Caves are cool—admit it. If you immediately think of bats and eyeless amphibians, focus instead on the formations created over thousands of years, hanging from the ceilings and reaching from the basins. Awe-inspiring, right? And that’s what to expect at at Luray Caverns in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley: Chambers upon chambers of different sights, echoes bouncing off the rock walls.
About Luray Caverns
The Luray Caverns, discovered in 1878 by a tinsmith, have become the most popular system in Eastern America. Some caves reach 10-story depth, while others are filled with crystal-clear pools and glistening stalactites.
One particular stalactite, Titania’s Veil, offers what would be imagined of a Shakespearian fairy. These cascading, crystalline formations are things of beauty, having multiplied and intensified over centuries.
The Empress Column resembles the headboard and backdrop to the room of a goddess. Named in the 1800s, it has only gotten greater with time, as the formations have reached top and bottom, connecting to create tendrils of crystalline rock. Their stillness is eerily serene, as you imagine the seemingly endless drops of calcium-fortified water that have fallen to create these formations. Every drop adds or takes away something, so displays are never exactly the same on any two visits.
Dream Lake is the largest body of water inside the caverns. But its deepest point is no more than 18 to 20 inches, meaning even most of the below-surface formations are largely visible. The placid waters mirror the images of the stalactites above, making it seem Escher-esque.
There is plenty more to see within these caverns, from formations that resemble fried eggs (seriously) to a giant “Stalacpipe” Organ (a common phenomenon found in many caves).
Luray Caverns is open every day of the year, usually 9 a.m. until late afternoon, making it a reliable attraction for vacation planning. Tickets are sold as general admission, and we recommend the recorded audio tour. The tour material explains each compartment in detail, providing history and describing points of interest, but allows you to proceed and explore at your own pace.
If you’re vacationing in the Shenandoah Valley, these caverns is a memorable way to see the land around you—at what’s beneath it.