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Best Things To Do in Staunton with Families

Updated: Jan 20



family beside a stream holding a net of fish

During our fishing season we get a lot of families that come on beginner fly fishing trips. Most are staying around Shenandoah National Park, Massanutten, or Wintergreen Resorts looking for outdoor activities. We also get a lot of clients that travel of from the Tidewater and are looking for some time in the mountains. Many have never visited Staunton before, and after they spend some time in town, always find a neat restaurant, shop, or museum. I always tell them that Staunton is a great place for a weekend trip, and that there's always something to do, especially with kids.


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Staunton's Frontier Culture Museum is a captivating attraction that allows visitors to step back in time and explore the diverse cultures that shaped the Shenandoah Valley. With immersive exhibits and living history demonstrations, the self-guided tour offers an educational and entertaining experience for the whole family. Farms and houses from the Shenandoah Valley, Europe, and even West Africa are represented from different time periods. The museum tells the story of life on the farm through examples of woodworking, fiber spinning, and blacksmithing, Easy walking trails lead to each homestead with animals and gardens at many stops. Think Colonial Williamsburg without the crowds and stifling humidity.



Located in downtown Staunton, Gypsy Hill Park is a spacious and picturesque destination that caters to outdoor enthusiasts. The 214-acre park features several playgrounds for children and expansive green spaces perfect for picnics and relaxation. Be sure to visit the duck pond to feed the ducks or ride the Gypsy Express mini railroad that operates on the weekends during the summer. It is customary to yell in the tunnel! Lake Tams is stocked throughout the year for fishing. Also in the Summertime free concerts and movie nights are played at the grandstand and the Staunton Braves offers an opportunity to take in a little of America's past time. 



Another park in Staunton that is located on the west end of town is one of my favorite places. There is a huge network of hiking trails and even though you are in the heart of Staunton, you are surrounded by forests and wildlife. There is a natural playground where kids can hop on log bridges and balance beams, and just generally get dirty. If Frisbee Golf is your thing, there is course that meanders throughout the park. There are plenty of pavilions for picnics and family activities, and the pickleball courts always seem to be busy. 


Woodrow Wilson was elected our 28th President when he resided in New York, however his birthplace is here in Staunton. The Wilson Presidential Library and Museum offers a glimpse of the house he grew up in and features a car from his inauguration. The Wilson Family House is listed on the national register of historic places.  



Staunton is home to the renowned American Shakespeare Center's Blackfriars Playhouse, a re-creation of Shakespeare's indoor Globe Theater. Enjoy world-class performances and immerse yourself in the world of classic theater. You can even sit on stage and see the performances up close. The indoor theater is really a sight with the intricate woodwork and bench seats. Performances are held throughout the year.



A visit to Pufferbellies is a must for families. This is simply the best toy store ever! They offer a delightful array of toys, games, and puzzles that will captivate the imagination of kids and adults alike. I always get stuck looking at Legos, but every item in there seems well though out. Art supplies, science kits, toys, and games all seem to take the kid's point of view into account, and shelves are filled with unique things. They will even gift wrap it for you if you are bad a wrapping. 


Located in Staunton's Historic Wharf the local farmer's market is every Saturday April-November. It is always a treat for the senses as you are surrounded by colorful foods, wonderful scents, and usually a band performing. Local fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and baked goods are readily available, as well as other craft vendors. The apple cider donuts always smell amazing, and it's never too early for a wine tasting. Its a great opportunity to sample the Valley as well as meet the amazing people that put the work into their products.  


For a touch of creativity and artistry, visit Sunspots Studios, where you can witness skilled artisans practicing the ancient craft of glassblowing. It's an interactive experience that will leave a lasting impression on visitors of all ages. Live demonstrations are held Wednesdays through Sundays and definitely warm! Just make sure to walk carefully through the gallery and as my parents told me "keep your hands in your pockets". I think I must have been a clumsy kid...


Another thing to see in Staunton is the Jumbo Antique Fire Engine Museum at the local Staunton fire station. Jumbo is the oldest motorized fire engine in Virginia and the only remaining 1911 Robinson fire engine. It is housed in a museum inside Station 1 at 500 N. Augusta Street. The museum is typically open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., depending on station call volume so you may want to reach out to the station beforehand to arrange a tour. 


If trains are your thing and you didn't get enough with the Gypsy Express, Virginia Scenic Railway offers three hour tour rides on a legitimate steam locomotive. This scenic tour leaves the station in Staunton and heads west through the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. This tour is very popular in the Fall when foliage is changing, however the pop of color from trees and wildflowers in the Spring would be quite beautiful as well. Often you can hear the train whistle throughout the town. Before boarding, make sure you walk over the station and up Sears Hill to get a rooftop view of the town.


Do you like solving clues and perform well under pressure? There are several scenarios/escape rooms that you have to work together and find you way out of before time runs out. Do you and your family have what it takes to get out in time?

 

If you have older kids and aren't afraid of the dark, then a tour through the streets at night might be up your alley. Tour the downtown area while you hear tales of woe and about the spirits that inhabit the city of Staunton. Between Civil War history, lunatic asylums, and just creepy places in the area, Staunton attracts paranormal activity. While to tour is "safe" for younger children, the length is about 90 minutes so it might run into bedtime. This is one of our favorite family activities around Halloween.  

 

Best Things To Eat Kid's Addition:

 

 

Family Activities and Fun Things Near Staunton

 

Just a short drive from Staunton, Natural Chimneys Park is a natural wonder featuring unique rock formations. Families can explore the park, have a picnic, or even camp overnight for an unforgettable outdoor adventure.

 

A part of Massanutten Resort, the water park is indoor and outdoor so you can swim year round. Spend the day in the pool, hot, tub, or slides, or my favorite, the lazy river. The resort offers outdoor activities throughout the four seasons. Ski in the morning and sit poolside in the afternoon.


The valley is filled with a number of caverns that you can tour, but the most renowned is Luray Caverns. Luray Caverns is the largest caverns on the east coast. Walk amongst stalagmites and see rooms as tall as 10 stories. Its a constant 55 degrees year round so bring jacket.

 

Canoe trips, rock climbing, rappelling, caving, and hiking trips throughout the region. Basically anything outdoors skills wise (besides fly fishing!) they can find an adventure for you and your family.


Do the little ones need to burn off some energy? Valley Jump Park is a place where kids can literally bounce of the walls. Trampolines, inflatables, obstacle courses, and even jousting (with foam) will keep them entertained for hours, and sleeping in the car on the way home.


 

The Staunton area is a literal playground for young and old alike. From toy stores, and restaurants, comic book stores, and even a modeling shop, Staunton's historic districts offers a lot of things to do with kids. Staunton parks offers a variety of green space and events throughout the year, and the surrounding Shenandoah Valley offers numerous opportunities for outdoor activities. Staunton offers something for everyone so by all means let us take your family fishing, but why not plan a visit to Staunton and make a trip for everyone to remember?   







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