appreciate the tasty beer and the cozy pub-like atmosphere at Shenandoah Valley Brewing Company. The taproom is located downtown on Beverley Street and is part of the weekly Shop and Dine Out in Downtown initiative, which allows patrons to enjoy their beer outside. Beer is served in flights or pints, and while they don’t have food, you can have carryout delivered, or finish your beer, and walk a few steps to a variety of restaurants. Pets are welcome on the patio.
- Try their Shenandoah Pale Ale.
Queen City Brewing
Queen City Brewing serves an extensive selection of delicious craft beer to be enjoyed in the taproom or on the large outdoor patio. Its convenient location next to Gypsy Hill Park makes is a great place to pop into after your evening walk or a round of golf. Hungry? Take advantage of regular food trucks, bottomless popcorn, or order delivery to the brewery. There’s also plenty to keep you busy like live music, trivia, open mic nights, and games on the big screen. “If you get thirsty, hungry or bored here, it’s your own dang fault!”
- Try their Falstaff’s Revenge (American IPA).
Family-owned Baja Bean is best known for dishing out delicious Mexican food made with local ingredients. They also have a well-stocked bar that includes mixed drinks, wine, and a wide selection of craft beers on tap and by the bottle. Did we mention there are happy hour specials?
Shenandoah Pizza and Taproom
Go hungry to Shenandoah Pizza and Taproom, even if you just want a cold beer or two from the menu of ten local taps. Once you’re there, you won’t be able to stop yourself from ordering a gourmet pizza topped with all sorts of goodies and named after something local. Happy hour happens on Thursday night.
Skipping Rock Beer Company
Skipping Rock Beer Company has both a comfortable taproom and a large beer garden for folks to relax in. Try a pint of flight of their delicious beer while you sit around a fire pit, parade your knowledge during a round of pub trivia, or just chill with your friends. Order dinner from the new onsite Za Spot Pizza and listen to some live music. Skipping Rock welcomes kids and dogs.
- Try their smooth, malt-forward Amber Lager.