This is a sponsored post in partnership with the West Virginia Department of Tourism. Thank you for supporting SITC.
Last fall, our family of five got on a plane and headed to West Virginia. As most of you already know, our family loves traveling, and I cannot tell you just how much we missed getting on a plane, and exploring this past year and a half. We had the ultimate escape and adventure, that my family and I are still talking about. Fayetteville, West Virginia is a family getaway destination like no other. This beautiful region of the state is known for its iconic West Virginia beauty and an abundance of activities for everyone in the family. Here, you’ll find easy-going locales along with gems that are off the beaten path and even adrenaline-inducing adventure.
50 years ago, John Denver wrote a song that is still firmly entrenched in the minds of almost everyone alive today. From the very old to the very young, if you turn on “Country Roads, Take Me Home”, almost all of them will know the chorus. Mr. Denver may have been crafting poetry to song, but his words weren’t wrong. West Virginia really is Almost Heaven. The Mountain State is home to winding country roads, mountain towns, awe-inspiring landmarks, and so much more. From exploring the backcountry and scenic by-ways filled with history to shopping and events in the state’s larger cities, West Virginia – notably, the Fayetteville, West Virginia area – is heaven on earth for everyone.
You can explore the natural beauty of the state at the nation’s newest national park–– New River Gorge National Park and Reserve or any of the state’s 35 state parks, 9 forests, and 5 rail trails of more than 360 miles. With about 1.5 million acres of parks and public land, 1,500 miles of hiking trails, an abundance of lakes, rivers, and streams there’s more than enough natural beauty to satisfy any nature lover. For example, the state is home to the largest density of whitewater in the country and offers 1,000 miles of off-road ATV trails!
We arrived Friday morning in Yeager Airport in Charleston, West Virginia and wasted no time heading over to Fayetteville to check into our Airbnb, and then heading out to ACE Adventure Resort s for ziplining! ACE’s New River Gorge zipline tour includes 9 cliffside zips. It is as exciting as it is beautiful. The dual zips mean that you can race your friends, and with two sky bridges, you can look down below on the trees and mountain streams. This was our first time zip lining, and definitely not our last. The kids laughed and giggled with excitement the entire time!
The following morning we headed back to ACE Adventures for white water rafting on the Lower New River Gorge. This was the ultimate adventure to say the least, and another first for our family. On this section, the New River begins to narrow and simultaneously drop in elevation, and big water rapids form. Local boaters call this river section, where the water charges through deep and spectacular bends beneath ancient sandstone cliffs, “The Gorge”. Children as young as 10 can paddle enjoy Lower New River gorge white water rafting in an oar rig equipped raft. We spent the entire day on the river, having lunch half way down, and just took in all of the scenic views!
Our final day in West Virginia we headed to the Canyon Rim Visitor Center to take in the boardwalk to catch an up-close view of the New River Gorge Bridge! The views were spectacular! To try and experience everything during our weekend trip, we then headed over to The Endless Wall Trail for a hike! This is a lesser-known trail in the New River Gorge, making it a perfect place for hikers to get away from the crowds and experience the New River Gorge’s natural beauty in a more remote setting. It amazes me to see my city kids in a country setting and just how much they loved the escape as much as Jason and I did.
In addition to its own bevy of natural and man-made beauty and tons of activities, West Virginia is also in close proximity to other prominent areas in the Northeast. A trip to West Virginia can easily include a detour to Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Baltimore, offering even more experiences that the entire family can enjoy. On our trip to Fayetteville, West Virginia, we got to experience so much of what the state has to offer, and I must say, I agree with John Denver. It really is Almost Heaven.
This post was originally published November 4th, 2021.*