Weekend Window: Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park is nearly 200,000 acres and 105 miles long. Located in Viginia, some call it the most beautiful drive in the eastern United States.

"We have predominantly an oak hickory forest," said Claire Comer, interpretive specialist at the park. "Probably the favorite plant in the park are the wildflowers. We have a beautiful display ... from spring through fall, so it's a great thing to come and see all the wildflowers."

Comer said the park also has about 200 species of birds. "One of my favorites is the indigo bunting, which is a small bird that's bright blue," she said.

White-tailed deer are everywhere in the park, Comer said. "You can hardly get through the park without seeing at least several. These are beautiful creatures, and you'll see them all over the roadside, so everybody needs to drive carefully."

Skyline Drive was billed as this park's greatest single feature when it was established in 1935, Comer said. "What we have today is just a beautiful, winding road through the forest that opens up to these spectacular vistas and overlooks."

Comer added that the park's waterfalls are one of its greatest attractions.

"There are all kinds of mountain streams that tumble down the side of the mountain in beautiful cascades," she said.

Visitors can take a hike to witness the beautiful views or even see designated wilderness from their vehicles.

"No matter what your ability level, you can find a way to get back in touch with nature here," Comer said. "It's a great vacation spot."

More than 2 million people a year visit Shenandoah National Park. The best way to avoid the crowds and have Skyline Drive to yourself is to come in the spring, or on weekdays during summer and fall.

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