West Virginia:

Published: Friday, August 17, 2007

Formerly a part of Virginia state, Western Virginia decided to make it on its own behind its original 40 counties which had opposed the move of Virginia to leave a fragile Union in 1861. Two years later, it received statehood status via a presidential proclamation, setting a record in US history for becoming a state by means of an executive act.

The original West Virginia state started out as a relatively small tract of land and it has remained so until today. Yet, within this tiny American state set on the eastern end of the US lies many diverse geographical wonders that RVers will find to be generally suitable grounds upon which numerous outdoor activities can be engaged in.

The West Virginia Regions

West Virginia is also called the"Mountain State" which gives an indication as to the main features that RV-boarded travelers can expect to find in its nine regions. These include the Northern Panhandle Region, the Mountaineer Country Region, the Mid-Ohio Valley Region, the Metro Valley Region, the Hatfield-McCoy Mountains Region, the New River/Greenbrier Valley Region, the Mountain Lakes Region, the Potomac Highlands Region, and the Eastern Panhandle Region.

The Northern Panhandle Region

A region rich in Civil War history is how one can best describe this region set in the northern end of West Virginia. Historical landmarks abound here, but so do museums, shopping centers, and gaming resorts.

For RVers who prefer outdoor exploration, a state park and a leisure resort awaits them here, particularly at Wheeling, ostensibly the dominant regional city. Its 406-acre wide Wheeling Park is its top tourist attraction, offerings such features as golf courses, a dock, and a boathouse, all located near the resident Good Lake. Meanwhile, over at the W.E. Stone Memorial Clubhouse and Pool, family entertainment can be enjoyed with its water slide attraction.

For more of the same features, RVers can head off to Oglebay Resort, also set in Wheeling City. Named in honor of Earl W. Oglebay, the resort boasts of excellent golf courses amidst a relaxing resort setting. Accommodation here ranges from simple cabins to elegant hotel-like rooms which should be good enough for RVers although the more logical way is to head off to nearby Camp Copperhead where 50 spacious RV sites await them, half of these situated near Indian Creek, an arm of the Ohio River which is quite popular among boaters.

The Mountaineer Country Region

Boasting of numerous forest areas, streams, lakes, and trail paths, the Mountaineer Country Region is most definitely an area in West Virginia that RVers should not bypass. One can choose from the biggest state forest that is Coopers Rock to a park composed of untouched virginal woodland as seen in the Cathedral State Park when thinking of engaging in such outdoor sports as hiking, mountain biking, boating, and fishing.

Morgantown is perhaps the best regional city to explore for many RV-boarded tourists since it hosts Coopers Rock apart from several other interesting attractions like the Caperton Trail, the Monongahela River, and the West Virginia University. However, when it comes to RV parks, the regional city to seek is Grafton, settled on the southern end of Morgantown. The city plays host to the Tygart Lake State Park where one can go swimming, boating, and fishing but what is more significant is its resident RV campground, Lakeside Resort, which just happens to lie next to the state park.

The Mid-Ohio Valley Region

Human life, as per archaeological investigations, has existed in this area for at least 11,000 years and this is not surprising since the Ohio River reigns supreme in these parts. From the river alone, visiting RVers can think of a variety of ways to experience outdoor enjoyment.

Yet, the fun does not end there because RV-boarded tourists can zero in on one particular regional city, Parkersburg which, apart from its rich cultural and historical heritage, also offers visitors several outdoor recreations. For starters, the North Bend Rail Trail housed within the North Bend State Park, boasts of a 72-mile long hiking path although there is the option to ride either a bike or a horse for a more diverse outdoor experience. Meanwhile, another city attraction, the Little Kanawha Parkway, should give RV-boarded travelers a feel of what it is like to go on a scenic drive in West Virginia as they traverse the path of the Little Kanawha River down to forest areas and farmlands.

Concerns about security for the RV is easily addressed in Parkersburg since it hosts one RV campground. Edgelawn Campground, set on Summers Street, offers 25 trailer camp sites that are available all year through.

The Metro Valley Region

Practically everything that one can expect to see in an urban community is present in this particular region. Here lies the state capital, Charleston, along with numerous restaurants, shopping arcades, museums, specialty shops, universities, and a whole lot more. Of particular interest, however, especially for RVers, are Coonskin Park and the historic Kanawha State Forest since they welcome hikers, bikers, and even golfers.

Equally interesting is New River Campground likewise found in Parkersburg where RV-boarded travelers have easy access to several other attractions like the Kanawha Falls, the Hawks Nest State Park, and the Beckley Exhibition Mine. For RVers who want to experience the thrill of white water rafting, nearby New River offers the exciting sport in its full splendor while the accompanying New River Gorge should provide awesome hiking adventures.

The Hatfield-McCoy Mountains Region

The region derived its name from two warring 18th century families, the Hatfields and the McCoys, whose story closely resembled that of Romeo and Juliet. Its main feature is a vast mountain range made famous by its award-winning vehicle trail system cutting through major West Virginia peaks. The trails welcome hikers of all types since there are relatively easy paths that come complete with views of charming Pinnacle Creek while others are exclusive for experienced hikers as they involve twists and turns like those found at Dingess Rum.

When visiting the region and its celebrated trail, RVers will be pleasantly surprised to know that right within the Hatfield-McCoy Mountains Region are several RV-friendly campgrounds where they can seek refuge to recharge their energies before exploring the trails. One such campground, Riverside Point RV Park, has access to the Buffalo Mountain System and its accompanying trail system. The RV park is based in Delbarton town and welcomes RVs measuring as long as 40 feet.

The New River/Greenbrier Valley Region

Two major rivers are the reasons why this region was named the New River/Greenbrier Valley Region. One is New River whose incredible gorge has caught the fancy of thousands of hikers. The other is Greenbrier River whose waters pass through both forest areas and farmlands and from where the Greenbrier River Trail originated. The trail, formerly a railway that has been converted into a trail path, involves a scenic exploration of both the river and the nearby forest.

Needless to say, hikers are the most common lot in these two regional attractions although these are not actually exclusive to them. The Greenbrier River Trail, for example, is also open to biking enthusiasts while the rugged coastline and the raging waters of New River have recently caught the attention of white water rafters. In short, therefore, this particular West Virginia region can be considered a virtual paradise for RVers whose love for the outdoors is beyond question.

RV riders will find many regional cities worth visiting because they host either a state park or an RV park. Some cities even have RV parks that are situated right inside public parks. A good example of this is Lake Stephens Park based in Beckley where RV owners can conveniently settle in their vehicles in one of its many RV sites after which they will need only 25 minutes of brisk walking to reach the New River Gorge National Park.

The Mountain Lakes Region

Mountain lakes occupy a significant portion of the Mountain Lakes Region, the main reason why it was named such. Specifically, there are five principal lakes found in these parts, namely, Summersville, Sutton, Burnsville, Stonecoal, and Stonewall Jackson. RVers will find the waters on these five lakes to be quite navigable and are thus perfect venues for engaging in such outdoor undertakings as swimming, fishing, scuba diving, water skiing, and boating.

Meanwhile, for a different kind of outdoor enjoyment, specifically, wildlife observation, RVers can head off to either French Creek and visit the West Virginia State Wildlife Center or to Richwood where the Monongahela National Forest resides. Both of these attractions provide shelter for various wildlife like bears, bobcats, mountain lions, and many more although Richwood should be preferred since RVers can look forward to settling in at its resident RV park, the Big Rock Campground, nestled on the northern side of the city.

The Potomac Highlands Region

This is yet another West Virginia region that should be seriously considered by RV-boarded tourists who plan on visiting the "Mountain State". Its rugged topography is filled with mountains and hills complemented by scenic rivers and lakes, making outdoor exploration virtually limitless. Interestingly, the highest peak in West Virginia, Spruce Knob, is found here although Snowshoe Mountain is relatively more popular since outdoor activities suited for both summer and winter can be enjoyed here. During winter, its slopes are acclaimed skiing terrains that quickly change to mountain biking paths when summer makes its entrance.

Most of the regional towns are quite small in size and these include Romney, Petersburg, and even Cass although they do boast of several tourist destinations like in the case of the latter which has a historical park under its fold. One town, though, ought to interest any prospective RV-boarded visitor. Elkins, generally considered as a college town, plays host to Revelle's River Resort, an RV park situated near several regional wonders like the Stuart Recreation Area Ski Trail, the Canaan Valley State Park and Ski Area, and the Blackwater Falls State Park, among others.

The Eastern Panhandle Region

Generally considered to be a countryside area, the Eastern Panhandle Region nevertheless sports a rather heavy historical outlook since many Civil War landmarks are found here and these are best exemplified by Harpers Ferry National Historical Park where the regular exhibits are usually about African-American evolution and the ground-breaking American Civil War. RVers, however, will likely appreciate these commemorative endeavors by taking a scenic drive along the Washington Heritage Trail where historic sites abound alongside enchanting scenery.

When it comes to regional cities, Harpers Ferry has to be the hands down choice of many visiting RVers. Apart from housing the vast Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, the city also happens to be the host of a major RV campground, Harpers Ferry KOA Campground, which has effectively combined both the historical and the tourist side of West Virginia through its many features.

Cities of the "Mountain State"

With so many cities lying in its midst, getting to choose the right West Virginia city to visit aboard an RV may be a bit difficult. Nevertheless, a good point of reference should be RV accessibility since some cities unfortunately have not yet thought of setting up an RV-friendly campground.


Situated in the southern corner of West Virginia, Fayetteville has always been synonymous to the New River and its accompanying natural wonder, the New River Gorge. Here, outdoor lovers exemplified by RVers can go rock climbing amidst the sandstones that adorn the gorge said to have its deepest point at 800 feet. Afterwards, they can ride a kayak and explore the waters of nearby New River although when the waters are at their nastiest, white-water rafting may prove to be a more exciting venture. Fishing, meanwhile, is also a good option as it enables RV-boarded travelers to have a closer look at the natural beauty that surrounds New River.

Outdoor recreations definitely abound in Fayetteville but RV riders need not worry about where to place their RVs for there are many RV parks found in the city. One of this, Rifrafters Campground, is only about two miles away from the New River Gorge bridge from where RV-boarded travelers can easily gain access to the celebrated river and gorge.

White Sulphur Springs

Unlike its sister cities in the New River/Greenbrier Valley Region, White Sulphur Springs does not boast of having quick and direct access to the biggest regional attraction which is the New River Gorge. Rather, it has gained prominence largely from its many warm springs that has led to the establishment of several spa treatment centers.

Actually, these warm springs have long been in existence with many early Indian settlers making use of their natural healing elements to treat minor ailments. These days, RVers can get to experience that same invigorating feeling by taking time to visit White Sulphur Springs. Otherwise, they can get relaxation by playing golf at the many championship courses found in various areas of the city. Inspiration can also come by seeing the many wildlife residing at the Monongahela National Forest situated north of White Sulphur Springs.

Exploring these city wonders should be a breeze for most RV-boarded tourists since White Sulphur Springs has three campgrounds in its midst one of which is privately-owned. Driftwood, found on East Main Street, features 80 trailer sites that come complete with water and electrical hook-ups.

A Visit to the "Mountain State"

Despite being named the "Mountain State", West Virginia is a typical American state in that it experiences the four traditional seasons. However, unlike other states, the weather in these parts rarely reach extreme levels. Summer, of course, is normally hot and dry with temperatures reaching a high of 90 degrees but often only during August. Winter, meanwhile, can be quite cold with lows of 15 degrees not entirely uncommon.

Spring is generally a good time to see West Virginia since the weather during this time is generally mild except in the early part. Additionally, shrubs, flowers, and trees are in bloom by this time, providing color and beauty to the environment, especially in the forest areas.

Autumn, however, is perhaps the best visiting period for West Virginia with its enchanting changes of foliage colors that can easily rival those taking place in New England. The air is crisp during this time but a bit cool so light jackets are recommended for those planning a fall visit to West Virginia.

Flatwoods RV Park

Named after the city where it presently stands, Flatwoods RV Park is a typical RV campground with the attendant electric, water, and sewer facilities although its sites are quite different as they come in deluxe types and can be accessed via fully paved roads. Additionally, these sites are of the pull-through models to allow RVers ample room to easily navigate their vehicles across the campground.

A significant feature of this campground is its proximity to the famed New River Gorge where RV-boarded travelers need only to drive for about 50 minutes northward to reach the gorge. The attraction is a major offering of the New River/Greenbrier Valley Region and getting to have easy access to it is a serious consideration among RVers visiting this region.

Another interesting feature of Flatwoods RV Park is its next-door neighbor, the Flatwoods Days Inn. RV-boarded travelers checking in at the campground have the rare privilege of using the two resident pools of the said hotel free of charge apart from other amenities over which they are also given free access to.

Abram's Creek Retreat and Campground

A recently-opened RV campground, Abram's Creek Retreat and Campground prides itself in being near Mt. Storm Lake whose waters are thermally heated via a coal power plant. Getting to see this amazing lake will only take ten minutes for RV-boarded travelers coming from the campground.

Ostensibly, numerous water-based activities can be enjoyed in the lake waters, something that RVers settled in at Abram's Creek Retreat and Campground will definitely want to explore. While the lake is still relatively unknown, some visitors have found its waters to be suitable grounds for scuba diving ventures. For the next camping season, the RV campground is thinking of promoting the lake as an excellent venue for water skiing, parasailing, and jet skiing undertakings.

Yet, Abram's Creek Retreat and Campground does not rely on Mt. Storm Lake alone to attract prospective RV-boarded clients. Its resident 19-acre wide forest area boasts of a clear stream frontage and obviously features the traditional features of a wilderness area where diverse outdoor recreations can be pursued extensively. Indeed, for a relatively new RV campground, Abram's Creek is definitely worth exploring, especially with its various RV camp sites that come in a variety of types, including those having a water frontage.
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