Camping for the first time in a WV State Park or Forest? Follow these pro tips and best practices

When it comes to camping, Dillard Price, superintendent at Beech Fork State Park, offers the single most critical piece of advice for newbies: “Plan ahead.”

And Dillard knows a thing or two about camping. He oversees four campgrounds with a total of 275 campsites — the most in the West Virginia State Parks system. Visitors pour in year-round to set up camp, many for their first camping experience. Travelers are encouraged to do a little bit of research ahead of time.

Be Prepared

If you forget something, all is not lost. The camp store stocks necessities like electrical adapters, RV toilet paper, fire starters and propane tanks for gas grills. You can even pick up snacks and drinks or a souvenir T-shirt.

A properly prepared camper is ready to make some lasting memories with friends and family.

“One of the best things about camping is being able to disconnect from the world for a few days. It allows you to slow down and enjoy nature and the small things,” Price said.

Beech Fork campers enjoy a wide range of activities, from boating and fishing to disk golf and family game night. Some guests just prefer a little quiet time by the lake. You can even grab a book (or leave one) at the mini library set up by a local Girl Scout troop.

For a hassle-free camping experience at any state park or forest, follow these pro tips and best practices:

Pro Tips

  • Plan for weather events. Even the hottest summers may experience bouts of cold wind and rain. Pack a range of clothing and shoes (maybe even hats and gloves) to suit sudden changes in temperature or precipitation.
  • The three most important items to bring? Sleeping gear, flashlights and bug spray. “People often forget the bug spray,” Price said.
  • RV campers: When reserving your campsite, make sure it has the electrical service you need—whether it’s 30 amp or 50 amp.
  • Tent campers: Set up in a level spot in case of rain; you don’t want water in your tent! Pitch your tent in the shade if you have the opportunity. (Campsite photos are posted online.)

Best Practices

  • Thinking of bringing your pup? Great news: Dogs are welcome in state park campgrounds! Just remember to follow leash laws and always clean up after your pets.
  • Help control spread of invasive species: Never bring in firewood from outside the area! Local firewood is available for purchase from the camp store.
  • Use the fire ring or grill already provided at your campsite, and never leave a campfire unattended.
  • While the governor’s COVID-19 mandate remains in effect, continue to wear a face covering in public places indoors. Always avoid crowds and maintain social distancing guidelines, whether indoors or out.

Find a list of West Virginia State Park campgrounds here and start planning your Almost Heaven getaway today!

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