Take on the Great Outdoors in Waynesboro

July 01, 2022
Stories, Outdoors

Summer is a wonderful time to take on the great outdoors, so it’s time to get out and explore the trails, the rivers, and the natural spaces near Waynesboro that make it one of the best places to visit. We’ve rounded up places to enjoy these resources, as well as where to camp while you’re doing it!

 

 

Natural Spaces

 

Shenandoah National Park

People travel from all over the world to visit Shenandoah National Park, and the southern entrance is just a few miles from Waynesboro. Experience world-class hiking and chances to see wildlife, wildflowers, views of the Shenandoah Valley, and panoramic starry skies. The park has camping and guided nature programs, and you can even see much of it from the Skyline Drive as it meanders along the ridge of the mountains. A good, hard hike for a hot day is Riprap Trail, which leads visitors to a giant natural pool.

 

Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway runs along the Blue Ridge Mountains to the south of Waynesboro and it’s a wonderful way to access overlooks, trails, and natural areas in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. Popular hikes nearby include Humpback Rocks and White Rock Falls.

 

George Washington and Jefferson National Forest

The George Washington and Jefferson National Forest encompasses a huge swath of land running up and down the Valley to our east and west. You’ll encounter miles of trails, streams and waterfalls, gorgeous views, hundreds of species of animals, birds, and plants. While some day use areas cost a small entrance fee, most of the land is free to use for hiking, wildlife viewing, paddling, fishing, biking, and more. Explore the nearby St. Mary’s Wilderness, The Priest Wilderness, Three Ridges Wilderness, and Ramsey’s Draft Wilderness Areas.

 

The Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail stretches from Georgia to Maine, and while you might not be able to take months off work to hike the entire thing, you can hop onto it at the top of Afton Mountain and hike north through Shenandoah or south through the national forest. Waynesboro is a designated Appalachian Trail community because of its proximity and history of welcoming and supporting hikers.

 

Waynesboro Parks

The City of Waynesboro has a rich park system that includes recreation areas, open spaces, playing fields, a pool, trials, gardens, and much more!

Ridgeview Park: Explore the trails and the footbridge over the South River. Practice soccer, swim in the pool and picnic while the kiddos play on the playground. There’s also a sensory garden.

Constitution Park: You can hop on the South River Greenway at Constitution Park and follow it as it meanders for more than a mile. The park has picnic facilities, river access, a pair of cool Virginia LOVEworks installations, and views of some of the most impressive murals along the Waynesboro Street Arts Trail. Don’t miss the farmer’s market each Saturday morning from 9-noon.

Coyner Springs Park: Have a dog? Head to Coyner Springs Park for a chance to let him run! Sling that ball or frisbee or take him along as you explore the trails. There’s also a 9-hole par 31 Fox Disc Golf course.

 

The South River

One of Waynesboro’s main attractions is the 4-mile section of the South River that runs through town, known as the Waynesboro Water Trail. The trail connects several city parks and offers chances for paddling, wading, and viewing nature. And, as one of only two stocked urban trout fisheries in the state, it’s popular with anglers, too. If floating on the water is more your speed, rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard from Rockfish Gap Outfitters, or try a tube rental from Doah Outdoors, for a more laid-back float. You can follow the river out of town as it joins the South River Blueway and flows north to takeout points in Grottoes and Port Republic.

 

Area Camping

Convenient to local attractions like Shenandoah National Park, Augusta Expo, Eastside Speedway, and downtown Waynesboro, Waynesboro N 340 Campground is a perfect home base for families wanting to have fun! You’ll find campsites for tents and RVs, a swimming pool, a playground, a social room, free wi-fi, and facilities for basketball, softball, and horseshoes. 

This family-owned campground has been in business for more than 30 years.

 

Sherando Lake Recreation Area

You’ll have a wonderful time exploring the extensive trail system and the lakes at Sherando Lake Recreation Area. Water features include a swimming lake with a big, sandy beach and marked swimming area, access for kayaks and canoes, and places to cast a hook from a pier or shore. 

 

Sun Retreats Shenandoah Valley

Plan a wonderful family adventure on the 130 wooded acres at Sun Retreats Shenandoah Valley. You’ll find sites for both tents and RVs as well as cottages and rooms in the lodge. The onsite lake as a big sandy beach and fishing facilities. You can enjoy playgrounds, a jump pad, mini golf, a game room, and yard games such as volleyball and cornhole. Check the schedule for planned activities, live entertainment, and themed events.

 

Walnut Hills Campground

Walnut Hills Campground is another good destination for families. Set up your tent or RV or rent one of the convenient cabins that can fit a couple or a crowd. Splash in the pool, fish in the lake, and watch your kids play in the game room or on the playground. Pets can play in the off-leash dog run while you warm up your arm for a round of disc golf.

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