Front Royal is a town of significant historical distinction. Within the town, 13 districts, buildings and properties have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. For some, greater significance lies in its proximity to the Shenandoah River and the Shenandoah National Park. It sits at the spot where the North and South Forks of the River come together, and it is the northern entry point into the national park.
Beginning in Front Royal, Skyline Drive is one of the most traveled routes in the state. Throughout its length from Front Royal to Waynesboro, the Drive provides access to dog-friendly trails and lookouts, like Compton Peak Trail at mile-marker 10.4. This is a trail that requires just a small amount of effort, as it ascends gradually for about 1 mile, then splits off to the east and west. The view from the western peak is spectacular and sightings of raptors here are common. The eastern trail descends to an obstructed view. The wildflowers, ferns and other plant growth are lovely, and Fido may sniff out some animals as well. A pawsome hike!
For almost whatever you plan to do and see while
in Front Royal and its surrounding areas, you’ll find your fur-pup will be welcome
to join you!
The Town Center of Front Royal looks like a portrait of an antebellum village, with its Civil War-era homes and shops, and its quaint streets lined with hanging flower baskets, benches and museums and other historical sites that are not to be missed. Bowman Park, on Luray Ave, features benches for surveying the town with your best furry buddy, as well as picnic tables and a grassy lawn for strolling. The Town Center also hosts the Warren County Dog Park, a very large, fully fenced and grassy park, with many trees for shade. The park provides a separate section for small dogs as well. The emphasis here is on well-socialized pups who can play without undue aggression, so park rules prohibit toys and treats, and humans are expected to stand ready to intervene. Just pure doggy-play and exercise aplenty! Arf!
This neighborhood of Front Royal is home to the eastern
upper edge of pup-friendly Shenandoah National Park, including the north
entrance. Views of mountains and the never-ending sky, waterfalls, trails and
quiet surround you and your furry buddy here. The park features over 500 miles
of hiking trails, most of which welcome Fido, but a few do not. Check at the
entrance visitor centers to be sure it’s okay to bring him where you’re going. The
park features almost 200,000 acres of backcountry wilderness camping, as well
as 5 major drive-in and tenting campgrounds, and 3 lodges. All are dog-friendly
and afford sightings of birds and mammals like bear and deer. A paradise for
The dog-friendly GR Thompson State Wildlife Management Area lies on the border and slightly within this neighborhood of Front Royal. This 4000-acre park is a rich botanical area with many species of wildflowers. It’s open to the public and their leashed pups for hiking, boating and wilderness camping. Hunting is allowed in the area, so be sure to stay aware of the timing of hunting season, and dress yourself and your fur-buddy in blaze orange when appropriate. A network of trails provides access to the flora and fauna, including hawks that live or migrate through the area, and parking is provided in 11 designated areas. Your fur-pup will love walking the trails and sniffing out the millions of smells that abound there. Woofderful!
This neighborhood is home to the Burrell Brooks Jr. Community Park, a dog-friendly, family-oriented park with amenities to suit every member of the family, including Spot. For the human kiddies, there is a playground, for the older humans a sand volleyball court, lighted basketball court and horseshoe pit, and for everyone a dining shelter with tables and grill, and restrooms. Best of all for doggy pleasure is the trail that features fitness stations for the goal-minded among us, and the wide open green areas perfect for romping and playing. If you and the family fancy a restaurant for your next meal, head over to Castiglia Italian Eatery, where you’ll find outdoor tables for lunch or dinner with your fur-pup. This is a casual restaurant that serves up classic Italian fare in addition to all the casual sandwiches, pizza and soups/salads. Bone appetit!
Delaplane is a community just southeast of Front Royal, and it is home to the Barrel Oak Winery. There are many wineries and breweries that are considered dog-tolerant, even dog-friendly, because they allow dogs to join their humans at outside tables for snacks or meals. In this regard, Barrel Oak Winery is in a class by itself. The dog-friendliness extends from the décor to the menu art, to the resident Viszla on “staff”, to the fact that they allow dogs everywhere, even inside in the tasting room and on the wine patio. They encourage people hiking with their pups to stop in, and they allow folks to bring picnic lunches to enjoy with their furry family members in the orchards under the grape arbors for a small fee. This is truly a pawrrific place to take your pooch!