Luray Caverns is a spectacular underground marvel located in the town of Luray, Virginia near the Shenandoah National Park in the western part of the state. Luray Caverns is the fourth-largest commercial cavern in the U.S. and is certainly one of the most beautiful.
Activities at Luray Caverns
Luray Caverns is one of the most popular show caves in the United States and has been designated as a U.S. Natural Landmark. It contains a wide variety of formations and amazing natural colors that are not commonly seen in caverns. In addition to cavern tours, there are several other activities to enjoy on the grounds of the caverns, with options that everyone in your group is be sure to enjoy.
Visitors can tour the spectacular underground landscape on one-hour tours led by a knowledgeable guide. The gravel walkways are lighted and well-maintained, making the tour fairly easy to navigate. You will, however, need to be prepared to walk over a mile over inclines, descending grades, flat surfaces and stairs to complete the tour.
You can order tickets online or purchase them at the door. The cost is $24 for adults and $12 for children between the ages of six and 12. There is no fee for children under six. Seniors 62 and older can purchase discount admission tickets for $21. Group rates for 20 or more paying visitors are also available.
You will have an opportunity to see many breathtaking cavern features during your tour. You can take as many pictures as you like during the tour, but you must take care not to touch the cave formations.
- Formations: Luray features beautiful formations, including stalactites, stalagmites and flow stone. A number of the rooms within Luray Caverns are huge, some with ceilings that are 10 stories high.
- Reflecting pool: Luray Caverns is also home to beautiful, crystal-clear reflecting pools. Though the pools are only a few inches deep, they appear to be several feet deep because they perfectly reflect the stalactites hanging from above.
- Stalacpipe Organ: One unique feature of Luray Caverns is the Stalacpipe Organ. This organ was created by Leland Sprinkle in 1954, who meticulously searched the caverns for stalacpipes that would exactly match the notes on the musical scale when they were tapped with a rubber-tipped mallet. After three years of searching and experimenting, Sprinkle managed to create the world's largest instrument, the Stalacpipe Organ, which covers a total of 3 ½ acres. Visitors can enjoy listening to the organ as it plays a tune during their visit.
Car and Carriage Caravan Museum
After exploring the caverns, guests can take a tour of the car museum located on the same grounds. Admission to the car museum is free with the purchase of a cave tour ticket. At the car museum, visitors can enjoy looking at an impressive collection of over 140 different items related to transportation, including coaches, carriages, costumes and, of course, cars. Included in the exhibit is the 1892 Benz, which is one of the oldest cars in the country that still runs. Children are amazed when they see cars of the past and learn about how they transformed into the vehicles they are today.
The Garden Maze is another fun family adventure on the grounds. This attraction is not included in the entrance fee for the Luray Caverns, but the extra cost of $9 for adults and $7 for children is money well spent. The one-acre Garden Maze is one of the largest mazes in existence in the Mid-Atlantic states.
This ornamental garden is filled with twists, turns, and dead ends that the entire family will enjoy exploring and solving together. In addition, the family can search together for special posts where they can add a stamp to their passport. If all of the posts are located, the passport can be turned in later for a discount at the gift shop. Getting all of the stamps will also spell out a secret message!
The Garden Maze is a total of a ½ mile trail. The trail itself is 4 feet wide and the hedges in the maze are eight feet tall. There are a variety of locations within the Garden Maze that include misting foggers that provide a little cool off on hot days. There is also an elevated platform in the middle of the maze for guests who become completely lost.
Another Luray Cavern attraction is the Singing Tower, which is officially named the Bell Brown Northcott Memorial. This 117 foot tall memorial was built in 1937 and contains 47 bells, the largest of which weighs 7,640 pounds and is an amazing six feet in diameter! The smallest bell weighs only 12 ½ pounds. The Singing Tower provides free recitals at regularly scheduled times in the spring, summer, and fall.
You can grab a bite to eat and do some souvenir shopping during your time on the grounds.
- Sandwiches and snacks: Sandwiches, snacks and beverages are available from the Stalactite Cafe.
- Sweet confections: If you have a sweet tooth, stop by The Luray Fudge Company, where you can decide what flavor to purchase with a free sample. Other sweet treats are available in the fudge shop.
- Shopping: Pick up a few souvenirs for yourself and a gift or two for friends from one of the on-site gift shops.
There are two motels on the grounds, as well as a few other lodging facilities located nearby in the town of Luray.
Both motels on the cavern grounds are AAA-approved lodging accommodations with outdoor swimming pools. Guests can opt for golf packages that include privileges at the adjacent Caverns Country Club.
- East entrance: The motel at the east entrance is a two-story facility. The upstairs rooms have balconies, providing guests with breathtaking views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.
- West entrance: The west entrance motel is a one-story colonial structure, also surrounded by lovely views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Other Local Motels
National brand motel accommodations in the town include a Days Inn and a Best Western, both of which are surrounded by views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Both properties have swimming pools and free Internet access for guests.
- Days Inn: This property has traditional guest rooms, Jacuzzi rooms and suites that feature full kitchens. Breakfast is provided to guest at no charge. There is a fitness center, as well as 13 acres that guests can enjoy walking or running through. Miniature golf is also available on site.
- Best Western: This hotel offers traditional rooms, an on-site full-service restaurant and room service. There is an outdoor play area for kids and children age 12 and under stay free with their parents.
Local camping options include the Luray KOA and a Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camping Resort. Both parks provide spectacular views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains and offer camp stores, well-maintained bath houses, wi-fi, up-to full hookups, and other amenities.
- Luray KOA: This campground offers RV and tent sites, each with its own fire ring and picnic table. The campground offers a variety of amenities, including a swimming pool, playground, ball field, and pavilion for group use.
- Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park: This camping resort offers both tent and RV sites, as well as rental cabins. The facility offers a number of resort-style amenities such as a 400-foot water slide, two full-size swimming pools, a kiddie pool, paddle boats, a fishing pond and more.
Getting to Luray
The closest Airport to Luray, Virginia is in Dulles, just outside of Washington DC. It will take about 90 minutes to drive to Luray from this airport. The distance from Regan National Airport in DC is just a bit further. It takes about 2 1/2 hours to drive to Luray from Richmond, Virginia.
Enjoy Your Time in Luray
If you're looking for a relaxing escape from the busy pace of day-to-day living, you won't be disappointed when you plan a trip to Luray Caverns. It's an ideal place to spend a weekend, or to enjoy a few days out of a longer trip touring the Washington D.C. area and the western Virginia countryside.