Virginia's 200-mile-long Shenandoah Valley combines stunning natural beauty with historic sites, wineries, thriving cities, and cool, artsy small towns, as well as a lively schedule of music and arts festivals. If your main aim here is getting out into nature, then you're exceptionally well served. Top of the list is Shenandoah National Park, famed for its Skyline Drive—a dramatic road that twists and turns through 105 miles of terrain. A true outdoorsy nirvana, it has over 500 miles of hiking trails and 150 miles of horse trails, some of which are open during winter for Nordic skiers and snowshoers.
Romantic cabins in Shenandoah
If you're looking for a getaway just for 2, Shenandoah has a healthy clutch of vacation rental homes that are sure to get those romantic fires burning. Cozy log or clapboard cabins set waterside, stashed away in the woods, or perched on a hillside with dramatic vistas are a speciality around these parts, with some set in the area's parks and reserves, including Shenandoah National Park. Many will come with rustic log beds, wood-burning stoves, outdoor fire pits, and decks from which to soak up those wilderness views. If you're lucky, you may get a hot tub or even your own swimming pool from which to look up at the stars.
Secluded Shenandoah cabins
There are rental cabins available throughout the Shenandoah Valley, some of which are in easy reach of the area's thriving towns and cities. For true seclusion, though, you'll have to head deep into the local wilderness areas: in and around Shenandoah National Park, for example, or close to the George Washington National Forest. Unlike in some cabin clusters, you'll likely have private grounds that you won't have to share with any other guests, and you could have extra perks such as private river access, so you will be free to roam without seeing another soul. Best of all, you'll still be within easy reach of some of the region's towns and villages should all that seclusion get a bit too much.
Luxury cabins in Shenandoah
If you want to get back to the wild without giving up any of your home comforts, then you could go for one of the area's many luxury vacation home rentals. While the majority of cabins might look rustic and low-key on the outside, many offer a plethora of upscale amenities on the inside, such as fully-equipped high-end kitchens, posh bathrooms with Jacuzzi tubs, game rooms, and sprawling double-height living areas, as well as outdoor perks such as private swimming pools and hot tubs. If you want a tech fix after spending all day on the trails, you'll find cabins that also come with multiple big screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, game consoles or even home cinema rooms.
Cabin rentals near Luray Caverns
Some 25 miles south of the town of Front Royal, Luray Caverns are full of towering underground rock formations in caves up to 10 stories high. A key attraction includes the "Stalacpipe Organ." Dubbed the largest musical instrument on earth, it's an old-fashioned organ which uses stalactites instead of pipes. Cabin rentals in the area tend to focus around the nearby Shenandoah River, and you'll find everything from simple rustic log affairs, where the only entertainment provided is that of the water and the trees, to upscale brick cottages featuring Wi-Fi and hot tubs. Either way, you're sure to get fantastic views of the landscape unfurling in front of you.
Skyline Drive cabin rentals
If you're heading for Shenandoah National Park, then you might want to be near Skyline Drive, a scenic highway that twists and turns through the park, hugging the curves of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are all kinds of places in which to lay your head along the 105-mile route. You could opt for a back to basics campground, with simple log cabins on-site; a large villa rental that's suitable for large families or groups of friends; a cabin set on shared grounds, where you'll have other guests to socialise with; or a secluded rental cabin, where you'll have plenty of space to yourself. In any case, you know that the drive to get there will be spectacular.