The small town of Luray, tucked away in the Shenandoah Valley, is situated at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Luray serves as the gateway to the Skyline Drive through the Shenandoah National Park. If you’re craving a fun and relaxing getaway, book a stay at one of many cozy vacation rentals at Luray, a town known as the cabin capital of Virginia. Accommodations range from secluded rustic hideaways and riverfront cabins, to historic townhouses and large ranches perfect for multi-generational family get-togethers. Wherever you choose to stay in this quaint Virginian town, you are in the midst of specialty shops, restaurants, and cultural activities, as well as outstanding beauty where year-round, outdoor recreation such as hiking, biking, fishing, and horseback riding abound. Check out the best places to stay in and around Luray.

1. Downtown Luray

sunlight on the mountains
Source: Pixabay/skeeze

Choose a historic vacation rental in downtown Luray, and stroll from your front door to the area’s shops, farmers market, restaurants, art galleries, and theater. For more active outdoor pursuits, the entrance to the Hawksbill Greenway trail is right off Luray’s Main Street. This two-mile paved loop follows Hawksbill Creek and is a designated Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail/Bird Sanctuary where you might spot a kingfisher, heron, and bluebird. You can also fish for trout, small mouth bass, and bluegill, so be sure to pack your rod and tackle. Hop in the car for the short drive to the Shenandoah National Park for hiking and biking in summer and snowshoeing in the winter. At the end of a busy day exploring, treat the family to garlic knots and pizza at Gennaro’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria.

2. West Luray

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Choose a vacation rental in West Luray, and you’ll still be close to downtown while also having easier access to popular attractions including the Luray Caverns, where you can explore the amazing formations and see the stalacpipe organ, and the Luray Zoo — a rescue zoo that opens March through October and offers educational shows during summer weekends. With plenty of outdoor activities also close by, the family golfers appreciate the area’s proximity to the Country Caverns Golf Course in its scenic setting above the banks of the Shenandoah River.

3. East Luray

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Head over to East Luray for your vacation rental, and you’re a short hop away from the family attractions of Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park family recreation area and Bear Mountain Adventure. Book a day pass to Jellystone Park Camp Resort (not available on Saturdays in the high season) and the kids can wear themselves out splashing around in the pools and slides, steering a paddle boat, jumping on the pillows, or playing mini-golf. Nearby, Bear Mountain Adventure offers zip lines, a high ropes course, and a three-story climbing wall. At the end of the day, call into Dominico’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria in the East Luray Shopping Center.

4. Fairview

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This small community to the east of Luray features a homely country store where the family owners provide a warm welcome to visitors and locals. Call in for a slice of homemade pie or stock up on fresh donuts and other picnic essentials on your way to Lake Arrowhead. For a small admission fee, you can enjoy the white sandy beaches, picnic shelters, and opportunities for swimming, fishing, and boating. Alternatively, head out on the nature trail. The Lake is open until sunset year round, while the beach on weekends only from Memorial Day weekend until school lets out, usually around mid-June, then seven days a week thru Labor Day.

5. Whitehouse Landing

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For a great backwoods experience choose a cabin in the Whitehouse Landing area, around 5 miles west of downtown Luray. In this area, find a cabin with riverside frontage so you can fish, canoe or tube straight from your front porch. In the evenings, barbecue your freshly caught fish on the barbecue while the kids roast marshmallows on the fire pit and finish up the day gazing up at the stars from the comfort of your hot tub. Fans of the Dukes of Hazard appreciate the proximity to Cooters with its museum and replica Cooter’s Garage complete with cars and trucks from the TV series.

6. Egypt Bend Estates

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The Egypt Bend Estates sit on the north bank of the Shenandoah River a short drive from downtown Luray and directly opposite the Country Caverns Golf Course, though you need to drive north to cross the river and take a loop to return south. Take a vacation rental in this area and you have access to all the outdoor activity on the river combined with easy access to the trails through the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. The Kennedy Peak trailhead is around 10-minutes drive away and the 5-mile trail provides an accessible hike for kids with fabulous views from the top. Pack a picnic, take plenty of water and don’t forget your camera.

7. Morning Star

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The area around Morning Star provides some lovely family retreats. Secluded cabins offer peace and quiet while the shops and cultural activities of Luray are just a short drive away. Find a vacation rental here, and you’re just five minutes from Arrowhead Lake and around ten minutes from Shenandoah National Park. On a clear day, kit out the family with walking boots and head out along the Skyline Drive to the Stony Man parking area take the steep hike up to the Stony Man summit for spectacular views.

8. Rileyville

grasslands near the river
Source: Flickr/Virginia State Parks

Head out north of Luray to the area around Rileyville to experience some spectacular locations, Cabin rentals in this area are located in scenic locations on or near the river Shenandoah. These hideaways are a great way to escape modern life and get back to nature with the family hiking along walking trails or skimming stones. Start each day watching dawn break and take coffee on your deck, watching the mist rising from the mountains as the birds start up their chorus.