Top Things to do in Virginia | Luray Caverns

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Locals believe that you have an year of good luck if you receive a “Cave Kiss” or a drop of water fall on you from inside the cavern. Countless Stalactites (hanging formations) and stalagmites (formations upward from the ground) and dripping water and water pools was creating an out-wordly experience as we were hiking several feet underground(The deepest part of the cavern is 164 feet and some of the ceilings in the rooms reach well over 10 stories high) in the Luray Caverns , Virginia. 


Dream Lake (A nice reflection of the ceiling Stalactite on the water)
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The temperature was almost room temperature. It is said that Luray Caverns is a perfect gateway for year around as temperatures hover around 56 - 64 degrees inside all the time.

Luray Caverns in located in the state of Virginia in the Shenandoah valley near the Shenandoah State Park and is one of the most popular caverns in Virginia.

Where is Luray Caverns, Virginia?

A popular gateway from New York and Washington, Luray Caverns in Virginia is about 6 hours from New York and 2 hours from Washington DC.

We wanted to visit Great Smoky Mountains and it is about 11 hours from New York. So instead of extending our sweat & blood on the endless drive, we chose to take the convenient route - the flexibility of taking a tour by Taketours. It was my hubby’s birthday ‘he didn’t wanted to drive this long’ so this came as a package which had many attractions + several states. We made this tour on the memorial day weekend i.e — and we got to know some real interesting facts and enjoy some real relaxed countryside.

Luray Caverns was one of the places that stunned us. Virginia was our first stop on Day 1. Virginia is home to Springs and Caverns. Water created the 4,000+ caves in Virginia by dissolving limestone. Each Virginia Caverns has a character and some of the popular ones are Luray Caverns, Shenandoah Cavens, Endless Caverns, Skyline Caverns, Grand Caverns, Natural Bridge Caverns, Dixie Caverns, Gap Caverns etc.

Why is Virginia called Virginia?

Virginia comes from the word Virgin + ia.

Firstly, Virginia was named to honor Queen Elizabeth of England often referred to as the "Virgin Queen."

 Secondly, Virginia was the first colonial land of British conquest in USA and Virgin means First Time.

Virginia is also known as ‘Creator or mother of presidents’ because so many of the early presidents including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson etc of the United States were native Virginians. Virginia is also known as agriculture state.

The highest contributors to economy of Virginia today is 1) the defense department of the government that has plant of entire military and supplies from here (and not in Washington DC) , 2) the crops of Tobacco and 3) the computer chip manufacturing or the IT department (infact, getting an IT job is easier in Virginia)

Before American Civil War, Virginia used to be a very large piece of land, it was only after the war, it was divided into Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky.

To know why Virginia is not the capital state but Washington DC, click here

Inside the Luray Caverns

As it was memorial day weekend, there was a lot of crowd. Thankfully, we had taken the tour, which made us bypass the standing queues. The path that goes through Luray Caverns starts at the entrance right after the souvenir shop. In fact as you’d be stepping down, you would have no idea what a marvel you’d see next. It’s only when you step on the cave stairs, you would take few minutes to sink in.

We were hiking on about an hour long winding path of about 1.5 miles that once was an ancient underground river. The caverns were formed by seepage of layers of limestone and clay. As the water drained, it formed caverns, the calcite rich drop from the ceiling became stalactites and drips on the floor became stalagmites and when the two met in the middle, a column was formed. As we took the curves through caverns on the path,

1) we reached Dream Lake ( a 2 feet deep reflective lake) ,
2)Then we circled downwards to Saracen’s Tent (Saracen's tent is considered to be one of the most well-formed draperies in the world)
3)Then to Pluto’s Cavern - an open area with drop of 70-90 feet.
3)Then to 500 foot pillar called Pluto’s Ghost (when the people had initially come here to explore the caverns they just had candles and lamps and they thought this was a ghost)
4)Skeleton’s Gorge - where 700-year-old remains of a Native American girl were found.
5)Then to Stalacpipe Organ
6)Then to Wishing well
7)Then to Fried Eggs Rock Formation.

Now, we were strictly and sweetly told to not touch the formations because the oil in the Human Skin stops the growth of the formations. It takes 170 years to grow less than an inch. each and some of the formations took about 300 years to grow. So if we touch it the growth would stop. Till then, I had not known these strong looking caverns have sensitivity to human touch.

The only place where you can touch the cavern is the "Fried Eggs" rock formation where the growth has stopped.

Since we were so bewildered with the beauty of the cavern, we forgot to follow the tour guide of the group after a while. I would suggest you guys to not do so, because we missed on a few stories that might have been very interesting. At last, it goes out through a small passage to the entrance.

We’ll take you through a few pictures from the cavern:












Mirror Lake



The winding down path


Pluto’s Ghost







Saracen’s Tent 






Stalacpipe Organ








Wishing well

Coins tossed at Wishing well

Fried egg formation ( Photos from Shutterstock )




Outside the Luray Caverns

The Garden Maze at Luray Caverns is a garden with twists and turns is a great place to get lost.

Other things to do in Virginia

Natural Bridge

Thomas Jefferson (3rd President of the US) often thought of building "a little hermitage" where he might spend part of every year. And this was one of the places he had visited a few times. Thomas Jefferson called Natural Bridge “the most sublime of nature's works” . Some locals say that Thomas Jefferson had made one wish in this backyard in the river and who knows, it might be the wish to become a president!

 Natural Bridge is a geological formation in Rockbridge County, Virginia, comprising a 215-foot-high (66 m) natural arch with a span of 90 feet (27 m). It is situated within a gorge carved from the surrounding mountainous limestone terrain by Cedar Creek, a small tributary of the James River.

Me, making a wish..

The Natural Bridge


Virginia Beach Virginia beach broad walk is a nice clean broad walk to walk on. The beach is also good.

Hot Springs in Virginia 
Three major springs in the Warm Springs Valley of the Allegheny Mountains in Bath and Allegheny Counties can be found in western Virginia along U.S. Route 220 - Warm Springs, Hot Springs and Healing Springs. More details here

Skyline Drive & Other Scenic Road Drives One of the famous drives in Summer is the Skyline Drive in Virginia which offers very beautiful landscape.


Summer evening view of the Shenandoah Valley from Franklin Cliffs Overlook, on Skyline Drive, in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. Photo from Shutterstock

Shenandoah Caverns Shenandoah Caverns is one of the easiest cavern to tour as it has got an elevator. The guided tour is about an hour.

Lexington Surrounded by Shenandoah Valley with restaurants, artisan shops etc. 

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2 Comments

  1. Hey Anki,
    Thanks for sharing the cool ideas to do in Virginia. And yes, these pics are lovely :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Stunning photos! Thanks for this great content.

    ReplyDelete

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