5 improved state parks you don’t want to miss this summer

West Virginia’s state parks and forests are some of the most beautiful places in the United State and now they’re even better than ever thanks to $151 million in updates, improvements and renovations. From lodge renovations and cabin upgrades to facility improvements and activity expansions, every state park and forest has received exciting additions to make the them truly world-class vacation destinations.

With the reopening of several park facilities after years of renovations, the summer 2022 travel season is shaping up to be the most exciting in decades. Here are five state parks with exciting upgrades you don’t want to miss this summer.

Pipestem Resort State Park

Over the last several summers, Pipestem Resort State Park has added an adventure zone, a splash park and adventure lake and a zipline. But these exciting family activities aren’t the only additions and improvements you’ll notice on your next trip to Pipestem Resort.

This summer, Pipestem Resort has completely renovated lodges, including an updated restaurant, new fitness center and renovated conference rooms and lodge rooms. There’s also a new spa, upgraded cabins and updated outdoor entertainment areas, solidifying the park as one of the state’s best family travel destinations.

Located on the east rim of the Bluestone River Gorge on the border of Summers and Mercer counties, Pipestem Resort State Park has been West Virginia’s premier family adventure resort since Memorial Day 1970, when it opened to the public. The park features stunning views, offers exhilarating zipline tours, guided trout fishing trips, mountain bike excursions, a championship golf course, 82 campsites26 cabins, and two lodges, one of which can only be accessed by riding the park’s aerial tram to the bottom of the Bluestone River Gorge.

Cacapon Resort State Park

Set in the Eastern Panhandle, Cacapon Resort State Park is a popular getaway for commuters in the busy DC-Baltimore area. A new, four-lane highway, called the Berkeley Springs Bypass, will improve traffic flow for travelers to both Cacapon and nearby Berkeley Springs State Park.

Last year, the lodge at Cacapon opened up a major expansion, with the addition of 78 guest rooms, a private dining room, lounge, spa, fitness center and an indoor pool. Existing facilities are also receiving major upgrades, including remodeled guest rooms, new conference space, renovations to the lobby and other facility enhancements. Future projects include, a 26-slot RV park.

Positioned in the shadow of a folded mountain ridge, Cacapon Resort is loved by nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. Cacapon Resort is also a draw for history enthusiasts due to its proximity to the historic town of Berkeley Springs and Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. The park features hiking, trails, horseback riding, a golf course, 124 lodge rooms, 31 cabins, Tentrr campsites and the Old Inn, which features 12 bedrooms, eight full baths and one half bath and sleeps up to of 32 people.

North Bend State Park

While North Bend State Park’s rolling hills, lakes and streams need no enhancements, this beautiful park has received several upgrades, including renovations to the lobby, front desk, gift shop, restaurant and lodge rooms. North Bend also has an updated lodge exterior, walkways, guest room corridors and landscaping, upgraded cabins and new picnic shelters.

Named for the horseshoe curve of the North Fork of the Hughes River, North Bend is lush with hiking trails and abundant wildlife and is best known for the 72-mile North Bend Rail Trail, which follows a rail-banked B&O Railroad corridor with several tunnels along the way. The park features lake adventures, guided adventure quests, 29 lodge rooms, nine cabins, and two campgrounds with a total of 75 sites.

Hawks Nest State Park

Nestled in the heart of whitewater rafting country on the rim of the New River, Hawks Nest is your launching point for adventures in the New River Gorge. The New River Gorge recently got upgrade to national park status and Hawks Nest has received updates of its own. The park has a renovated lodge with an updated lobby and lodge rooms. There’s also a new outdoor pool and splash pad and an improved museum.

Located 10 miles north of the New River Gorge Bridge, Hawks Nest is known for its scenic overlook, which provides a bird’s eye view of the rugged New River Gorge National Park and Preserve below. The park has jetboat rides, hiking trails and one of the most challenging whitewater boating waterways in the nation. For overnight guests, there are 31 lodge rooms and Tentrr campsites.

Blackwater Falls State Park

Located in the Allegheny Mountains of Tucker County, Blackwater Falls State Park is named for the amber waters of Blackwater Falls, a 57-foot cascade tinted by the tannic acid of fallen hemlock and red spruce needles. This timeless park got a big facelift this past winter. The lodge at, which was built in the 1950s, has been updated without changing the personality and charm of the original architecture. Guest rooms were refurbished, new suites were added, the lobby and public lounge were renovated, a new gift shop was added, and the Smokehouse Restaurant was remodeled. Other improvements around the park include cabin upgrades.

You might stay for the amenities, but everyone comes to Blackwater Falls for the views. In addition to the main waterfall, you’ll want to check out Elakala Falls and the Lindy Point and Pendleton Point overlooks. The park has 20 miles of hiking trails, the longest sledding magic carpet on the East Coast in the winter, a comfortable lodge and more. For overnight guests, there are 54 lodge rooms, 39 cabins, 65 campsites and Tentrr campsites.

Plan your trip today!

Whether you’re a long-time visitor of West Virginia’s state parks or planning your first visit, you don’t want to miss out on enjoying outdoor adventures at these updated parks. Whether you’re planning a vacation, weekend getaway or day trip, visit one of these state parks and forests this summer.

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