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Old 07-28-2012, 05:05 PM
 
Location: No VA
224 posts, read 477,309 times
Reputation: 258

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Hi! I am a little bit new to the area (but not too new). We moved here a year and a half ago from CA. We really want to go and see the Shenandoah Valley this fall. When is THE best time to go? I am a photographer and so I would love to go in the best and brightest time for all the beautiful colors of fall. We have 2 kids ages 5 and 7 and so would you suggest we just leave early (we live in Chantilly) and go home late? or plan on staying 1 night? If so, where do you suggest we stay? Also is there a way in, that doesn't have a super windy road? I've heard of Skyline dr, but is that the only way in? My 7 year old gets very car sick with windy roads or high traffic and will throw up everywhere. So if there is an easy way in, that would be great. Thank you!

Candice
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Old 07-28-2012, 05:09 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 26,986,315 times
Reputation: 6824
Peak colors would be last week of October/first week of November. Take the 66 West to the 81 South.
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Old 07-28-2012, 05:27 PM
 
270 posts, read 800,697 times
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Both 81 and 66 have heavy traffic. 81 is definitely worse out that way. The good news is you don't need to take 81 to get to Skyline Drive though. Skyline Drive is the only road into the Shenandoah National park and the only way to get to all the spectacular vistas in the park. It is a long and winding road and it's a slow roll. The speed limit is 35 and at peak times you won't do that. There are only a few entrances and you have to pay $15 per car to enter in the summer and early fall.

As for the best time, if you want to see foliage pay attention to the peak maps closer to the fall. There is no way to predict exactly which week is the best. It depends on how cold the nights have been.
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:00 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
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Actually I'll amend what I said earlier. It peaks here in Mount Vernon the first week of November normally but out West it's usually 1-2 weeks earlier.
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:19 PM
 
Location: Virginia-Shenandoah Valley
6,550 posts, read 10,821,552 times
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Didn't you post this same thing last year? The photographer and kid throwing up stands out.
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:25 PM
 
Location: No VA
224 posts, read 477,309 times
Reputation: 258
thanks for the info. Yes, I did post this last year. I guess I forgot. I don't come over here a lot, so I must have just forgotten.
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:26 PM
 
Location: Fairfax County
1,534 posts, read 3,312,830 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigfoot424 View Post
Didn't you post this same thing last year? The photographer and kid throwing up stands out.
Excellent memory!!!

skyline drive?
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Old 07-28-2012, 08:39 PM
 
2,612 posts, read 4,747,092 times
Reputation: 3943
,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Candicem View Post
Hi! I am a little bit new to the area (but not too new). We moved here a year and a half ago from CA. We really want to go and see the Shenandoah Valley this fall. When is THE best time to go? I am a photographer and so I would love to go in the best and brightest time for all the beautiful colors of fall. We have 2 kids ages 5 and 7 and so would you suggest we just leave early (we live in Chantilly) and go home late? or plan on staying 1 night? If so, where do you suggest we stay? Also is there a way in, that doesn't have a super windy road? I've heard of Skyline dr, but is that the only way in? My 7 year old gets very car sick with windy roads or high traffic and will throw up everywhere. So if there is an easy way in, that would be great. Thank you!

Candice
I was just on skyline drive today. There is only one entrance in this area - in Front Royal. I also get carsick, so I was worried about the winding road, which has definitely made me sick in the past. However, today we had our toddler, so we didn't go far - only about a mile, to the first big overlooks. It was OK - no problems with car sickness for such a short drive. Within that space there are plenty of nice views from the overlooks you can park at. There are also a couple of hikes you can take from there. Finally, there is a large rest area right at the entrance - Dickey ridge, or something like that, which is good with kids. It even has a view and a picnic area and some events from time to time.

We left our house in Fairfax about 1pm, and stopped for lunch in Front Royal. We didn't get to skyline until about 3. No traffic anywhere, even though it was Saturday. We spent some time at the overlooks and then turned around and drove back and were home by about 8. I can't really see any reason to leave early. We've never actually encountered traffic there. If we'd had a few more hours, we'd have gone on a hike at Compton gap, but otherwise there's not that much to do that doesn't involve hours of driving on that windy road.

Finally, I did notice that the views of Shenandoah valley were beautiful - and I imagine there are some very nice spots down in the valley by the Shenandoah river that wouldn't involve Skyline drive at all. You might check around for something there - I know there are a lot of bed and breakfasts in that area.
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