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Family Travel Files Ezine Family Vacations Resource
 Mid Atlantic Secret Family Vacation Places in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland.New River Gorge Bridge Secret Family Vacation Spot Looking for a new spot or a new family vacation spot? Off the beaten path and plenty of fun, this list of spans the gamut from earthy and adventuresome to deluxe, yet family-friendly.

Imagine ziplining in West Virginia; discovering an old swimming hole in Virginia; collecting farm fresh eggs in Pennsylvania; boat making on the Chesapeake. This is the fun stuff but it's a secret.

West Virginia: Fayetteville – Mountains, Music, and the New River Gorge. West Virginia is a surprising place filled with awesome natural adventures, affordable sleeping places and quirky one-of-a-kind restaurants. Our favorite secret place is Fayetteville perched in the rim of the 800 foot deep New River Gorge and next the second longest steel arch bridge in the world. Mostly mountains, trees, friendly people and best of all crazy rivers with world-class white water, it makes an ideal family vacation spot. The area is made natural adventures including hiking, biking, ziplining, kayaking, fishing, rock climbing, and most popular by far whitewater rafting. The Gorge, as well as the New River and its surrounding area, is protected by the National Park Service making it a great family adventure base with three visitors’ (interpretive centers) and miles of hiking, biking and birding trails. Bonus Points: In addition the Gauley River Recreation Area located just north of Fayetteville, offers world class whitewater. And any family vacation in West Virginia should include a few rapids if only to give your kids bragging rights. Family vacation base: ACE Adventure Resort - a one-of-a-kind resort location on the New River Gorge- offers a mix of sleeping options from cozy cabins and deluxe and retreat units to tents on platforms and wooded campsites. Bonus Points:  From ACE the staff can package a family adventure vacation including meals, sleeping arrangements, whitewater rafting trip and other activities including ziplining onsite. (ACE Adventure Resort Oak Hill, WV. Toll-free 1-888-223-7238, (304) 469-2651 or www.aceraft.com)

Virginia: Millboro, Warm and Hot Springs, River Fishing, and Mountain Biking. Since the 1750's Virginians have escaped to Lexington and Staunton where the secret valleys sheltered by the peaceful of Shenandoah Mountains offer an easier paced time and the chance to enjoy the springs, fish for trout or bass, and basically enjoy the best of Mother Nature’s offering. The area remains one of Virginia’s best kept secrets. Extensive hiking trails and miles of mountain biking routes weave through valleys and woods. One of the state’s most beautiful rivers, the Cowpasture, provides swimming and tubing just like the “good old days”. The area offers green space with no crowds or lines except fishing lines. Family vacation base: Fort Lewis Lodge is one of those rare and wonderful places where simple is awesome. Set in a scenic river valley amid a 3200-acre plantation the Lodge is unpretentious yet elegant. The sleeping choices include lodge rooms, a unique silo, and several log cabins with creature comforts. Guests enjoy farm fresh American cuisine and have the chance to unwind with little effort. Outdoor activities abound with miles of river trout and bass fishing, a classic swimming hole with a rope swing, and an inner-tube float.  Bonus Points: Just go for Caryl’s morning muffins and stay for the rest. (Fort Lewis Lodge 603 Old Plantation Way, Millboro, VA 24460-2440. (540) 925-2314 or www.fortlewislodge.com) 

Pennsylvania: Poconos - Hiking, Music, and Farm Animals in the Poconos. Almost everyone I know has a favorite family vacation spot in the Pocono Mountains. One of mine is between the towns of Hawley and Honesdale - almost the middle of nowhere but with music, art and Mother Nature. Miles of well-maintained walking trails provide plenty of space for discoveries to be shared during the winter months the trails are ideal for snow shoes or cross-country skiing. The natural jewel of the area is Lake Wallenpaupack perfect for all water sports no matter the season. A cool place to stop with children is Wallenpaupack Environmental Learning Center. The Center conducts Energy Tours, Edible Plant Walks and seasonal programs perfect for families. Bonus Points: During the summer months The Wildflower Music Festival is not to be missed. Family vacation base: Lukan's Resort is a quiet family retreat with a comfortable old sneakers feeling – ideal for three generations. Onsite you’ll find a large outdoor swimming pool, stocked fishing ponds, horseshoes, shuffle-board, miniature golf, ping pong, and a playground for young children. The lighted recreation area includes a basketball court, fenced tennis court, and a sand volleyball court. Typical stays include breakfast and dinner daily so everyone – including mom- has time for fun. Bonus Points: The resident farm animals – chickens, goats, peacocks, and burro - will provide hours of entertainment. (Lukan’s Farm Resort 1 Lukans Road, Hawley, PA. (570) 226-4574 or www.lukans.com)

Pennsylvania: Farm Stays - Berries, Chickens, and Curious Goats. Rural PA is loaded with family farms and many of them welcome visitors. Some locations offer guestrooms within the main house while others have cabins, cottages or separate house for guests. Unique and family-friendly, they are tucked away along winding country roads making them almost a family secret. Some still actively pursue farming by raising milk cows, beef cattle, sheep or bison while others have poultry, nurture bees or raise herbs. Farm stays often include morning chores like collecting eggs, feeding goats, or picking berries. Family vacation base:  We have several favorites worth a look if you need to get back to basics. First is Weatherbury Farm almost to Ohio, this kid-friendly farm is a quiet place where everyone is invited to participate in farm life (by choice of course). At the heart of the state, Mountain Dale Farm with vacation cabins is set amid 175-acres and surrounded by state forest and game land. Farm animals include sheep, goats, cattle, horses, geese, ducks, chickens, and a dog. Blue Moon Farm and Forge near Raystown Lake has a working blacksmith shop and guests may help with chores, hike, fish, swim in the pond, and roast marshmallows at night. Just minutes from Lancaster or Hershey, Rocky Acre Farm - a 130-acre dairy farm - invites guests to milk a cow, feed a calf, gather eggs, and ride a train or tractor. The goats, kittens and a miniature horse await each new set of friends and for young children there is a playhouse. Location on the planet: To review the complete list of farms with pillows for guests go to www.pafarmstay.com or call toll-free 1(888) 856-6622. 

Maryland: St. Michael's – Seafood, Sailing, and the Chesapeake Bay. There are several reasons that St. Michaels works for a quick family getaway. First off it’s an uncomplicated spot. The small size makes it so. Nestled on the Miles River with an active harbor, unique shops and not–to-be-missed Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, and Tilghman Island - the recipe for fun is simple. Throughout the year the Maritime Museum offers interesting activities for families to share and Tilghman Island is the ideal spot to spend an afternoon of bike riding or kayaking. Bonus Points: On summer weekends watch the log canoe races. Family vacation base: Best Western St. Michael’s has everything you would expect including high-speed Internet access and complimentary continental breakfast (with waffles) plus two outdoor swimming pools. (Best Western St. Michael’s Motor Inn 1228 S Talbot Street, Saint Michaels, Maryland, 21663  (410) 745-3333 or www.BestWestern.com)
 
Content researched and posted by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files with image from New River Tourism. Updated copyright 2015.
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