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West Virginia Family Vacation Ideas Include Fishing, Rafting, and Sporting Clays. Southern West Virginia Family Fun at the Lake near DanielsSouthern West Virginia offers hiking, biking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, live theatre, antiques, golf, fishing, sporting clays, horseback riding, caving and spa experiences. Scenic and wild, the area contains the spectacular New River Gorge, also known as the “Grand Canyon of the East” and miles of green shaded, no-name roads waiting to be explored.

During the summer months wildflowers frame the roadways and in the winter misty mornings and snowy peaks mark the horizon. For now, Southern West Virginia remains a family vacation secret – fun, and easy with no crowds.

Head underground. For a truly West Virginian experience head over to the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine and travel 1500 feet beneath the hillsides of New River Park along mine track accompanied by veteran miners. After the underground tour visitors are encouraged to explore the historical early 20th century coal camp situated above ground with lovingly restored buildings and exhibits depicting coal-camp life of the period. Bonus Points: During the summer months one price encompasses all activities at both the Exhibition Mine and the Youth Museum. (New River Park, Beckley, (304) 256-1747 or www.beckleymine.com)

Walk though history. Right next door to the Beckley Exhibition Coal mine is the Youth Museum of Southern West Virginia. The main gallery of the museum is composed of four boxcars featuring three exhibits annually – pas exhibits have included “T-Rex”, “Bats”, and “Page after Page”, an award-winning children’s authors presentation. Beyond the boxcars lies the Mountain Homestead historical exhibit – a recreation of a typical homestead on the Appalachian frontier. Bonus Points: During the summer months one price encompasses all activities at both the Exhibition Mine and the Youth Museum. Need to know: Reservations are required at the Youth Museum – the months of May, June and October are extremely popular so reserve early. (New River Park, Beckley, (304) 252-3730 or www.beckleymine.com/ym/)

See a family feud. Not-to-be-missed is theatre under the stars and Theatre West Virginia offers the perfect match for an evening out with the kids. Each summer West Virginia’s infamous family feud is revived for the fun of it. The “Hatfields & McCoys” recounts the bloody feud between the Hatfields of West Virginia and the McCoys of Kentucky. A second summer production, “Honey In the Rock” is the nation's oldest Civil War Drama. It brings to life the story of West Virginia's tumultuous birth during the American Civil War. Both outdoor drama performances are presented on the stage at the Cliffside Amphitheatre at Grandview. Need to know: Both productions contain some violence which may frighten very young children. (Take I-77 S. to I-64 E. to exit 129B Grandview Road, then six miles to Grandview. (304)256-6800, toll-free 1-800-666-9142 or www.theatrewestvirginia.com)

Shop till you drop. Tamarack is the nation’s first state-wide collection of state-specific handmade crafts, art, and cuisine. Featuring the best of what West Virginia culture has to offer, Tamarack features a delectable array of regional specialty foods and products – making it a truly West Virginian shopping experience. (Located on Exit 45 just off I-77/I-64, One Tamarack Park, Beckley, 1-88-TAMARACK, or www.tamarackwv.com)

Rent a boat, bait a hook, catch a fish. West Virginia River View near Daniels The locally popular Little Beaver State park features an 18-acre lake, fishing, swimming, boat rentals, ten hiking trails, 60 picnic areas, and an enclosed playground. Bonus Points: If you’re visiting in the fall makes sure to check out the spooky Haunted Trail – it’s a hair-raising walk down a dark trail that’s sure to spook. (1402 Grandview Rd., Beaver, (304) 763-2494 or www.littlebeaverstatepark.com)

Raft a river. About an hour north of Daniels, ACE Adventure launches family rafts and duckies on the Upper New River (world's 2nd oldest river). Beginner friendly rapids make this the perfect trip for laid-back adventure in the great outdoors. You'll raft through a magnificent 1,400-foot canyon and enjoy some of the East's most spectacular scenery. Bonus Points: For those family members not interested in doing the river, the complex offers biking, hiking, caving, horseback riding and use of water toys during the day. Need to know: They offer lots of activities suitable for kids as young as six on the upper New River. (ACE Adventure Center Oak Hill WV, 25901. Toll-free 1-888-223-7238, (304) 469-2651 or www.aceraft.com)

Take aim on clay.
Sporting Clays is one of America’s fastest growing shooting sports. The Resort at Glade Springs, a 4,100 acre mountain resort, offers a mini adventure which includes basic shooting instruction and quality shooting equipment on a full-service course featuring 20+ shooting stations with 50 targets. (The Resort at Glade Springs 255 Resort Drive Daniels, West Virginia 25832 or www.gladesprings.com)
 
Stay in the saddle. The Equestrian Center at Glade Springs is a premiere facility serving Southern West Virginia year round. They offer guided trail rides, Amish crafted carriage rides and pony rides for tykes. The routes follow scenic areas of the resort but also venture into some of the less traveled areas of the 4,100 acre resort. Bonus Points: Take a 3-hour ride through Glade Creek Gorge and stop creek side for lunch. (The Resort at Glade Springs 255 Resort Drive Daniels, West Virginia 25832 or www.gladesprings.com)
 
Make it happen. For family vacation ideas and more things to do with kids in Southern West Virginia call toll-free at 1-800-847-4898, (304) 252-2244 or go to www.visitwv.com

Content researched and posted by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files. Images provided by Family Travel Files.com staff. Copyright  updated 2015.
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