Downtown Staunton, Virginia
Staunton, VA, USA
Hours vary, depending on which restaurant/shop you visit, check sites before visiting
restaurants, museums, road-trips
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Take a day trip to the beautiful and historic city of Staunton!
We LOVE to visit Staunton, Virginia. This beautiful city is perfect for families. It is easy to walk to different spots in one day, it is affordable, and entirely unlike any other place, we have visited! Park at the Depot Grille, which is next to the Staunton Train Station and the Sears Hill Bridge. From the bridge, you can see the entire downtown area, and the historic clocktower, for which the city is known. We love this scenic overlook! There are also two old cabooses to see, if you have a train enthusiast with you!
After taking in the views, we walk down to the Main Street area and begin our adventure on a "sweet" note, at The Split Banana Co. This family-owned gelato shop is very popular, so be ready for a wait. However long your wait is, it will definitely be worth it! We opt for the "junior" size for our kids, which is the smallest option on the menu, but it is still very generous!
After the kids have full bellies, we really start to explore! Next door is our next stop! For my seven-year-old aspiring photographer, we love the Camera Heritage Museum. While there are tons of artifacts and relics to check out, it is in a very small building, with lots of items that are not for touching. This is not a place to bring very young children. Highlights include Jacques Cousteau's underwater camera and several antique cameras dating back to the 19th century. For each camera, there is a story and the museum owner is your guide! He will share as much information as you would ever want to know! He is great about including children and tying in history to the evolution of the camera. The visit to the museum lasts about an hour. Admission is $5, cash only. Donations are accepted as well.
For kids, particularly young bibliophiles, make a stop at The Book Dragon Shop. This store is pure magic! Again, this requires just a short walk on the same street! My son loves the eclectic collection of LEGO books, and my daughter loves how she can find one-of-a-kind books here! Last time, she discovered a new author of a historical-fiction, non-graphic series, she now adores! The staff is very patient and will help you and your children find the perfect book for age and interest.
Make a break for some real food at Depot Grille. If you have kiddos who love trains and/or history, this will be a special meal! The restaurant is actually in the old freight depot of Staunton Station. The tables are covered with blank paper and the kids love to color all over the "tablecloth" while waiting for our meal to be delivered. It is a very casual restaurant; reservations are not required. They offer a kids' menu, but my children usually opt for an array of sides: applesauce, fries and coleslaw.
Concluding the day at Pufferbellies Toys & Books is a must! This locally-owned business is just so charming! You can find any type of toy, and all are high-quality. I love it here, because many toys are educational. I give each child a price limit and let them choose one toy. My daughter sometimes struggles with this, and the owners are so patient and loving! They walk her through the store and point out the choices in her budget, which also reflect her interests. Last time, she came home with a soft black stuffed cat, named Pepper, and my future paleontologist son chose a dinosaur dig kit!
All of these shops and eateries are very close! You will walk around 1-1.5 miles if you follow the above itinerary. It is stroller-friendly, except for the steps on the Sears Hill Bridge.