Although the park is a popular day trip destination, rather than a place where people tend to spend the night, there is some excellent Shenandoah National Park accommodation.
This is a perfect park for road trips from places like Washington, D.C., Charlottesville and Richmond, its star attraction 105-mile-long Skyline Drive. This phenomenal mountain road—one of the greatest anywhere in America—runs through the heart of the park, following and meandering along the crest of the Blue Ridge. It’s absolutely ideal, literally made for, car travel.
Dozens of hiking trails and more than 70 overlooks line Skyline Drive, offering respectively immersion in nature and amazing views. While you can visit much of this wonderful park in just one day, you’re strongly encouraged to do it justice and spend the night there as well. This, for one, allows you to catch both a sunset and sunrise, which are sensational in this overlook- and summit-filled park.
3 Excellent Shenandoah National Park Accommodation Options
If you don’t want to camp, there is other accommodation available in Shenandoah National Park as well. In fact, staying at one of the two historic lodges or at a collection of old mountain cabins is a highlights in itself.
Skyland (MP 41.7)
Appropriately named, Skyland lies on the highest point of Skyline Drive, at an elevation of 3,680 feet. It lies between MP 41.7 and 42.5. There’s a wide range of rooms available, from small cabins to preferred rooms to suites with fireplaces. There are 178 rooms in total.
Other amenities include a horse corral—with guided horseback rides in the woods—, a gift store, a restaurant, a viewing platform and a taproom that features nightly entertainment. Historic buildings on-site include the Massanutten Lodge and Conference Building.
Additionally, Skyland lies conveniently close to a couple of superb hiking trails. If you’re looking to do some scenic hikes in Shenandoah National Park, definitely don’t miss the Limberlost Trail and, especially, the Stony Man Trail.
Big Meadows Lodge (MP 51.2)
Big Meadows Lodge lies more or less halfway down Skyline Drive. This historic lodge, established in 1939, has 97 rooms, which range from rustic cabins with fireplaces to comfortable traditional rooms.
The dining room is where you can get full-service breakfast, lunch and dinner. The the more casual, and extremely atmospheric, taproom hosts evening entertainment. Big Meadows Lodge, as its name suggest, lies at Big Meadows, a large expanse of managed grasslands. This is one of the best spots in the park to spot wildlife such as white-tailed deer and black bears.
Lewis Mountain Cabins (MP 57.5)
A bit further along Skyline Drive, the ten Lewis Mountain Cabins lie secluded amid beautiful woods. These may be rather basic cabins, particularly when compared to the well-equipped lodges above, but all of them do have electricity, heating, bathrooms and come with towels and bed sheets. Outside, you can relax at the covered shelters, which have a fire pit/grill and a picnic table.
Note that there are no refrigerators or utensils in the cabins. So, make sure to bring your own cooler and cooking gear if you’d like to prepare some food. These cabins are ideal for visitors who want to get a more back-to-nature kind of experience when visiting Shenandoah National Park.
In addition to this historic Shenandoah National Park accommodation, there are several basic campgrounds as well. Check out the national park’s website for more information on all available accommodation.