West Virginia has some stunning national and state parks, perfect for a vacation with a family or a solo adventure. From amazing views that travelers can only get from hiking trails to remote mountain lakes, these attractions offer the best locations to spend time outdoors to rejuvenate one’s energy. Better yet, they are the perfect destinations to have fun outdoors for free or on a tight budget. Here are state parks and national parks worth traveling to in West Virginia as the summer lasts.
10 New River Gorge National Park
The New River Gorge National Park is located in Fayetteville. It has a lot to offer: hiking, biking, rafting, and kayaking are some popular activities here. There are also several campgrounds near the park's trails where travelers can spend time relaxing or trying out various activities.
9 Bluestone National Scenic River
If tourists are looking for a relaxing trip to the mountains, they ought to look no further than Bluestone National Scenic River. This river is located in southern West Virginia and flows through Summers and Mercer counties.
In this park, there are numerous magnificent viewpoints from which vacationers may see The Bluestone. Higher water levels make intermediate canoeing and rafting possible, but the river is rarely paddled. Along the river banks, there are possibilities to observe wildlife and birds.
As per state rules, hunting is allowed in the fall, winter, and spring. Although a license is needed, fishing is also allowed. Within the Bluestone National Scenic River, camping is not authorized.
8 Gauley River National Recreation Area
The Gauley River National Recreation Area is located in Summersville. It was created to mainly protect a section of the Gauley River and Meadow River. The park contains several scenic overlooks and provides access to superb campsites. It has miles of hiking trails as well as other outdoor activities like fishing and canoeing or kayaking. Gauley River National Recreation Area and its surroundings offer tourists a staggering variety of resources while being rich in both cultural and natural history.
7 Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is one of the most beautiful places travelers will ever visit. The historical park features exhibits about the life and accomplishments of John Brown, a renowned abolitionist. There are also several hiking trails that lead through woodlands filled with wildflowers during springtime. During the summer, there will be plenty more things to do here besides exploring nature. Visitors can take part in family-friendly activities such as cooking demonstrations or visiting museums dedicated specifically to Civil War history.
6 Monongahela National Forest
Located in the stunning Allegheny Mountains, it is one of the most visited national forests in the eastern United States, with over three million visitors per year. The Monongahela National Forest has many miles of hiking trails and offers many opportunities for camping or cabin rentals. Mountain biking and horse riding are both permitted on the wide network of backcountry roads. Other recreation activities include hunting, fishing, and animal viewing.
5 Canaan Valley Resort State Park
Canaan Valley Resort State Park is located within Tucker County. The park offers cabins for rent, as well as camping sites with hookups for RVs and tents. The natural splendor and leisure opportunities in this popular golf and ski resort are unmatched. At Canaan Valley Resort, there are dining options for all, thanks to the numerous on-site eateries.
4 Babcock State Park
Babcock State Park is located near New River Gorge. It's a great spot for birding and hiking, with more than 20 miles of trails. Vacationers can also paddle, canoe, or kayak. Guests have the opportunity to view a live feed of the renowned Glade Creek Grist Mill all year round. The old Cooper's Mill, which formerly stood on the property, is replicated in full functionality by the Glade Creek Grist Mill. The mill and the natural setting offer the ideal setting for stunning photographs. The park offers campsites for tents as well as cabins available on reservation.
3 Blackwater Falls State Park
Blackwater Falls State Park is located in the Allegheny Mountains. Visitors can engage in recreational activities such as swimming, hiking, and biking trails. They can as well spot wild animals such as bears, grouse, and woodcock. The park has well-maintained picnicking areas suitable for family outings. Blackwater Falls State Park boasts an 18-hole golf course open to both non-golfers and avid golfers who want to practice their skills.
2 Cacapon Resort State Park
Cacapon Resort State Park is located in Morgan County on the slopes of Cacapon Mountain. It's a popular place to visit because it offers hiking trails that lead to scenic overlooks over the entire mountainous region. A comprehensive spa, a championship golf course, and lovely indoor and outdoor dining options are just a few of the attractions available at Cacapon Resort. There are additional outdoor activities to try such as mountain biking, fishing, and camping.
1 Hawks Nest State Park
Located in Fayette County, Hawks Nest State Park is well-known for its spectacular scenery. The park offers an expansive lodge for the comfort of guests and an on-site restaurant. The New River and Gauley River valleys are visible from the executive nine-hole golf course. Vacationers can as well enjoy breathtaking views of the New River Gorge Bridge and the thrilling aerial tramway connecting the lakeside recreational amenities from the lodge.