June in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains is a lavish display of color as violets, wild geranium, coral honeysuckle and mountain laurel come into bloom, all set against a backdrop of endless evergreens.
While the visual splendor of the mountains this time of year is excitement enough in its own right, June is the month when outdoor recreation heats up and Page County’s calendar starts filling up with events and openings.
While Luray and Page County are alluring any time of year, here are just 10 compelling reasons to visit in June:
- Perhaps the biggest news this month is the long-awaited completion of the West Main Bridge. This $3.5 million construction project is a welcome improvement to a busy street. The formal opening is scheduled for June 27.
- Schools are letting out, and there is no end of ways to keep your kids active and happy. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park offers organized fun like a huge water park, miniature golf, volleyball, arts and crafts, wagon rides and playgrounds. Less structured time with your kids can be had hiking—a short jaunt on the Greenway or a longer trip in Shenandoah National Park or George Washington National Forest. The Rope Adventure Park at Luray Caverns is another good bet.
- Rent a canoe, kayak, raft or tube and float the Shenandoah River. Services like Shenandoah River Outfitters, Shenandoah River Adventures, and Downriver Canoe Company provide shuttles and all the gear you need to get started. (June 7, 8, 9 are Virginia Free Fishing Days. You don’t need a license on those dates.) Did you hear that last March, an angler landed a 20-1/4 inch brook trout—a new state record—fishing in Cub Run, in Page County?
- Live music is easy to find in Page County. Evenings on Main Free Concerts begin June 7 at Performing Arts Luray, and run every Friday at 7:00 until Oct. 25. Additionally, The Page Valley Arts Council fosters the arts and cultural heritage of the local community. Their calendar lists many live performances at local restaurants and community centers. And at Cooters Place, the Cooters Garage Band hosts “Live in Luray” every Saturday from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Looking a bit ahead, Cooters will rock the track at Shenandoah Speedway August 10-11with the “Good Ol’ Boys Fest. (More to come on this next month.)
- Lake Arrowhead’s white sandy beach is open June 1st to August 18th, daily— Monday – Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, noon – 6:00 p.m. Swim, fish, hike, paddle or picnic at the scenic 34-acre lake, all in the shadow of Skyline Drive. http://www.townofluray.com/luray-parks.html#lakearrowhead
- Swim Fest Luray is June 15. You can sign up right until Race Day for this event, which offers three different distances. Swim all three and you go 2.8 miles. Expect to see some serious athletes along with more casual fitness enthusiasts.
- The second annual Taste of the Valley Wine, Beer and Spirits Festival will be held June 29 at the Page Valley Fairgrounds. Sample the bounty of local vineyards and the increasing number of craft breweries. Ticket available for General Admission and for Designated Drivers.
- Several different Astronomy Events allow you to experience the glorious night skies from Shenandoah National Park. These include:
- Let's Talk About Space—Presentations led by NASA JPL Solar System Ambassador Greg Redfern, held at Skyland and Big Meadows Lodge on selected dates.
- Night Skies—Amateur astronomers discuss controlling light pollution; gather at Big Meadows/Rapidan Camp Gate.
- Twilight Hiking—Guided hikes starting at 7:00 p.m. Reservations required; $20 per person. Some dates are already sold out so book now.
- Virginia’s reputation as a wine producer is growing, and the Skyland Whisky Wine Shuttle transports you to a number of local vineyards and a distillery. Enjoy tastings at Copper Fox Distillery, Desert Rose Winery, and Rappahannock Cellars during your stay at Skyland, Big Meadows or Lewis Mountain Cabins in Shenandoah National Park. A picnic-style lunch is included. On Mondays and Thursdays, from June 3 to Oct. 28.
- June 15 in Shenandoah National Park is a fee-free Neighbor Appreciation Day. Something new in the park this year—one hour Wagonette Rides, on Saturdays until August 31. Hear about the history of the park as a team pulls you from Big Meadows, over Skyline Drive, and down the Rapidan Road.