The Luray Caverns is one of the most visited cave systems in the United States. Though expensive, it is worth the trip to see a few unique features in this cavern. We’ve visited many caves all over the West including Carlsbad Caverns, but we still got excited about a few of Luray’s features.
Luray Caverns is privately owned, and to be blunt, it is expensive. Our family of two adults and three children paid over $100 to get in. This fee did include museum tickets and a few other perks, but we didn’t bother with the sideshows, and instead spent our time on the one hour cave tour.
Luray is an active cave and features many of the features common to other caves: bacon, popcorn, columns, stalactites and stalagmites are all prominent. The caverns are quite large and there are huge rooms and huge cave features. The really impressive features, though are unique to the cave.
The reflecting pool is one of the most impressive sights we’ve seen in a cave. In this room, a shallow pool perfectly reflects the ceiling making the room look much wider and deeper than it is. The water is so perfect that it is like a mirror laying on the floor of the room. Even though the water is only a few inches deep, it creates the image that the room is quite large. Though it is difficult to get a picture of the reflection, it is breathtaking.
The main feature, which is truly unique, is the pipe organ in Luray Cavern. In the 1950s a gentleman used the stalactites to create an organ. A small hammer tapping different size cave features can actually play hymns. The eerie sound of a stone organ hundreds of feet underground is spine-tingling. We thoroughly enjoyed listening to the organ play a song for us. This made the cost of admission much more palatable.
We also enjoyed the wishing pool. At the end of the tour they have a small pool and visitors are allowed to throw coins in the water. At the end of each month they vacuum out all the coins and give them to charity. Though we practice leave no trace when in places like this, since Luray is a private operation it was fun to have one place where we could “break the rules” and help out a charity.
The day that we visited was really busy so they had tour guides stationed in different areas talking about the cave features as everyone wandered around on their own. On a less busy day, the tour guides lead you through on a more standard guided tour.
If you find yourself in western Virginia, try Luray Caverns, which is a unique caving experience. The rooms are large so there is never any fear of claustrophobia. The path is paved and easy to travel, but be careful of water. This is an amazing stop for families.