Your summer state parks bucket list for ultimate family fun and adventure

Events and outdoor activities you don’t want to miss this summer

School is out, the days are longer and summer is officially here! Which means there’s more downtime for you to enjoy the outdoors with your kids, family and loved ones. There’s no shortage of things to do at West Virginia’s state parks and forests during the summer, so here’s a bucket list of affordable and exciting events and outdoor activities that will make your summer memorable and fun!

  1. Ride the Pipestem Peaks Zipline
  2. Attend a Farm to Table Dinner
  3. Visit the Gristmill Museum at Babcock
  4. Swim in the clear blue water at Audra
  5. Take a boat, kayak or canoe out on Tygart or Bluestone lakes
  6. Walk through Beartown
  7. Eat dinner at Mountain Creek Lodge
  8. Take a train excursion at Cass Scenic Railroad
  9. Hike to a scenic overlook
  10. Spend the night in one of our unique stays

Plan to do one or all of them. You can’t go wrong when you visit a West Virginia state park!

Pipestem Peaks Zipline

Ride the Pipestem Peaks Zipline

The new Pipestem Peaks Zipline Tour is one of the most fun and exciting adventures in the Mountain State. Experience the thrill of soaring through the treetops of the scenic Bluestone River Gorge as you zip through the forest and over the tranquil river below. Are you a first-time zipline rider? Click here for tips and insights on how to get the most out of your trip.

Attend a Farm to Table Dinner

Our farm to table dinners feature local produce, beverages and entertainment. They’re also a great opportunity to get out and explore our parks! For a truly unique travel and dining experience, make plans to attend one or more of the dinners below, then stay overnight to enjoy the park amenities.

Visit the Gristmill Museum at Babcock

The Glade Creek Gristmill at Babcock State Park is one of the most popular attractions in all of West Virginia. Thousands of people visit the park each year to snap a photo of the iconic mill, but did you know there’s a small museum inside where you can buy freshly ground cornmeal? Stop by and get a glimpse into the past and take home a one-of-a-kind souvenir.

Swimming at Audra State Park

Swim in the clear blue water at Audra

The Middle Fork at Audra State Park has some of the cleanest water you’ll ever see. Relive your childhood memories of playing in the creek by taking a dip or going fishing. The perfectly clear, blue-green water will have you refreshed in no time!

Take a boat, kayak or canoe out on Tygart or Bluestone lakes

There isn’t any better way to celebrate summer than cooling off at a lake on a hot day. And Bluestone Lake and Tygart Lake offer enough acreage for you to spend the whole day on the water. Take your boat, kayak or canoe out on the water or rent one at the park. Pack a picnic lunch and bring some fishing gear and you’re all set! (But make sure you purchase a fishing license online at

Walk through Beartown

Tucked into the forest on the border of Greenbrier and Pocahontas counties lies one of West Virginia’s most amazing natural wonders and best-kept secrets: Beartown State Park! Follow the path from the parking lot into the cool tunnel of trees. From there, a boardwalk winds through a maze of rocky formations, massive boulders, overhanging cliffs and deep crevices formed hundreds of millions of years ago. It’s an awe-inspiring sight.

Eat dinner at Mountain Creek Lodge

After a long day of hiking and enjoying the outdoors with your family at Pipestem Resort State Park, settle in for the evening and enjoy a delicious meal at the Mountain Creek Dining Room. This restaurant, located in the Mountain Creek Lodge at the bottom of the Bluestone River Gorge, is known for its unique menu and high-quality presentation. This relaxing riverside location, accessible only by the park’s popular aerial tramway, is open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Click here to a see a menu.

Take a train excursion at Cass Scenic Railroad

The town of Cass remains relatively unchanged since its founding in 1901, which makes Cass Scenic Railroad State Park a perfect place to experience part of West Virginia’s history. Catch a ride on the park’s main attraction: a train ride to the overlook at Bald Knob, which is the third highest point in West Virginia and offers breathtaking views and amazing photo opportunities. Extend your stay by spending the night in one of Cass’ company houses!

Hike to a scenic overlook

West Virginia is known for its beautiful mountain scenery and state parks are one of the best places to catch a glimpse of what Almost Heaven looks like. Many parks have roadside overlooks and hiking trails that lead to sweeping vistas, but your must-see spots definitely should include Cranny Crow at Lost River, views of the Gauley River at Carnifex Ferry and a hike up to Potato Knob at Holly River.

Spend the night in one of our unique stays

After a day of fun and adventure, nothing beats kicking back in a cabin, relaxing in your lodge room or sitting around a campfire toasting marshmallows with your family. You should also add an otherworldly overnight stay to your list. If you dream of spending the night at a higher elevation to get the perfect view of a starry night sky, check out the Thorny Mountain Fire Tower Seneca State Forest. And if you’re looking for a unique camping, you’ll want to spend the night in one of Tomlinson Run State Park’s famous yurts.

How many of these items will you cross off your list this summer? Start planning your trip today!

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