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11 Fun Family Outings with a Side of History

November 7, 2017
Burwell Morgan Mill In Clarke Co

Above: Burwell Morgan Mill in Clarke Co.

Let us guess – you’re the parent that can’t help but pull over when you see a historical plaque. We’re also guessing your children don’t love it. We know it’s hard to find educational activities that can interest the whole family, but sometimes kids just need a little extra push (or try the promise of a sweet treat – that usually works for us).  Come treat yourself to some fascinating history and give your kids something to look forward to as well! 

Natural Chimneys 1
Natural Chimneys in Augusta County

1.)  Augusta County – once providing respite for travelers like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Charles Lindbergh, here you can encounter Civil War battle sights, such as the Battle of Piedmont, stroll through the two historic districts of Middlebrook and Mount Sidney, and be pleasantly surprised by Natural Chimney Park! Take your kids on a walk around the majestic, naturally formed chimneys that stand up to 120 feet tall and provide the perfect background for picnic tables, a playground, and bike trails.

                        For more information, visit

2.)  Experience the widespread historical sites that Clarke County offers! Clarke boasts the State Arboretum of Virginia, a Revolutionary Era mill, a 1950’s Cistercian Monastery with roots going back to 1098 in France, and so much more. Take a break from the thrilling history at Dinosaur Land where the dinosaur-themed park is sure to excite the child in everyone.

                        For more information, visit

3.)  Relive the Civil War in Front Royal. Here, the Battle of Front Royal driving tour will put you in the shoes of soldiers marching to battle and allow you to imagine their blood, sweat and tears. After you’ve had your historical fix, get out of the car and into the saddle – experience a trail ride at Royal Horseshoe Farms that your children won’t soon forget.

                  For more information, visit

11 Fun Family Outings With A Side Of History
Bella Luna Restaurant in Harrisonburg

4.)  See modern interpretations of history in Harrisonburg! Experience the Virginia Quilt Museum – a historic building once used as a hospital following the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg. While you’re visiting the historic downtown, be sure to take advantage of a meal in Virginia’s first culinary district. Head to the Explore More Discovery Museum or travel off the downtown path and visit A Dream Come True Playground. Both places are sure to give your kids a creative and physical outlet.

                        For more information, visit

5.)  Walk along trails of history in Lexington with so much historical abundance to offer, it’s impossible to pick just one thing! Follow along the Civil War trail, walking back in time as you learn about Virginia’s confederate past.  Ride past the Stonewall Jackson House, Lee House, and many more historical sites, all while enjoying a fun-filled horse-drawn carriage ride with the Lexington Carriage Company!  The Virginia Military Institute and Washington & Lee University add a fun element to the whole experience with histories of their own.

                        For more information, visit

The Legwarmers
Luray Caverns in Luray

6.)  Head out to Luray and Page County for stops along the Civil War Trail with a visit to the unforgettable natural history at Luray Caverns! The exciting combination of our country’s history with the breathtaking stalagmites and stalactites is sure to be something that you’ll remember. Stop by the Luray Zoo and the Luray Railroad Museum to round out your visit.

                        For more information, visit

7.)  Check out Rockingham County’s offerings and learn about what it used to be like during the Civil War years! Visit Long’s Chapel at Zenda, where you can see remains of a settlement formed by newly-freed slaves after the Civil War.  For more family fun, make sure to book some time at Massanutten Resort, where you can do anything your heart desires including ice-skating, skiing, hiking, or splashing around at the indoor water park!

                        For more information, visit

8.)  Explore historic Shenandoah County! Get concentrated doses of historical facts and see fascinating artifacts at the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove Plantation National Historic Park! Stretch your legs afterwards at Maize Quest at Bridgemont Farm.  Navigate the maze to other great activities, such as Pedal go-karts, a 60 foot barn slide, hayrides, and much more!

             For more information, visit

Asc Cast Of King Henry V 15 16 Dangerous Dreams Tour 1
American Shakespeare Center in Staunton

9.)  Get your history fix in Staunton – one of the oldest cities west of the Blue Ridge Mountains with a top-rated Main Street. With T.J. Collins’ architecture in the background and brick sidewalks under your feet, you’ll enjoy everything from gelato to antiques to a show at the world’s only recreation of Shakespeare’s theater, the American Shakespeare Center.  If the kids are craving more excitement, bring them to Crack the Code Escape Room* to test reasoning abilities and challenge minds! Then, check out the Frontier Culture Museum, incorporating Old World history with New World settlers lives in America.

                          *Crack the Code Escape Room is not recommended for children under 10.

                          For more information, visit

10.)  Discover some local small-town history in Waynesboro. The Waynesboro Heritage Museum is situated in the historic downtown district and houses relics and pictures of the towns founding, educational institutions, industry, and more.  Let the kids burn off steam at Fox Disc Golf Course at Coyner Spring Park afterwards where this fun sport will entertain the kids and maybe even become a new favorite pastime.

                          For more information, visit

Family Drive-In in Winchester

11.)  Explore Winchester for a better understanding of our nation’s rich history! Winchester is home to Stonewall Jackson’s Headquarters during the winter of 1861-1862, and the museum has been restored to accurately depict how it would have looked at the time of Jackson’s occupation. Unwind after a day of learning and catch a movie at the Family Drive-In Theatre, a historical experience in and of itself!

                    For more information, visit


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