7 things you did as a kid in WV that you’ve gotta share with yours

The joys of growing up in the Mountain State are simple and sweet.

Share the fond memories of your mountain childhood with your own kids: fireflies in fields, flashlight tag at the campground and adrenaline-inducing aerial views.

Here are 7 great home-grown alternatives to TV-show binges and video game benders:

1. Visit West Virginia’s only amusement park

For the past 100+ years, kids have enjoyed the mouthwatering smell of Camden Park’s famous Pronto Pups fresh out of the fryer.

Your kids will love the nostalgic old-fashioned fun. Watch their faces fill with surprise as they twist and turn through the park’s vintage haunted house— one of only a handful like it still in existence. Enjoy riding in the original Century Flyer cars of the Big Dipper, a classic 1950s wooden coaster, and don’t forget to check out the antique carousel, which has been putting smiles on kids’ faces since 1907.

Hiker standing atop Seneca Rocks, WV

2. Get a new perspective

Though the towering Tuscarora quartzite fins of Seneca Rocks look wildly high, the walk to the nearly 1,000-foot peak is not as difficult as you might think! The groomed trail is covered in gravel, and has several easy switchbacks so you don’t have to face any steep inclines.

You might break a sweat— but the view is SO worth it! The observation platform at the top gives you a stunning view of the sprawling green valley below. Through grown-up eyes, the sight is awe-inspiring; just imagine just how magical it is through the eyes of your little ones.

3. Return to nature

Some of the best memories from growing up in West Virginia involve camping.

Holly River State Park offers nature-based and outdoor activities for you to try together. Enjoy diving for rings in the outdoor pool, competing in a classic game of horseshoes and hiking to Shupe’s Chute, a mystical swimming hole with a very unique “chute”-like waterfall.

While you’re there, take a cruise down the road and explore the West Virginia Wildlife Center. Your kiddos will learn all about the state’s native and introduced wildlife and get the chance to interact with mountain lions, coyotes and river otters!

Glowing glass furnace, WV

4. Watch a work of art evolve

Remember those handcrafted marbles you used to play with? The Blenko family has been growing their artistic roots in West Virginia since 1921, with skilled craftsmen blowing imaginative glass creations.

The folks at Blenko Glass Company want to share their craft with the world, so they’ll let you watch their handiwork. Share the same home-grown, handmade glassware you grew up with with your kids.

5. Hit the slopes— in the summer

The Mountain State’s winter meccas roll their ski lifts in the summer for warm-weather sightseers, too. Enjoy West Virginia’s rolling ski resorts during the off-season with an exciting scenic chairlift ride.

Hop aboard Canaan Valley Resort State Park’s lift for a spectacular view of the surrounding Allegheny Mountains at 4,280 feet! Nature lovers can spot more than 200 species of birds and 600 different wildflowers. What a great way to educate budding, young minds!

Locomotive at Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, West Virginia

6. Travel the old-fashioned way

There’s just something magical about train rides. Luckily, West Virginia does the whole “traveling by locomotive” thing right.

Hop aboard a heart-pounding journey on the Cass Scenic Railroad, where vintage cars will chug up insanely steep inclines. Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad’s Durbin Rocket is also a great choice for families with younger children. The Rocket has open and closed cars, which allow the kiddos to get up, explore, and even watch coal being shoveled into the tender!

Of course, during the holidays, you won’t want to miss the Polar Express, a magical ride that brings the popular children’s book to life.

Couple riding an aerial tram, Hawks Nest State Park, West Virginia

7. Experience nature from an aerial tram

Get a bird’s eye view of the Bluestone Gorge from your own little pod. Jump in an enclosed tram car at Pipestem Resort State Park for a memorable 6-minute, 3,600-foot ride. This tram will carry you over the scenic Bluestone National Scenic River before dropping you at the secluded Mountain Creek Lodge in the heart of a rugged canyon.

Pipestem is full of other fun family activities, too, including bicycle rentals, horseback rides, paddle boards and fling golf— a trendy and easy new sport that the kids will love!

This post was last updated on March 16, 2022