Who says adults can’t have snow days? 5 winter escapes


The Mountain State is one of the mid-Atlantic region’s hotspots for cold-weather fun. Whether you want to stay in the frigid elements all day or be cozy indoors, West Virginia is sure to have a winter escape just for you.

Here are some of the best.

1. Ski vacations

A multi-day stay at one of West Virginia’s great high-country ski resorts is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of great wintertime vacations, and for obvious reasons. West Virginia has the finest snow and slopes south of New England.

Snowshoe Mountain is the biggest resort with the most diverse lodging options, from hotels to luxury slopeside chalets. Also consider checking out Canaan Valley Resort State Park. Canaan Valley Resort State Park is adjacent to some of West Virginia’s wildest backcountry, and is a bit smaller and more laid-back than Snowshoe.

There’s also Winterplace, southern West Virginia’s foremost ski resort. Slopes stay open at night, including the 20-lane snow tubing park!

2. Blackwater Falls State Park

Want to experience the majesty of the Canaan Valley, but ski resorts are not quite your thing? Check out Blackwater Falls. This resort state park stays open through the winter, and features groomed cross-country ski trails, winter hiking, a sledding hill, and special holiday activities. The park’s namesake falls are some of West Virginia’s most beautiful cascades any time of the year, but are all the more iconic in icy, snowy majesty.

3. Winter on the Gorge

For non-skiing outdoor winter activities, the New River Gorge is the place to be. Classic spots like Diamond Point and Long Point offer even better views of the nearly 1,000-foot-deep gorge in the winter, after most of the autumn leaves have fallen. Fayetteville’s hip restaurants like Pies & Pints and Secret Sandwich Society remain open in the winter, but without the rafting-season crowds. Need a place to stay? Consider the historic Lafayette Flats in Fayetteville, or look for deals on cabins by the river. Either way, winter on the Gorge is not to be missed!

4. Casinos

When you’ve skied to your heart’s content, head indoors for another type of winter game.

Mardi Gras Casino & Resort in Cross Lanes warms you up with balmy New Orleans cheer. Treat yourself to an elegant meal at the French Quarter restaurant, then see where Lady Luck takes you with some table games.

If you prefer slots, Wheeling Island Casino in Ohio County and Mountaineer Casino in Chester have jackpots and machines aplenty. They also stock their halls with a diverse selection of table games and poker.

There’s also Hollywood Casino in Charles Town. With 87 table games and a 24-hour poker room to choose from, you’ll have to plan accordingly. Dining choices are also generous. Visit 9 Dragons for Asian fare; Final Cut for steaks; and Epic Buffet for anything from pasta to cake.

Another popular destination is The Greenbrier resort. Its classy Casino Club has a dress code, and only overnight guests can play. For those reasons, you’ll feel like James Bond as you swagger over to the poker tables, bet on horses, and try dozens of games.

5. Berkeley Springs

Billed as “America’s First Spa,” this hot springs resort was visited by luminaries like George Washington. Soak away the winter cold in the 102-degree Roman Baths or jacuzzi; both are fed by natural mineral water. The park also has a steamy sauna.

Not to be outdone is Atasia Spa, where you can luxuriate in the Eucalyptus Steam Room, then get swaddled in an herbal wrap. Other treatments include massages, facials, aromatherapy, and contour masques.

Berkeley Springs also boasts quality restaurants and your choice of B&Bs, cabins, and hotels. The dignified historical feeling of the town is especially profound in the winter. Don’t miss the January Spa Feast or the International Water Tasting festival in February, either.

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This post was last updated on July 28, 2020