West Virginia – Holly River State Park
If you’re looking for a mountain getaway that won’t empty your wallet, then you need to know about Holly River State Park in West Virginia. Situated in Webster County in the Appalachian Mountains, Holly River has an ideal combination of lush green forests, mountain streams, and amenities to make it a fantastic destination for families.
You’ll definitely want to stay in one of the cabins inside the park. These aren’t cookie-cutter cabins; each one is unique and constructed of either stone, logs, or shake shingles. The folks at the park were kind enough to allow me to photograph the insides and outsides of several of the cabins.
Adorable, aren’t they? The cabins have either one or two bedrooms and some have rollaway beds. I know you want to see what the insides look like. All of them have fireplaces and two rocking chairs to sit in while enjoying the fire. And you may have noticed the firewood in the photos above. The park supplies the firewood for you.
The bedrooms are a bit small, but cozy.
The bathrooms are small, but functional, and very clean. Each cabin has a kitchen, equipped with refrigerator, stove, microwave, cookware, plates, etc.
You can choose to dine inside at the dining table, or outside at a picnic table. Each cabin comes with a picnic table and an outdoor grill. And check out the stream in close proximity. Such an enchanting setting for an outdoor meal.
Kids will be easily engaged, exploring the rock garden and stream that are adjacent to the cabin area. You’ll definitely want to keep an eye on the little tots, but the proximity of the rock garden to the cabins allows for older kids to be more independent. My daughters did not want to leave.
The lush woodland setting was so striking there, that it’s very difficult to choose which photos to show. Here are a couple more.
Holly River offers quite a few other recreational opportunities as well. With all those rocks to climb, I’m not sure they need a playground, but they have one.
Sports facilities include basketball, volleyball, and tennis courts.
A swimming pool is available to both overnight and daytime visitors. The admission fee is a very reasonable $3 for adults and $2 for children. The pool has a diving board which was a treat for my daughters since our neighborhood pool doesn’t have one.
The Park Naturalist puts together a schedule of activities for even more fun. It includes campfires, stream stomps, fishing demonstrations, hay rides, scavenger hunts, and animal encounters. We attended a very informative program about the snakes of West Virginia. During that program I got as close as I ever want to be to a Timber Rattlesnake and Copperhead. Here’s the rattlesnake:
Rather menacing looking, isn’t he? I’d certainly stay away from him if I saw him on the trail. We had the opportunity to pet some nonvenomous snakes and for that act of bravery, we each received a sticker to announce to the world, “I touched a snake today!”
The naturalist also offers guided hikes, or you could grab a trail map and head out on your own. The park has over 42 miles of trails. We were interested in viewing some of the park’s water falls and ventured out to see Upper Falls and Shupe’s Chute.
Holly River State Park also has a one-room schoolhouse that you can tour.
Several exhibits are on display in the schoolhouse including this one where kids can learn about how students quenched their thirst before water fountains.
If you are too tired at the end of a day of outdoor adventure to prepare your own dinner, you are in for a treat. The park has a restaurant with yummy homemade food.
Inside, the wood-paneled walls envelope you while you savor homestyle comfort food at very reasonable prices.
We dined here for lunch and enjoyed sandwiches that were made with homemade bread. The restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner as well. Save room for dessert, because they are all homemade too. My cheesecake-loving daughter ordered cheesecake.
While there’s plenty to keep you busy at Holly River, there are a few day trips that are well worth the drive. Please see my articles about a cute Swiss village named Helvetia, and the West Virginia State Wildlife Center.
One park guest I met at Holly River told me she didn’t want me to write about the park because it was her best-kept secret. It’s an affordable getaway that her kids love and it keeps her coming back year after year. Another park guest I met has been going there for 20 years and brought her grandchildren on this visit. They own an RV and enjoy staying in the park’s campground. We only spent a day at Holly River, but, as I wrote above, my daughters begged me to bring them back again and stay in a cabin. The funny thing about travel writing is that whenever I am writing one of these articles, I usually find myself thinking, “I want to go back there again.” That happens with almost every place I write about, but in the case of Holly River, I think it’s going to happen sooner rather than later.
680 State Park Rd.
Hacker Valley, WV 26222
This attraction appears in my e-book, How to Visit All 50 States in 12 Trips.
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