You don’t need a week off work to find serious family adventure. Check out these destinations, located within an easy day’s drive of almost anywhere in West Virginia.
Workin’ in a Coal Mine
For a closer look at West Virginia’s history—both aboveground and below—check out the Exhibition Coal Mine. A longtime favorite of school field trips, this museum features a restored early 20th century coal camp, with a church, school, typical miner’s home, and mine superintendent’s home. The main attraction, of course, is the mine itself. Former coal miners will give your family a glimpse of what it’s like to work in the dark, dank, and dangerous heart of a mountain. 513 Ewart Avenue, Beckley, 304. 256.1747, beckley.org/exhibition_coal_mine
The collection at Heritage Farm Museum and Village is spread among 16 buildings. Favorites include the Progress Museum, which shows the dramatic changes in home life from the late 1800s through the early decades of the 1900s, and the Transportation Museum, which showcases the history of travel from covered wagons and carriages to early automobiles. 3300 Harvey Road, Huntington; 304.522.1244, heritagefarmmuseum.com
The Smoke Hole Caverns and Log Cabin Resort centers around a beautiful system of caves, allegedly used as a hiding place for moonshiners during the heyday of Prohibition. The resort includes a log motel, private log cabins for couples and families, and cottages along the river. There’s also Smoke Hole Outfitters, which offers fly fishing lessons, a catch-and-release trout stream, and a catch-and-keep pond. 8290 North Fork Highway, Cabins, 800.828.8478, smokehole.com
Located about 30 minutes from Stonewall Resort, the West Virginia State Wildlife Center allows your family to get face-to-face with coyotes, elk, mountain lions, river otters, timber wolves, and white-tailed deer, and many more of the state’s native critters, all in a modern zoo facility. 163 County Route 20, French Creek, 304.924.6211, wvdnr.gov/wildlife/wildlifecenter.shtm