While some people prefer to camp overnight and really explore the area, there’s also plenty you can do at Shenandoah National Park in one day. Our suggestion for a day trip is to just make your way down Skyline Drive and stop at the overlooks throughout the day. Skyline Drive runs all the way through the park and takes about three hours to travel if you’re going straight through. However, with 72 overlooks offering stunning views of the rest of Shenandoah, it can easily take all day to get through it. This is the most common way to visit the park, and we highly recommend it if you only have a limited amount of time.
If you have a little time and you want to see more of the park itself, there are also plenty of hiking trails that lead off Skyline Drive. Some of these trails can take all day by themselves, but there are also quite a few that will only take an hour or two round trip. We recommend the Dark Hollow Falls trail, which is only half a mile and leads to the base of one of the park’s tallest waterfalls, and Bearfence Lookout, which is a similar length and will take you to one of the few complete 360-degree views in Shenandoah. Both of these hikes should take two hours or less, depending on how fast you are and how much time you spend at the destination, so you’ll still have plenty of time to finish the Skyline Drive.
If you’d like to get a full overview of the park while you’re driving through it, Action Tour Guide offers a Shenandoah National Park Self-Guided Driving Tour through our app on iOS and Android devices. The tour features over 60 stops throughout the park, pointing out everything you need to know about its landmarks, popular sites, and history.