This will definitely convince you to take a family spring break in the mountains

 

Are you taking the family on a spring break trip this year? Why not explore the best of Wild, Wonderful West Virginia in 2017?

Lots of families get away for a long weekend (or more) in the spring, especially for holidays like Easter or during kids’ breaks from school. If you’re looking to get out and enjoy the warm weather after a cold winter, look no further than West Virginia. Here are some reasons why.

1. Play warm or cold

As far as outdoor activities go, you ski in the winter and swim or go boating in the summer, right? Well, because of West Virginia’s diverse climate, you might be able to do both during spring’s gradual transition from cold to warm. Snowshoe Mountain Resort guarantees open ski slopes until at least the second week of March. Sometimes their season extends into April. If you want to take a break from skiing, Snowshoe has plenty of other amenities, too! Take a dip in Split Rock Pools, an indoor/outdoor pool featuring water slides and saunas that’s open year round, or treat yourself to some pampering at the Spa at Snowshoe.

Head south to the New River Gorge region, where the rafting season ramps up in April. The water might be a bit chilly, but guide services will provide all the wetsuits and jackets you need for a splashy good time.

 

Young girl playing with toy dinosaurs at Oglebay Resort, WV

2. It’s affordable

If you’re coming from the big city, you’ll be surprised at how affordable our amazing restaurants are. Springtime can offer you even better deals for your family vacation, too. Many cabin rentals still have winter discounts in March. And Snowshoe Mountain Resort usually offers its much-loved “ridiculous pass” for sale in late February, which gives you a massively discounted season pass that’s good for the rest of the spring— including ALL of the next ski season as well!

 

Orange poison dart frogs, the Good Zoo, WV

3. It’s educational

Shh, don’t tell the kids, but their schoolwork will definitely improve with visits to Mountain State museums and historical parks!

Harpers Ferry has finds for every interest! True Treats Historic Candy has exhibits of treats that you can actually taste and take home. Go from mastic resin— an ancient splurge— to vintage delights like butter mints, ginger drops, and chocolate-covered figs. There’s also Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, which is full of natural beauty and Civil War relics waiting to be discovered.

In the Northern Panhandle, the Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum transforms everybody into a history buff. Who doesn’t want to tour rooms of Barbies, retro games, miniatures, and dolls?! There’s also the Good Zoo, where kids can learn more about the natural world through animal encounters. Visit the Discovery Lab and meet rare amphibians, or simply stroll through the grounds. With more than 50 species to meet— including 20 endangered ones— you’ll have plenty to observe and learn.

Other “must-see” attractions include the artisan displays at Tamarack, the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine, the state history museum in Charleston, the Children’s Discovery Museum of West Virginia in Morgantown, and the Trans-Allegheny Asylum in Weston.

And we haven’t even gotten to the dozens of off-the-grid battlefields, ghost towns, and reconstructed forts and mansions around the state. Your kids’ social studies teachers will be impressed at that “What I did for Spring Break” report.

 

Forested road through a state park in WV

4. It’s close

Plenty of out-of-staters already know that West Virginia is a hidden gem. But here’s what not as many people know: we’re within driving distance to a huge chunk of the U.S. population. The East Coast from Washington D.C. up to NYC is one of the most densely populated parts of the country, and it’s all 3-8 hours away from West Virginia’s most beautiful countryside.

Other metropolis centers that are not a far drive from the Mountain State include Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Knoxville, Lexington, and literally anywhere in Ohio. Oh, and if you don’t want to drive? The Amtrak takes a scenic route right from the East Coast, through the New River Gorge to Charleston!

 

A rock-strewn creek in Dolly Sods, West Virginia

5. It’s beautiful. Really beautiful.

Just to state the obvious, spring is magnificent. Our forests bloom, rivers flow with snowmelt, and wildlife gets active after the colder months.

If your family can’t wait to greet the new season, head to Lost River State Park. You can go on horseback rides through deep forests, wander for miles on hushed trails, or join park rangers as they identify native animals. It also has an old-fashioned rec hall and game courts. Everyone will appreciate the nostalgia, as well as the lush spring greenery.

Or, drive around and let opportunities come to you. Walk along the Kanawha River to catch the setting sun glimmering off the State Capitol; pedal along old railroad beds that are now bike trails; or emerge from a garden of brilliant pink rhododendron flowers and step onto a rocky overlook.

No matter where you go, the wild, wonderful beauty of our state will have you coming back again and again.

My spring guide >

 

This post was last updated on October 18, 2017