We left Friday morning from North Carolina for the 4.5 hour drive. A tunnel in Virginia was shutdown, forcing us to go off the main roads for our journey, and I’m so glad it did! Driving through the lush and winding landscape of West Virginia helped me get a better feel for the land and people in the beautiful state.
West Virginia is a state made up of small towns, as no town has more than 50,000 people. West Virginia is the only state to be born out of the civil war and is rich in history like Harper’s Ferry National Historic Park and John Brown’s fort. It’s also home to the newest national park, New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.
In many ways, its natural beauty and serenity lend West Virginia to be quite the hidden gem for nature lovers and adventure seekers!
We’ve only been to West Virginia once before, when we took the girls skiing in Snowshoe. We were excited to experience the summer months and all they have to offer.
We showed up early Friday afternoon and checked into our cabin at Appalachian Outpost, a newly built outdoor oasis located in Lyburn, West Virginia which offers 25 well-equipped cabins that make a great home base for families. We stayed in Cabin 2 which featured 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths, a well-appointed kitchen, and a living area with a pull out couch. It smelled of fresh wood and was super clean, and the girls took to making themselves at home in no time.
Once settled, we walked to the on-site restaurant, The Broken Axle, for lunch. After filling our bellies with sliders, root beer, BLATs, and falafel and quinoa salad (I’ll let you guess who got what- 😉), we hopped in the car for the short drive over to Chief Logan State Park.
Chief Logan State Park was bumping! It has a large community pool with a waterslide and a diving board that the girls lost their minds over when we drove past. It offers multiple trails, but as we headed toward a short one, the girls were distracted by a family of deer that came up to us. Our hostess, Diana, brought apples and assured us we could feed them, which was such a neat experience!
Afterwards we explored a 1961 locomotive (who had any idea they were that big?!) and a Pioneer Homestead. It was great to let the girls play and burn off energy before heading back to Appalachian Outpost for dinner.
Since David and I just can’t say no to a flight, we ordered the beer and slider pairing, agreeing that the Devil Anse IPA, named after the famous Hatfield, was our favorite. We called it a night soon afterwards, knowing we had a full day of fun awaiting us the next morning.
We woke up on Saturday and enjoyed coffee and tea of the front porch. The mornings and evenings were cool even in the heat of summer, which was so refreshing. We had a leisurely breakfast at the cabin before getting ready for our first family ATV experience!
We had no idea what to expect, but were pumped up to experience the Hatfield McCoy Trails!
The Hatfield-McCoy Feud is famous, so you’ve probably already heard the story of these families. The Hatfield McCoy Trail system is named after this famous feud and offers 1000+ miles of professionally managed trails for motor sports.
Appalachian Outpost offers on-site ATV rentals, which was super convenient. We simply walked over to the office, met our guides, got outfitted with helmets, then climbed aboard! Our ATV from Bac Country ATV Rentals was SO nice- comfortable for the kids and felt really sturdy and safe.
Entry to the Rockhouse Trail System is a quarter mile away, so we hopped in, revved it up, and with hearts pumping, we were on our way!
Immediately David was giddy with excitement, but it wasn’t until the first hill and the high pitched squeals coming out from underneath the girls’ helmets that I knew how they felt about it; they were hooked!
We spent the morning getting comfortable with the terrain and experimenting with speed. Our guides also showed us spots to pull over and eat wine berries and blackberries right off the trail. We made a stop here and there to simply take in the views when a clearing allowed us to.
The highlight of the morning was a stop at a beautiful waterfall! We stopped to stretch our legs and splash in the cold water. A little boy at the falls picked up a newt and let Kaitlyn and Hailey hold it too. Now all we’ve heard nonstop is “can I have a newt as a pet, please?!”
We stopped for lunch in the town of Man at the Colonial Room Restaurant, all needing to refuel (especially the kids). It had an authentic small town feel, and their beef stew hit the spot for me, and the corndog, onion rings, and milkshake reinvigorated the kids!
Our guides asked if we wanted to head back after lunch, but we were all ready for more. We were comfortable with the trails at this point and really kicked things up a notch after lunch. More speed, more bumps, sharper turns… it was a blast! The girls’ phrase of the day was “Let ‘er rip!!” which they shouted no less than 200 times.
Late afternoon the guides headed back, but assured us we were fine to stay out on our own, so we went searching for bigger mud puddles. We had success and sent a tidal wave over the front of our ATV successfully more than once!
As we were getting ready to head back, the sky opened up on us and the rain poured down. It was SO cold and we put the girls in ponchos for the 20 minute ride back, but I couldn’t stop laughing the entire way. It was such a fun adventure!
When we pulled into our cabin, we were all ready for hot showers. Once warm and clean, we walked back up to The Broken Axle for dinner. The girls were clearly tired, so we ate dinner then headed into town (about a 10 minute drive) to treat them to a movie.
The cinema was bumping! I guess we haven’t been to one in a while, but the energy of a full theater made for an enjoyable and relaxing experience for all.
Afterwards we went back to the cabin and fired up the pit to roast marshmallows. We all devoured some smores as the sun went down. It was such a relaxing end to a fabulous, adrenaline-filled day.
Sunday morning we had to ignore our hankering for another day on the trails and begrudgingly packed our things. The girls asked that we drop some thank you notes off to the front office because they had so enjoyed their time. It was super sweet!
We started heading home. We were dragging our feet about leaving the beautiful state, so we made a final stop at Camp Creek State Park and Forest to run out some energy, play in the creek, and skip some rocks.
We loaded back up and were home two hours later, a pleasant surprise at how close we are to the Hatfield McCoy trails and already wondering when we might be able to head back to do it all again.
One thing I can’t not mention is how wonderful the people we met were. There really is the most wholesome, small town feel to West Virginia. Appalachian Outpost is a family-run operation. I’m going to call her the mastermind, because it’s a title I feel she deserves, but Diana, who owns the place, has such a heart for her community and it shows.
Much of West Virginia was built on the coal industry and now they are pivoting to tourism to build their local economy. West Virginia has so much natural beauty to experience and it was really wonderful to see the steps they are taking to accommodate families and adventure seekers in an effort to share it all.
If you’re ready to hit the road to West Virginia, make sure to check out WVtourism.com for inspiration, things to do, itineraries and more. And if you think your family would love the Appalachian Outpost as much as we, did make sure to head to their website where you can conveniently book your stay! With the outpost as your home base, there’s even a Hatfield-McCoy Mountain region on the tourism website to make it easy to plan a trip the whole family will love.
My favorite thing about traveling is the people I get to meet, and it was inspiring to see the passion for community and for building a new industry that I found in Logan, West Virginia.