The Best Way to Explore Shenandoah: Basecamp at Big Meadows Lodge

Room at Big Meadows Lodge ©Kate Michael

If you’re planning a vacation to one of America’s National Parks, you know you don’t have to camp, right? There’s nature, adventure, and so much to discover… and there’s even a couple of in-park hotels to enjoy the best parts while escaping the rest.

Lodge room bathroom ©Kate Michael

Right in the middle of Virginia’s spectacular Shenandoah National Park, adventurers who prefer luxe(r) lodgings will appreciate Big Meadows Lodge to sleep on-site in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Because we love the wilderness, but we also love a clean standard hotel room with a shower!

Atmosphere at Big Meadows Lodge ©Kate Michael

Mere steps from the Appalachian Trail, the site is comprised of a Main Lodge Room with detached small cabins and rows of traditional rooms and suites.  Many are even pet friendly!  And the Lodge is easy to find right off Skyline Drive, with scenic vistas at every turn as well as tempting trails and iconic landmarks. (Rapidan Camp was the summer retreat of President Herbert Hoover after all!)

Rooms are decorated in a sparse rustic mountain style with few extravagances, but are much more than a camping alternative.  Expect a coffee maker with coffee and tea selections, Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy toiletries — and some rooms even have TVs!

Main meeting room at Big Meadows Lodge ©Kate Michael

Walls are thin, so you’ll have to hope for quiet neighbors, but you’ll all be so exhausted from hiking the nearby Blackrock and Dark Hollow Falls Trails — and so full from the excellent meals at the nearby Spottswood Dining Room — that it likely won’t be a problem.  (Seriously, try the Turkey Dinner; it’s a plate of Thanksgiving!)

Spottswood Dining Room ©Kate Michael

Right now, Shenandoah is celebrating its 1939 Rewind with trivia nights, scavenger hunts, craft making, performances, movies and games hearkening back to when Big Meadows Lodge was built 80 years ago. So in addition to “glamping” you can step back in time a bit at this quintessential Shenandoah gathering place, enjoying time with just your party or meeting other adventurers to swap stories from the trails.

Late summer to early Fall is a coveted time to visit. Make your reservations early, as these limited rooms sell out fast with groups coming back year after year.

View from Black Rock Trail summit. ©Kate Michael

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