The Adventurer’s Guide: Summertime in Southern West Virginia
It’s finally that time of year again, the outdoor recreation lovers’ favorite season! Even though we've had a cold front start the summer off, I think this is the best weather to camp in! The rolling hills and streams of West Virginia are calling, and are you going to let the rain stop you?
From camping to water recreation to chasing waterfalls and the best view, the possibilities are endless in southern WV! Depending on what towns you're close to or where you’re planning to visit, each area offers something unique to suit everyone's tastes - whether you're a nature buff or not!
Beckley, WV is quickly becoming known as the Gateway to the New River Gorge National Park! The new park almost completely surrounds the city, and offers so many recreation opportunities for residents and those passing through. Some of the most famous images from the park come from Grandview, where you can enjoy hiking, sightseeing, and picnicking. There are even guided hikes throughout the week with a park ranger all summer long!
Little Beaver State Park and Lake Stephens are the perfect escapes located on either side of town. Lake Stephens offers camping, swimming, fishing, a boating marina, a splash pad, an aquatic waterpark, and so much more for the family to discover and enjoy! This is also my preferred spot to take out my kayak for a quick trip after work or on the weekends.
Escape the ordinary and discover where the three rivers meet in Hinton, WV. A water bug’s dream destination, you’ll find swimming, fishing, kayaking, boating, and really anything you can think of to do on these scenic rivers.
Bluestone Lake State Park hugs the edge of the town, and this beautiful retreat offers camping, cabin rentals, boating, and fishing.
On the other side of town is Sandstone Falls, another hallmark of the New River Gorge National Park, which offers sightseeing, hiking, and picnicking. And finally, sprinkled around the area are several official park hiking trails including Big Branch and Gwinn Ridge Trailheads.
The heart of the New River Gorge National Park! Explore the longest arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere from viewing decks or more intense hiking trails. Under the Bridge Walks are also an option for the more adventurous and daring!
Right outside of town are two outdoor adventure resorts that guarantee an unforgettable experience for everyone in the family! Adventures on the Gorge and ACE Adventure Resort are the premier NRG retreats that offer exciting water and land excursions with deluxe lodging and amenities. If you’re interested in whitewater rafting, these are the premier outfitters and guides in the Mountain State. Raft some of the best rapids in the country right here in Almost Heaven!
The crossroads of southern West Virginia. If you’re heading in or out of the state, there’s a great chance you’ll pass through Princeton, WV!
Close by are some beautiful state parks that you won’t want to miss. Pipestem State Park and Resort and Camp Creek State Park offer unforgettable sightseeing and outdoor recreation. Enjoy a round of golf, take the family ziplining, and then relax in the all-inclusive resort at Pipestem. For a more rustic outdoor adventure, Camp Creek offers primitive camping, hiking trails of varying difficulties, and waterfalls that you can see from the visitor center!
You may be asking, Lindsey, is this all a big advertisement? And I can tell you that it's not! I am an outdoor lover (if it wasn't too obvious) and have personally visited and explored all of the towns, areas, parks, and resorts mentioned in this blog! I enjoyed them all so much that I want all of my other nature freaks to know where to go when you're visiting southern West Virginia this summer!
Be safe and have fun out there this summer folks, I'll see you on the water and the trails!
All photos and videos are my own, intellectual property of Go Duck Media or National Park Service.