|Each year, Outside selects one winning destination and one runner-up for various travel categories, and West Virginia came in on top for family vacation destinations for 2023. The state has accumulated more than a dozen similar recognitions in recent years.
“I’m just thrilled to see even more national recognition for West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “The outside world is finally figuring out what we’ve known for far too long. West Virginia is an incredible place, and I’ve loved watching as the rest of the world has started discovering this fact over the past several years. We are excited to continue welcoming families from all across the world to West Virginia this summer.”
The New River Gorge National River was redesigned as the nation’s newest national park, the New River Gorge National Park & Preserve, in December of 2020. From action-packed adventures like whitewater rafting, rock climbing, and miles of hiking trails to the southern hospitality of uncrowded mountain towns, the country’s 63rd national park is the perfect place for families to experience Almost Heaven.
This year, Outside Magazine’s editors chose to celebrate the bounty of spectacular American destinations and set out to chase adventure on their own. Upon return, the writers compiled a 117-page research report and began whittling down the overwhelming number of choices into one winner and one runner-up in each of the categories.
The final decisions were based on many factors including new travel options, improved-upon classics, accessibility, and sustainability. The winning locations highlight a variety of geographic locales, activities, and price points.
“West Virginia’s slogan more than lives up to its name,” Outside’s deputy editor and travel director Mary Turner said. “There’s an abundance of spectacular public lands to explore all over the state, including the New River Gorge, America’s 63rd national park. We chose the park as the winner for best family adventure in the U.S. because it has so many recreational opportunities for every age and expertise level.”
This designation follows other distinguished mentions by National Geographic, Frommer’s, TIME, and AFAR, all of which label The New River Gorge a must-visit destination. The national and international recognition hasn’t been limited to the Gorge, the state has also been tapped as a top-tier destination by a long list of major publications in recent years including Condé Nast, Lonely Planet, CNN, and Forbes.
“We were thrilled to hear of this news and as always, so proud of the national recognition West Virginia has received in recent years,” said Chelsea Ruby, Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Tourism. “When folks are planning their vacations, they look to publications like Outside to help them decide where to go. We know the value of receiving an honor like this and can’t wait to welcome families to the Gorge as they plan for their summer travels and beyond.”
To browse the 2023 Outside Travel Awards, click here.
Media kit: linked here. Credit: West Virginia Department of Tourism