Weekend & Short Getaways

Luray Caverns

Ahead of our Shenandoah family trip, we decided to visit Luray Caverns. We stopped with our family of four and my parents. This was our family’s second trip to the caverns and my parents’ first.

Luray Caverns is a beautiful and majestic network of caves underneath Luray, Virginia. It’s a great attraction for cold or rainy days since the temperature and conditions in the caverns are fairly constant. The walkways are well-lit and  most areas are level. There are some steeper areas and a few places that might be wet. Guides will warn you ahead of these spots, so it never feels treacherous.

On our first trip we visited in November. This must have been a slower time. Our guided tour included the same guide the whole time. She was very good. She highlighted the important areas of the cavern, related stories about the discovery and naming and had some very well-timed jokes. She was a college student studying music and at one point sang a beautiful version of Amazing Grace.  She made the tour excited and informative. Because of her skill, I was excited for my parents to see the caverns.

A rock formation in the shape of a melting ice cream cone. Can you guess what flavor ice cream it is?




A Sunday in July is a much busier time. Upon entering the caverns, we realized that instead of a dedicated guide to one group, we would move through the caverns at our own pace. Guides would be available along the paths to answer questions and give information.

This wouldn’t have been an issue if all of the guides had been equally effective. Some were very helpful about the rock formations and some seemed bothered to be asked questions.  Having been on a more informative tour, I felt bad that my parents were missing a lot of the great tidbits we’d learned on our first visit.

I understand the need for this style of tour on a busy day. Knowing about it when we purchased the tickets would  have been helpful. Chances are good my parents would still have opted to take the tour. But knowing about the changes would have helped to manage our expectations.

Fortunately our disappointment about the tour style did not interfere with our enjoyment of the cavern’s spectacular features.


For those interested in visiting, consider getting a Giant supermarket card. It’s possible to sign up and print one online if they aren’t in your area (like us). You get 50% off a second adult admission. This was better than some of the other discounts offered.

Since we were meeting up at Shenandoah with the rest of our group, we didn’t take the time to explore the other attractions included in our admission price. The tour of the caverns takes a little over an hour, but visiting the Luray Valley Museum or Toy Junction can turn this into a half or full day excursion.

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