Country Roads Take Me Home....
West Virginia is my home state and it really is a beautiful state. It has a lot to offer.
In my quest to visit all of the National Parks in the US, I knew New River Gorge National Park, America's newest national park, had to be on the top of my list.
This summer of July '22 I made that happen. With my mom, dad, aunt, cousin, and two kids, including my own, we traveled to New River Gorge National Park and experienced some breathtaking views, thrilling rapids, fresh mountain air, and the best activities to do with kids there.
It is truly so important to take kids outside and into nature.
Read on for 5 of the best activities to do with kids while visiting this park.
#1. Stay at Adventures on the Gorge
Adventures on the Gorge is a mecca for kids. You don't ever have to leave the resort and already it has some of the best activities for kids.
We stayed in one of the cabins called Lost Paddle. It has a master bedroom with a king sized bed and bathroom. Upstairs in the loft area has two double beds, a pull out chair (perfect for a small kid), and a bathroom. The living room has a pull out couch and some nice sitting chairs. Plus there is a fully stocked kitchen. Outside has a hot tub on the deck and a fire pit and grill down below.
The cabin alone was fun for kids by doing activities like playing in the hot tub, digging in the mud, and making a fire to roast s'mores.
But the rest of the resort was the best.
For starters, the pool, Canyon Falls, is right on the rim of the New River Gorge with incredible views of the New River Gorge Bridge.
The 3,000 square foot pool has a kiddie splash area, waterfalls, and an upper and lower pool with a huge surrounding deck and a snack bar. You could spend a whole day there.
The rest of the resort has four other dining options: Sweet Java Falls, a coffee and pastry shop; Chetty's Pub, a restaurant with burgers, beers, and wings; Smokey's on the Gorge, more of an upscale restaurant with premiere seating on the deck with spectacular views; and Rendezvous River Lodge which you can rent out.
In addition to dining, there are family activities such as disc golfing, aerial activities (zipline and tree treks), paintball, and a playground that our little kids loved.
Adventures on the Gorge definitely tops the list as the number one place to stay and explore with kids.
#2 Go on a Hike
Get off the mainland and take your kids on a hike for an activity.
Adventures on the Gorge had an easy path that went around the resort that my son loved being "the leader" on.
Want to go on a hike with a more scenic views of the gorge? Try Endless Wall Trail or Long Point Trail. Both are around 3 miles which is the threshold for little kids.
The hike up the Endless Wall Trail is easy for kids to navigate, but once you get to the top, there are steep drop offs if you want to take in the view. If you are nervous about this, either keep the kids on the main trail with another person and then switch as both of you look out the vista or strap them into a backpack.
However, if you stay on the main trail, there are no steep cliffs.
#3 See Waterfalls
There are about 9 total waterfalls in the whole park, but we only went to one, and it was such as great activity to do with little kids.
We went to Cathedral Falls which is right off the road.
Kids can literally play in the shallow waters before the falls all day. My son had a blast turning over and piling rocks. Such a good sensory activity.
#4 Go Rafting
Okay, so little kids might not be able to do this. Most trips you have to be 12+.
But this was too good not to do. Keep the little kids at the pool with a designated scaredy cat and sign up for this trip.
We did the 1/2 day run on the New River and had a blast. We booked through Adventures on the Gorge.
There will be 8 people + a guide in one raft, and we probably went through 8 or more Class III rapids. The tour guides were funny, and we got beer on the bus ride back.
If you're adventurous, do this! But also my 61 year old Mom did it (no offense, Mom), so it isn't too strenuous.
#5 Swim in the Lakes
We didn't do this one, but if we had an extra day, we would have.
Head on over to Summersville Lake where you can swim, boat, fish, or rent kayaks.
A great day trip for little kids.
Overall, I have three takeaways about New River Gorge National Park.
1.) Don't sleep on West Virginia. It's beautiful. The people are great.
2.) Take your little kids out in nature.
3.) The New River Gorge National Park has lots of great activities for little kids.