Suggestions for spending five days in one of the most family-friendly small towns in the United States

With a population of under one thousand, and surrounded by national forests, we provide an excellent environment for raising children and for family vacations. Most of the activities in our area are free or low cost. Damascus is for vacationers who are tired of sitting in traffic, waiting in long lines, and spending lots of money in crowded, hectic conditions.

Day One – Ride the Virginia Creeper Trail

The Virginia Creeper Trail is considered to be one of the best rail trails in the Eastern United States. The classic ride, done by about 90 percent of participants, is to take a shuttle from Damascus up to Whitetop Mountain Station, the highest point of the old railroad. From there it is a 17-mile downhill ride back to town. Riders range in age from 5 to 90. A list of shuttles can be found here.

Day Two – Explore the High Country

Visit the website of the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area or check out Grayson Highlands State Park.
Explore the high country near Damascus, and start or end your day with an exciting ride on the Creeper Trail Zipline.
Click on this line for a vido of riding the Creeper Trail Zipline.

Day Three – Do Nothing

Does your vacation need to be filled with frantic activity? Why not take some time for yourself and enjoy small-town America as our country used to be. Walk around town, stop by Laurel Creek or Beaverdam Creek and let the kids explore, sit and watch the ducks, have coffee, check out the old houses, take a short hike on the Appalachian Trail. Or just do nothing.

Day Four – Ride a Horse into the Mountains

Contact Doug Cregger at Appalachian Horseback Riding Adventures, 276-783-4136, and ask him about his rides of four, six, or eight hours. Doug can tell you what kind of horse you will need, and if you are a beginning rider he has great patience. Treat your family to a lifetime memory.

Day Five – Explore the Back Roads

Take a short drive up to Backbone Rock and take a careful short hike over the shortest tunnel in America. Follow the road up to Shady Valley and see a valley you have to drive UP to see. Make your way over to South Holston Lake and rent a pontoon boat from Painter Creek or have lunch at Laurel Marina. Make your way back to Damascus with maybe a stopover at a restaurant or antique shop in Abingdon. (Photo courtesy
Other Days – try your luck at some of the best trout fishing in the Appalachians (stocked and wild); catch a musical performance at the Old Mill; explore the great shops with their eclectic mix of goods; visit the artists and artisans in our area.

For more Damascus vacation ideas, check out 48 Hours in Damascus from Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine.