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West Virginia: Beckley, Family Spring Breaks with Tubing, Ziplining, and  Cavern Adventures. 523SWVTubingOff grid definitely describes a family spring break in Southern West Virginia. Affordable and easy paced the area offers plenty for families to share including hiking, fishing, biking, ziplining, and stargazing plus a cavern adventure.  There may be snow still on the slopes and if so add skiing, boarding, and tubing to the list.  It all depends on Mother Nature.

We know school vacation days span the months of March and April. Each year we pass along ideas, suggestions, and deals which look promising for parents in the planning process, so if Southern West Virginia looks like a good fit – just make it happen.

Clip on and zip from cliff to cliff. Once reserved for scientists in the tropical rain forest, ziplining has become increasingly popular stateside with families looking for mini adventures. Ace Adventure Center, on the edge of New River Gorge, operates an awesome zipline course all year long. The network of ziplines allows riders direct access to the cliff side area and the private rock climbing areas where participants can clip on and zip from cliff to cliff. The route accesses a series of zipline perches making it is possible to look down into the ancient New River Gorge more than 800 feet below - really super cool! Like river rafting, with ziplining no two trips are alike - the time of year, time of day, and who is in your group create each unique adventure. 523SWVLostWorld

Go underground.  Lost World Caverns near Lewisville offers visitors a surreal experience. I love this cavern because it provides a mini science adventure easy to share with our kids. It’s the best cave east of Carlsbad. No matter what the weather is outside, the cave creates its own micro climate supporting a chamber more than a thousand feet long and ten stories high. The cave trail meanders along a well marked route passing huge protrusions and eerie formations - The Castle, The Bridal Veil, Goliath, and the infamous War Club. There's a story there. Better yet get the real scoop about “Cave Boy” and learn about the life of this cave. Bonus points: Just say dinosaurs to a six year old and see what happens. The petit Natural History Museum adjacent to the gift shop has the largest collection of dinosaur and fossil replicas in West Virginia.
 
Take aim on clay or saddle up. 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 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.

Saddle up and follow the trails. Horseback riding with your children is rewarding in any season and certainly neither kids, nor the horses they ride, care about chilly air so the activity works even in March and April. 523SWVACEHorseThe absence of the thick green canopy framing the trails makes it easy to spot wildlife as well as amazing views of the Gorge and the New River. Bonus points: Depending on weather, ACE Adventure Center near Oak Hill offers a sunset, moon rise ride.

Checkout Winterplace Ski and Snowboard School.
It all depends on the weather but if the snow continues to mount and the temperatures remain steady as predicted by the Farmer’s Almanac the skiing, boarding and tubing will still be in full swing until the end of March.  The snow sport school at Winterplace provides a fun and educational experience in a safe, friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Skiers and boarders begin by learning the basics in a unique teaching area with two super carpet lifts.  Then move on to chairlifts and a variety of beginner slopes marked as green circle trails for practice.
 
Zoom down the slopes. Winterplace is the home to the largest snow tubing park in West Virginia and that fact alone should make you want to pack the kids in the van and escape. Snow tubing is crazy mad fun at any age but as a parent the obvious advantages is the chance to be a kid again without feeling guilty. Snow tubing is meant to be shared. I think every family has its own style whether it’s feet first in tandem, headfirst screaming, or feet first spinning in circles. No two runs will be the same but each will bring a thrill. Bonus points: You don’t even have to worry about trudging back up the hill, either. Winterplace, Canaan Valley, and Snowshoe all have lifts just for tubers.

Location on the planet. Southern West Virginia is made up of the nine counties. The Eastern edge includes Monroe and Greenbrier counties and the unspoiled wilderness of Allegheny Ridge. The Central Plateau and Valleys includes Mercer, Summers, Raleigh, Fayette, and Nicholas counties with the New River Gorge and New, Bluestone, and Gauley Rivers. The mountainous southern area defined by the state’s coal mining heritage includes McDowell and Wyoming counties.  Each one has something to offer families on vacation.
 
Make it happen. During the spring months the lodging discounts are hefty and the atmosphere more casual. Toll-free at 1-800-847-4898, (304) 252-2244 or www.visitwv.com

Planning Details
ACE Adventure Center Resort, Oak Hill, WV 25901. (304)469-26511, 1-800-787-3982 or www.aceraft.com
The Resort at Glade Springs 255 Resort Drive Daniels, West Virginia 25832 or www.gladesprings.com
Winterplace Ski Resort Ghent, WV 25843. Toll-free 1-800-607-7669, (304)787-3221 or www.winterplace.com
Lost World Caverns HC 34 Box 308 Lewisburg, WV 24901. (304) 645-6677 or www.lostworldcaverns.com

Content researched and created by FTF and images provided by Southern West Virginia Tourism and ACE Adventure. Copyright 2014.
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