As I had previously mentioned in an earlier post the Shenandoah Short Term Rental(STR) Market casts a wide net that covers a lot of territory. Remember, “Shenandoah” is a broad term and not necessarily a specific place when referring to STRs in the area. We will be looking at four different sub-markets on our list and my top recommendations when starting your STR search. These four areas will also help you familiarize yourself with the Shenandoah area and make you feel like a local in no time. These sub-markets are all located on two main roads that open up to million dollar views, cute mountain towns, and make it logistically easy to travel to and from. These sub-markets are within a 100 mile drive of each other so, with such a wide net how can you narrow down reliable sub-markets that are friendly for STRs? There are a few characteristics that can help with this search, locale to Shenandoah National Park Entrances, locale to Shenandoah River, logistics for travelling through the rural mountainous terrain, and availability to amenities just to name a few.
So what submarkets check these boxes? Here are a few that do just that:
Front Royal/Warren County
Located at the Northern end of the SNP and is the closest to NOVA and around 75 miles west of D.C. The North and South Forks of the Shenandoah River also meet here. FR also has many of your standard commercial retail necessities nearby for tenant convenience. FR has a population of 15,011 based on the 2020 census. Front Royal is the only incorporated town in Warren County. WC and FR both have similar STR regulations. Two things to keep in mind when searching this area for STR properties; the first being FR/WC is peppered with HOAs that have unfavorable regulations for STRs and secondly cell service all but disappears in the southern half of the county. Also getting your STR up and running will take a few months due to local regulations but once passed the paperwork portion the regulations are quite favorable.
For more information: https://www.discoverfrontroyal.com/
The Town of Luray is located approximately 90 miles west of Washington D.C. and 25 miles south of Front Royal. Luray is a quaint mountain community with population of roughly 5,000 nestled in the Shenandoah Valley right along the gorgeous Rte 340. This sub-market has so many natural family friendly attractions such as Luray Caverns, Shenandoah National Park, Lake Arrowhead, breath taking hikes, endless historic and scenic marvels, and it is just east of the Shenandoah River. This area is no stranger to STRs and the County and local municipalities have a straightforward process to get you STR up and running.
For more information: https://www.townofluray.com/
Elkton is located directly to the south of Luray and Front Royal; a straight shot taking around 1 hour of scenic Rte 340. Elkton is an up and comer on our top sub-markets list but it checks a lot of boxes. Beautiful scenery all around, right on the Shenandoah river and has an entrance to the SNP. Elkton’s neighbor, Massanutten Resort, is roughly 5 miles west and boasts an indoor waterpark, golf, skiing/snowboarding, and year-round events for the entire family. Areas with mountain resorts tend to have the most laxed of regulations since the mountains thrive off of STRs and this area is no different.
Nelson 151 somewhat mirrors another submarket on our list; Elkton/Massanutten but with a few addons. Also called “Virginia’s Long Weekend Address” here is how the Nelson 151 websites describes itself: “Nelson 151 is the destination for award-winning Virginia craft beverages, local food & artisans, unique lodging and amazing natural beauty. Virginia Route 151 is a state-designated scenic byway on the Sunrise Side of the Blue Ridge that is home to the Nelson 151 community.” Nelson 151 or Rte 151 is home to beautiful vineyards and breweries where the only issue you will have is deciding which is better the view or the beverage? And just off of Rte 151 is Wintergreen Resort. Wintergreen is not onlyknown for its wintertime sports but also golf, hiking, swimming, shopping, and world-class tennis.