Looking for the best things to do in Waynesboro, VA?
If you’re like me, you may have grown up in Virginia and not even be too familiar with Waynesboro, VA. It was only recently that I got a chance to explore and learn more about the city.
Waynesboro is located in the Shenandoah Valley, just to the west of Charlottesville. In fact, Waynesboro is known as the Gateway to Shenandoah National Park because of its close proximity to Skyline Drive!
This makes it an excellent destination for exploring the great outdoors, hiking trails, parks, and many more natural wonders that Virginia has to offer.
Waynesboro is also located along the South River, which is a popular spot for fly fishing.
Waynesboro is a particularly magical place to visit in the fall, especially around mid-October, when the surrounding hills and parks are brilliant with reds and golds of the fall foliage.
Waynesboro is also a great location if you love breweries, wineries, and local art. Many of the main activities are also centrally located in the newly renovated downtown region, which is centered around Main Street.
Some of these top sites include the P Moss Buckley Gallery, the Plumb House Museum, and Wayne Theater.
Below are my top recommendations for things to do in Waynesboro, VA.
12 Best Things to Do in Waynesboro, VA
Shenandoah National Park is one of the most popular vacation destinations in Virginia, so it’s definitely high on the list for any trip to Waynesboro.
The city is located just four miles from one of the entrances to the national park. Once inside the park, there are a number of hikes and overlooks to explore.
McCormick Gap Overlook features lovely views of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. Calf Mountain Overlook and Sawmill Run Overlook are also located nearby.
If you’re interested in going on a hike through the park, the popular Turk Mountain Trailhead is located a little further north of Waynesboro within the national park.
Black Rock Summit is another popular hike featuring, you guessed it, distinct black rocks at the summit. It also rewards hikers with stunning valley views.
You can learn even more about Shenandoah National Park and the other best national parks in Virginia.
With its close proximity to Shenandoah National Park and the Appalachian Trail, Waynesboro is a perfect destination for hikers.
One hiking trail that you won’t want to miss is the unique Blue Ridge Tunnel Trail. The trail is 2.3 miles in length and is marked by endpoints in Afton and Waynesboro.
As the name implies, the trail actually travels through a tunnel that was originally constructed for trains in the 1850s. At the time of construction, it was the longest tunnel in the country.
Today, you can hike through the mile-long tunnel and witness this incredible feat of engineering for yourself, which is really cool! You can technically see the end of the tunnel from either end, but it is almost a mile long and takes about 20 minutes to walk through.
When you’re in the tunnel, it is completely dark, so you’ll need to bring a flashlight or headlamp (a phone flashlight will work too.) It also gets really cold in the tunnel, even on hot summer days. Because it’s underground, the tunnel is about 50 degrees all year round.
The trail is paved and it is flat for almost the entire length of the trail except for the trailhead near Waynesboro.
There is parking at either end of the trail. The Waynesboro parking can be found at 483 Three Notched Highway, Waynesboro, VA 22980. Parking is more limited at this site. There is a larger parking lot in Afton at 215 Afton Depot Ln, Afton, VA 22920.
Wintergreen Resort is one of my favorite destinations in the region! I’ve had a chance to visit multiple times. The resort is only 21 miles from Waynesboro, which makes it an easy place to visit when you’re in the area.
The sprawling resort is a great destination year-round. It is a popular ski resort in the winter, but it’s also a beautiful and peaceful retreat in the warmer months.
It features tennis courts, pickleball, golf courses, an indoor swimming pool, hiking trails, and lovely overlooks of the surrounding Shenandoah Valley.
In fact, the main photo on the homepage of this blog was taken from an overlook at Wintergreen, right before sunset!
You can stay at multiple property types at Wintergreen, depending on your needs, including studios, multi-bedroom condominiums, and even large private homes.
Visiting the Shenandoah Valley Art Center is one of the major things to do for art lovers in Waynesboro. The center is the only full-time exhibition gallery in the city.
Their mission is to promote local artists and art through regular exhibits. They also offer great art services to the community, including art classes for kids and adults, summer art camps, and more.
One of the coolest parts about the Shenandoah Valley Art Center is that you can actually walk through the studios of the artists in residence, see their artwork as they work on it, and even get a chance to meet the artists and learn about their process. It was a really neat experience getting to learn more about the creative process!
If you’re visiting in the fall, you’ll definitely want to check out the Virginia Fall Foliage Art Show. The two-day event is the largest art festival in the Shenandoah Valley.
The event not only showcases amazing local artwork, but also includes live music, food trucks, and local craft beer!
The P Buckley Moss Gallery is another can’t-miss destination for art lovers. Pat Moss was born in New York but found inspiration in the landscapes and people of western Virginia.
Her artwork captures the beauty of birds, mountains, water, and forests, often using soft, soothing pastel hues. One particularly prominent feature of her works is the use of swirling black lines to depict trees amidst snow-white landscapes. It’s a striking and beautiful effect.
She also depicted the regal beauty of colleges and universities using similar light colors. There are some lovely paintings depicting some of the famous Virginia colleges, including the University of Virginia.
She has a gallery in Waynesboro and Blacksburg displaying her artwork. The Waynesboro Gallery is conveniently located in the downtown district.
Ms. Moss also serves as a role model for children with learning disabilities, and she founded the P. Buckley Moss Foundation for Children’s Education to support the success and growth of children with learning disabilities.
You can see some of her artwork (which is also available for purchase) online.
Attending a performance at the Wayne Theatre is another one of the top activities in town. The theater is a major performing arts venue in Waynesboro. They host a wide range of performances, including music, dance, theater, movies, art exhibits, and more.
The venue has a long history. It began as a vaudeville house in 1926. In 1980, the original theater was sadly destroyed by a fire. It was subsequently rebuilt using historic details and it reopened in 2016.
Today, the venue features movies like Men in Black, Coco, and the classic On the Town, alongside musical theater performances, singing, dancing, art shows, and more.
You can find a full list of upcoming events online.
The Waynesboro Heritage Museum includes two museums that celebrate the rich history of Waynesboro: the Waynesboro Heritage Museum and the Historic Plumb House Museum.
Both museums are a great way to learn more about the city. Waynesboro Heritage Museum includes art, artifacts, memorabilia, photographs, writings, and much more that have been collected over the years.
The museum covers the earliest days of the city, dating all the way back to 1797, plus the history of Brigadier General Anthony Wayne, who was the city’s namesake.
There are also exhibits on entrepreneurs throughout the city’s history and the history of the Fishburne Military School, which is located near downtown and is also worth a visit.
There are also a number of exhibits focusing on Basic City, which was a city located next to Waynesboro that was incorporated into Waynesboro in 1923.
The merged city was originally called Waynesboro-Basic, but this name was rather cumbersome, and so it was soon shortened back to the original name of Waynesboro.
Another fascinating feature of the museum is that it is located in a former bank. Some of the exhibits are even located in the bank vaults. It’s a cool and unique experience to walk into the vaults and see the original vault doors.
The heritage museum also hosts events like walking tours that will give you the opportunity to learn more about the Civil War “Battle of Waynesboro.”
The Plumb House Museum is located just a half mile away down W Main Street in downtown Waynesboro. Please note that the Plumb House Museum is not always open during regular hours. You can call 540-943-3943 if you’d like a tour of the home.
The Shenandoah Valley is one of the best places to find top wineries in Virginia. You’ll find Barren Ridge Vineyards just 7 miles outside of downtown Waynesboro, which makes it a great destination for wine lovers visiting the region.
They feature wine flights as well as wines by the glass and bottle. And if you come on Wednesdays, you can enjoy discounted wine as part of Wine Down Wednesdays!
The winery offers cheese plates and light snacks. You can also bring your own food for a picnic, where you can enjoy beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
They also regularly feature live performances from local artists.
Barren Ridge allows pets both inside and outside.
If you’re a fan of local craft beer, then you’ll want to make sure to stop by Basic City Beer Co. They feature a nice selection of lagers, wheat beers, pilsners, IPAs, and more.
Beyond beers, they also serve excellent and creative cocktails, like the Basque Sangria and The Casablanco (with tequila, blood orange purée, triple sec, and lemon juice.)
And if you’re in the mood for wine, you’ll find a great selection of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Rose, and more.
The brewery also serves brick-oven pizzas made fresh from locally sourced ingredients.
All of these features make Basic City a perfect spot to relax after a day of exploring all that Waynesboro has to offer.
10. Ridgeview Park
Ridgeview Park is one of the top outdoor attractions in Waynesboro.
The 85-acre park has plenty of things to do, including multiple athletic fields, an outdoor swimming pool, an amphitheater, a playground, a fishing pier, pickleball courts, gardens, tennis courts, picnic tables, and much more.
The park is a great place to spend the afternoon or a weekend with kids, going on a peaceful walk, sitting outside, or picnicking with friends. There is a lovely stream in the park, with a bridge that you can cross over to get over to the athletic fields and more trails.
I also recommend spending some time in the lovely Serenity Garden, which is a peaceful retreat within the park.
Waynesboro Golf and Games is another great outdoor destination in Waynesboro. They feature a Miniature Golf Course, a Par 3 Golf Course, and arcade games, which makes it a perfect family destination in town.
If you stop by in the summer, they have night golf at both the mini golf course and the Par 3 golf course on Saturday nights.
Waynesboro Golf and Games offers affordable rates for both their miniature golf and golf course.
The Wildlife Center of Virginia is a wildlife rescue organization in Waynesboro that has treated more than 85,000 animals since it opened in 1982.
Please note, though, that the Wildlife Center is a working hospital for injured animals and is not open to the general public.
However, they do have open houses that you can attend to learn more about the center and the work they do. You can learn more about future open houses or sign up to receive the latest updates.
The Wildlife Center serves as a hospital for injured wild animals.
Some of their patients have included black bear cubs, a bald eagle, an eastern screech owl, turtles, toads, and more.
Where to Stay in Waynesboro, VA
Depending on your interests and needs, Waynesboro has a number of great options for where to stay, including hotels with full kitchens as well as charming Bed & Breakfasts! Many of the accommodations also allow pets.
Residence Inn Marriott Waynesboro is a great option when staying in Waynesboro. The hotel is just a short drive from many main attractions downtown.
A huge bonus is that the rooms come with a full kitchen. There is also a fitness center, pool, hot tub, and complimentary breakfast. Pets are also welcome.
|🛏️ Book your stay at the Residence Inn Marriott Waynesboro by clicking here! 🛏️|
Best Western Plus Waynesboro Inn & Suites is another great choice in town. It’s also close to Main Street downtown, plus it has a pool, fitness center, and complimentary breakfast. Pets are also welcome.
|🛏️ Book your stay at the Best Western Plus Waynesboro by clicking here! 🛏️|
If you’re looking for something brimming with charm and character, I recommend staying at The Loriann. This 1940s home is adorable, bright, and inviting. The home had one bedroom and one bath, and a full kitchen.
It’s also located just a block from Main Street.
|🛏️ Book your stay at The Loriann by clicking here! 🛏️|
FAQs About Waynesboro, VA
Before heading to Waynesboro, find out even more about this hidden gem in the Shenandoah Valley.
What is Waynesboro, VA known for?
Waynesboro, VA is known as the gateway to Shenandoah National Park because of its close location to Skyline Drive.
Does Waynesboro, VA have a downtown?
Yes, Waynesboro has a newly revitalized downtown that includes restaurants, shops, and several main attractions like the Waynesboro Heritage Museum, P Buckley Moss Gallery, Wayne Theater, and Shenandoah Valley Arts Center.
How big is Waynesboro, VA?
Waynesboro has a population of about 23,102 in 2023.
Does the Appalachian Trail go through Waynesboro, Virginia?
Waynesboro, VA is a designated Appalachian Trail Community. Downtown Waynesboro is only three miles from the Appalachian Trail.
Conclusion: 12 Best Things to Do in Waynesboro, VA
As you can see, Waynesboro is a great vacation destination, especially if you love the outdoors! Beyond that, though, there are many great art galleries, museums, breweries, wineries, and more things to do to help make your next vacation there a memorable one!
Learn about even more great things to do in the Shenandoah Valley!