7 Favorite Fall Activities for Family Fun and Adventure
Take a family trip and make lasting memories with these fall activities.
With mild temperatures and brilliant autumn colors, fall is a great time to get out and explore West Virginia’s state parks and forests. Here are seven fun fall activities you can enjoy with your family this season. Which is your favorite?
Savor autumn’s warm hues from the open-air passenger car of an antique steam locomotive at Cass Scenic Railroad State Park. Climb aboard for a 4.5-hour train ride to the overlook at Bald Knob, the third-highest point in West Virginia. Visitors also can explore an old logging camp on the mountain and a museum in the historic town of Cass.
Hawks Nest State Park offers spectacular views of the New River Gorge. But did you know you can pair your leaf-peeping experience with a meal? Head to the lodge’s Vista View Restaurant on the rim of the gorge and take in the scenery from your table. After dinner, board the aerial tramway right outside for a leisurely ride to the swirling waters below. It’s the perfect way to immerse yourself in autumn’s splendor!
Pipestem Resort State Park offers the opportunity to enjoy the scenic Bluestone River Gorge from above at McKeever Lodge. You can also ride down into the gorge by riding the aerial tramway down to Mountain Creek Lodge. Restaurant options include the Bluestone Dining Room and Black Bear Grill and Lounge at McKeever, and the Mountain Creek Restaurant at the bottom of the gorge.
West Virginia’s state parks and forests offer a vast network of hiking trails suitable for all skill levels. Our trails showcase beautiful mountain scenery and unique plants and wildlife. Explore trails at Blackwater Falls State Park and discover scenic overlooks and breathtaking waterfalls.
Stroll the rhododendron-lined paths at Babcock State Park and pause for photos of the iconic Glade Creek Grist Mill while it’s framed in autumn’s finery. Choose from 18 miles of trails that wind through Chief Logan and stop for a visit at the park’s wildlife exhibit, which features live black bears and other native animals.
Roots and rocks and single-track, oh my! Tackle challenging downhillers or rolling hills at mountain biking meccas like Coopers Rock State Forest and Kanawha State Forest. If you’re new to the sport and want to learn the basics, sign up for a Quest experience at North Bend State Park, where outfitters will set you up with a bike and safety equipment and provide expert instruction to get you started.
If you’re just looking for a relaxing way to enjoy the fall scenery, the wide paths and gentle grades of the North Bend Rail Trail and Greenbrier River Trail are ideal for beginner cyclists and families with young children. Pedal through sleepy towns and rural countryside along these routes, which feature scenic tunnels and bridges.
Saddle up and take in the fall scenery via a guided horseback ride from the stables at Cacapon, Lost River or Pipestem Resort state parks. You can even bring your own mount to ride at Camp Creek State Park. For a unique fall experience, stay at the park’s Double C Horse and Rider Campground, which is open through the end of October and has sites that will accommodate up to six horses.
Fall is perfect weather for catching a trophy trout. Bring the whole family out to fish at Little Beaver State Park — voted one of the nation’s Top 10 Mom-Approved Places to Fish and Boat. Excellent lake fishing also can be found at Beech Fork State Park, where you can cast a line right from your campsite, and Tygart Lake and Bluestone state parks — both said to be two of the best bass-fishing areas in the state. Popular fishing streams run through Audra and Holly River state parks, and you can fish at numerous locations along the Greenbrier River Trail.
All you need is a smartphone and a sense of adventure to partake in this fun family activity. Follow the clues to the buried treasure. Feel free to take a souvenir from the cache as long as you replace it with a “treasure” of your own. More than 30 state parks and forests have geocaches stashed in secret locations. Some, like Watoga and Canaan Valley Resort state parks and Coopers Rock State Forest hold at least a dozen or more caches waiting to be discovered.