Hello! We are back from a fabulous trip to West Virginia and I am so excited to share more about this gorgeous state! Whether your family seeks thrills, are foodies or wanting to relax and enjoy the stunning scenery, West Virginia has it all. Below I recapped where we stayed, ate, explored and more!
WHERE TO STAY
First things first, you must have a fantastic place to stay. I highly recommend staying at an Airbnb nestled in one of West Virginia’s small towns. Fun Fact, no city has more than 50,000 people! We stayed at this Airbnb and it was a quick 20 minute drive to state parks, restaurants, and more. If you’re looking for more traditional lodging have no fear, West Virginia has tons of great resorts and hotels. Learn more here.
WHAT TO DO
At the top of our list was to visit one of West Virginia’s lakes! Sutton and Summerville lakes were the two closest to us and we chose to visit the Sutton Lake Marina. We stopped by The Local before heading to the Marina for lunch. We rented a pontoon boat, grabbed all the gear we could possibly need at the mMarina and had a fantastic day on the water. Olivia even fished for the first time! I tried to convince her to touch the bait, but that was a no go haha! The scenery was breathtaking and I couldn’t have asked for a more relaxing afternoon. The state also has countless streams, rivers perfect for fishing, swimming, boating and kayaking. If you seek adventure, West Virginia is also home to the greatest density of whitewater in the U.S. and has the highest technical summit east of Wyoming! It is truly an adventure lover’s paradise.
West Virginia is home to America’s newest national park, New River Gorge National Park and RePreserve. We spent a couple hours here and hiked a few of the trails including Long Point Trail. The state has 35 state parks, 9 forests and 5 rail trails that combined span more than 360 miles! While we were driving around, Olivia could not get over how many trees there were and kept asking how many there were (we googled it, over 1.8 BILLION!) The natural beauty of the state is something everyone should see and very hard to put into words!
One of the newest trails is the Waterfall Trail. The trail was recently unveiled in June 2022 which stretches across the state and includes 29 waterfalls. We made a stop at Cathedral Falls. It was STUNNING! We were so lucky to see it running very hard after a bout of rain the prior week. Drew took a trail to the top while Olivia and I explored the base. The trail has popular spots like this one and some lesser-known gems. You can even sign up for a Waterfall Trail passport on your smartphone and then “stamp” your passport by checking in at each Waterfall. You can earn many prizes the more times you check in too. Learn more about this here.
ALMOST HEAVEN SWINGS
It will come at no surprise that I wanted to visit the most “Instagrammable views” in the Mountain State. West Virginia makes that easy with their Almost Heaven Swing locations. Each of the nine locations have a jaw-dropping background that is perfect for your instagram feed! They each have a handmade wooden swing that creates the perfect photo opt for your family. We visited the Babcock State Park Swing which is positioned in front of the Glade Creek Grist Mill. The rolling river was beautiful and was one of my favorite pictures of the week. Check out all nine of the locations here.
VISIT A LIGHTHOUSE
We had a little bit of time between lunch and our hike so we made a stop at the Summerville Lighthouse to take in a jaw dropping view of Summersville Lake.
HISTORY AND HERITAGE
Did you know West Virginia is the only state to be born out of the Civil War? The state features rich historic museums, exhibits and battlefields like Harper’s Ferry National Historical Park and John Brown’s Fort. I am always for adding a bit of an educational experience to our family trips to really teach Olivia about the state we are visiting.
WHERE TO EAT
If you know our family, dining at the best local and fine dining establishments are always a priority. The lLocal eats did not disappoint. Before heading to our Airbnb we stopped in Charleston, the capital city, and ate at Pies &Pints. Pizza, Salads and more were on the menu and it was heavenly.
We dined at The Cathedral Cafe in Fayetteville, WV where Olivia had the “BEST french toast ever!” I loved the charming atmosphere and the friendly faces we met while there too. We also grabbed coffee at Appalachian Coffee House (highly recommend the Mountain Mama,) and Olivia loved the little bookshop inside. Our favorite meal of the trip came from The Vault on Main in Summersville, WV. The restaurant is inside an old bank vault! The food was mouthwatering and I am pretty sure Olivia ate her dessert in 30 seconds. The restaurant also has a hidden speakeasy underground, so be sure to ask your waitress for the password!
Fine dining,l Local eats, and dDrinks- nNo matter what dining experience you are looking for, West Virginia is sure to make it memorable!
WE LOVE WEST VIRGINIA
While our time in West Virginia was brief, we could not have had a more wonderful time. It truly is the ultimate destination for any family. The world class outdoor recreation, delicious food, rich history, stunning scenery, and so much more, West Virginia truly is a little piece of heaven.
Head to WVTourism.com to start planning your own getaway! No matter the season or traveler, you will love the Mountain State.
*Thank you to West Virginia Department of Tourism for sponsoring this trip/post