Waiting for You in Waynesboro with 15 of our Favorite Things
As Virginia gets closer to opening, many families are looking forward to the summer months ahead and wondering, “Should we plan a road trip?” We vote YES! When it is time to travel once more, beautiful, family-friendly Waynesboro will be waiting. To help you dream and plan while still safe at home, we thought we’d share 15 of our favorite experiences, so you can organize the trip that’s best for you.
GET OUTDOORS AND EXPLORE!
1. WAYNESBORO WATER TRAIL
The Waynesboro Water Trail is a four-mile stretch of the South River between Ridgeview Park and Basic Park. An urban waterway shaded by trees and paralleled by a multi-use trail, it’s an excellent (and convenient) outdoor excursion, with Class I and II rapids. You and your family can rent kayaks, canoes, or paddle boards (yes, paddle boards!) from the friendly folks over at Rockfish Gap Outfitters.
2. BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY
The entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway is located just 4 miles from the heart of downtown Waynesboro atop Afton Mountain, and heads south for 469 miles. After you hop on America’s Favorite Drive, you’ll stumble upon stunning views of both the Rockfish Valley and the Shenandoah Valley as you skirt along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. At milepost 5.8 you’ll find one of the most popular hikes in our area and one of the most recognizable geologic landmarks: Humpback Rocks.
3. SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK
If you’d rather venture north from atop Afton Mountain, you’ll enter Shenandoah National Park by way of Skyline Drive. The park features more than 200,000 acres of pristine habitat for black bear, whitetail deer, plethora birds, lush plants, and wildflowers. One of the best ways to both prepare for your trip to SNP and make the most of your trip when you arrive is to download the Shenandoah National Park app. Use it for mapping and locating points of interest, to create your own itinerary of things to do in the park, or to enjoy a self-guided walking tour.
4. GRAND CAVERNS
Just to our north is Grand Caverns, America’s oldest operating show cave. In 1804, the cavern was first discovered by Bernard Weyer - and also named for him. It opened to the public in 1806 as “Weyer’s Cave” and was also known as “Grottoes of the Shenandoah” for a time. Today’s cavern tour takes just over an hour and includes one mile of walking. Ask your guide to point out the civil war-era signatures deep in the cave.
Families who thrive on competitive challenge will enjoy an array of fun at Fastrax. It’s Waynesboro’s go-to gaming center complete with an arcade, 18 holes of mini-golf, two indoor batting cages, and two go-kart tracks!
6. STREET ART
If street art makes you happy, then you’re in luck! You won’t have to search too hard to find the award-winning murals that adorn several of our buildings. One of the easiest to find is “Poochie (Floral),” right beside the Wayne Theatre, our landmark historic performing arts venue.
7. WAYNE THEATRE
The neo-classical Wayne Theatre first opened as a vaudeville house in 1926 - complete with an organ and orchestra pit! The Wayne eventually closed in 1999, and in 2016 it reopened after a comprehensive restoration and renovation. Now the Wayne Theatre is a favorite destination for locals and visitors alike, typically hosting 300+ performances and special events each year.
8. WAYNESBORO HERITAGE MUSEUM
The Waynesboro Heritage Museum is located in an old bank building in the heart of downtown, and contains artifacts dating back to 1797 all the way through today. Tour through the museum’s halls to learn how Waynesboro came to be, with name changes, smaller communities merging into one, industry, agriculture, and people forging ahead.
9. GALLERIES GALORE
The P. Buckley Moss Gallery is home to the works of renowned American artist Patricia Buckley Moss. The evocative scenes portrayed in her art reflect generations of Shenandoah Valley homesteaders and farmers. Her work isn’t just for the adults, though; the gallery’s front window features a large dollhouse with beautifully detailed rooms filled with handcrafted furniture, tiny toys, doll-sized Moss paintings, and more. Kids of all ages will enjoy the "game" of finding small wooden and glass mice arranged throughout the house. How many can you count?
Another staple of the arts in Waynesboro is the Shenandoah Valley Art Center. Get lost exploring the Center’s two galleries, one for members to display their work while the other houses different rotating exhibits each month. If your itch for the arts still hasn’t been scratched, check out their charming gift shop filled with locally made treasures.
10. WAYNESBORO FARMERS’ MARKET
The Waynesboro Farmers’ Market (on Saturday mornings) is a delight for the senses with fresh flowers, artisanal wares, veggies and fruit, and locally raised meats, cheeses, and eggs. Its picturesque location in Constitution Park - a short walk further down Main Street - is yet another lure to extend your Saturday morning.
BITES & SIPS
11. THE RIVER BURGER BAR
Waynesboro’s newest restaurant is already known for its delicious food and courageous attitude! The River Burger Bar opened in the midst of COVID-19, but is quickly becoming a favorite among the locals. The initial menu includes delightfully named dishes that are equally tasty. Try the Potachos for starters (house-made potato chip nachos), followed by The Wedgie (a classic iceberg wedge salad) and The Waynesburger – certified Angus beef with lettuce, tomato, red onion, herb aioli, and dill pickles.
12. THE FISHIN’ PIG
Meat eaters and seafood lovers flock to The Fishin’ Pig where the pork sandwiches require forks and racks of ribs require stacks of napkins. Out back in The Pig Pen you can enjoy live music while tossing cornhole before your food arrives, making it the perfect place to unwind.
13. HERITAGE ON MAIN
Delicious southern dining is at hand at Heritage on Main. Enjoy a cocktail and shareable appetizer with your travel companion before jumping into a main course. Some nights call for wings and more wings while others are definitely for fries poutine and a fried oyster po’boy.
14. CRAFT BEER
If you fancy yourself a craft beer connoisseur, Waynesboro has the scene for you! With three stops along the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail, you’re only five away from a completed passport and a free t-shirt. Our family-friendly breweries embrace the great outdoors, making them ideal for summertime excursions. Basic City Beer Co. has an arcade inside and a hammock garden out back, while Stable Craft Brewing is located on a working horse farm with lots of outdoor activities, and Seven Arrows Brewing features a large, newly-finished deck.
15. VIRGINIA WINE & SPIRITS
Barren Ridge Vineyard is located just outside of Waynesboro on an old apple orchard, where the views are incredible and the wine is exceptional. Veritas Vineyards (in nearby Afton) is home to not only award-winning wine but also great dining. Four wine-paired courses are prepared by Chef Daniel and are available in the farmhouse or on the terrace.
One of the coolest stories in our area is that of the mother-daughter distillery, Silverback Distillery. Right now, they’re producing hand sanitizer, but soon we expect they’ll be back to making their ultra-premium vodka, gin, rye whiskey and honey rye whiskey. Their outdoor tasting room is the perfect place to continue social distancing while enjoying new flavors of adult beverages.
Your road trip ideas may have been on hold this spring, but your dreams and plans certainly don’t have to be. Waynesboro is the perfect small town for your summer road trip, when our unique businesses and attractions reopen their doors. We can’t wait for you to join us for outdoor adventure and hospitality, but for now, stay home and stay safe. We’ll see you soon!