Top stops for families on the Blue Ridge Parkway (Winter)
Winter Adventures for Families in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains:
TOP FAMILY SPOTS NEAR THE BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY AND LOVE RIDGE
Let’s face it, we all get a little stir crazy during the winter when lack of sunlight and cool temps can tempt us inside. Embracing the cooler weather and heading to the mountains can be a delightful way to create lasting memories with your kids while getting fresh air and exercise.
Scenic Parkway vistas with Frosty views
Begin your winter adventure with a scenic trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway. From the Parkway Overlooks, the contours of the Blue Ridge come into sharper relief with the mountains bare of leaves. Take the family on a drive, and stop at Ravens Roost for breathtaking panoramic views and a family photo with the beauty of the winter landscape.
Contrary to popular belief, the Blue Ridge Parkway is open year round, weather permitting. When the Parkway does close to vehicles it remains open to foot traffic. Check the Road Closure Chart produced by the National Park Service before you go. If the Parkway is closed to traffic, take a hike on the parkway to 20 Minute Cliff. If there is fresh snow you’ll have the rare opportunity to see which animals have been walking along the parkway like rabbits, coyotes, fox and deer.
Love Ridge typically experiences a few snowfalls each year which makes for great winter fun. Sledding down snowy hills, tromping in the snow, looking for footprints of wildlife are all on when snow blankets the Blue Ridge. Wintergreen Resort is just minutes away with downhill skiing and tubing for the whole family.
Winter Hiking at Humpback Rocks
Lace up your hiking boots and head to Humpback Rocks for a family-friendly winter hike. The trail is extremely well traveled in other seasons but in winter you might have it to yourself. The hike offers a unique perspective high above the Parkway and has been a landmark for travelers over the Blue Ridge for centuries. The scramble to the top includes stunning views and a sense of accomplishment for the whole family. You can access this hike even if the parkway is closed by parking on the adjacent Howardsville Turnpike and walking along the parkway past the Visitor Center to the trailhead.
Visit Wintergreen Resort
Wintergreen is known for its skiing and tubing, but there are other fun activities to check out on the mountain. Check out the Wintergreen events page to see what is happening. Some of our favorites are the community walks and talks at the Wintergreen Nature Foundation with master naturalists and plant experts. Take a short drive to Wintergreen Nature Foundation, where educational programs and activities are tailored for families. Their kids play area has many fun options for play including puppets and other kids books and toys. Treat your partner to a massage at the Wintergreen Spa or better yet get a couples massage while the kids do ski school.
Game Night and Puzzling
A trip to the mountains is the perfect time to get out of your routine and connect with your family. Stay in and skip the movie in favor of one of the fun family games or puzzles in the Love Ridge game shed. Play charades or sardines. Order s’mores and have a fire at your outdoor fire pit. Enjoy an evening walk to view the sky with little ambient light with our stargazing kit.
Winter Play at Sherando Lake Recreation Area:
Sherando Lake Recreation Area, located just down the mountain from Love Ridge, is just as fun in the wintertime and a lot less crowded. The playground in the campground is a good landing spot for younger kids. Angling is still on in winter months at upper Sherando Lake and along adjacent Back Creek.
Winter Wildlife Spotting
Winter brings out a different side of the parkway’s wildlife. Bundle up and embark on a wildlife spotting adventure with your kids. Look out for white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and various bird species that call the Blue Ridge Mountains home during the winter months. Get your kids a little notebook so they can write down what they see.
Visit the Rockfish Community Center
Check out the artisan studios and pick up some local Trager Brothers coffee at the Rockfish Community Center. Try to line up your visit with one of the events like the Community Pancake Breakfast the first Saturday of every month or one of the winter markets. Also a great place to do a drop in yoga class or T’ai Chi.
Stop by the Rockfish Valley Foundation
Featuring exhibits from the Virginia Museum of Natural History, the Rockfish Valley Foundation is a great place to learn about geology of the area and see an impressive array of taxidermied native wildlife. A great educational precursor to a winter hike so you can more easily identify any animals you might see. Don’t forget to pop across the bridge to Spruce Creek Park to enjoy natural play areas and nature trails.
Family-Friendly Dining in Nellysford
After a day of outdoor adventures, warm up at one of the eateries in Nellysford. Three Notch’d Brewery’s new location in Nellysford recently opened and includes a cool renovation of the old Nellysford School house and delicious beers for parents. Paulie’s Pig Out and the Blue Ridge Pig are both great take out options if you find it warm enough for a winter picnic or are just ready to head back to your cozy cabin after a day of adventuring.
The Blue Ridge Mountains near Love Ridge open up a world of exciting family-friendly activities that celebrate the beauty of the season and the joy of being outside. Whether you’re exploring snow-covered trails, enjoying scenic overlooks, or engaging in classic winter play, the Blue Ridge Parkway offers an idyllic backdrop for a memorable family winter escape. So, bundle up, hit the road, and make the most of the snowy season at Love Ridge.