Harrisonburg and Rockingham County Relocation Guide

Relocating to Harrisonburg or greater Rockingham County? Get answers to your questions about where to live, how to get around, and what to do in your spare time!

Nestled in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia, between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains, Harrisonburg is two hours south of the DC metro area. This city of about 50,000 people, including the James Madison University community, offers the best of urban and country living in an affordable, relaxed environment. The weather stays fairly mild all year round and there is plenty to do, see, eat, and enjoy.

If you’re in the process of relocating to Harrisonburg, you probably have lots of questions about where to live, how to get around, and what to do in your spare time. As a community bank, F&M Bank loves all things local. We created this Harrisonburg Relocation Guide to help you with moving to Harrisonburg and to share our passion for this pleasant college town surrounded by the beauty of nature. If you’ve recently moved to Harrisonburg, you may have already discovered what longtime residents love about their “burg” including a lower-than-average cost-of-living, short commutes, and thriving economy. Here’s everything you need to know to get settled in town.

Harrisonburg is an independent city, but it’s also the county seat of Rockingham County. Nestled between the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains, the Harrisonburg metro area of Rockingham County is rich with possibilities. From outdoor adventures to fine dining and arts and culture, you can find what you’re looking for here.

Cost of Living: Harrisonburg vs. Richmond and Alexandria

With a cost-of-living score of 96 (the national average is 100), Harrisonburg is a cheaper place to live than the country’s average. It’s also slightly more affordable than Richmond (97.5) and especially compared to Alexandria (156.2). Here’s what you can expect to spend on housing in these three Virginia cities:

  • Harrisonburg: Average monthly rents are $647 for a one-bedroom and $827 for a two-bedroom apartment. Buying a home is also quite affordable, with average sale prices in the low $200,000s.
  • Richmond: You’ll pay about $791/month to rent a one-bedroom apartment or about $916 for a two-bedroom. Median sale prices of homes vary by neighborhood but there is plenty available for under $200,000.
  • Alexandria: Average rents here are nearly double that of Harrisonburg and significantly higher than in Richmond. One-bedrooms go for around $1,300/month and a two-bedroom apartment will run you about $1,500/month. If you want to buy a home, you can find a condo for around $200,000 but most stand-alone houses go for between $500,000 and one million.

Where to live: Neighborhoods and Housing Stock

Harrisonburg offers a range of housing stock and neighborhoods, from recently converted downtown apartments to new suburban subdivisions. You can also find single-family homes in quiet and leafy neighborhoods close to James Madison University and downtown Harrisonburg. If you don’t need to be within city limits, there are many new developments of townhomes, duplexes, and detached houses just south of Harrisonburg in Rockingham. Here’s a sampling of Harrisonburg neighborhoods:

Map of Harrisonburg, Virginia

  • Beacon Hill: A townhome development in the Northeastern part of the city. Close to the Northend Greenway Project, a multi-use path and “corridor park” connecting different neighborhoods and parts of Harrisonburg.
  • Fairway Hills: A long-established neighborhood with a suburban feel in the Southern part of Harrisonburg. Close to Spotswood Country Club. Great for people who want a quieter lifestyle within city limits.
  • Greendale: An affordable neighborhood of smaller-sized single-family homes in a variety of styles. Close to JMU.
  • Harmony Heights: A newer development with a range of housing stock: townhomes, duplexes, and single family homes. This neighborhood features a lake to give you a more relaxed lifestyle in the city. Close to Eastern Mennonite University.
  • Liberty Square: Another townhome development on the Eastern side of Harrisonburg.
  • Old Town: This is Harrisonburg’s historic district. Enjoy a walkable urban lifestyle next to JMU and all that downtown Harrisburg has to offer. A great neighborhood for people who love old homes.
  • Pleasant Hill Acres: A family-friendly neighborhood where outside traffic is not permitted. The housing stock is from the 1950s and 60s with ranchers, split-levels, and other designs from that period. Close to JMU and downtown attractions.
  • Sunset Heights: Older single-family homes in the West Central part of Harrisonburg.

Primary and Higher Education in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County

JMU may be the biggest university in Harrisonburg, but it’s not the only institution of higher education. There are also public and private elementary and high schools for families with school-age children.

Harrisonburg City Public Schools

Harrisonburg High School serves the entire district. There are two middle schools and six elementary schools. In addition to traditional public schools, the district offers Great Oak Academy, a 6-8th grade non-traditional small program, and Massanutten Technical Center, with high school programs in a range of fields including auto technology, carpentry, cosmetology, electricity, practical nursing, welding and more.

Rockingham County Public Schools

Serving the rest of the county, RCPS consists of 15 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, and 4 high schools. There is also a governor’s school, a technical center, and an alternative education center.

Private Schools

Choose from private religious and secular schools with a variety of educational approaches:

Higher Education and Technical Training

Harrisonburg offers a wealth of educational opportunities beyond high school. In addition to the city’s three universities, Massanutten Technical Center has a variety of adult programs from GED classes to apprenticeships, practical nursing, and continuing education.

  • James Madison University is a state school with 124 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
  • Eastern Mennonite University offers undergraduate, graduate, and seminary programs. Harrisonburg is their main location, but they also have a Lancaster, PA campus and an online program.
  • Bridgewater College Named one of the best liberal arts colleges in the southeast by Princeton Review. Bridgewater College is small, private and recognized for strong academics.

Getting Around Harrisonburg

Interstate 81 cuts through Harrisonburg and the city is connected to many state highways as well. Its small size makes it easy to get around Harrisonburg by car whether commuting to work or enjoying leisure activities in different neighborhoods. If you move to Harrisonburg from another state you’ll need to get a Virginia driver’s license, register your car and get Virginia license plates, and have your vehicle inspected at an approved local auto shop. You’ll also want to apply for a residential parking permit in your neighborhood. Permits cost $3.00 each per vehicle and come with two free guest cards. To receive a parking permit you must show proof of ownership or rental lease and valid registration.

The Harrisonburg Department of Public Transportation (HDPT) maintains six bus routes throughout the city. Compared to public transit systems in other cities, HDPT is a very affordable way to get around. The adult fare is $1.00; seniors age 62 and up pay $0.50, and students in the public school system and JMU ride for free. Transfers are free and 25-coupon books can be purchased at a discount. You must have exact change when paying a fare in cash.

Harrisonburg Utility Companies

  • Harrisonburg Electric Company
  • Columbia Gas for natural gas  and fuel oil service
  • AmeriGas for propane gas service
  • Custer C L Inc, Quarles Energy Services, and Rockingham Petroleum Cooperative provide fuel oil.
  • To set up water and sewer service, stop by the billing office at 2155 Beery Road to make a deposit. You’ll need a photo ID and a lease, deed, or HUD settlement.
  • Trash pickup operates on an “all in one” system for waste and recyclables. Learn more about the program and schedule here.
  • Internet and cable TV services are available from Comcast and Verizon.

Parks and Recreation

Harrisonburg Parks and Recreation

Harrisonburg residents enjoy many city parks and playgrounds including A Dream Come True Playground, Bluestone Trail, Smithland Dog Park, Eastover Tennis Courts, Ramblewood Athletic Complex, Welcome Home Garden, and Westover Skate Park. There is also a senior center, community activities center, and swimming program. Local sports teams, leagues, and clubs are available for both kids and adults. And beyond city limits you’ll find the Massanutten Ski Resort, Civil War Trails, and Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail. If you desire an active, outdoors lifestyle, Harrisonburg is a great place to live.

Visit the Rockingham County Parks & Rec website for information on facilities across the county, as well as afterschool programs, summer day camps, local events, and activities for children and adults.

Major Attractions in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County

From a farmer’s market to art galleries, libraries, museums, and theaters, Harrisonburg has a lot to offer arts aficionados. There’s also a thriving culinary scene in downtown Harrisonburg and many festivals throughout the year celebrating culture, holidays, food, pets, charities, and more. If you want the excitement of city life without the hassles of a big city, a smaller college town like Harrisonburg is an ideal place to live. Here are some highlights:

Across Rockingham County, major attractions include:

Local Media and News Outlets

Harrisonburg and Rockingham County Libraries

Massanutten Regional Library, located at 174 S. Main Street in Harrisonburg, offers a full menu of activities, services, and events for children and adults. It serves residents of Harrisonburg, as well as Rockingham and Page Counties, with seven county-wide locations.

Banking You Love From People Who Care.

Harrisonburg Banks

There’s so much to do and remember during the moving process. Check one thing off your to-do list right now by choosing F&M Bank as your financial services resource in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. If you need a mortgage to purchase a new home in the Harrisonburg area, a loan to cover some of your relocation expenses, or simply a high interest checking or savings account, F&M is here for your with local friendly service and a long history as a Shenandoah Valley community bank.

Call or visit our branch locations in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County for all your banking needs:

2030 Legacy Lane, Harrisonburg (Coffman’s Corner) > View Branch Details

80 Cross Keys Road, Harrisonburg (Crossroads) > View Branch Details

Bridgewater > View Branch Details

Broadway> View Branch Details

Elkton > View Branch Details

Grottoes

Timberville > View Branch Details

Christmas Events at F&M Bank

Join us for a holiday event this December!

Join us for a holiday-themed event this December at the following branches:

Friday, December 8th, 3 to 5 PM

Timberville – 205 S. Main Street
Pictures with Santa and refreshments

Crossroads (Harrisonburg) –  80 Cross Keys Road
Frosty the Snowman, Sammy the Squirrel, face painting, a photo booth, ornament, sugar cookie and Santa hat decorating, and refreshments

Friday, December 15th, 3:30 to 5 PM

Craigsville – 125 W. Craig Street
Pictures with Santa, crafts, and door prizes. Also, celebrating our 2 year anniversary! Stop by all day for refreshments.

Friday, December 22nd

Elkton – 127 W. Rockingham Street
Customer Appreciation Day – Save the date, more info to come!

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Guide To Harrisonburg Sports Teams, Leagues, And Clubs For Kids And Adults

Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley region is a beautiful place to enjoy outdoor activities. So it’s no surprise that Harrisonburg is a hotbed of sports activities. Enjoy our comprehensive guide to area sports!

Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley region is a beautiful place to enjoy outdoor activities. So it’s no surprise that Harrisonburg is a hotbed of sports activities. From the Recreation Department’s many Harrisonburg youth sports programs, adult sports leagues, and other physical activities; to golf courses that are open to the public for lessons and tee times; and the many small businesses–gyms, martial arts studios, shooting ranges–that contribute to the vibrancy and health of our city; Harrisonburg has something for everyone and plenty of options for families that want to have fun and exercise together. And with James Madison University and other local colleges nearby, there are many good teams to watch and root for.

F&M Bank is a proud community bank with locations across the Shenandoah Valley including six in Harrisonburg and the surrounding Rockingham County. We hope you enjoy our guide to Harrisonburg’s recreational sports activities. Browse local options and class offerings and mark your calendar for registration dates, important game days, and one-time athletic clinics or activities.

Harrisonburg Youth Sports Programs

Harrionsburg Youth Sports

Rockingham County Parks & Recreation offers teams and classes in youth athletics, dance, karate, gymnastics and other activities. In addition to the annual programs listed below, check out the current Activities Guide for an eclectic and comprehensive range of classes in subjects ranging from lacrosse clinics and roller/in-line skate lessons to tae kwon do, FlingGolf, regular golf clinics, and archery tag.

Tackle Football

Eligibility: Eight- and nine-year-olds weighing at least 60 lbs play in the “B” division. Kids ages 10 through 12, including 13-year-olds in the seventh grade, play in the “A division.” Further restrictions apply to “B” division players over 110 lbs and “A” children over 135 lbs, who must play on the line.

Season: Begins in mid-August with practices three times/week. Games begin in mid-September, when practices are cut to twice a week. Tackle football ends in mid to late October.

Location: Practices and games take place throughout Rockingham county.

Uniform: Helmet and shoulder pads are available during the season and must be returned after your child is done playing. The cost of the game jersey (and equipment use) is included in the $45 fee.

Other requirements: Parent/guardian must sign a permission form that also verifies child’s age. (No physicals or birth certificates required.)

Flag Football

Eligibility: All children between ages six and 13. Players are divided into groups according to age range: six- and seven year-olds, eight-10 years, and 11-13 years.

Season: Late August through mid-October. Games and practices are held twice a week: once on a weeknight (the day varies) and Saturday mornings.

Location: TA, Broadway and Spotswood areas

Uniform: A t-shirt jersey is included with the $35 fee.

Basketball

Eligibility: All children between ages five-18. Players are divided by age, gender, and school district. The five- and six-year-old age group is clinic only. Other groups are seven/eight, nine/ten, 11-13, and 14-18. Players in the oldest group must still be enrolled in high school.

Season: Boys’ basketball runs from early January-late February. The girls’ season is late October-mid-December. Practices and games are held on one or two weeknights (the exact day varies) and Saturdays.

Uniform: A t-shirt jersey is included with the $35 fee.

Cheerleading

Eligibility: Ages six through nine are assigned to the “B” squad. 10-13-year-olds make up the “A” squad.

Season: Follows the football season of mid-August through October. Cheerleaders practice twice a week throughout the season and perform on Saturday mornings once games begin.

Location: Throughout Rockingham county

Uniform: The new uniform fee is $50. Previously purchased or secondhand RCPR cheer uniforms are acceptable. Uniform fitting occurs on-site during registration.

Other requirements: $30 registration fee

Wrestling Clinics

Eligibility: Kindergarten through Eighth grade

Season: Check the current activities guide for dates and locations

Co-ed Volleyball Clinics

Eligibility: Ages five through 13

Season: Check the current activities guide for dates and locations

Co-Ed Soccer

Register your child for co-ed soccer online at Shenandoah Valley United Soccer or by calling them at (540) 383-6341.

Adult Sports

Harrisonburg Adult Sports Leagues

The fun doesn’t stop in childhood. Harrisonburg’s Recreation Department provides activities and programs for adults and seniors including fitness classes, open gym basketball, wiffle ball tournaments, bubble soccer, pickleball open gym, self-defense, Zumba, arts and crafts, educational classes, trips, and more. Here are the options for Harrisonburg adult sports leagues:

  • Men’s Basketball: Begins in January (register in December). Games are played in Broadway.
  • Men’s Softball: Summer session begins in May with April registration. To play in the fall (starting in August), register in July. Games are played in Broadway or West Rockingham.
  • Mixed Softball: Summer session begins in May with April registration. To play in the fall (starting in August), register in July. Games are played at West Rockingham.
  • Flag Football: Spring league begins in March (register in January). Fall league starts in September (register in July). Games are played in Grottoes.
  • Women’s Volleyball: Spring league begins in March (register in January). Fall league starts in October (register in August). Games are played at Wilbur Pence or Montevideo Middle Schools.
  • Mixed Volleyball: Begins in January (register in November). Games are played at Wilbur Pence Middle School.
  • Kickball: Summer league begins in May (register in March). Fall league starts in August (register in June). Games are played at West Rockingham.
  • Dodgeball: Begins in October (register in August). Games are played at Mt. View Elementary School.

Where to play golf in Harrisonburg

Harrisonburg Golf Courses

If you enjoy the fresh air and friendly environment of a golf course, there are lots of great choices in Harrisonburg. These four area establishments are all open to the public with membership options, one-time tee time reservations, and lessons for adults and kids.

Swimming in Harrisonburg

Harrisonburg Aquatic Clubs

Aquatic exercise is great for your health and saves you from impact stress to your joints. Whether you’re new to swimming or looking for a team, you’ve got a few different options in Harrisonburg.

  • VAST Gators and Virginia Gators are competitive year-round swim teams.
  • The Westover Waves are a summer recreational swim team for kids ages five-18.
  • James Madison’s UREC pool offers private and group swimming lessons for kids as young as three up to adults.
  • Swimming lessons are also offered through the Recreation Department. Check the current activity guide for availability.

Shooting Ranges

Shooting ranges in Harrisonburg

If shooting is your hobby of choice, you can enjoy target practice or sporting clays at these Harrisonburg businesses.

  • The Gun Range offers hourly rates, memberships, and various training classes.
  • Flying Rabbit Sporting Clays is a sporting clays range offering games, instruction, and gun sales and rentals.

Boxing and Martial Arts

Boxing and Martial Arts in Harrisonburg

From classic karate to trendy Muay Thai, Harrisonburg has many high-quality martial arts gyms.

Harrisonburg Gyms and Fitness Clubs

Gyms & Fitness Clubs in Harrisonburg, VA

What if you like to do a little bit of everything? Check out these Harrisonburg gyms and fitness clubs, where you’ll find standard exercise equipment and weight machines, as well as on-site childcare and group fitness classes in some gyms.

Root for your local high school and college teams

Harrisonburg Local Sports Teams

Harrisonburg has a thriving local athletic community including state and county baseball leagues, college athletic programs, and plenty of other local sporting events.

  • Harrisonburg High School, home of the Blue Streaks
  • James Madison University Dukes
  • Bridgewater College Eagles
  • Eastern Mennonite University Royals
  • Harrisonburg Turks
  • Rockingham County Baseball League
  • Valley Baseball League

Active communities are happy and healthy communities.

Harrisonburg's Local Bank

As a community bank for more than a century, F&M Bank is committed to supporting healthy and thriving towns where our employees and customers live and work. We understand that there are many ways to measure good health, from a strong economy to the physical fitness of the people living there. We also love coming together to root for the home team! Whether you’re new to Harrisonburg (check out our Harrisonburg relocation guide!) or a longtime resident considering a new athletic hobby, learn more about our various business and personal checking options. We have all the services you need to stay active in work and leisure.

Call or visit our two branch locations in Harrisonburg for all your banking needs:

Take the Stress Out of Your Holidays

The holidays are supposed to be a relaxing time spent with family and friends reflecting on the current year and looking ahead to the next. However, for most Americans, the holidays invoke feelings of stress and fatigue. According to a poll conducted by the American Psychological Association, nearly a quarter of Americans report feeling extreme stress during the holiday season, and 45% of Americans would prefer to skip Christmas. But, that doesn’t have to be the case. We can’t guarantee a white Christmas, but with proper planning and budgeting, you can make your holiday season the most wonderful time of the year.

The holidays are supposed to be a relaxing time spent with family and friends reflecting on the current year and looking ahead to the next. However, for most Americans, the holidays invoke feelings of stress and fatigue. According to a poll conducted by the American Psychological Association, nearly a quarter of Americans report feeling extreme stress during the holiday season, and 45% of Americans would prefer to skip Christmas. But, that doesn’t have to be the case. We can’t guarantee a white Christmas, but with proper planning and budgeting, you can make your holiday season the most wonderful time of the year. Here are some tips!

Keep it Basic

Your holiday dinner doesn’t have to consist of a cranberry stuffed Cornish game hen and 12 side dishes to turn heads. In our social media driven world, you may look to Pinterest and Facebook for inspiration, but don’t let those platforms set the standard for what is normal. If you want to try a fancy dish, that’s great!

But, if you don’t want to cook a spread suitable for Country Living Magazine, just stick to the basics. You’re guaranteed to save money on groceries, plus, it’s less stressful! And, once you put the essentials on your plate – turkey, potatoes, stuffing, rolls, and green beans – who has room for more?

Before roasting an entire turkey, take a look at your guest list. Is a whole bird really necessary? That’s a lot of food (and a lot of work). Consider serving just turkey breast instead! It cuts down on leftovers, and it’s more affordable.

Coupons and Savings Apps

Coupons are your friend! Often, you can find lots of great deals in the Saturday paper. Try browsing the weekly circulars online to look for sales on items you need. Also, try loading digital coupons to your store discount cards!

There are great savings apps out there as well! Jessica Hartman, Customer Service Representative at our Coffman’s Corner branch, offers the following tip: “I try to pair sales up with my Ibotta and Checkout 51 apps. If you watch the sales, you can purchase a turkey fairly cheap – I ended up getting one for $0.59/lb last year.”

Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you are hosting the holiday dinner at your home, ask family and friends to bring a side dish or dessert. Divide out the responsibility so you’re not drained, both physically and financially.

Plan Ahead and Budget

Spending money on gifts is the most stressful part of the holiday season, according to the APA study. Don’t let it be! Begin planning for the holiday season early in the year. Katie Fulk, Head Teller at our Bridgewater Branch, says, “Some of the girls here like to buy Christmas gifts throughout the year. This helps financially because the cost of gifts can be spread from month to month, and then things are not as overwhelming at Christmas time. Also, if you save $20 a week, you end up with over $1,000.00 in a years’ time of saving.”

Looking for a great way to save throughout the year? Open a Christmas Club! The concept is that customers deposit a certain amount of money each week into a special savings account. Then, receive the money back near year-end for Christmas shopping. It’s a great way to put aside a small amount of money each week lessening the financial burden in December.

Save Money While Shopping

It might be too late to start saving for Christmas this year, but you still have options to save! Black Friday offers a variety of deals. If you hate fighting the crowds, most deals are also offered online, so stay home in the comfort of your pajamas and shop! Cyber Monday also offers great savings!

Charles Halterman, Branch Specialist at our Myers Corner location suggests a Chinese gift exchange to cut down on costs. He says, “My family and I did a Chinese gift exchange one year for the adults. Everyone buys one gift and wraps it. Then, you put numbers in a bowl for however many people are participating. Everyone draws a number, and Number One chooses a gift. Then, Number 2 can steal Number 1’s gift or choose a new gift…and so on, and so on. In the end, everyone gets one gift, you have fun playing a game with friends and family, and everyone saves money!”

Gifts to Please Anyone

Finally, we all have that family member who won’t make a Christmas gift suggestion. If you find yourself not needing anything, consider asking friends and family to make a donation to a charity you support instead of receiving another pack of socks you don’t need (or want). Kristen Huffman, Customer Service Representative at our Craigsville Branch does this every year. She says, “I ask family to send money to a charitable organization instead of buying me gifts. I don’t really need anything especially something that will just clutter up my house even more. Each year my husband gives money to World Vision as my Christmas present.”

Gift cards are also a great option for those family members without a Christmas list. Did you know you can purchase Visa gift cards at any F&M Bank Branch location? Avoid the long lines at Walmart, and pick up a Visa gift card next time you’re making a banking transaction.

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