I’m pretty sure Ralph Waldo Emerson had road tripped through West Virginia when he made his famous statement, Life is a journey, not a destination.

As we drove through small towns, passing over rivers and beside lakes, stopping at waterfalls and hiking through old train tunnels, there was something that was certain about this road trip: West Virginia is simply unbelievable.

The forests are seventeen different shades of green, some I’m sure I’ve never seen before. The rivers are wide and fast, narrow and slow, with birds lining the edges and fish swimming with the flow. There are small diners, with traditional soda fountains, and two week old breweries with fresh flavors. Each town is planted in history and yet had new businesses popping up.

It is easy to romanticize West Virginia, and our road trip. As a new family, with a 9-month old adventurous baby girl, we have started a new way to travel. A slower way that allows us to really breathe in each stop on our itinerary, to have an extra cup of coffee, or milkshake, or pint of beer, as our trip would have it. We were able to combine high intensity adventure with more relaxed accommodations, and mix a day trip to the zoo with a stop at a local brewery.

If you too are looking for a low key but incredibly beautiful and adventurous road trip, you’ve got to plan a trip through West Virginia. No matter which direction you turn you’re bound to find endless blue skies, green grass, friendly people, delicious food, exciting adventures and unparalleled beauty.

Don’t Miss Road Trip Stops in western West Virginia:

  • Huntington: One of the first stops once you pass the Kentucky/West Virginia state border. Stop in for a double chocolate milkshake at Griffith and Feil Drugstore. Want something a little stronger: Summit Beer Station offers unique beers and a rotating tap selection, so you could visit multiple times and try different beers each day.


A Friend in the Forest #GoToWV #WestVirginia #RailTrail

A photo posted by Bob (@civilmatador) on Jul 29, 2016 at 8:25am PDT


  • Parkersburg: This border town has a long history and a visit to the river is an absolute must. Spend the night at the historic 1889 Blennerhassett Hotel and walk a half-mile to Julia-Ann Square. Munch on a burger and grab a pint at North End Tavern and Brewery (The NET). The 5-way IPA is a must if you like hoppy beers.

  • Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge: The perfect motor tour of the beauty of West Virginia. In the hot summer, keep your AC going and enjoy the view from the comfort of your car. Once you’ve done the island loop, get outside and fish along the shore.

  • North Bend State Park: This state park is great for campers and backcountry hiking. Arrive early to pick your favorite camp spot and spend the rest of the day enjoying the lake or hiking through some of the 72-mile Rail Trail.


A Ways To Disappear #WestVirginia #gotowv #Kayak #GetOutside

A photo posted by Bob (@civilmatador) on Aug 9, 2016 at 9:08am PDT


  • Wheeling: There are several stops in Wheeling that we absolutely loved. First up is The Good Zoo at Oglebay Resort. The Good Zoo is a smaller zoo compared to most big city zoos, which make it perfect for visiting with small kids. Our little girl loved the Lorikeet area, where she stuck her hand out and fed them (she really just watched her dad do this!). Beyond the resort, there are several breweries popping up in the area. Our favorite was Brew Keepers, a small, recently opened brewery where you can grab a growler to go or a pint of one of their beers in one of the local restaurants. Grand Vue Park is a little further south of Wheeling but a super fun adventure park for kids of all ages. The zip lines let you see and fly through the beautiful Mountain State from a completely different vantage point.


In partnership with Wild, Wonderful West Virginia