Luray Caverns in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley are spectacular to visit any time of the year! However, fall is a perfect time to visit with the cool air and changing leaves. Driving through the Appalachian Mountains as the leaves turn bright red, orange, and yellow will have your family ooh-ing and aah-ing. One of the best things about this family destination: it’s also dog-friendly. So bring your perritos along for the ride.
My family and I recently traveled cross country from Texas to Virginia. The players were my husband and I, our 5 daughters, and our dog, Tucker. Having recently adopted Tucker, I was still trying to adjust to road tripping with a dog. All of the stops and plans I made for our road trip had to quickly become adjusted for pets. This was our first travel adventure with Tucker, and I was a little out of my element. Dogs, sadly, are not welcomed everywhere.
Pet-friendly Luray Caverns
This led me to Luray Caverns as one of our stops! I had grown up visiting the Shenandoah Valley during the fall when the leaves change. It’s one of the most beautiful drives you can take.
I was a little nervous bringing in 5 niñas, ages 11 to 3, plus a dog who is not well traveled, into Luray Caverns, but everyone was so nice. They were happy to see us.
The history of the Luray Caverns is pretty cool:
“Cold air rushing out of a limestone sinkhole atop a big hill west of Luray, Virginia, blew out a candle held by Andrew Campbell, the town tinsmith, on the morning of August 13, 1878. So began the discovery of Luray Caverns.
Campbell, three other men, and his 13-year-old nephew, Quint, were exploring the area, looking for a cave. With the help of local photographer Benton Stebbins, the men dug away loose rocks for four hours before, candle in hand, Campbell and Quint slid down a rope into the cave. They could scarcely believe what they saw. The party had discovered the largest series of caverns in the East, an eerie world of stalactites and stalagmites seen by the light of a candle.”
Take a Tour in Luray Caverns
In order to explore the caverns themselves, you must purchase a tour. No self-guided tours. Adult admission is $26.00 and Children, ages 6 to 12, are $14.00. Children 5 and under are free. Dogs are allowed as long as you carry them. Dogs cannot walk on the walkways. Our dog is about 20 lbs. Not really big, but not small enough for me to hold him for an hour or so. We had a stroller, sat one of our kids in it, and she held the dog for the tour. There is also a kennel for larger dogs.
You cover about 1 1/4 miles of walking, so I suggest good walking shoes. The temperatures can be cool inside the caverns, which can feel really good if it’s hot outside, but a couple of my kids got chilly during the tour. Your tour guide will explain some history, point out some of the really cool formations, and answer any questions. You go at a leisurely pace, providing ample time for pictures.
Most of the children did really well. The walk wasn’t too long for them. Some did resort to dancing around to entertain themselves.
The littles got antsy towards the end, but I think it’s because they wanted a snack. How could we possibly make it an hour without a snack?? I know, the audacity.
If you have children who love caves and exploration, they will LOVE it here. I was loving it.
Our dog Tucker was just happy to be held for so long, pushed around in a stroller. He was living the life, and he didn’t bark once, thank goodness.
The kids did love The Wishing Well at the end. They were able to throw their coins in and make wishes. Every year Luray Caverns drains the pool and donates the proceeds to charitable organizations. They have donated over $1,000,000!!
Hours for Luray Caverns
Luray Caverns is open every day of the year. Tours depart approximately every twenty minutes. The General Admission includes the attraction entrance fee and Luray Caverns tour, a self-guided tour of the Car and Carriage Caravan, and the Luray Valley Museum. Tours begin each day at 9 am.
The last tour departs at:
April 1 to June 14 – 6 pm
June 15 to Labor Day – 7 pm
Day after Labor Day to October 31 – 6 pm
November 1 to March 31 – 4 pm (5 pm on weekends)
The Car and Carriage Caravan Museum opens at 9 am and Luray Valley Museum opens at 10 am and close 1 and a half hours after the last tour of the day enters the Caverns.
Dogs can also tour the rest of the grounds as long as they are on a leash. They have other cool attractions such as The Garden Maze, Rope Adventure Park, and Gem Sluice with additional cost.
Fall Travel to Luray Caverns
Come celebrate fall in Virginia! October 8th and 9th mark the peak fall foliage season, and Page County celebrates this year with the 47th Annual Heritage Festival. It’s the perfect opportunity for familia to come together and disfrutar of the changing colors and cool air. According to the website, there will be hundreds of crafters with all-day demonstrations of spinning, crocheting, apple-butter boiling, tole and oil painting, wheel-thrown pottery, blacksmithing and other traditional handiwork.
What are you waiting for? Start planning your vacación! I hope to see you there.