Shenandoah National Park in VA, offers some of the most breathtaking scenery on the east coast. Skyline Drive is the road that runs from one end of the park to the other, and connects to Blue Ridge Parkway. The scenic drive offers views from mountain tops and valley floors without having to hike for days on end. In addition the park also offers camping and hiking trails as well.
The beginning of a road trip within a road trip is an easy to get to location. The park is a little less then 2 and a half hours south of Harrisburg. Once inside the park stop at the first few overlooks before heading to the visitors center. Here is a great opportunity to stretch your legs on a brief hike as well as stop to use the restrooms (restrooms are sparse along the drive so use them when you have the opportunity). Also be sure to take snacks and beverages as there are few stops that provide sustenance.
Once you are well stretched you are ready to travel the windy road that leads you through the park. Speed limits on the road are between 25 and 35 miles an hour. While it may seem excessively slow sharp turns pop up from time to time as well as wildlife that runs across the roadway.
One may think that scenic view after scenic view of the mountain range would be monotonous. That is not the case on this drive. It seems almost every stop along the way is different in one way or another. Some areas along the drive are completely wild with no houses or roads in site. Other times you will get views of rural American life as you see houses dot the landscape.
Be sure to bring the camera with you on your journey down Skyline Drive and plenty of film/camera memory. You may be overwhelmed with the amount of images you capture. While any time is great to visit this awesome site it gets better in the fall. The mountains appear so colorful with the trees changing to shades of reds, yellows and oranges.
For a shorter road trip you have the option of exiting the park about half way through and getting on to 81 for a faster trip home. You also have the option of taking 81 home from the other end of the park, continuing on to Blue Ridge Parkway or making a round trip on skyline drive. For more information on Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive visit the National Parks Website.