State Park Adventures on a College Student’s Budget

Have fun and save money at these amazing state parks and forests near West Virginia’s College Campuses

West Virginia college students are heading to campus for the 2019 Fall Semester. For freshman, college brings opportunities to meet new people and discover new places away from home. For returning upperclassmen, old friends await with the promise of another exciting year. The years spent at college are some of the most exciting and memorable years of a person’s life. Between classes, extracurriculars, and studying, it is important to have a little fun. Within a short drive of all of West Virginia’s fine higher education institutions there is a State Park that offers countless hours of amusement that won’t break the bank. Bring your friends and make lasting memories that you can hold on to for a lifetime.

Audra State Park

Audra State Park is a beautiful wooded park located in southwestern Barbour County and a portion of Upsher County. The park is near West Virginia Wesleyan College, Davis and Elkins College, and Alderson Broaddus University. The clear, clean water of the Middle Fork River that runs through the park is perfect for a dip in the warmer months of the school year. Unwind after a long day of tests and projects by taking a hike on the Alum Creek and Cave Trail. The trail’s boardwalk with overhanging rocks and an amazing view of the river offers great Instagram opportunities for you and your friends.

Beech Fork State Park

For sons and daughters of Marshall University, Beech Fork State Park is a perfect retreat from the piles of books and papers. Just 12 miles outside of Huntington, Beech Fork is the young outdoorsman’s paradise. Take your friends kayaking on Beech Fork’s sprawling 720-acre lake. For those who can’t fit a boat in their cramped dorm room, no worries! Canoes, kayaks, jon boats, paddle boats and stand up paddle boards are available to rent at the park’s marina. The park also offers over 14 miles of hiking and biking trails including 31 miles of shoreline along Beech Fork Lake. Time to take that cutie from class you’ve been eyeing on a romantic lakeside stroll!

Coopers Rock State Forest

Just 13 miles outside of Morgantown, Coopers Rock State Forest lets West Virginia University students  embrace their inner Mountaineer. Escape the stresses of class and the hustle and bustle of High Street night life and take a trek on the peaceful wooded trails of this vast forest. Reward yourself with breathtaking views of the canyon section of the Cheat River. A popular and cheap activity at Coopers Rock is geocaching. Explore the forest and see interesting historical sites as you cache. All you need is your smart phone’s GPS!

Kanawha State Forest

Kanawha State Forest, WV

Located just outside of Charleston, Kanawha State Forest is just a short drive from University of Charleston and West Virginia State University. This forest is a nature lover’s paradise. The forest boasts over 25 miles of hiking and biking trails for visitors to explore. This park is perfect for a Sunday mindfulness walk to relax your body and soul from a stressful week and busy weekend.

Pipestem Resort State Park

Get the adrenalin rush you’ve been craving at Pipetem Resort State Park. For students of Concord University, this adventure-packed state park is just a 10-minute drive from campus. At Pipestem, you can soar up to 50 mph through the treetops and behold panoramic views of the lush forest and river below on the Pipestem Peaks Zipline Tour. Additionally, visitors can enjoy golfing, hiking boating, and, in the winter time, cross country skiing. The park also hosts free concerts at the amphitheater and other free events. Perfect for a broke college student’s budget Check out a full list of upcoming events here.

Take a Break

No matter where you go to school in West Virginia, there is a state park or forest close by full of affordable adventures and natural beauty. So, take time from your busy school and social calendar to enjoy all that West Virginia has to offer.

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