Luray Caverns, located in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, is an amazing display of nature and exploration. Not only is the drive lovely, but extra bonus: they’re dog friendly.
All of the amazing stops and plans I had on our road trip had to quickly become adjusted when I realized we also had a dog with us. This was our first travel adventure with Tucker, and I was a little out of my element. Dogs, sadly, are not welcomed everywhere.
I was a little nervous bringing in 5 girls, ages 11 to 3, plus a dog who is not well traveled into Luray Caverns, but everyone was so nice. They were happy to see us.
The history of the Caverns is pretty cool. “Cold air rushing out of a limestone sinkhole atop a big hill west of Luray, Virginia, blew out a candle held by Andrew Campbell, the town tinsmith, on the morning of August 13, 1878. So began the discovery of Luray Caverns.
Campbell, three other men, and his 13-year-old nephew, Quint, were exploring the area, looking for a cave. With the help of local photographer Benton Stebbins, the men dug away loose rocks for four hours before, candle in hand, Campbell and Quint slid down a rope into the cave. They could scarcely believe what they saw. The party had discovered the largest series of caverns in the East, an eerie world of stalactites and stalagmites seen by the light of a candle.”
In order to explore the caverns themselves, you must purchase a tour. No self-guided tours. Adult admission is $26.00 and Children, ages 6 to 12, are $14.00. Children 5 and under are free. Dogs are allowed as long as you carry them. They cannot walk on the walkways. Our dog is about 17-ish lbs, so we had a stroller, sat one of our kids in it, and she held the dog for the approximately 1 hour tour. They also said there was a kennel for larger dogs.
You cover about a 1 1/4 miles of walking, so I suggest good walking shoes. The temperatures can be cool inside the caverns, which can feel really good with the heat outside, but a couple of my kids got chilly during the tour. Your tour guide will explain some history, point out some of the really cool formations, and answer any questions. You go at a leisurely pace, providing ample time for pictures.
Most of the children did really well. The walk wasn’t too long for them. Some did resort to dancing around to entertain themselves.
The littles got antsy towards the end, but I think it’s because they wanted a snack. How could we possibly make it an hour without a snack?? I know, the audacity. I’m not proud of the fact that I told them this was the Cave of Wonders from Aladdin, and if they misbehaved, then they would collapse. I’m sorry, it had to be done.
If you have children who love caves and exploration, they will LOVE it here. I was loving it.
Tucker was just happy to be held for so long, pushed around in a stroller. He was living the life, and he didn’t bark once, thank goodness.
The kids did love The Wishing Well at the end. They were able to throw their coins in and make wishes. Every year they drain the pool and donate the proceeds to charitable organizations. They have donated over $1,000,000!!
Luray Caverns is open every day of the year. Tours depart approximately every twenty minutes. The General Admission includes the attraction entrance fee and Luray Caverns tour, a self-guided tour of the Car and Carriage Caravan, and the Luray Valley Museum. Tours begin each day at 9 am.
The last tour departs at:
April 1 to June 14 – 6 pm
June 15 to Labor Day – 7 pm
Day after Labor Day to October 31 – 6 pm
November 1 to March 31 – 4 pm (5 pm on weekends)
The Car and Carriage Caravan Museum opens at 9 am and Luray Valley Museum opens at 10 am and close 1 and a half hours after the last tour of the day enters the Caverns.
Dogs can also tour the rest of the grounds as long as they are on a leash. They have other cool attractions such as The Garden Maze, Rope Adventure Park, and Gem Sluice with additional cost.
We didn’t have time to explore all that we wanted to, but there is plenty to see and do! I was just proud of us for making it through with no meltdowns after being in the car for 4 days. That’s success!
We’ll definitely be back. I can only imagine how beautiful the drive is in the fall with the leaves changing colors. See ya real soon, Luray Caverns.