Make every moment count on these 48-hour family escapes
Wild, enchanting backcountry is yours for the weekend.
West Virginia’s immersive adventure packages get everybody back to nature. Get ready to swap your smartphone for ropes, saddles, and paddles!
Spend the weekend on Seneca Rocks, West Virginia’s distinctive landmark and “true peak.”
From a distance, the jagged quartzite ridge resembles a dragon’s back. It’s a sight that has lured climbers for decades. In fact, soldiers during WWII practiced on Seneca Rocks in preparation for campaigns in Italy. Nowadays, it’s a popular multi-pitch destination.
You don’t have to be a pro to have fun, though. Even kids can have a blast, thanks to Seneca Rocks Mountain Guides’ 2-day Family Climbing Adventure. Professional guides will escort you from start to finish. Along the way, you’ll get instruction in top rope and multi-pitch techniques (based on your experience). Then make camp among the crisp stars of Pendleton County! It’s an unusual adventure that appeals to any kid’s imagination.
Ride deep into the forest, just like a cowboy.
Stressful jobs, smartphones, tablets, flooding inboxes … modern life is enough to make you dream of escaping to the frontier. Well, at Autumn Breeze Farms, you can indulge that fantasy.
The Back Country Hut Overnight trip is a 2-day ride through the vast Monongahela National Forest. Pad through old logging roads and hushed landscapes, then spend the night in a cabin. It’s just what you need to escape from the modern world.
Dinner, breakfast, and lunch are included. Kids 10 and up are welcome on the overnight ride.
Some of the world’s best rapids flow through West Virginia. Take advantage of ‘em with these family trips!
Rafting outfitters have multiple weekend getaways for your family. If you’re a beginner, try a trip on the Upper New River; the class I-III rapids are more peppy than stormy, too. Plus, you’ll get remarkable canyon scenery along the way.
Another option is the Lower New River. You’ll ride more than 20 rapids ranging from class III-IV, so expect more drama (in a good way!). There are also 2-night trips on the Gauley River— a world-class stretch with even wilder waves, enormous boulders, steep drops, and Class V+ rapids. For these reasons, you have to be 15 or older to raft. But if you’re seeking a real thrill, there’s nothing like the “Beast of the East.”
Kayaking, canoeing, and tubing
Fill your weekend with leisurely paddling and floating in Harpers Ferry.
It’s easy to assemble your own 2-day getaway. Rent a river-front cabin or reserve space at the campsite, then head for the water. River Riders has kayaks, canoes, and tubes you can rent for solo or (if you ask in advance) guided trips. As you drift, keep a lookout for blue herons, eagles, and osprey; the remote setting is a natural haven for wildlife.
Specials include the Potomac Play Pass, an adventure packed with canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddle boards. River Riders also has zip lines, whitewater rafting, and biking.
Create your own riding and camping adventure, deep in the Appalachian woods.
North Bend State Park in Cairo takes care of all logistics, thanks to its Quest programs. Customize a family trip from start to finish with activities like the Self-Contained Cycling Tour, which follows a historic trail with bridges and tunnels. Rental bikes are available, and you’ll also get a meal and camping equipment.
There’s also Mountain Biking Basics. Learn proper riding techniques, control, and maintenance. You’ll also get to confront some obstacles. Mountain Bike Skills refines things with guidance on cornering, terrain, braking, and lines.
Quest activities are priced for 2 people. Call the park for pricing for larger groups. To make this a true “48-hour” adventure, consider staying in the lodge or renting a cabin.
Arrowhead Bike Farm in Fayetteville is another suggestion. The red farmhouse wears many hats: rental service, campsite, repair shop and biergarten. While it doesn’t have formal packages, you and the kids can make your own. The woodsy property has room for 15 campers, including picnic tables, firepits, showers and RV hookups. You can even get free Wi-Fi!
Arrowhead Bike Farm’s fleet of Konas are available for rent by the half day. You can also bring your own wheels and get pedaling. Just seconds away, in fact, is the celebrated Arrowhead Trails — 12.8 miles of stacked-loop paths. Ranging from easy to advanced, these winding routes have lovely flow, switchbacks, and (depending on where you go) obstacles.
When you’re done exploring, head back to the “farm” for sizzling bratwurst, craft beers on tap and delicious finger food. Or, head into Fayetteville proper for artisan pizza, gourmet sandwiches, espresso and desserts. You’ll find something to reward your kids for a day well spent.
These travel ideas just scratch West Virginia’s surface, too. There are adventures for all schedules and budgets.
This post was last updated on October 18, 2017