There’s no shortage of things to do in Shenandoah National Park – but what if you want to see some of the other local sights during your stay? The 311 square mile park has four entrances, including the Swift Run Gap Entrance near Harrisonburg, VA. Luckily for travelers who want to make the most of their visit, Harrisonburg is home to plenty of fun activities to fill up any time you don’t plan on spending in the park itself.
If you’re looking for things to do near Shenandoah National Park, you’ve come to the right place – whether you’re spending a day on your own, with your other half, a few friends, or the whole family, we’ve gathered some of the most popular things to do in town in one convenient list.
We’ve even pointed out the activities on this list currently accepting GiftYa cards.
And just like with all the posts here on GiftYa we are compelled to remind you that a GiftYa is a digital gift card that can be sent within seconds right from your phone. These gift cards can be used at a variety of locations but are particularly popular for restaurants. This is especially true if you are out traveling and don’t love to carry cash around with you. Instead you can just carry your gift cards right on your phone that you take with you everywhere already. You don’t even have to worry about keeping track of the gift cards and the balances because your phone does all of that for you. There really isn’t a more convenient option when it comes to buying gift cards and gifts for yourself or others.
181 N Main St | Downtown | goldenponyva.com
Heading into Shenandoah National Park through the Swift Run Gap Entrance near Harrisonburg is a good way to jam-pack your day with adventure, but what about indoor adventures? Whether your hike gets rained out, you need a place to hang out after a long day outdoors, or you’re just looking for something different for one of the days of your trip, The Golden Pony should be at the top of your list.
Located near a convenient parking garage (one block East of the restaurant on E. Wolfe and Main downtown), The Golden Pony is easy to get to and lots of fun once you arrive. Peruse work from the local scene in the art gallery, throw it back with a game of pinball, or rock out to live music at the venue’s professional soundstage. With two full bars and an outdoor patio, there’s plenty of room for you and all your friends.
Plus, locals love that the menu includes plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, and that the venue has accessible entrances and restrooms so that everyone can enjoy the show.
“So many friendly faces! Such a varied beer selection! I can't eat pizza anywhere else without longing for a pony pie, a heavenly slice of Frida Kale-o. Last time i stopped by, a curlyhaired girl with glasses and an impeccable sense of style was my server; I wasn't raised religious but I came away from that meal KNOWING that there is a god.” - Yelp Review
1200 Adventure Dr | McGaheysville | massresort.com
Get your heart racing with exciting waterpark attractions all year-round at Massanutten Indoor/Outdoor waterpark! Inside you’ll find award-winning attractions (Massanutten was named #2 on USA Today’s Readers Choice list of best waterparks in America 2 years in a row). The water is a comfy 84°F, and there’s plenty to do – from inflatable adventures to water fortresses, pools and body slides to hot tubs and a lazy river, there’s truly something for everyone.
Plus, from Memorial Day to Labor Day you can also enjoy fun in the sun with the outdoor portion of the park. Home to several water slides (including a 296-foot mat racer 😱) as well as a wave pool, arcade, restaurant, and gift shop, there are even more ways to enjoy the resort during the summer months.
“Totally clean, Friendly people and great foods! Plenty of room to do many things with your family and kids! Totally safe! Will come back again and recommend friends in Florida to stop by! ” - Yelp Review
5904 Main St | Mount Jackson | facebook.com/ShenCoBowlsAtTinasPlace
Bowling is guaranteed fun for the whole family, but at what cost? Shoe rentals and games can quickly rack up quite a bill at most venues… but not at Shenandoah Bowling Lanes. At just $5 per person per game, you can enjoy a whole night of entertainment for yourself and your friends, a date, or even the kiddos without breaking the bank.
Shenandoah Bowling Lanes isn’t like your modern bowling alley – duckpin bowling is a game all to itself! With smaller balls, smaller pins, and three throws per frame, it makes for an interesting challenge for younger patrons and old bowling pros alike. In terms of things to do near Shenandoah National Park, you’ll be hard pressed to find an activity that offers more nostalgic charm than an afternoon or evening at the oldest duckpin alley in all of Virginia.
“This place is awesome! Like a museum only a lot more fun, these well-preserved duckpin lanes are a page out of history. Everyone here is super friendly, and the food is great too. Go!” - Yelp Review
1925 E Market St | Harrisonburg | goelevationsports.com
Who says staying active has to be boring? Not the folks at Elevation Sports, that’s for sure. Elevation Sports touts itself as the Shenandoah Valley’s premier provider of unforgettable experiences – and with exciting, family-friendly activity offerings like bubble soccer, combat archery, and more, it’s easy to see why!
The company got its start in 2016 as “Knockerball Entertainment,” which brought fun physical activity to schools, churches, and other organizations around the valley. Since 2019, they’ve been serving the area as Elevation Sports, continuing their mobile entertainment efforts but also adding a family fun center at the Harrisonburg Valley Mall.
Employees are happy to play along to keep the games entertaining, and the activities are perfect for everyone. From little tykes to grownups, for teen hangouts or mom and dad date nights – anyone would have a good time at Elevation.
“Recently did an afternoon here during a bachelor party weekend- a bunch of men in our 30s sweating it out moving more than we've moved in years... We spent three hours there doing knocker ball, nerf war, and crossbow battles... it was a ton of fun and the staff were super friendly. This is a great activity for all ages - a truly unique experience.” - Yelp Review
217 S Liberty St | Harrisonburg | palefirebrewing.com
After a long day on the trails, sometimes all you need is a cold brew and some good food to unwind. For anyone staying near the Swift Run Gap Entrance in Harrisonburg, Pale Fire Brewing Co. is a must-visit brewery. Since opening its doors in 2015, the brewing company has been making waves in the Virginia craft beer scene. And in 2022, Pale Fire was even awarded 1st place in the 2022 Virginia Craft Beer Cup for their Taking Water cream ale.
Though Harrisonburg is quite a ways from The Mitten State, Pale Fire Brewing is also known around town for serving up delicious Detroit-style pizza. And if you’re traveling with a four-legged family member (or just need more puppy dogs in your life, because come on, who doesn’t?) Pale Fire is a great option because it’s dog-friendly indoors and out.
If that’s not enough, you can also stop in for Pale Fire’s well-known events. Whether you’re into live music or prefer to pair your brews with some trivia (Nerds Who Drink Trivia night is Wednesday at 8pm), there’s something for everyone at Pale Fire Brewing.
“The best brewery tasting/bar room in the Shenandoah Valley. Surely one of the best in Virginia. Great beers in different styles. Good IPAs. Great prices. I love Pale Fire!” - Yelp Review
780 University Blvd | James Madison University | jmu.edu
Want to learn more about the environment around Shenandoah National Park? The Edith J. Carrier Arboretum is a great place to go for an educational experience steeped in the valley’s natural beauty. Located on the James Madison University Campus, the forested green space is a woodland sanctuary dedicated to preserving native plants and providing research opportunities to students and scholars alike.
The whole family will have fun exploring the area – even your four-legged friends. The park is dog-friendly and features amenities for children, like a playground and backpacks that can be borrowed for the adventure in the arboretum.
“Relaxing and beautiful. Walking paths are beginner to medium level so it is not too strenuous to walk around. There are benches everywhere so you can stop and enjoy the scenery.” - Yelp Review
The Edith J. Carrier Arboretum doesn’t offer GiftYa digital gift cards just yet, but check back soon because we are always adding attractions and things to do in Harrisonburg!
There are so many exciting things to do in Harrisonburg that it’s tough to narrow it down to just what can fit in a list, but we’ve made the tough calls to bring you the best of the best activities near Shenandoah National Park. From bowling alleys to brewing companies, arboretums to waterparks, these are some of the most popular attractions in town.
And remember, we also marked off which of these fun things to do accept convenient GiftYa digital gift cards, so if you know someone headed to Harrisonburg, why not text them a treat?
We’re always adding new restaurants and things to do to our gift card catalog, and we’ve got new guides hitting the blog all the time, so be sure to visit us again soon. Until then, have fun in Harrisonburg!