Get outside and play, even with small children!
With today’s computer age creating gaming, texting, and social media monsters out of our younger generation, I take every possible opportunity to instill a love of the outdoors in my children. Nonetheless, finding something to do with a 2- and 5-year-old in a rural area can be hard. But if you are familiar with Southern West Virginia, you should have no problem! I put this list together for those mothers who, like me, can’t take the kids whitewater rafting, but want to spend some quality time outdoors. I have great memories of these places and hope you enjoy them! Don’t worry, there will be more – spring is just around the corner and I have some exploring to do!
1. Hawks Nest State Park/New River Jetboats
Hawks Nest sits on the rim of the New River Gorge…
and offers great trails, overlooks, picnic areas and its main attraction, the aerial tram down the gorge to the Marina where you find New River Jetboats. One of my new adult fears is of heights, so if I can do it, anyone can. My son and daughter held my hand while I cried my way down the mountain. They were great on both the tram and the jetboat – I was the one suffering from a mild heart attack. Before hopping on the jetboat, check out the Nature Center, gift shop or just feed the ducks!
Tip: Check out www.newriverjetboats.com for tram and boat schedules before heading out.
2. Babcock State Park
Boasting the most photographed Grist Mill in America, this park is breathtakingly beautiful. Glade Creek runs through the park and past the mill, offering great trout fishing. There is also a lake at the park stocked with most sport fish – so be sure to take your fishing poles. Great trails, boat rentals, and many other amenities make this park a great choice for kids. You can even hit Hawks Nest and Babcock in the same day, as they are close to each other.
3. Fishing and Tubing on the Greenbrier River
I used to spend all my time on the New or Gauley rivers, but the Greenbrier is my new favorite. With a 2- and a 5-year-old, the water levels and currents are perfect for an easy trip down the river. We usually make this one of our longer camping trips each year, or one of many! You can put in a half-mile upstream and float back to your camp in 3 hours at low water levels! I usually catch around 10-20 smallmouth bass and watch my kids splash, swim and laugh all the way down. My 5-year-old daughter is perfect for the 3 hour float, my 2-year-old son still loses his patience (or falls asleep). The river is great for tubes, kayaks or small rafts.
Tip: Check water levels before going, the Greenbrier is known to flood in the spring. I usually spend my time there in July or August.
Hawks Nest www.hawksnestsp.com
New River Jetboats www.newriverjetboats.com