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Dogwoods show white petals near the Parkway while cars drive under a curved stone overpass.

The Blue Ridge Parkway and surrounding areas provide a mecca of outdoor opportunities — places to relax and enjoy nature from underneath a forest canopy, along a mountain stream or on a rocking chair on a covered front porch.

Shenandoah National Park Region – Virginia

North of BRP Milepost 0The rolling forested hills in Shenandoah National Park are dressed in fall colors and dappled in shade.

Just north of the Blue Ridge Parkway lies the Shenandoah Valley, a rolling green landscape where you can find outdoor adventures to suit any activity level from underground caverns to forest trails, whitewater rivers and cabins nestled in restful settings; the Shenandoah Valley Travel Association can help you find just the place you seek.  To locate an exceptional place to hike, bike, fish, view wildlife or take a scenic drive, visit Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Whether you’re looking for adrenaline-pumping adventure, rugged hikes, tranquil water fun, or an opportunity to relax and enjoy the view, you’ll find it in Front Royal/ Warren County. Skyland and Big Meadows Lodge are centrally located to all the wildlife, hiking and scenery found along the 105-mile Skyline drive that winds its way through Shenandoah National Park. To the west, you’ll find Luray and Page County filled with outdoor activities from fishing to ziplining to watersports to renting an ATV; here, you truly can experience it all!  Mimslyn Inn is accessible to all the outdoor activities in Luray, offering year-round adventure and accommodations with landscape views to recharge after a day of fun. Check out Blue Ridge Outdoors for outdoor events, activities and news throughout the region.

Nearby Massanutten Resort is an outdoor playground complete with waterpark and ski areas, golf courses and other recreation options.  Montfair Resort Farm also offers an all-inclusive getaway including canoes and mountain bikes for guests to enjoy while exploring the 129-acre property.

Ridge Region – Virginia

BRP Milepost 0-106Harveys Knob Overlook reveals a sunny wide green valley alternating in forest and grasses with wispy cirrus clouds overhead.

Waynesboro, Virginia lies at the junction of Shenandoah’s Skyline Drive, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the famed long-distance Appalachian Trail. Here, you can experience trail running, biking, paddling and fly fishing in the trout-stocked waters of the South River as well as leisurely scenic drives.  Want to immerse yourself in natural surroundings all night long? These charming, cozy and serene lodging options will surely fit the bill: Sugar Tree Inn in Vesuvius, Steeles Tavern Manor  Bed & Breakfast & Cabins in Steeles Tavern, and Fox Hill Bed & Breakfast Suites in Fairfield.

To the East, Roseland, Virginia hosts Wintergreen Resort, a year-round playground offering golf, tennis, swimming, hiking, fishing, skiing, snowboarding, tubing, ice skating and, of course, all the amenities and lodging options available at a full-service resort.

Top destinations for outdoor adventure in nearby Lexington include watersports on the incredible whitewater of the Maury River, cycling Route 39, and hiking over the scrambled boulders at Devil’s Marbleyard. Heading south, you’ll find the Peaks of Otter area complete with hiking trails, scenic Abbott Lake and historical Johnson Farm. One of only two lodges found directly on the Parkway, the Peaks of Otter Lodge offers bed and board with majestic Sharp Top Mountain as the backdrop. It’s even pet-friendly! Nearby is the Vanquility Acres Inn, where you’ll find Nubian goats and other wildlife, an outside fireplace, covered patio, pool and 40′ deck, plus a dock for fishing or relaxing while watching a breathtaking sunset over the Peaks of Otter and Blue Ridge Mountains.

Plateau Region – Virginia

BRP Milepost 106-217Dogwoods show white petals near the Parkway while cars drive under a curved stone overpass.

At the northern tip of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Plateau Region, you’ll discover Roanoke, Virginia. Roanoke County’s Explore Park contains 1,100 acres of woods and land to explore with bike paths, hiking trails, and historic buildings. The Roanoke River runs through the park for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing.  You can even stay overnight at one of several accommodation types available at the Park’s Campgrounds. Venture into the greater Roanoke Valley known as Virginia’s Blue Ridge to experience the outdoors on nearby rivers, streams, lakes, trails and back roads.

Exit the Parkway at Milepost 165 to experience all that Floyd County, Virginia has to offer. You can hike through forests, explore mountain ridges, or enjoy spring wildflowers and rhododendrons at Rocky Knob, hike to the panoramic view atop Buffalo Mountain Natural Area Preserve, or kayak along the Little River. Visit the Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary to learn about pollinators in a beautiful landscape. Many overnight lodging opportunities await—Max’s House at Chestnut Ridge Farm is surrounded by open fields, mountain vistas and lots of fleecy animals; and Cabins Off the Parkway offers accommodations on a 66-acre farm consisting of a fully stocked pond, hiking trails, and magnificent views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

In nearby Patrick County, Virginia you’ll find outdoor variety including the Gordon Trent Golf Course, Fairy Stone State Park (home of legendary fairy stones, this park is well known for its 168-acre lake adjoining Philpott Reservoir), the Victorian era Reynolds Homestead and the Civil War Reenactment at Laurel Hill, the birthplace of General J.E.B. Stuart. You can continue your outdoor excursions and rest your head at: Crooked Road Cabin which sleeps up to seven and is within walking distance to the Cockram Mill Complex and the Crooked Road Café; the peaceful mountain Meadows of Dan River Walk Cabins; Wolf Creek Farm Bed and Breakfast where you can lay in a hammock in the shade, take a hike through the meadows and woods, enjoy fishing in the stocked lake and swim in the private pool; the pet-friendly, serene and just off the Parkway Woodberry Inn; and Primland Resort, Auberge Resort Collection where a dizzying array of sporting opportunities includes geocaching, mountain biking, hiking on a restored six-mile section of the Old Appalachian Trail, horseback riding, golf, tennis, fly fishing, seasonal hunting, tree-climbing, kayaking and ATV riding on side-by-side RZRs.

Just to the West, you’ll find Fancy Gap, home of the Skyland Lakes Golf Club, an 18-hole public course surrounded by the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains and interspersed with sparkling lakes. You can stay and play at the 22-acre Fancy Gap Cabins & Campground (and motel) where you can relax, enjoy the walking trails, and have direct access to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Beagle Ridge Herb Farm in Wytheville, Virginia offers a walk-through butterfly house, seasonal classes on a variety of topics, special events, and the option to cut your own lavender.  Drop by the regional visitor center in Wytheville (or contact them before your trip to request a free visitor guide) to learn about the numerous outdoor adventures awaiting you throughout Blue Ridge Travel Association’s region, from ATV or horseback riding to hiking or biking to driving the curvy Back of the Dragon or Claw of the Dragon routes (not to be confused with the Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap in North Carolina) to enjoying the view atop the multi-story observation tower at Big Walker Lookout.

To continue reading about Nature & Outdoors Along the Blue Ridge Parkway regions in North Carolina and Tennessee, click here.