Checklist: Best thing to try at every WV State Park
With nearly 50 state parks spread across the state, West Virginia provides a scenic piece of Almost Heaven no matter where you go. From hiking trails and climbing rocks to boating on the river and riding trains, there’s a wide variety of entertainment for the whole family. Here’s your must-do item at each state park:
Audra State Park: Tubing
Bring your favorite inflatable or rent a tube, and go for an easy float in the river during the summer. It’s the perfect place for a peaceful day of play!
Babcock State Park: Grist Mill
This picturesque grist mill grinds fresh cornmeal and buckwheat in season, which you can purchase at the park!
Beartown State Park: Boardwalk
Take a stroll on the wooden boardwalk at this day-use area, which actually is one massive rock formation with natural “sunken streets” where the walkways are built.
Beech Fork State Park: Boat rentals
Choose from pedal boats, canoes, kayaks and rowboats and explore the lake at Beech Fork State Park. Rentals available Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Berkeley Springs State Park: Mineral waters
Indulge at the Spa at Berkeley Springs any time of the year. Enjoy the outdoor pool in the summer or go for a dip in the spa’s historic mineral and Roman baths.
Blackwater Falls State Park: Trails
Explore more than 20 miles of hiking trails, and the boardwalk to the famous amber-tinted falls. In the winter, several miles of trails are available for cross-country skiing.
Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park: Mansion
The mansion on the island, originally built in 1798, was one of the largest, most lavish estates in the nation. Take a sternwheeler ride to Blennerhassett Island to tour the manicured grounds and intricately reconstructed mansion, and learn more about its treasonous secrets.
Bluestone State Park: Fishing
The secluded Bluestone Lake is a haven for massive large and smallmouth bass, bluegill, catfish and more! The state’s record-holding longest and heaviest striped bass were both reeled in from these waters! Reserve a cabin any time of year and enjoy the perfect fishing trip.
Cabwaylingo State Forest: Ranger cabin
Known for hunting and picnicking, the forest also features rustic cabins perfect for a quiet getaway.
Cacapon Resort State Park: Golf
According to USA Today, the par-72 golf course at Cacapon Resort State Park is one of the top 100 courses in the country— A Robert Trent Jones classic!
Calvin Price State Forest: Camping
This state forest is adjacent to Watoga State Park. The forest offers great camping opportunities for those seeking solace in a near-wilderness setting.
Camp Creek State Park and Forest: Wade
Dabble in the creeks, or sit back and admire the two photogenic waterfalls. Camp Creek features campsites and camping with horses.
Canaan Valley Resort State Park: Scenic Lift
In winter, the chairlift glides you over the rolling snowy scenery to the top of the skiing and snowboarding slopes. During the fall, it treats you to breathtaking views of the changing leaves and the Canaan valley.
Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park: Patterson House Museum
This museum features relics from the Battle of Carnifex Ferry, a key Union win that led to the creation of West Virginia during the Civil War!
Cass Scenic Railroad State Park: Ride a train
Explore the old rail town before hopping aboard a real vintage locomotive for unbelievable views and history! The two-story company house are available to rent year-round.
Cathedral State Park: Hiking
Spot WV’s state flower (the rhododendron) and towering ancient hemlock trees. Bring along your camera for amazing photo opportunities!
Cedar Creek State Park: Campground
Take some time to explore the park, then spend the night under the stars at one of Camp Creek’s camp sites!
Chief Logan State Park: Amphitheater
Catch a theatrical show by local actors and musicians at the Liz Spurlock Amphitheater.
Coopers Rock State Forest: Rock climbing
The sights at this state forest are truly one of a kind. Rock climbing, by permission, is an exciting outdoor adventure enjoyed by thrill seekers.
Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park: Lookout tower
Climb the steps to this observation tower at the end of a half-mile trail for jaw-dropping aerial views of the Greenbrier River Valley.
Fairfax Stone State Park: See the stone
This day-use park’s namesake marked a boundary of land that was granted to Lord Fairfax by the King of England way back in the 1700s. Centuries later, it also marked boundary between West Virginia and Maryland.
Greenbrier River Trail: Biking
This rail trail’s easy grade follows the scenic Greenbrier River, crossing several bridges and old train tunnels along the way.
Greenbrier State Forest: Disc golf
Try some sportive competition with your friends and hit the disc golf courses at this state forest.
Hawks Nest State Park: Aerial tram
Hop aboard the aerial tram, which will take you from the Hawks Nest lodge down to the New River, where you can take a jetboat tour during summer season!
Holly River State Park: Trout-rearing pond
Learn about all the different species of trout throughout Wild, Wonderful West Virginia’s 2nd largest state park.
Kanawha State Forest: Birding and botany
Known for biking and hiking trails, Kanawha State Forest is also recognized for a diverse songbird and wildflower diversity.
Kumbrabow State Forest: Trout fishing
This state forest has some of the best catch and release waters for native trout fishing.
Little Beaver State Park: Paddleboats
Rent a paddleboat and cruise around the 18-acre lake.
Lost River State Park: Horseback riding
Ride horseback through wooded trails and scenic overlooks with experienced guides leading the way.
Moncove Lake State Park: Birding
This state park is a popular hangout spot for more than 160 species of native and migrating birds and the campground is family-friendly.
North Bend Rail Trail: Biking
70 miles of rail trail will take you from Harrison County to Wood County near Parkersburg, with several tunnels and bridges along the way— plus a lot of history!
North Bend State Park: Lake
The 305-acre lake is popular with anglers, kayakers and birdwatchers. A seasonal marina offers boat rentals, and the park campground offers bicycle rentals.
Panther State Forest: Group camping
This state forest is great for large group camping.
Pinnacle Rock State Park: Scenic overlook
This sandstone formation climbs more than 3,000 feet above sea level. The overlook at the top gives you amazing panoramic views of the Bramwell area, so be sure to bring a camera!
Pipestem Resort State Park: Observation Tower
The Bolar Observation Tower offers scenic views of the Bluestone Gorge at this year-round destination.
Prickett’s Fort State Park: Living history fort
Step back in time to the wild frontier to explore this recreated fort and meet costumed 18th-century characters, who will demonstrate Colonial life and crafting.
Seneca State Forest: Fire tower
The Thorny Mountain Fire Tower is located at Seneca State Forest. Like the forests’ pioneer cabins, guests can reserve the fire tower for at truly unique overnight adventure.
Stonewall Resort State Park: Mini powerboats
Zoom around this 2,600-acre lake on nimble mini powerboats. It’s one of several unique ways to cruise the waters at this upscale park resort— try stand-up paddle boarding, ride the ferry, aqua cycle and more. Although, a regular canoe, pontoon or fishing boat will do, too!
Tomlinson Run State Park: Yurts
Make roughing it just a little smoother and cooler in one of the yurts available for rent at Tomlinson Run. These small, round tents come with a cooler, propane stove, lantern, cookware, picnic table and fire ring.
Tu-Endie-Wei State Park: Battle Days
Commemorate the soldiers who died in the Battle of Point Pleasant on Oct. 10, 1774 at the annual Battle Days. The town honors its heroes with plays, a parade, a Colonial Ball and a special wreath-laying memorial at the park. For a deeper peek into history, browse the on-site museum.
Twin Falls Resort State Park: Pioneer farm
Travel back to the 1830s when you visit this restored home and learn about the first settlers in the Wyoming County area.
Tygart Lake State Park: Beach
Yes, you read that right: a beach in West Virginia! Set up your towel and relax, or bring a snorkel to swim and enjoy the clear waters of Tygart Lake. The beach even has grills, game courts and kayak rentals in the summer months.
Valley Falls State Park: Waterfalls
Check out the picturesque currents cascading down this park’s 4 waterfalls. You may even be lucky enough to spot a kayaker paddle over the drop!
Watoga State Park: Ann Bailey Lookout Tower
There are two ways to get to Ann Bailey: the long way or the straight-up-the-hill way. If you want to get there fast and don’t mind an incline, take Arrowhead trail near the campground. If you prefer a longer, flat hike, take Ann Bailey Trail near the cabins. Either way, you’ll be rewarded with breath-taking views when you reach the tower.
Watters Smith Memorial State Park: Farm museum
Visit a restored pioneer homestead from the late 1700s. Tour the house and a museum with artifacts from the era!
How many have you done?
This post was last updated on July 30, 2020