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    Luray Caverns: the immense underground caverns of Virginia

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    Lluis Enric Mayans

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    Over the course of hundreds of millions of years, the continuous infiltration of rainwater from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia has created the largest underground cave system in all of Eastern America. Luray Caverns, whose impressive width is not measured so much by the numerous underground passages, but by the "air space" inside the earth which, dotted with stalactites and stalagmites with multicolored shades, gives this natural wonder a unique beauty.

    Brief History of the Luray Caverns

    The Luray Caverns were discovered on August 13, 1878 by five local explorers, and soon began to attract visitors. In 1974, the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service awarded the caves National Natural Landmark status.

    In the 50s, a Pentagon engineer designed one of the most bizarre attractions still present in Luray Caverns, the Grand StalacPipe Organ, an instrument that uses ancient and enormous stalactites as musical keys, producing its particular sounds during guided tours.

    Visit Luray Caverns

    Virginia's underground caves are easily visited.

    Luray Caverns are open every day of the year. Tours depart approximately every 20 minutes. Admission includes the entrance ticket to the attraction, the Luray Caverns tour, a self-guided tour of the Car and Carriage Caravan (a museum about old transport in the USA) and the Luray Valley Museum (a sort of reconstruction of an old American rural village). Tours start every day at 09:00 in the morning.

    The closing periods vary according to the season. The last tour departs at:

    • from April 1st to June 14th: 18:00
    • June 15th to Labor Day: 19pm
    • from the day after Labor Day to October 31: 18pm
    • November 1st to March 31st: 16pm (00pm on weekends)

    The Caravan Car and Carriage Museum opens at 9am and on Museo Luray Valley at 10 am and they close an hour and a half after the last one cave tour of the day.

    Let's now try to answer some questions that you may have depending on the visit:

    How long does the Luray Caverns tour last?

    The guided tour of the caves lasts just over an hour. The narrow cobbled streets inside are approximately 1,25 miles long.

    Can the climate affect the cave tour?

    Time doesn't matter. The caves are open every day of the year, rain or shine.

    What is the temperature inside the caves?

    The caves have a constant temperature of just over 12 degrees with a very high humidity that makes it feel around 18. Some prefer to bring a light jacket inside. Comfortable shoes are recommended.

    When do the excursions start?

    Approximately every 20 minutes. Each tour is approximately one hour in length. The Car and Carriage Caravan and the Luray Valley Museum, included in the general admission fee, offer self-guided tours approximately every 30-45 minutes.

    Are reservations necessary?

    Reservations are not required, but large groups, of 20 or more, receive a discount and must notify 14 days in advance.

    Are photos allowed on the tour?

    Of course yes! They recommend using the flash.

    Where can I stay to visit the caves?

    The caves are part of the city of Luray, where hotel accommodation can be found. However, this is not the only possibility: to find accommodation in the area I recommend that you take a look at this page.

    How to get to Luray Caverns

    Address: 970 US HWY 211 West, Luray, VA 22835

    Coordinate GPS: 101 Cave Hill Road, Luray, VA 22835

    Here is an interactive map, to make it easier to find the caves.

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