My hometown of Ripley is located in West Virginia, and no, not Western Virginia…West Virginia. We have been separated from Virginia since 1863. We are a wonderful state and also have some of the best outdoor activities in the country, at least in my opinion.
If you ever get the opportunity to travel through WV, you should stop and enjoy the outdoors. Here are four suggested locations for fun activities and beautiful views.
1. New River Gorge Bridge
The New River Gorge Bridge is one of the most iconic places in West Virginia. The best time to visit is in October due to the changing trees: the mountains are vibrant with orange, red, and yellow leaves. On October 17, 2015, Fayette County will be hopping with daredevils ready to jump off of the bridge into the New River; 876 feet (267 m) stand between the bridge and the river. It is also popular to go white water rafting on the river or zipline through the trees.
A short drive away is Babcock State Park, where you can see a very picturesque Glade Creek Grist Mill.
2. Cooper’s Rock
Only a short drive from my university in northern West Virginia, Cooper’s Rock State Forest is one of the best places to hike. One of the most popular things to do, if you are not a hiker, is to stop by the main overlook and snap a panoramic view of the state forest and the Cheat River. While you are near, visit Morgantown or drive an hour north to visit Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
3. Seneca Rocks
Located in Pendelton County, Seneca Rocks is a very popular location to hike and rock climb. It is even possible to horseback ride up the mountain for magnificent views of the rocks. Also nearby is Seneca Caverns, a great tour of the caves beneath the mountains where you can even mine for gemstones and take them home. A short drive away is Blackwater Falls, another state park that is perfect for scenic views and great photo opportunities.
4. Snowshoe Mountain
If you like the snow and mountains, you should definitely visit Snowshoe. It is the perfect place to spend the days on the slopes, whether it be skiing, snowboarding, or inner tubing. If you do not like any of those, take the ski lift for beautiful views of the snow-covered mountains. The location offers many activities, perfect for families and during the summer, it is a great place to take off-road vehicles on the trails.
One more thing:
Visit the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs and attend the golf tournament at the Greenbrier Resort. The Greenbrier Classic attracts many big-name golfers each year like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Also popular is the Concert Series. It has attracted The Black Eyed Peas, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Jimmy Buffet, and Maroon 5. Not to mention, twenty-six presidents have visited and stayed in the hotel – visit the Presidents’ Cottage Museum to learn more. Have a relaxing day at the spa and relax in the famous waters, rumored to heal sickness.
West Virginia is perfect for outdoor activities. There are hundreds of places to visit, so grab your GoPro and go!
Photos: Flickr // Cover photo: Flickr – www.babcocksp.com