Best Things to Do with Kids in West Virginia: 12 Family-Friendly West Virginia Activities

by Jen
Best Things to Do with Kids in West Virginia
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Are you searching for the best things to do in West Virginia with kids? Here are some of the coolest and most exciting activities to do with kids in West Virginia. Get ready for a fun-filled family day out in WV!

Nestled amidst the rolling Appalachian Mountains, West Virginia beckons families with its vast array of natural wonders, historical treasures, and thrilling adventures. Often dubbed the “Mountain State,” West Virginia is more than just its majestic peaks; it’s a playground for kids and adults alike. From the echoing chambers of ancient caverns to the exhilarating zip lines that cut through the crisp mountain air, every corner of this state promises a new story, a fresh adventure, and memories that will last a lifetime.

West Virginia kids’ attractions aren’t just about the adrenaline rush, though. Dive deep into the state’s vibrant history, where tales of coal miners, pioneering settlers, and legendary battles come to life. Or perhaps, let the serene beauty of its state parks, with their cascading waterfalls and pristine lakes. They offer a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

And let’s not forget the state’s commitment to family fun. Whether it’s the laughter-filled rides at amusement parks, interactive sessions at children’s museums, or the simple joy of tubing down a gentle river, fun things to do in West Virginia with kids are aplenty.

So, pack your bags, gather the kids, and set your sights on West Virginia. An unforgettable journey, filled with discovery, wonder, and a touch of magic, awaits.

Here’s everything you need to know about the best things to do with kids in West Virginia.

The top places to visit with kids in West Virginia right now
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Best Things to Do with Kids in West Virginia: 12 Fun Sights and Attractions in West Virginia

Are you ready to explore all the best activities in West Virginia for families? As previously noted, there’s a wide selection of things to do in West Virginia for families. Keep reading to find out where to go in West Virginia for family fun!

Are you looking for a fun-filled adventure in a national park? Or would you rather have a relaxing escape in the outdoors? Whatever you’re planning, there are exciting places to go in West Virginia with kids that can accommodate your needs. Here are all the best things to do with kids in West Virginia that you should know about.

1. New River Gorge National Park

Situated in the heart of West Virginia, the New River Gorge National Park is a testament to nature’s grandeur and the timeless beauty of the Appalachian landscape. Spanning over 70,000 acres of pristine wilderness, this national treasure offers families a plethora of activities in West Virginia for kids that are both thrilling and educational.

Imagine standing atop the iconic New River Gorge Bridge, feeling the gentle mountain breeze as you gaze down at the winding river below. It’s not just the breathtaking views that captivate – it’s the sense of adventure that permeates every nook and cranny of this park. From exhilarating whitewater rafting trips that challenge the bravest of souls to serene nature trails that invite quiet reflection, there’s something for every family member.

For the young explorers, the park’s diverse ecosystem offers a chance to spot rare birds and playful otters. You might even come across the occasional deer. And for those keen on delving into the past, historical sites scattered throughout the park tell tales of ancient civilizations and pioneering settlers.

Concluding a day of exploration, families can gather around a campfire, roast marshmallows, and gaze up at the starlit sky. Truly, when deciding what to do in West Virginia with kids, this national park stands out as a must-visit.

New River Gorge National Park is one of the best things to do with kids in West Virginia.
New River Gorge National Park showcases Appalachian grandeur across 70,000 acres, offering thrilling educational activities for families.

2. Blackwater Falls State Park

Tucked away in the Allegheny Mountains, Blackwater Falls State Park is a haven for families seeking the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. The park’s crown jewel, the cascading Blackwater Falls, plunges five stories. It creates a mesmerizing spectacle as amber-tinted waters crash into the basin below. This unique hue, a result of tannic acid from fallen hemlock and red spruce needles, gives the falls its distinct appearance and name.

But the falls are just the beginning. Miles of hiking trails wind through dense forests, leading to vantage points that offer panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Each trail, whether challenging or leisurely, unveils a different facet of the park’s beauty. This makes it one of the best West Virginia things to do for families looking for an adventure.

For the little adventurers, the park’s nature center provides interactive exhibits on local wildlife, geology, and the area’s rich history. And when winter blankets the region, Blackwater Falls transforms into a snowy wonderland. It offers sled runs, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing opportunities.

Whether it’s the gentle hum of the falls, the rustling of leaves underfoot, or the joy of discovering a hidden meadow, Blackwater Falls State Park ensures a memorable family outing in the heart of WV.

In the Allegheny Mountains, Blackwater Falls State Park is a family haven with its iconic cascading falls known for its amber hue from tannic acid.
In the Allegheny Mountains, Blackwater Falls State Park is a family haven with its iconic cascading falls known for its amber hue from tannic acid.

3. Seneca Rocks

Rising majestically from the earth, the Seneca Rocks are a sight to behold. These sheer rock formations, one of the most iconic landmarks in West Virginia, offer families an unparalleled outdoor experience. With its jagged peaks and unique vertical incline, it’s a favorite among rock climbers, both novice and seasoned.

You don’t have to be a climbing enthusiast to appreciate the beauty of Seneca Rocks. A well-maintained trail leads to an observation platform. This provides awe-inspiring views of the surrounding valleys, forests, and the winding North Fork River. As you ascend, keep an eye out for the diverse bird species that call this area home. Look for peregrine falcons to warblers.

For those looking for more ground-level fun places in West Virginia to visit with children, the base of the rocks offers picnic areas and serene spots by the river. These are perfect for a family lunch or a relaxing afternoon of fishing.

And if you’re in the mood for a subterranean adventure, nearby Seneca Caverns beckon with their ancient chambers and fascinating rock formations. Whether you’re gazing up at the towering rocks or delving deep into the earth, Seneca offers a blend of excitement and wonder. This makes it a top pick for family-friendly activities in West Virginia!

Seneca Rocks in West Virginia, iconic and jagged, offer families a unique outdoor experience and rock climbing haven.
Seneca Rocks in West Virginia, iconic and jagged, offer families a unique outdoor experience and rock climbing haven.

4. Dolly Sods Wilderness

Venture into the heart of the Dolly Sods Wilderness. You’ll find yourself immersed in a mosaic of landscapes that seem to shift with every step. From windswept plains dotted with blueberry bushes to dense spruce forests echoing with bird calls, Dolly Sods showcases nature’s diversity.

One of the most striking features of this wilderness is its unique ecosystem. Due to its high altitude and wet climate, Dolly Sods boasts plants and animals typically found much farther north. Families can spot cranberries, sundews, and even snowshoe hares. Every hike an educational journey!

The trails here cater to all levels of hikers. Whether you’re embarking on a short family stroll or a day-long trek, the paths unveil panoramic vistas, glistening streams, and hidden meadows. And for the budding photographers in the family, the ever-changing landscapes offer endless opportunities to capture the perfect shot.

As the sun sets, families can set up camp under the starry sky. Sharing stories around a campfire, with the vast expanse of Dolly Sods as your backdrop, is a memory that will linger long after the trip ends. As such, when considering where to go in West Virginia with kids, this wilderness stands out as an enchanting choice.

In Dolly Sods Wilderness, experience ever-shifting landscapes from plains to forests, showcasing nature's diversity.
In Dolly Sods Wilderness, experience ever-shifting landscapes from plains to forests, showcasing nature’s diversity.

5. Cass Scenic Railroad State Park

All aboard for a nostalgic ride through West Virginia’s picturesque landscapes! At Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, families are transported back to an era where steam-driven locomotives ruled the tracks. The rhythmic chug of the engine and the gentle sway of the carriages evoke a sense of wonder and excitement. This is especially true for the little ones.

The highlight of the park is the vintage steam locomotive ride that winds its way up to the overlook at Bald Knob. As the train ascends, passengers are treated to sweeping views of dense forests, shimmering streams, and the vast expanse of the Greenbrier Valley. Each twist and turn of the track reveal a new facet of West Virginia’s natural beauty.

And it’s not just the scenic vistas that captivate. Along the way, guides share fascinating tales of the region’s logging history, the challenges of railroad construction, and the communities that thrived here. It’s a blend of education and entertainment. This makes it one of the best things to do in West Virginia with kids.

Once the journey concludes, families can explore the historic town of Cass, with its quaint shops, museums, and eateries. A day at Cass Scenic Railroad State Park is more than just a train ride – it’s a step back in time and a celebration of West Virginia’s rich heritage.

Rediscover nostalgia at West Virginia's Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, where steam locomotives captivate all, especially kids.
Rediscover nostalgia at West Virginia’s Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, where steam locomotives captivate all, especially kids.

6. Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

At the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers lies Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, a place where the pages of history come alive. This quaint town, with its cobblestone streets and historic buildings, paints a vivid picture of life in the 19th century.

Families can embark on a journey through time as they explore the various exhibits, workshops, and demonstrations. From witnessing the craftsmanship of a blacksmith to understanding the significance of John Brown’s raid, every corner of Harpers Ferry offers a window into the past.

Beyond its historical allure, the park’s natural beauty captivates visitors. Families can indulge in fun activities such as hiking on the Appalachian Trail. They can also enjoy strolling along the riverbanks or engaging in thrilling whitewater rafting adventures. If you’re an adventurer or looking for a more tranquil experience, there are things to do in Harpers Ferry for kids and adults alike.

For the young historians in the family, the Junior Ranger Program provides interactive activities and challenges, ensuring they leave with a deeper appreciation of the park’s significance. And as the day draws to a close, the picturesque views of the rivers, framed by the Blue Ridge Mountains, create a serene backdrop for reflection.

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is an experience that educates, inspires, and leaves families with cherished memories. Don’t forget to visit on your next trip to WV!

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is one of the best things to do with kids in West Virginia.
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park: where history lives through cobblestone streets and 19th-century buildings at river confluence.

7. Green Bank Observatory

In the quiet town of Green Bank, families will discover a marvel of modern science: the Green Bank Observatory. Home to the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope, this observatory offers a unique opportunity to delve into the mysteries of the cosmos. Unquestionably, this is one of the top West Virginia attractions for kids.

The colossal Green Bank Telescope, with its impressive 100-meter diameter, stands as a beacon of human ingenuity. It represents our quest to understand the universe.Guided tours allow visitors to get up close to this engineering marvel. They can learn about its design and even witness it in action as it scans the skies.

The Science Center on-site is a gold mine of interactive exhibits. Children can learn about space phenomena, the history of radio astronomy, and the groundbreaking discoveries made at Green Bank. Hands-on activities, from building a radio to participating in a pulsar search, ensure that learning is both fun and engaging.

Beyond the observatory’s scientific pursuits, the surrounding area is a haven for nature lovers. With its location within the National Radio Quiet Zone, Green Bank offers pristine landscapes, free from electronic interference, making it a perfect spot for stargazing. On a clear night, families can marvel at the beauty of the Milky Way. They can also spot distant planets and even witness meteor showers.

A visit to the Green Bank Observatory is not merely about observing the stars. It’s about igniting curiosity, fostering a love for science, and inspiring the next generation of astronomers. As such, it’s hands down one of the best days out in WV for families.

Green Bank Observatory in quiet Green Bank town boasts the world's largest radio telescope—a cosmic exploration hub and a top WV attraction for kids.
Green Bank Observatory in quiet Green Bank town boasts the world’s largest radio telescope—a cosmic exploration hub and a top WV attraction for kids.

8. Coopers Rock State Forest

Perched on the edge of the Cheat River Gorge lies Coopers Rock State Forest, a destination that promises families a blend of adventure and tranquility. With over 12,000 acres of protected forest, this state gem offers a myriad of activities in West Virginia for kids that range from hiking and rock climbing to bird watching and picnicking.

The forest’s namesake, Coopers Rock, is a massive sandstone cliff that provides visitors with unparalleled views of the gorge below and the distant horizons. The overlook, accessible via a short walk, is a favorite spot for families to gather. They can take photographs and simply soak in the beauty of nature.

Winding through the forest are numerous trails, each with its own unique charm. Some lead to hidden waterfalls, others to serene meadows. A few challenge the more adventurous with steep ascents and rocky terrains. Along the way, families might encounter diverse wildlife, from chattering squirrels to graceful deer.

For those keen on delving into the area’s history, interpretive signs scattered throughout the forest shed light on its past, from its geological formations to its role in the state’s lumber industry.

Atop a cliff, the thrill of the expansive view meets you, while the peace of a forested trail invites exploration. The joy of a family picnic under the canopy of trees or the discovery of a hidden waterfall makes Coopers Rock State Forest a quintessential destination for things to do in West Virginia things for families.

Coopers Rock State Forest, on Cheat River Gorge's edge, offers diverse West Virginia activities for families.
Coopers Rock State Forest, on Cheat River Gorge’s edge, offers diverse West Virginia activities for families.

9. Spruce Knob

Standing tall as the highest point in the state, Spruce Knob offers families an unparalleled vantage point to witness the beauty of West Virginia. At an elevation of 4,863 feet, this peak provides panoramic views of rolling hills, dense forests, and meandering rivers. It’s a destination that effortlessly combines the thrill of reaching the state’s highest point. This place also offers the joy of discovering one of the best places to go in West Virginia.

The journey to the top is an adventure. A well-maintained road leads to the summit, where a stone and wooden observation tower awaits. From here, the vast expanse of the Monongahela National Forest stretches out, a sea of green that changes hues with the seasons.

A network of trails surrounds the peak, catering to hikers of all skill levels. There’s a wide range of trails available suitable for kids. The Whispering Spruce Trail, a gentle loop around the summit, is adorned with interpretive signs that offer insights into the area’s unique ecology and geology.

For families seeking a more immersive experience, camping sites near the base of the knob provide an opportunity to sleep under the stars, share stories around a campfire, and wake up to the sounds of nature.

With its breathtaking vistas, diverse flora and fauna, and opportunities for bonding, Spruce Knob captures the essence of family adventures in West Virginia.

At 4,863 feet, Spruce Knob, West Virginia's highest point, offers panoramic views of hills, forests, and rivers.
At 4,863 feet, Spruce Knob, West Virginia’s highest point, offers panoramic views of hills, forests, and rivers.

10. Lost World Caverns

Venture beneath the Earth’s surface at Lost World Caverns, and families will discover a subterranean paradise that promises both adventure and wonder. Located just outside of Lewisburg, this underground marvel stands out as one of the most fun places in West Virginia to visit with kids.

Descending into the caverns, families are greeted by a realm of natural artistry. Stalactites dangle gracefully from the ceiling, while stalagmites rise in intricate formations. The cavern’s vast chambers, such as the War Club Room and the Snowy Chandelier, showcase unique mineral deposits that captivate young explorers.

Guided tours not only highlight the cavern’s geology but also introduce its fascinating inhabitants. Kids will be thrilled to learn about the bats, salamanders, and other creatures that call this underground world home. The experience becomes educational, sparking curiosity and a love for nature.

For families seeking a touch of adventure, wild cave tours offer a hands-on experience, allowing them to explore narrow passages and hidden chambers. Above ground, the Lost World Caverns features a museum tailored for kids, with prehistoric fossils, minerals, and interactive exhibits that engage and educate.

At Lost World Caverns, families embark on a memorable journey, diving deep into the heart of our planet and uncovering its hidden treasures. For families looking for unique things to do in WV, look no further than Lost World Caverns!

Discover subterranean wonder at Lost World Caverns near Lewisburg—an ideal West Virginia destination for families.
Discover subterranean wonder at Lost World Caverns near Lewisburg—an ideal West Virginia destination for families.

11. Snowshoe Mountain Resort

High in the Allegheny Mountains, Snowshoe Mountain Resort beckons families with a promise of adventure and relaxation throughout the year. Recognized as one of the premier destinations for family-friendly activities in West Virginia, Snowshoe offers a diverse range of experiences tailored for visitors of all ages.

In the winter months, the resort transforms into a snowy wonderland. Families can hit the slopes, with options ranging from beginner-friendly runs to challenging terrains for seasoned skiers and snowboarders. Kids will delight in snow tubing sessions, ice skating, and even snowmobile tours designed specifically for them.

When the snow melts, Snowshoe reveals its greener side. Mountain biking trails crisscross the landscape, while scenic chairlift rides provide panoramic views of the lush surroundings. The resort’s adventure park is a hit with children. This offers activities like ziplining, bungee trampolining, and climbing walls.

Beyond outdoor pursuits, Snowshoe boasts a vibrant village atmosphere. Families can indulge in a variety of dining options, shop for souvenirs, or participate in scheduled events and festivals that celebrate the region’s culture and heritage.

Whether it’s the thrill of skiing down a mountain, the joy of a summer hike, or the simple pleasure of spending quality time with loved ones, Snowshoe Mountain Resort ensures a memorable family getaway in the heart of West Virginia.

In the Allegheny Mountains, Snowshoe Mountain Resort beckons families with year-round adventure.
In the Allegheny Mountains, Snowshoe Mountain Resort beckons families with year-round adventure.

12. Oglebay Resort

Nestled in the rolling hills of Wheeling, the Oglebay Resort & Conference Center offers families a diverse array of activities, ensuring every visit is filled with fun and cherished memories. Known as one of the top places for families to go in West Virginia, Oglebay seamlessly blends recreation with relaxation.

The resort’s sprawling grounds are home to the Good Zoo. This is where children can come face-to-face with over 50 species of animals. They can also participate in interactive exhibits and even enjoy a miniature train ride. For families with a penchant for golf, Oglebay boasts championship courses that cater to both beginners and seasoned players.

Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the resort’s extensive gardens, walking trails, and pedal boating on Schenk Lake. And when the sun sets, the Winter Festival of Lights dazzles visitors with its magnificent light displays. This makes it a must-visit during the holiday season.

Looking to unwind? The resort’s spa offers a range of treatments designed to rejuvenate and refresh. Meanwhile, kids can dive into indoor and outdoor pools, participate in scheduled workshops, or explore the playgrounds.

With its combination of entertainment, education, and relaxation, Oglebay Resort & Conference Center stands out as a destination that truly offers something for everyone in the family.

In Wheeling's hills, Oglebay Resort offers diverse family activities, blending fun with relaxation.
In Wheeling’s hills, Oglebay Resort offers diverse family activities, blending fun with relaxation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the Best Things to Do with Kids in West Virginia:

Are you looking for more content on what to do in West Virginia with kids? Here are some common questions (and answers) I get asked a lot about the most fun places in West Virginia to go as a family.

Is West Virginia family-friendly?

Absolutely! West Virginia is renowned for its wide array of family-friendly attractions. From exploring underground caverns and hiking in lush forests to engaging in educational activities at museums and resorts, there’s no shortage of fun things to do in West Virginia with kids. The state’s natural beauty combined with its rich history and culture makes it a top destination for families seeking both adventure and relaxation.

What is a fun fact about West Virginia for kids?

Did you know that West Virginia is often called the “Mountain State”? That’s because it’s the only state entirely located within the Appalachian Mountain range! Kids will love learning that these ancient mountains are among the oldest in the world. They offer a unique blend of natural beauty and geological wonders.

Scenic view of the majestic West Virginia mountains, with lush green forests and rolling terrain.
Scenic view of the majestic West Virginia mountains, with lush green forests and rolling terrain.

Are there any indoor attractions in West Virginia for kids?

Yes, West Virginia boasts a variety of indoor attractions that are perfect for families. Museums, interactive science centers, and indoor play areas ensure that there’s always something to do, even on rainy days. Places like the Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences and the West Virginia State Museum are just a couple of the best things to do in West Virginia with kids when looking for indoor activities.

Where can families go for outdoor adventures in West Virginia?

West Virginia is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Families can visit places like Blackwater Falls State Park and Seneca Rocks. These destinations offer hiking, rock climbing, and wildlife spotting opportunities in the Monongahela National Forest. For those seeking water-based activities, the state’s rivers offer opportunities for rafting, fishing, and kayaking. This makes it a top choice for family-friendly activities in West Virginia.

What are some unique experiences for kids in West Virginia?

West Virginia offers several unique experiences tailored for kids. They can embark on a scenic train ride at Cass Scenic Railroad, explore the mysteries of the cosmos at Green Bank Observatory, or even participate in gemstone mining activities. With such diverse activities in West Virginia for kids, every visit promises new discoveries and adventures.

Concluding West Virginia’s Best Things to Do with Kids

West Virginia, with its rich landscapes, history, and adventures, truly stands out as an incredible destination for families. From the towering peaks of the Allegheny Mountains to the serene depths of its caverns, the state offers experiences that promise to both educate and entertain. The thrill of a whitewater rafting adventure is unforgettable. Additionally, the wonder of gazing at a starlit sky, or the simple joy of a family picnic in a scenic park ensures memories that will last a lifetime. As you plan your next family getaway, consider the diverse family-friendly activities in West Virginia. Embark on a journey that will captivate the hearts of both the young and the young at heart.

The top things to do with kids in West Virginia for all types of travelers
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